Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Santa Rosa, California
Nestled Amid Vineyards and Farmland Outside of San Francisco, Beautiful Santa Rosa Boasts a Symphony, a Theater Collective, a Lovely Downtown and More
Overview: In rolling Sonoma County, only 55 miles north of San Francisco and about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean, beautiful Santa Rosa has been named as one of the happiest places in the United States. It sits amid vineyards, wineries and farmland and started with a simple adobe house in the 1830s.
The lovely downtown has a mix of upscale restaurants, retailers, banks, bookstores, wine tasting rooms and the like. Historic districts in the city center include Old Courthouse Square and Railroad Square, which has a high concentration of eateries and antique shops. The Charles M. Schulz Museum and the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens are among the city's most popular venues. The 6th Street Playhouse has two performance spaces and produces about eight shows per year. The city is also known for its symphony, theater collective, and summer repertory theater. Markets include Whole Foods, the Sonoma Market and two farmers' markets.
Hood Mountain is on Santa Rosa's southeastern edge and offers opportunities for birding, biking, and horseback riding. Annadel State Park, on the city's northeastern border, has miles of trails and acres of wildflowers. The Santa Rosa Creek runs through downtown, and its greenway is a stopping place for snowy egrets.
The city has at least 30 different named neighborhoods, including several historic ones. Housing stock is eclectic, ranging from modest manufactured homes and contemporaries with clean lines to adorable bungalows and stylish Mediterraneans. Oakmont Village is a lovely 55+ single home community with mountain and vineyard views.
Population: 177,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 40%
Cost of Living: 55% above the national average
Median Home Price: $655,000
Climate: This area has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool, wet winters. Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 30 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very liberal
College Educated: 33%
Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: This is wildfire country, and in 2017 the Tubbs Fire burned 2,834 Santa Rosa homes, nearly wiping out entire neighborhoods. The Shady and Glass fires burned more homes in 2020. The earthquake risk is 715% higher than the national average.
Notes: Santa Rosa has grown by 7% during the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, someone discovered gold at Sutter's Mill. Fortune seekers quickly flooded the area, and shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state.
California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, from deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.
Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy is still the nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.
Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!
Population - 39,512,500
Persons 65 years old and over - 15%
High school graduates, age 25+ - 83.0%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 34%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 39%
White persons, not Hispanic - 36%
Median household income - $75,200
Median home value - $505,778
Social Security Taxed - No
Source: U.S. Census
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