Santa Rosa is the northwestern entry point for California’s famous wine country. It’s home to lush vineyards, shopping, nightclubs and theaters. Main Street is an eclectic mix of restaurants, businesses and boutiques. The city is known as California’s cornucopia for its Mediterranean climate, rich vegetation and variety of wildlife.
Santa Rosa’s History
The sunny city has a rich history that goes back to the days when it was home to Pomo tribes that called themselves Bitakomtara. They were strong and proud, keeping the area just for themselves and barring others from entry without permission. When the Europeans arrived, smallpox swept through the tribe, killing almost everyone.
Settlers from Spain built adobe houses and raised livestock. Santa Rosa stayed a small agricultural community until 1850 when Wells Fargo established a post and general store. Then it grew steadily, and eventually California became a state.
Alfred Hitchcock filmed the thriller, Shadow of a Doubt in Santa Rosa’s downtown in 1943, but many of the buildings in the movie were destroyed by the earthquakes of 1969. Recently, the Tubbs Fire destroyed homes and historic buildings, burning nearly all of Coffey Park on one October dawn.
Things to Do
Santa Rosa has plenty of opportunities for both visitors and residents. Within the city, the Charles M. Schultz museum honors the creator of the Peanuts comics with comic strips and a sculpture. The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is open to the public, so visitors can see the Santa Rosa native’s horticultural introductions. The Sonoma County Museum showcases local artwork, unique jewelry and other objects native to the area.
The Redwood Empire Ice Arena is known as Snoopy’s Ice rink. Go during public hours or rent private time to practice your figure skating. The Safari West Wildlife Preserve gives more than 1,000 animals a home. When the Tubbs Fire threatened the preserve, safari owner Peter Lang fought back flames for ten straight hours with only his garden hoses.
The Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra has been performing for more than 85 years, but now they do it at the new Green Music Center. The North Bay Theater Group combines 40 theater companies and also performs in Santa Rosa.
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