Santa Rosa Travel Guide

Browse 12 travel reviews, 5 travel blogs and 296 travel photos from real travelers to Santa Rosa.

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Santa Rosa Overview

Santa Rosa is the county seat for Sonoma County and located approximately 60 miles north of San Francisco. It has been touted as the city where "everything comes together". There is wine and farm country, rivers, lakes, the ocean, and redwood forests.

The downtown region has unique shopping and dining, making this a popular destination. Santa Rosa is also home to the Charles Schultz museum, which is a must see!

The April 18, 1906, San Francisco Earthquake essentially destroyed the entire downtown, but the city's population did not greatly suffer. However, after that period the population growth of Santa Rosa, as with most of the area, was very slow. Although most of Santa Rosa's commercial buildings were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, almost all of its numerous houses survived and most have survived to this day. As a result, Santa Rosa has a number of old neighborhoods in and around downtown, several historically designated. These contain numerous old homes, including many Victorians. Most of these are on quiet, often tree-lined streets.

Santa Rosa has been a popular film location. Famed director Alfred Hitchcock filmed his thriller Shadow of a Doubt in Santa Rosa in 1943; the film gives glimpses of Santa Rosa in the 1940s. Many of the downtown buildings seen in the film no longer exist due to major reconstruction following the strong earthquakes in October 1969. However, some, like the rough-stone Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot and the prominent Empire Building (built in 1910 with a gold-topped clock tower), still survive. A scene at the bank was filmed at the corner of Fourth Street and Mendocino Avenue (at present day Old Courthouse square); sharp-eyed viewers can also identify the "KRESS" building on Fourth Street. However, the courthouse and bank are now gone. The Coen brothers' 2001 film The Man Who Wasn't There is set in Santa Rosa circa 1949.

Apart from the well known wine region, hiking trails and parks provide opportunities for spotting wildlife, only 10 minutes from town! And the new Joe Rodota trail provides a walking and biking trail, connecting downtown Santa Rosa to the neighboring town of Sebastopol.

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