Santa Rosa is the hub of Northern California’s wine country. Napa Valley attracts many visitors from around the world, eager to taste the good stuff for themselves, and most of them pass through here at some point.
Well placed for exploring what the wine country has to offer, there are many things to do in Santa Rosa. Many of these are aimed squarely at mainstream tourists who enjoy being toured around and shown the apparent “best bits” of a place. However, if you’re looking to see the more relaxed and hidden side of this city (which this place does have), you may need a little help.
And that’s where we come in! We’ve curated a list of the best off-the-beaten-track things to do in Santa Rosa so that you can plan your trip to wine country and ensure you’re only sometimes hot on the heels of every tourist group in town. We’ve got you covered for the offbeat, lesser-visited destinations of Santa Rosa. So let’s look and see what awaits the curious traveler here, then…
Things To Do In Santa Rosa At Night
Santa Rosa, California, offered a variety of activities for residents and visitors to enjoy at night. Keep in mind that the availability of activities may change, and it’s always a good idea to check for the latest information. Here are some suggestions for things to do in Santa Rosa at night:
- This non-profit institute is a 10-minute drive north of downtown Santa Rosa and offers a unique opportunity to go on an African safari. Safari West encompasses approximately 400 acres and features many animals to encounter, including giraffes, antelopes, and a rhinoceros.
- Alongside daily safari tours to inspire wildlife advocacy, Safari West offers luxurious tent cabins with private bathrooms and hardwood floors to spend the night. Many of these accommodations have a view of the resident wildlife.
- Private adventures and unique animal encounters can be arranged before visiting Safari West, including a meet-and-greet with a cheetah or rhinoceros.
- Other programs and events occur at Safari West, including photography workshops, children’s discovery camps, and a Conservation Dinner Series. Other on-site dining opportunities include the Savannah Café, featuring aromatic entrées cooked over a wood-fired grill.
Old Courthouse Square & Downtown Santa Rosa
- Old Courthouse Square is the central plaza in downtown Santa Rosa and is a recently renovated gathering space home to a wide range of events.
- A Wednesday Night Market at Old Courthouse Square features live music and a variety of vendors selling produce and homemade goods. Family Movie Nights also occur at the square, as well as community yoga, music festivals, and numerous cultural celebrations.
- The rest of downtown stems from Old Courthouse Square, including the adjacent Fourth Street, lined with local restaurants and shops.
- This area of town is famous for perusing Sonoma County fashion styles and unique locally made housewares, and bibliophiles on Fourth Street will find particular interest in the family-owned Treehorn Books.
- Just south of Old Courthouse Square, the sprawling estate and gardens of world-renowned horticulturist Luther Burbank are now National Historic Landmarks for the public to enjoy. Other downtown attractions include the Museum of Sonoma County and a large multiplex movie theater.
Charles M. Schulz Museum
- Dedicated to the life and artwork of Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz, this non-profit museum and research center is centered around the 50-year legacy of the Peanuts comic strip.
- Thousands of artifacts, including photographs, letters, and tribute art, comprise the museum’s collection and a vast number of comics and memorabilia. Countless comic strips at the museum make visitors laugh out loud as they peruse the halls.
- Charles M. Schulz created the Peanuts comic strip for over 40 years in Santa Rosa, an act proudly celebrated at the museum and throughout the city. Permanent exhibits at the museum include a recreated Schulz Studio, an outdoor Snoopy Labyrinth, and numerous sculptures throughout the grounds.
- Other Peanuts sculptures and cultural nods are found throughout Santa Rosa, most notably at Depot Park within Historic Railroad Square.
- The Schulz Campus encompasses other facilities, including a Museum Theater, the Warm Puppy Café, and a Research Center to study the life of the famous cartoonist.
- Snoopy’s Home Ice offers public skating and recreational hockey across the street from the museum, providing a refreshing thing to do in the heat of summer. For more family entertainment, the Sonoma County Children’s Museum is next to the Charles M. Schulz Museum.
Spring Lake Regional Park
- This regional park is next to Trione-Annadel State Park, east of downtown. It’s centered around a 72-acre reservoir and offers many warm-weather things to do.
- Boating and swimming are popular at Spring Lake, and this seasonal swimming lagoon features an inflatable obstacle course and lifeguards on duty. A year-round boat ramp allows motor and paddle boats to access the water, and a concessionaire at the park features boat rentals by the hour.
- Spring Lake Regional Park is also famous for land-based activities, with ten miles of trails on all sides of the water. For fun overnight experiences, a 31-site campground at Spring Lake accommodates tents and RVs.
- Camping cabins are also available to rent. Connected by trail to Spring Lake Regional Park, the neighboring Howarth City Park is known as the “jewel” of Santa Rosa and features tennis courts, picnic tables, and a miniature train ride.
Luther Burbank Home And Gardens
- A few blocks south of Old Courthouse Square, this urban garden and once-home of pioneering horticulturist Luther Burbank is now a national historic landmark open to the public.
- The intricate gardens of the home offer a free, fun thing to do seven days a week, including a unique cactus garden and Burbank’s historic greenhouse.
- Guided tours of the Luther Burbank home take place Tuesday through Saturday, with more information and relics on display at the on-site Carriage House Museum.
Railroad Square Historic District
- This “Old Town” district is on the west side of downtown Santa Rosa and features shopping, dining, and downtown hotels with historic appeal.
- Centered around the 1904 Depot and Depot Park, numerous boutique shops and local restaurants are found within the turn-of-the-century stone buildings of the neighborhood.
- An iconic Peanuts statue celebrating the work of Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz now stands outside the Depot, commemorating the four decades the famous cartoonist lived in Santa Rosa.
- Nearby, a passenger line departing from Railroad Square takes tourists to the neighboring city of San Rafael for a fun afternoon or overnight getaway (or vice versa).
- The Santa Rosa Creek Trail runs adjacent to the historic district, and for some nightlife, the 6th Street Playhouse features regional productions and evening shows on two different stages. And for landmark accommodations next to the Depot, Hotel La Rose provides a luxurious overnight experience in a century-old building.
Remember to check with local sources or online platforms for the most up-to-date information on events and activities in Santa Rosa.
Thanks for reading.