Santa Rosa is a beautiful city in northern California that offers several fun activities for visitors. Traveling to Santa Rosa, California is an adventure in itself. With its laid-back attitude and gorgeous surroundings, you’ll be sure to have a great time.
The Santa Rosa area offers plenty to see and do for visitors, from local wineries and restaurants to museums and historic landmarks. For the outdoor enthusiasts, there are also adventures like hiking and seeing exotic animals.
Here are 17 fun things to do in Santa Rosa!
17 Fun Things to do in Santa Rosa
1. Safari West in Serengeti
You can enjoy a safari right here in California, without having to take a trip to Africa! Safari West is located 30 minutes north of downtown Santa Rosa and has about 1,000 exotic animals on its property.
Safari West is not only great for kids, but also for adults who love animals because they will love seeing giraffes, antelopes, and other animals up close.
At Safari West you will ride in the Jeep with a dedicated driver, and take a tour around its 400 acres of land and forest. You will also be able to take a 45-minute walk around one of the areas to see the birds, monkeys, and cheetahs.
After your tour, you can enjoy a luncheon in the restaurant. The menu changes daily but generally, you will have grilled meat, a salad, fruit, and a delicious cookie.
You can even spend the night in nature at Safari West. There is a luxury package where you book a tent with a private viewing deck of the animals right outside.
When booking your ticket, you can add on the luncheon and night’s stay if desired.
- Safari West in Serengeti | Address: 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
2. Charles M. Schulz Museum
For fans of Peanuts, The Charles M. Schulz Museum is a must-visit. This museum has a lot of things from the cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, his studio, and things from his life, including things from his childhood.
There are a few permanent exhibits such as Snoopy’s wrapped house, his labyrinth outside, a re-creation of Schulz’s original studio, and so much more!
The museum is open every day except Tuesdays. Check out the website to book your tickets!
- Charles M. Schulz Museum | Address: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
3. Museum of Sonoma County
The Museum of Sonoma County is made up of the 1910 Santa Rosa Post Office, a sculpture garden, and multiple exhibits to explore.
At the museum, you can explore the history of Santa Rosa and even do a scavenger hunt, created by the museum itself.
The best part of visiting the museum of Sonoma county is seeing local artists work in parts of the exhibit. There are murals outside and you can read all about how the art came to be.
Check out the website to plan your visit. Operating hours are Wednesdays-Sundays, 11 AM to 5 PM.
- Museum of Sonoma County | Address: 425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
4. Jack London State Historic Park
Jack London, the author of Call of the Wild and White Fang, built his dream house in Santa Rosa, which he named the Wolf House.
Unfortunately, before Wolf House could be completed it was burnt down by a fire. Jack London passed before reconstruction can begin again so today you can visit the Wolf House ruins.
Apart from the wolf house ruins, you can take a walk around the historic state park and see all the cool historic buildings on the land: the gravesite, Jack London’s cottage, the beautiful ranch, and more!
The state park is open 7 days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM. Check out the website for more information!
- Jack London State Historic Park | Address: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442g
5. Pacific Coast Air Museum
The Pacific Air coast museum is a great place to spend the day learning about the history of aviation and its preservation. The air museum in Sonoma County has model planes for viewing, a flight simulator, and much more to see.
The best part about the pacific air Coast museum is that there is the open-air viewing exhibit of all the planes being worked on as well. This is a great place to go to learn more about planes and aviation.
Check out the website for more information to plan your visit! The museum is open Wednesdays – Sundays, 10 AM to 4 PM.
- Pacific Coast Air Museum | Address: One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
6. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Located 30 minutes north of Santa Rosa is the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The park is a great place to go to see nature’s beauty and be in the presence of hundreds-year-old trees.
The redwoods were discovered in the mid-1800s with the influx of the gold rush and lumberjacks. Thankfully due to forethought in planning, the state park is protected and you can view its magnificence today.
The best thing to do at the state park is hiking. The best trail is the self-guided Armstrong Nature Trail hike where you can explore and learn about the redwoods. However, if you are looking for a longer hike you can take many trails to create a longer walking time.
The park is open every day at 8 AM and closes just after sunset.
- Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve | Address: 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446
7. The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market
The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmer’s Market is open at the Luther Banks Center for the Arts every Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM.
What’s neat about this farmers market is that it’s certified, which means everything is California grown including vegetables, fruit, and meat. This also means that the seller or vendor is also the farmer who grew the food.
There are tons of produce at this farmers market, but you can also grab a hot breakfast, weaved baskets, and other fun things to take home with you. We got kimchi and dill pickles from Min-Hee Hill Gardens–delish!
- Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market | Address: 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
8. Hike at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
The Sugarloaf State Park has numerous options for hiking, camping, horseback riding, and many more outdoor activities!
Pro-Tip: On a clear day at the summits, you will have so many views all around including the Sierras, the Pacific Ocean, and even San Francisco!
There are also camping sites at Sugarloaf so you and your family can hang out and enjoy the calm streams and nature’s sounds.
Check out the website for even more things to do while in the state park!
- Sugarloaf Ridge State Park | Address: 2605 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood, CA 95452
9. Drink Napa Valley Wine
I don’t particularly like wine, but I do know that wine tasting in Napa Valley is an experience to have. I have yet to try a wine tasting journey, however, I did do some research on some of the best places to start wine tasting in Napa Valley.
On top of the wine tasting, you’ll also be able to view the vineyards where the grapes come from. Some of these wineries have beautiful views while you are sipping on the products of the vineyards.
Check out Sonoma’s guide for some of the best wineries in town.
10. Lunch at The Barlow in Sebastopol
Located 20 minutes west of Santa Rosa is Sebastopol. While driving through on our way to Bodega Bay, we saw The Barlow which is a bougie, local, outdoor eating and shopping area that makes you feel pretty upscale.
When taking a walk around this area, you’ll find indigenous clothing shops, a cheese shop, and a wide range of restaurants. We enjoyed the Detroit-styled pizza from Acre Pizza and the sandwiches from The Farmer’s Wife.
Not one to miss out on ice cream, Two Dog Night Creamery is also delicious. They have local handmade ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen…and delicious flavors!
- The Barlow | Address: 6770 McKinley St, Sebastopol, CA 95472
11. Grab a cold snack at Nimble and Finn’s Handmade Ice Cream
One of the cutest ice cream shops is Nimble and Finn’s in the Historic Railroad Square. They currently don’t offer tastings, but their ice cream is plenty delicious!
I tried the lavender and honeycomb flavor, which was bomb!
Stop in the shop and grab yourself a scoop of ice cream to snack on while you walk around the historic downtown area.
- Nimble and Finn’s Handmade Ice Cream | Address: 123 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
12. Dinner at Khoom Lanna Thai Cuisine
If there is Thai food available, I will always be down to try it. Khoom Lanna Thai Cuisine was one of the most authentic Thai restaurants I’ve had. The restaurant smelled like I was in Thailand and the food did not disappoint!
Try the tom yum soup or the coconut prawns (that sauce is to die for!). The service was also smooth and quick! If you’re craving some Thai food, stop by Khoom Lanna and have a meal!
- Khoom Lanna Thai Cuisine | Address: 107 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Best Free Things to do in Santa Rosa
13. Trione-Annadel State Park (free with a $7 parking permit)
For more hiking in the Santa Rosa area, check out the Trione-Annadel State Park. In addition to hiking, you can also enjoy biking and fishing. Make sure to have your fishing permit available if you are planning on catching fish!
Near the lake, there are numerous wildflowers to enjoy! The best time to visit is early spring to early summer, but you may even see them as late as September. However, keep in mind that plants are protected within the state park, so don’t collect the flowers!
For more information about the state park, visit California’s State Park website.
- Trione-Annadel State Park | Address: 6201 Channel Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
14. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
Luther Burbank was a world-famous botanist who discovered hundreds of new plant species and developed many new varieties of fruits, flowers, grains, and vegetables. Because of Burbank, we now have an Arbor Day which is set on his birthday, March 7.
This historical site is now the home to his gardens as well as a museum and library. When visiting, you’ll be able to see his home as well as photos of when Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone came to visit.
Check out the website for more information on planning your visit! The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and the gardens are now open as well for touring at varying times.
- Luther Burbank Home & Gardens | Address: 204 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
15. Historic Railroad Square
At the heart of Old Town, Santa Rosa sits the Historic Railroad Square, which was opened in the 1870s. With the town’s preservation efforts, the square is now a part of the National Register of Historic Places.
At the historic square, you can walk, explore shops, and have great dining experiences (previously mentioned Thai restaurant and ice creamery). There are also statues of the Peanuts characters all around the historic downtown. Can you find them all?
- Historic Railroad Square | Address: 9 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa CA, 95401
16. Check Out the Antique Shops
I’ve been enjoying browsing through antique shops and the historic downtown area is full of them! Check out the Whistletop Antiques.
With 2 levels of antiques and collectibles to browse, you’ll be sure to find something fun!
Whistletop is now open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM. Sneak in before dinner to find that unique item for your home!
