Surrounded by lush vineyards, redwood and oak-covered hills, and known for its fine wines, breweries, and locally sourced organic foods, Santa Rosa evokes what everyone thinks of when musing about the classic northern California city. Situated about 55 miles north of San Francisco in central Sonoma County, bustling Santa Rosa grew up as the commercial center for the groves, farms, ranches, and small rural towns that encircle the city. Santa Rosa has evolved into a sophisticated but unpretentious city with a diverse and strong economy. As a relatively affordable choice over San Francisco’s ultra-high cost of living, many Bay Area residents have transplanted to Santa Rosa. San Francisco still maintains the highest rate of same-sex marriages in the US, but Santa Rosa comes in second.
Many residents prefer Santa Rosa’s genuine, down-to-earth vibe over the Napa Valley lifestyle. Santa Rosa doesn’t get the intense tourism of the Napa Valley, but it still has all the natural beauty, similar amenities, and retains its charming historical character. Restaurants, cafes, hip coffee shops, bistros, wine bars, and breweries serve up creatively prepared locally sourced ingredients. And speaking of local, many locally owned businesses, from saddle shops to high-end car dealerships, plus three large malls, provide for every shopping need.