SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA
Lodging in Santa Rosa
» Your stay at one of our Wine Country Inns includes a Free Wine Tasting Passport for Two - click for details.
The Gables Inn
Melitta Station Inn
The first known permanent European settlement of Santa Rosa was the homestead of the Carrillo family, in-laws to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who settled the Sonoma pueblo and Petaluma area. In the 1830s, during the Mexican period, the family of María López de Carrillo built an adobe house on their Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa land grant, just east of what later became downtown Santa Rosa. Allegedly, however, by the 1820s, before the Carrillos built their adobe in the 1830s, Spanish/Mexican settlers from nearby Sonoma and other settlements to the south raised livestock in the area and slaughtered animals at the fork of the Santa Rosa Creek and Matanzas Creek, near the intersection of modern-day Santa Rosa Ave. and Sonoma Ave. This is supposedly the origin of the name of Matanzas Creek as, because of its use as a slaughtering place, the confluence came to be called La Matanza.
By the 1850s, a Wells Fargo post and general store were established in what is now downtown Santa Rosa. In the mid-1850s, several prominent locals, including Julio Carrillo, son of Maria Carrillo, laid out the grid street pattern for Santa Rosa with a public square in the center, a pattern which largely remains as the street pattern for downtown Santa Rosa to this day despite changes to the central square, now called Old Courthouse Square.
In 1867, the county recognized Santa Rosa as an incorporated city and in 1868 the state officially confirmed the incorporation, making it officially the third incorporated city in Sonoma County, after Petaluma, incorporated in 1858, and Healdsburg, incorporated in 1867.
Four outstanding features of our town
Arts & Culture - Arts and Culture programming for the City of Santa Rosa includes many exciting possibilities for artists and community members alike. Artists are encouraged to apply for numerous exhibition opportunites through the Art Exhibition Program, the National Arts Program, Art in Public Places Projects, and the Arts District...Downtown Santa Rosa. The community is invited to participate in art receptions, musical and theatrical performances, festivals and other events. The creation and appreciation of many art forms, as well as the participation in creative events is what we promote.
Center of the Sonoma County Wine Country - There are over 200 wineries with tasting rooms in Sonoma County and Santa Rosa is home to 7 of these wineries and within 30 minutes of them all.
Cuisine - World famous chefs flock here – not only for the vineyards, but for all the abundant local produce, dairy, meat, and seafood. Santa Rosa wrote the book on farm-to-table dining. Where else can you find year-round farmers markets twice a week? And restaurant business is booming.
Parks, Trails & Green spaces - The Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department operates and maintains 57 parks totaling over 514 Acres, and we're growing all the time! We have a train and carousel, skate park, boating and sailing, sports fields, playgrounds, and more!
What distinguishes our town from other towns in the California Wine Country
Large town with large town shopping, restaurants, etc. but with a small town feel.
Our town’s best kept secret
Santa Rosa is a leader in going green with one of the largest city fleets in the state using clean-burning alternative fuels. Currently there are more than 50 pieces of equipment using electricity, compressed natural gas, or propane.
Our recommendation for the best way to spend a day in Santa Rosa
After a delicious breakfast at one of our bed & breakfasts, head downtown to take a walking tour of the Luther Burbank Gardens and then head out to the Charles Schultz Museum for an hour or so of Snoopy worship. Then pick up some picnic supplies and head to one of our local wineries for tour, tasting and lunch! After a short nap back at your bed & breakfast, have dinner at one of our award-winning restaurants followed by a presentation at the Wells Fargo Center for the Performing Arts!
Famed director Alfred Hitchcock filmed his thriller Shadow of a Doubt in Santa Rosa in 1943; the film, which has been released on VHS and DVD, 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 September 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.
Santa Rosa is the home of:
Luther Burbank, horticulturalist
Guy Fieri, Celebrity Chef
Levi Leipheimer, cyclist and three-time winner of the Tour of California
On a final note
Santa Rosa offers a cornucopia of activities, epicurean delights and scenic vistas. It is the largest city in Sonoma County and occupies the very heart of the world-famous Sonoma Wine Country. This warm and friendly city, an urban blend of art and culture, food, wine and recreation, is the perfect location for families and all travelers to stay for a relaxing and adventurous vacation.
Just 55 miles north of San Francisco, a vibrant city overflows with all you love about California.