Santa Rosa great place to live?

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by jschonert, Mar 22, 2012.

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  1. jschonert

    jschonert Aspirant (202) Apr 4, 2011 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Yes, yes, Russian River is in Santa Rosa. There is that one big big point.

    My wife and I (both late 20s in age) are thinking of doing something crazy and moving to Cali for a year or two just to try something different before heading back and having kids in the Midwest. I loved wine country and central California when Ive been there the place few years. We're looking for towns to live in and saw Santa Rosa on the map. We want a larger town/smaller city with alot of character and things to do with our time off. Is Santa Rosa the right type of town for that? Or is it just a town that has a really cool brewpub and thats it?

    Any thoughts from people present or past living in Santa Rosa love/hate/indifferent? Any other better choices in the region?

    Thanks in advance. Sorry if this is completely out of nowhere of a topic on a beer forum. Just seems from meeting more and more BAers that we like alot of the same things..


  2. Rzzzzz

    Rzzzzz Devotee (424) Nov 10, 2007 California

    I'm not an expert on the area but I must say I like your strategy of consulting beer drinkers before making a major life decision.
  3. jschonert

    jschonert Aspirant (202) Apr 4, 2011 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Yeah, sort of an odd question to throw out to complete strangers. We're just tossing the idea out there right now.
  4. IceAce

    IceAce Champion (859) Jan 8, 2004 California

    How do you (and the wife) feel about granola, hippies and free love?
  5. tyrsis

    tyrsis Disciple (321) Mar 13, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Well I'm biased, but SD is really nice. It's like LA, but without all the traffic, smog, and the Lakers. Plus I'd think that the number of quality breweries within a 30 minute drive of SD beats the bay area.
    Weezerfenix likes this.
  6. jschonert

    jschonert Aspirant (202) Apr 4, 2011 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Its kind of similar over here where Im at temporarily in WV, though with toothless hippies and free love = incest.
  7. stupac2

    stupac2 Zealot (518) Feb 22, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I'd rather live further south. My girlfriend is in San Rafael right now, and I think that's as far north as I'd want to go. Santa Rosa leaves you pretty far away from SF and Oakland. Closer to RR and wine country, but farther away from good bars (and museums, restaurants, theaters, concert venues, etc). There's also pretty much no public transit to speak of in the north bay, which is a bummer.

    On the plus side, it's cheaper up there (I believe).

    Anyway, if I were you I'd definitely visit before deciding, at least. And spend a while thinking about what you want from an area. If I were doing a "let's do something crazy!" move, I'd probably want to be in/near a city.
  8. mjl21

    mjl21 Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2008 California

    If you are interested in Sonoma County check out Petaluma. If you want to live closer to SF check out San Rafael or Mill Valley, both in Marin County.
  9. bkrueger

    bkrueger Initiate (179) Sep 27, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    I love Sonoma County. I would never live in Santa Rosa or recommend it to anyone though when there are much better places to live close by. I have neighbors with horses, goats, and old barns which I'd take any day over city sounds and apartments and the such. Granted, if you put me back in north Berkeley I'll take the city sounds as long as I don't live next to a middle school.

    Santa Rosa does have a couple great things (SRJC and Russian River Brewery) and it has all of the things that a city of 100,000+ will have in terms of shopping and supplies. Not much is going on it Santa Rosa to write home about though when you compare it to the great food and nightlife that is further south in the bay area (SF, Oakland, Berkeley) and even in other parts of Sonoma County. There are definitely a few cool things going on in Santa Rosa though, but it just depends what you are into. An example would be that there are no british pubs in Sebastopol playing Champions League matches next week, but a quick drive into Santa Rosa, problem solved, and I'm drinking something great from Moonlight Brewery while watching Barca.

    I would recommend living in the country somewhere west of Hwy 101 and ideally west of Hwy 116 from around south Sebastopol up to Healdsburg. This will put you in the heart of Russian River Valley/Sonoma Coast and many of the great vineyards and wineries that we have in California. In this area there are a plethora of really cool tiny funky towns like Occidental, Freestone, Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, etc. It's a very different relaxed environment out in the country than it is when you're in a place like Santa Rosa but each person has their own idea of what works best for them.

    If you have any more questions about the area shoot me a message. I live around 15 or so minutes from downtown Santa Rosa and make the trip over there a few times every week for wine and viticulture classes and drinking sours at the brewery.

  10. impending

    impending Meyvn (1,076) Mar 12, 2010 California

    Hi jschonert,

    with all due respect to Santa Rosa

    when you write your wife and you

    "are thinking of doing something crazy"

    moving to Santa Rosa doesn't qualify

    if you want to live adventurously live in the City, I promise you it won't be Morgantown (not that I'd know)

    I enjoyed a decade in SF before moving a little bit north to raise those kids of whom you wrote

    it was a fantastic decade
    VABA likes this.
  11. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2008 California

    I lived in Santa Rosa for a little over a year. It's not a great place to live. More crime than you would think for a city of that size, terrible traffic, limited job opportunities. You'll be way happier in Sebastopol, which is where Toronado would be located were there any justice. That said, having Russian River as my local bar almost made up for the things about Santa Rosa that drove me crazy.
  12. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Initiate (55) Apr 16, 2005 California

