16 Pros and Cons of Living in Santa Rosa, CA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Santa Rosa, CA

Santa Rosa is one of the more intriguing cities in California for those who are in search of new and interesting places to live.

Of course, it is important for prospective movers to do the necessary research.

By taking the time to consult with this helpful guide, potential residents of Santa Rosa, CA can learn more about the ins and outs of the city and position themselves for future success.

Santa Rosa, CA
Santa Rosa, CA

Pros Of Living In Santa Rosa, CA

1. Vibrant Local Economy

At a time when more and more US residents find themselves worried about the economy, Santa Rosa, CA residents do not have to expend as much energy on these concerns.

The local economy is considered to be in a good state and there is no shortage of job opportunities.

In fact, Santa Rosa’s unemployment rate is currently lower than the national average.

That’s because there are a number of thriving industries located in Santa Rosa.

Whether you are looking to get into healthcare, retail trade, educational services, or manufacturing, this city has a wide range of opportunities.

Many residents also seek employment through the County of Sonoma.

The national salary clocks in at over $68,000, which is also higher than the national average.

For those who may wish to have some assistance when it comes to finding a job, the Job Link service is a great tool for city residents.

Job Link offers up training funding for new careers, and career counseling services for residents in need and serves as a helpful liaison between job seekers and prospective employers.

2. Ideal Climate

Since the city of Santa Rosa, California is situated in a Mediterranean climate zone, this offers residents the chance to enjoy perfect weather conditions on a regular basis.

The weather remains warm in most instances and the city is known for its damp winters.

While snowfall is rare here, there are moments where flurries take place.

If snow does fall, it typically comes and goes within the day.

July and August are the hottest months in Santa Rosa, California.

The gorgeous weather also provides residents with plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities.

For the most part, Santa Rosa residents will be able to avoid prolonged periods of time spent indoors.

3. Great Location

The close proximity to the Bay Area is one of the primary selling points of this city.

Since Santa Rosa is just 55 miles away from San Francisco, local residents are able to hop on the highway and make their way over within an hour’s time.

There are a number of Bay Area employees who choose to live in Santa Rosa, for this reason.

With San Francisco’s higher cost of living, it is easy to see why so many Bay Area employees have begun to make their way to Santa Rosa.

San Jose is also located nearby (106 miles away), providing residents with another weekend getaway option.

4. Diversity

As one of the most diverse and child-friendly cities in California, Santa Rosa has carved out a unique place for itself in the local firmament.

Those who move here find that it is very easy for them to meet new people from a wide range of different backgrounds.

Ethnic and cultural diversity makes it simple for everyone to find their way.

5. Child Friendliness

Meanwhile, parents who are moving to Santa Rosa with their little ones will also find that the city is tailor-made for their experiences.

In a recent ranking, Santa Rosa was declared one of the top 40 cities to raise a family in the United States.

Of course, many parents might be asked follow-up questions about the city’s level of health and safety.

In this regard, Santa Rosa ranks even higher!

When it comes to health and safety, Santa Rosa ranked #6.

Education and child care rank among the top 40, so all bases are covered for parents who are concerned about their child’s quality of life.

6. Top Notch Food and Beverage Scene

There is no way to discuss Santa Rosa without singing its praises from a foodie standpoint.

Those who appreciate fine food and drink are always going to flock to Santa Rosa and it’s one of the many reasons that this city is considered a great place to live.

Residents who appreciate wine and beer love Santa Rosa, as this city’s reputation for top-flight spirits dates back decades.

The food scene also provides no shortage of delectable options, with lots of fresh and organic choices for a number of different palettes.

Wineries and breweries are omnipresent, making Santa Rosa a great choice for anyone who is looking to head to wine tastings on a regular basis.

7. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living is always going to be seriously considered before choosing a new city.

Santa Rosa’s cost of living is lower than much of the state, as well as the national average.

Some areas may be higher overall but on average the costs are much lower than most prospective residents would expect.

