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Exploring Unique American Cities: Santa Rosa, California

Updated on June 2, 2013

Every city (and town or village) has unique features that no other city in the world shares. There are cities that great (New York), old (Athens), large (Mexico City), small (Santa Rosa), compact (San Francisco), spread-out (Los Angeles), romantic (Paris), you name it (your city). A city’s unique characteristics magnetically pull people to it on account of its lifestyles, culture, industries, geography, history, etc.

Santa Rosa, California is a small city with a population of 157,000+ diverse souls (including me), is located 50 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Santa Rosa is in Sonoma County where over 300 wineries are located and vineyards grace the surrounding hills. I have explored the various aspects of the city that make it unique and I’d like to share a few of my discoveries with you.

Exploring Downtown Santa Rosa

The heart and center of Santa Rosa depicts a European ambience with sidewalk cafes and restaurants for enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine and people watching (or you could just site and read or have a lively discussion with a friend). Downtown Santa Rosa is beautiful and designed for exploring by foot. The hub of the city provides locals and visitors with culinary choices from around the world to satisfy any palate. French, Mexican, Italian, Cuban, you name it and you will most likely find it downtown. If shopping is your choice for relaxation then you won't be disappointed with the numerous shops and boutiques along Fourth street and at Railroad Square or if you prefer shopping at a mall there is a large one located between Old Courthouse Square and Railroad Square.

Downtown Santa Rosa will appeal to your artistic side with fountains, sculptures, and even Peanuts cartoon personalities placed for your enjoyment throughout the garden-like city center.

Downtown Santa Rosa

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The Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

The Luther Burbank Home & Gardens is within walking distance of downtown Santa Rosa located across the street from City Hall. Burbank's home and gardens are a registered historical site (national, state, and city), is open year round and is free to visit (donations are accepted).

Burbank, a world renowned horticulturist, lived in Santa Rosa for over 50 years where he experimented with breeding and introducing new plant varieties. The best time to visit the grounds is the spring when all the flowers are in full bloom. Tours are also available and there is plenty of street parking.

Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

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Charles M. Schulz, world famous cartoonist and creator of Peanuts, lived and worked in Santa Rosa. At the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, visitors can view the studio where Schulz drew Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all the other Peanuts characters. There is so much to see and do including:

  • The kite-eating tree, birdbath with holograms and other exhibits in the courtyard.
  • Walk the Snoopy Labyrinth.
  • Browse through scrapbooks, photos, letters, etc.
  • Create your own cartoons.
  • View an introductory video.

For more information about the Charles M. Schulz Museum click on this link.

Charles M. Schulz Museum

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The Amgen Tour of California

Santa Rosa has hosted The Amgen Tour of California on numerous occasions attracting large crowds to experience either the start, finish, or both events. The Amgen Tour of California, known as America's Greatest Race, has become the most prestigious cycling road race in the United States and is ranking highlty with the world's best races too. Rain or shine, when the Tour of California comes through Santa Rosa, thousands of locals will line the streets to catch a glimspe of the world class cyclists representing the major teams from around the world.

Agmen Tour of California

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Downtown Wednesday Night Market

During the summer months, a few blocks of Fourth Street and side streets are closed off to traffic so vendors, artists, and the general public can enjoy a warm evening out with great food, drink, entertainment, and shopping. There is a farmers market with farm fresh produce. There are numerous vendors tempting you with sweets of all varieties. Food stalls are located throughout providing you with choices from barbequed turkey legs to pizza. The Wednesday Night Market is a fun experience for the whole family!

Downtown Wednesday Night Market

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Santa Rosa Poll

What appeals most to you about Santa Rosa, California?

See results

Santa Rosa, California

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