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Santa Rosa, California

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Santa Rosa in California.

 

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Santa Rosa is the county seat of Sonoma County, California, United States. As of April 2010, the population of Santa Rosa was approximately 167,396 residents. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont.

Santa Rosa's metropolitan statistical area has a population of 486,630, making it the 12th largest in California and the 105th largest in the United States.

Tourism

While the most expansive vineyards in Sonoma County lie within the Alexander, Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Santa Rosa is home to several vineyards such as this one near Fountain Grove.

Santa Rosa sits at the southwestern gateway to the Sonoma and Napa Valleys of California's famed Wine Country. Many wineries and vineyards are nearby, as well as the Russian River resort area, the Sonoma Coast along the Pacific Ocean, Jack London State Historic Park and the redwood trees of Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.

The City sprawls along Highway 101, about an hour north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Airline service by Horizon Air, from the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport, just north of Santa Rosa, is available to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle. The City Council is also encouraging major new commercial and residential development along the planned Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) railway from Larkspur to Cloverdale, parallel to Highway 101. SMART, scheduled to open in 2014, is funded by a sales tax surcharge passed by Sonoma and Marin voters in 2008.

The City Council pays the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to operate the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Chamber's visitors center is in the City-owned old railroad depot at the bottom of Fourth Street, in Historic Railroad Square. The SRC&VB has been a California Welcome Center since 2003.

Downtown Santa Rosa, including the central Old Courthouse Square and historic Railroad Square, is a shopping, restaurant, nightclub, and theater area. Downtown also includes City Hall, State, and Federal office buildings, many banks, and professional offices. The Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital medical center is just to the east.

The City Council funds a private booster group, Santa Rosa Main Street, which lobbies the City to revitalize the traditional business district. Three new mixed-use, high-rise buildings, and a new City parking garage, are under development. The Council and Downtown business boosters hope condos atop the new buildings will house a population to keep the area alive 24 hours a day.

The nearby towns of Bodega Bay, Calistoga, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Windsor are popular with tourists, and readily accessible from Santa Rosa.

Railroad Square is the portion of downtown that is on the west side of U.S. Route 101 and has the highest concentration of historic commercial buildings. Of particular note are the four rough-hewn stone buildings at its core, two of which are rare in that they predate the 1906 earthquake. They include the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot, prominent in the beginning and end of Shadow of a Doubt by Alfred Hitchcock and the still-functioning Hotel La Rose, built in 1907 and registered as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic Hotels of America. The area contains numerous other historic buildings, such as the former Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railroad depot, and the Lee Bros. Building, both at the corner of 4th and Wilson Streets. Near it in the West End district are numerous other old buildings, including not only many old houses but the masonry DeTurk Winery complex, dating to the 1880s-1890s, and the DeTurk round barn. Also of note nearby is the former Del Monte Cannery Building built in 1894. One of the oldest surviving commercial buildings in town, it was renovated into the 6th Street Playhouse in 2005.

Local attractions

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center on the corner of West Steele Lane and Hardies Lane, next to Snoopy's Home Ice skating rink.

Carrillo Adobe. Built in 1837 for Dona Maria Ignacio Lopez de Carrillo (General Mariano Vallejo's mother-in-law), the Carrillo Adobe was the first home on the site of the future Santa Rosa. The remains of the Carrillo home rest behind a cyclone fence off Montgomery Drive, on property owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa in California, adjacent to its Cathedral of St. Eugene.
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
Redwood Empire Ice Arena ("Snoopy's Home Ice")
Sonoma County Museum
Annadel State Park
Spring Lake Regional Park
Prince Memorial Greenway. This is a developed bicycle and pedestrian path along Santa Rosa Creek through downtown and out to the west of town. Near Railroad Square, it connects directly to the Joe Redota Trail, a paved path which goes to Sebastopol.[27]
Railroad Square. With the highest concentration of historic commercial buildings in Santa Rosa, this portion of downtown is popular with tourists and locals alike.
Historic residential neighborhoods. Although most of Santa Rosa's commercial buildings were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, almost all of its numerous houses survived and most have survived to this day. As a result, Santa Rosa has a number of old neighborhoods in and around downtown, several historically designated. These contain numerous old homes, including many Victorians. Most of these are on quiet, often tree-lined streets.

Performing and visual arts

The performing arts in Santa Rosa are represented by Summer Repertory Theatre, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and the 6th Street Playhouse. Santa Rosa is the home of the North Bay Theater Group, an alliance of some 40 theater companies, theater departments and individual performance companies from five North Bay counties.

Summer Repertory Theater (SRT) is a complete and extensive practicum in all aspects of stage production. The program combines professional directing, design, and production staff with outstanding students in acting, design, technical theater, dance, music, and management. The ensemble mounts five productions, which are performed in full rotating Repertory six days a week beginning in mid June. Company members put theory to the test and learn to work in a professional system. SRT, located in the heart of the Sonoma County wine country, one hour north of San Francisco and forty-five minutes east of the beautiful Northern California coast is a well organized program.

The Santa Rosa Symphony, the city's professional orchestra, is currently under the direction of Bruno Ferrandis. Former conductor Jeffrey Kahane resigned from the post, which he held for ten years, to become music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Sonoma County Museum on 7th St., Downtown Santa Rosa. Completed in 1910, it was originally the Post Office and Federal Building.

The Santa Rosa Symphony education department consists of four youth ensembles categorized by their level of skill. The department provides classical music education to students across Sonoma County, who can audition for any of these groups. The three full orchestral ensembles, from lowest to highest are the Preparatory Orchestra, the Discovery Orchestra, and the Youth Orchestra. The chamber strings ensemble is known as the Young People's Chamber Orchestra.

The visual arts are represented by the Sonoma County Museum and numerous independent art galleries. The Arts Council of Sonoma County is based at the Museum.

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