    Santa Rosa always seemed to be why the phrase "Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" was invented.
  13. teamizm

    teamizm Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2005 California

    Mill Valley - assuming you make well over 6 figures. Marin County is great, it's just ridiculously expensive. Sonoma County is much more affordable, especially cities like Novato or Petaluma. But as others have said, it is far SF/Oakland and no public transit at all. I've also read about one too many violent crimes in Santa Rosa.
  14. bradybeer

    bradybeer Crusader (767) Aug 9, 2005 California

    Moved to Santa Cruz from Michigan 7 years ago-yeah, not Santa Rosa-but be aware of sticker shock in the Peoples Republic of California-everything is more expensive here. So the question you want to ask yourself is this-do you want to pay say $400-500, 000 for a two bedroom house (may be low too) or live somewhere else that is much more afordable. yeah the weather is great but man do you pay for it. Buyer beware.
  15. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Aspirant (245) Aug 19, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    santa cruz is awesome, but expensive. you may as well just go live in sf!

    san diego is a pretty great city to live in. seems like the amount of good breweries is a plus for you, but there are areas in san diego county that are not congested downtown. hell, you could go live in alpine and get the town aspect but you are only 40 mins away from all the city stuff. or you could find a house in south park (where i live) and i think you would be extremely happy!
  16. jamex

    jamex Aspirant (244) Feb 13, 2010 California

    I'd say rent a condo in Pacific Beach, San Diego. We get so much Russian River down here it's crazy. I just had a Sanctification yesterday. Elder is always on tap.

    San Diego has mountains, desert, snow, and of course the beach all within 30 minutes.

    But prices here are absurd (rent, groceries, gas, insurance, etc.)
  17. jschonert

    jschonert Aspirant (202) Apr 4, 2011 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for all the advice, guys. Again, sorry for the random question. We'll definitely be visiting beforehand, but just wanted to get some thoughts from locals.
  18. EBbrewpunx

    EBbrewpunx Initiate (0) May 11, 2006 California

    going to throw out a curve ball. alameda. you want small town midwest but not really...well, alameda then. its the des moines of the east bay. its iowa with palm trees. you are close enough to, well, everything, while being able to live on an island where the natives are ready at a moments notice to raise the drawbridge and deny the hordes from oakland from invading. personally the town makes me itch, but....
  19. jtmartino

    jtmartino Initiate (0) Dec 11, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    SF is 150-175% the price of Santa Cruz. Not even close to the same price! SF is now the most expensive city in the USA (for rent) :slight_frown:

    For example, my 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo in the city was $4500/month. The same in Santa Cruz would be in the $2300-2500 range, similar to San Diego prices.

    San Diego is awesome, and probably the best city in California. And it's actually still under-the-radar...a lot of people think SD is like the rest of SoCal. I'm fine with that, as long as they don't move there :slight_smile:.
  20. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Hell no to PB unless you like young 20 somethings, constant noise, police helicopters, drunks, vandalism's a college party area. Moved there at 24 and moved out at 27 because I'd had enough. There are much better places in SD to live.
    jtmartino likes this.
  21. EBbrewpunx

    EBbrewpunx Initiate (0) May 11, 2006 California

    well the OP did say they were in their 20's... :slight_smile:
  22. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Late 20's. There are some parts of PB that are ok, but jesus, I hate going there. There are more interesting places to live.
  23. Rinkor16

    Rinkor16 Aspirant (227) Dec 12, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I've lived in Santa Rosa for 21+ years now and I love it. If you can afford a house in Fountaingrove, there are some gorgeous views up there. The Coffee Park area is pretty nice too. That's actually where I live.

    Petaluma, Sebastopol and Windsor are all reasonable options too.
  24. jamex

    jamex Aspirant (244) Feb 13, 2010 California

    Sorry, skimmed past the age thing. Yes, PB is for early twenties.
  25. daysinthewake

    daysinthewake Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2010 California

    I grew up in SR. Move to Bend.
    bradybeer and jtmartino like this.
  26. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    agreed. unfortunately, san diego is full, so i'd recommend santa rosa instead.
    jtmartino likes this.
  27. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    I've lived here my entire life, and while I love it here, can't say there is anything that is keeping me here (besides RR of course). That said, I'm 45 from San Francisco, 30 minutes from the coast, 10 minutes from wineries and have beautiful Annadale State Park to hike through (until they close it that is). There's tons of good pubs and restaurants and the weather is nice. I will say that housing here can be ridiculously expensive, but it's getting better.

    As someone above said, move to some place like SF if you want to do something crazy. And I'd have to disagree with the statement that there is more crime here than you'd expect. It's a pretty safe place.

    But please leave before you have kids! Our education system is absolute shit and the funding keeps getting cut. My daughter is coming up on the school years, and I've seriously been thinking of moving so she can get a better education.

    Hope this helps!
  28. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    I lived in Cotati and Petaluma for just over 8 years. My folks still live in Sonoma County. Being there is great but things to remember. Santa Rosa is about 50 miles North of San Francisco. Trying to go South on a workday can involve a 2 hour plus commute. Yes, it's quaint but SR has a fair amount of crime, drugs and weirdness...just like most of CA. Healdsburg and Sebastopol are both nice and are quickly becoming very expensive to live in. Marin County to the South is a mix of extremely expsenive housing(Sausalito, Tiburon, Mill Valium, Corte Madera) and low income housing(San Rafael's Canal and Marin City(gunshots every night type of place).

    Whoever said Granola, and hippies pretty much got it right. There is diversity, quality of life is good by by and large it comes at a price.... Spend a year and figure out if it suits your needs. The better part of Sonoma Countys residents do not partake in Russian River or Lagunitas.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you'd on be 20 or so miles from the Pacific Ocean with great places like Bodgea Bay there to go and see. That's what I miss the most. The drive out is very scenic.
  29. bradybeer

    bradybeer Crusader (767) Aug 9, 2005 California

    No crap=-was in Bend in August andmanwas it great-pretty sure I can't handle snow anymore though.
  30. Giovacchini

    Giovacchini Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2011 California

    Move to Sonoma!
  31. jmadrigal2

    jmadrigal2 Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Chico is the place to be
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