- Whistletop | Address: 130 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
17. Snap a Photo with the Cyclisk Tower
Standing at 65-feet tall, the Cyclisk tower is built with recycled bikes, rims, and tires. The tower was designed and built by Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector, costing around $37,000. Ironically, Nissan paid for this structure and it now sits in the middle of car dealerships.
You can snap a picture with this piece of art as a tip to the eco-friendly bike culture. Check out this website to see the sculpture!
- Cyclisk Tower | Address: 1255 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Day Trips from Santa Rosa
Bodega Bay is a great option if you’re looking to relax or do things like fishing, kayaking, and bird watching. It’s also a great place for hikes and amazing views – this little coastal town happens to be one of the most beautiful places in California.
**Fun fact: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds movie was filmed in Bodega Bay. You can visit The Birds Museum and get yourself Birds merch!
- Drive time: 36 minutes, 24 miles
An easy day trip from Santa Rosa is Petaluma. Petaluma is known for having some of the best ice cream and cheese things in California. While you’re there, make sure to stop by the historic downtown district and check out The Petaluma Pie Company.
- Drive time: 23 minutes, 18 miles
Read Next: 20 Incredible Things to do in Petaluma
Point Reyes State Reserve
Point Reyes Natural Reserve is an amazing place to stop if you’re looking to be near the coast. Hang out at Drakes Beach or hike to whale watch, usually from late April to late May.
You can also spend some time at the Point Reyes lighthouse, do some biking or hiking, and maybe even see some wildlife!
- Drive time: 1 hour, 42 miles
Map of Things to do in Santa Rosa
Where to Stay in Santa Rosa
Located in the heart of Old Town Santa Rosa is Hotel La Rose, a historical landmark hotel. It’s a great place to stay to be in the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as enjoy cute accommodations! There is also convenient dining for all your meals right outside on the patio.
Located just outside Old Town Santa Rosa is a new Marriot hotel. Its convenient location will get you to all the things you can do in Santa Rosa as well as day trip excursions. If you’re looking for a more traditional hotel stay, the Fairfield Inn & Suites is a great choice!
Safety in Santa Rosa
As with all travel, take precautions while in the city. Do not leave anything in your car, especially if it’s visible. Make sure to keep your belongings near you, and walk with a purpose so as to not be targeted for burglary or assault.
According to Neighborhood Scout, the chances of you being a part of a violent crime in Santa Rosa is 1 in 206.
There are alleys in the city, so stick to well-lit public areas and ask business owners for directions if needed. For more information on safety in Santa Rosa, visit the Santa Rosa Emergency Alert website.
Wrapping Up Things to do in Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa is a beautiful city with many things to do. I hope this blog post has helped you plan your next trip up north!
If you have been in the area before, what are some of your favorite activities? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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My Favorite Travel Tips + Resources
Here is a quick glance at all my go-to travel tips and resources that I use to plan every trip! For more information, check out my travel resources page.
- Booking flights: I use Google Flights to check all routes and find the best flights. Then I compare them with Expedia (for reward points) and Skyscanner (for the lowest prices) before I book.
- Accommodations: I love budget-friendly rentals or booking at a hotel where I can earn points. For hotels, I go through Booking.com or book directly with Marriott (for points + rewards). When I travel internationally, I’ll book through Hostelworld for very budget-friendly stays. For vacation rentals, I usually look through Airbnb, but you could also use Vrbo. Expedia also has some great bundles for hotels, flights, and car rentals altogether.
- Transportation: For travel in the United States, I love renting through Expedia with Enterprise or Thrifty. They have been consistent and provide the best customer service. For international travel, I’ll book through Rome2Rio or Eurail for trains or bus fares.
- Travel Credit Card: I book all my travel (flights, hotels, car rentals) through my favorite travel credit card. I also use this card for everything on my trip including dining, excursions, and souvenirs. Apart from earning 5x more points towards free travel, there are amazing benefits: no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement (so I can book worry-free), fraud protection, emergency assistance – it’s really a great deal! Check it out here!
- Vaccines and Medications: Check the CDC website for updates on necessary vaccines to enter a country, including updates on Covid-19 and recommended places to visit. I recommend getting all the vaccines you need before you go!
- Tours + Experiences: I absolutely love my tours! Everything from eerie walking ghost tours to food tours, I’ll usually book something every trip either through Viator or GetYourGuide. I also love LastMinute.com for very affordable tickets to theaters and other experiences in Europe.
- What to Pack: I almost always travel by backpack. For products I like, check out my packing guide page for all the things I take with me on different trips.