Santa Rosa in California is close to San Francisco which means that it is easy to visit if you want to get out of town and explore somewhere a little different.
Many people won’t know that Santa Rosa is actually the home of the Peanuts cartoon as this was the hometown of Charles M. Schulz, so with that in mind don’t miss the chance to visit the local museum here and see some amazing historical memorabilia featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
In addition to this famous cartoon, Santa Rosa has a whole range of other exciting things going on, and if you love the great outdoors then there is so much to explore here that will let you enjoy some of the gorgeous California scenery without the crowds.
If you prefer to stay indoors, then you will find museums and art galleries galore in this city, and as well as the Charles M. Schulz Museum you will also be able to enjoy gems such as the Sonoma Children’s Museum which is perfect if you are traveling with a family.
Lets explore the best things to do in Santa Rosa:
1. Charles M. Schulz Museum
The Charles M. Schulz Museum is pretty self explanatory, and was set up to showcase the work of this amazing cartoonist who was the brains behind Snoopy and Charlie Brown.
At the museum you will get to learn all about his life as well as see a huge showcase of work by the artist which includes lots of hand drawn pieces and other period memorabilia.
There are also wider galleries that will take you through the history of cartooning as a genre and this is a fascinating place to visit in the city, even if you are not a huge fan of Peanuts.
2. Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market
The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market was founded over 20 years ago and is known as a place where local ranchers and growers come together to showcase the best of the local produce from sunny California.
If you love food and enjoy sampling local delicacies then this is definitely not to be missed and you can pick up items like fruits and vegetables as well as cheeses, homemade goods, and even arts and crafts items like candles.
3. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens belonged to Luther Burbank who lived here for more than 50 years.
Burbank was born in 1849 and known for being a pioneering horticulturalist who loved to experiment with the breeding of plants to create different species.
As a result, Burbank is known to have created over 800 new types of plants including fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables and his home and particularly his gardens are now a City Historic Landmark in Santa Rosa.
You can either wander around the gardens and home, which is now a museum, at your leisure, or you can also take an informative guided tour with a docent.
4. Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
For the ultimate pampering session you really need to head to the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary where you will find Japanese style treatments and decor that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
The spa is known for its idyllic bonsai and bamboo gardens and there is a dedicated Osmosis Meditation Garden that you can enjoy with an organic lunch as part of your spa experience.
5. California Cheese Trail
The California Cheese Trail is much like a traditional wine trail and consists of a tour through this part of California, tasting cheeses as you go.
Along the trail, which runs by Santa Rosa, you will get the chance to meet with local cheese makers and learn about how the cheeses are made as well as the history of cheese making itself.
You can see the dairy products used to make the cheese in their purest states on the farms in the area, and then learn how these are made into the delicious final products.
6. Museums of Sonoma County
The Museums of Sonoma County consist of the Art Museum of Sonoma County as well as the History Museum of Sonoma County, and you need to come here if you want to know more about the cultural and historical significance of this part of the United States.
The Museums of Sonoma County are located inside a Post Office building that dates from the 1900s and is built in the Renaissance Revival style and there are over 25,000 items in the collections here such as paintings, drawings, ceramics, textiles, and photographs that tell the story of how Sonoma County grew from the 19th century until the present.
7. The Redwood Empire Ice Arena
The Redwood Empire Ice Arena is an ice skating rink in Santa Rosa that opened in 1969 and was the brainchild of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.
At the rink you can go ice skating or there are ice hockey games that you can watch if you happen to be in town at the right time.
These include Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament which takes place annually and sees teams compete from all over the world.
8. Railroad Square Historic District
The Railroad Square Historic District is located in what would have been the original center of Santa Rosa in days gone by.
This center has now been reserved so that it can be used as a heritage site and to that end you will find vintage memorabilia here as well as period buildings like antique stores as well as eateries and cafes.
9. The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County
If you are travelling with younger guests then make sure that you don’t miss the Children’ Museum of Sonoma Country which is dedicated to teaching young ones all about art, science, and the natural world.
The idea of many of the exhibits is to be interactive in order to be engaging and stimulating for young minds, and there are different zones dedicated to different subjects.
Just some of these include a replica of a Farmers Market as well as a Wild Zone, and a Russian River where you can try to catch your own salmon.
10. Wednesday Night Market
The Wednesday Night Market in Santa Rosa has been in operation for over 20 years and is a mixture of a traditional farmers market and a street style fair.
The night market runs during the summer months in Santa Rosa so make sure that you don’t miss it if you are in town, and you can expect to find lots of delicious food here as well as live music, dancing, and some delicious drinks.
11. Annadel State Park
If you want to get outdoors in Santa Rosa then head out to Annadel State Park where you will find a huge range of activities on offer that will let you make the most of the gorgeous natural scenery of this part of California.
At the Annadel State Park you will find hiking and biking trails galore which are great if you want some light exercise, or you can even go horseback riding here if the mood takes you.
One of the claims to fame of the park is the presence of Lake Ilsanjo where anglers can go fishing for local species like bluegill and bass.
12. Pacific Coast Air Museum
The Pacific Coast Air Museum dates back to 1989 and is famous for its collection of historical planes that will take you on a tour of American aviation history.
The museum has a range of exhibits and galleries to fill you in on all the history of the United States Air Force and there are memorials to veterans who served in the Armed Forces.
Not only will you find vintage aircraft here but there are also collections of other period memorabilia such as engines, photographs, and historical documents.
13. St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
The St. Francis Winery is owned by a family who have been in the grape growing and wine producing business for over 40 years, so they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to making delicious local wines.
The vineyards span 400 acres and you can visit the Visitor’s Center where you will learn how the wines are made as well as sampling some of the blends yourself.
Also worth looking out for if you come here is the bell tower that sits in the vineyards and is fitted with a bronze bell that weighs in at 1,000 pounds.
14. Spring Lake Regional Park
Stretching across an amazing 320 acres of land is the Spring Lake Regional Park which is known as the jewel in the crown of the Santa Rosa area and is definitely not to be missed on a trip here.
The Spring Lake Regional Park has hiking and biking trails all over it, and one of the best treks takes you out to a limpid lagoon that stretches for 3 acres.
As well as the lagoon there is also a large lake that is perfect for fishing and boating, or you can enjoy water sports like kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
15. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is a great place to come if you want to know more about the arts in the Santa Rosa area and you will find a range of galleries and exhibitions here to suit all tastes.
As well as actual arts showcases here in the form of rotating and static exhibitions, you will also find shows such as dance recitals and musical concerts, so make sure to check local listings to see what’s on when you are in town.