Santa Rosa Travel Guide

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Located 55 miles north of San Francisco, the city of Santa Rosa is the center of California’s famous wine country and offers fun family attractions, world-class spas, challenging golf courses, delicious wines, spectacular natural beauty, and a close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. This charming city’s downtown area is chock full of unique shops and restaurants serving food made with the freshest local ingredients and you’ll find plenty to do whether you’re visiting for a weekend of shopping, a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation.

Originally home to the Pomo, Miwok and Wappo Indian tribes, the city of Santa Rosa was established by the Spanish in the early 1800s as the Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa. Father Juan Amorosa, who followed the Spanish custom of naming waterways after saints, called the main stream in the area Santa Rosa, after Santa Rosa de Lima. Once the name had been given to the stream, it spread out to encompass the entire surrounding area and lasts as the city’s name to this day. During California’s gold rush, many prospectors who came for the state’s riches chose instead to settle in the area and work the land as farmers. In 1870, the railroad came to town, increasing the population of this sleepy agricultural town to more than quadruple its original size.

Home to famed horticulturist, Luther Burbank, this lovingly preserved home and garden in Santa Rosa is where Burbank lived and conducted experiments and observations in plant breeding for more than 50 years. The one-acre park offers free self-guided tours of Burbank’s home, gardens, greenhouse, and grave daily from 8am-dusk. Drop-in guided tours are available Tues-Sun 10-3:30pm for a small charge.

Santa Rosa’s Charles M. Schulz Museum highlights the art of the famous and well-loved cartoonist through a variety of art exhibits, murals, personal artifacts, and a Snoopy-themed labyrinth. Open Mon-Fri (except Tues in winter) 11am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. admission ranges from $5-$8.

Railroad Square became the commercial center of Santa Rosa in the 1870s and continues to function as a popular shopping district and tourist attraction today. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the fully restored Santa Rosa Depot is now home to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society and Rail Room Gallery which offers special railroad and historical exhibits, including a miniature Northwestern Pacific train.

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