8. Low Levels of Crime

While Santa Rosa has high crime areas and low crime areas, the overall averages are very low, making this city a very safe one to live in.

Property crime rates in particular are much lower than the national averages.

As long as you are residing in a low-crime region, you will have very little to worry about.

Cons of Living In Santa Rosa, California

1. Environmental Stress

The population density of the region leads to a higher level of environmental stress.

While the level of environmental stress is directly related to a higher quality of life, it is incumbent upon the individual to maintain a certain level of vigilance about their own environmental impact.

2. Wages Are Stretched Harder

The cost of living may be a lot lower than it would be in the rest of the state but that does not mean that Santa Rosa residents will get the most bang for their buck.

Renters are not subjected to the higher costs but those who wish to purchase a home may find things challenging.

The average cost for a homeowner is roughly $680,000, which may be out of some residents’ range.

3. Bay Area Workers Driving Up Prices

Of course, there is a major influx of workers from the Bay Area who are looking to Santa Rosa for some relief.

Since the cost of living in places like San Francisco is even higher, the cost of living in Santa Rosa is driven up by all of these newer residents.

This can cause financial difficulties for longtime residents and newer residents alike.

4. Higher Taxes

California residents are always going to be subjected to higher taxes and Santa Rosa is no different in this regard.

In addition to the state taxes that are typically high, there are additional taxes that are specific to Santa Rosa residents.

The sales tax rate is on the higher end, at over 9 percent.

Property taxes can also be cumbersome for homeowners.

5. Car Ownership Is a Must

There is no way around it: car ownership is a prerequisite to living in Santa Rosa.

A car is required for the vast majority of your commutes, although there are a number of bike trails available.

The city has a plethora of bike trails to choose from and public transport often allows bike riders to pedal right onto the vessel in question.

Traffic also tends to be heavy during rush hour, which can be problematic.

6. Natural Disasters

As climate change is heavy on everyone’s mind, Santa Rosa’s natural disasters are a common area of research for prospective residents.

Wildfires, earthquakes, winter storm floods, and landslides are all issues that Santa Rosa residents will need to be aware of.

A 2017 Napa Valley wildfire spread to Santa Rosa, causing serious damage to the city.

That is why residents are asked to take a closer look at the County of Sonoma Hazard Mitigation Plan so that they can remain prepared.

7. Yearly Evacuations

To build on the previous point, anyone who is considering Santa Rosa should take the time to consider the areas that they will be living in.

There are Public Safety Power Shutoffs and wildfire evacuations on a yearly basis.

The summer and fall months can be particularly troublesome in this regard.

8. Smokey Conditions

Of course, once wildfire season has begun, Santa Rosa residents are forced to endure smokey weather conditions for up to a month at a time.

There is no avoiding the smoke in these instances, even if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where evacuations do not have to take place.

For parents who are looking to safeguard their little ones, these types of living conditions may not be entirely ideal.

Santa Rosa, CA
Santa Rosa, CA

Pros and Cons of Living in Santa Rosa, CA – Summary Table

Pros Of Living In Santa Rosa, CACons of Living In Santa Rosa, California
1. Vibrant Local Economy1. Environmental Stress
2. Ideal Climate2. Wages Are Stretched Harder
3. Great Location3. Bay Area Workers Driving Up Prices
4. Diversity4. Higher Taxes
5. Child Friendliness5. Car Ownership Is a Must
6. Top Notch Food and Beverage Scene6. Natural Disasters
7. Low Cost of Living7. Yearly Evacuations
8. Low Levels of Crime8. Smokey Conditions

Santa Rosa Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Santa Rosa Safety Review

Safety Index:
Santa Rosa

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Ignore An Evacuation Order?

While you theoretically can ignore such an order, it is not advised.

Not only is it against the law to ignore an evacuation order but you are putting yourself and others at risk by doing so.

Worst of all, a refusal to leave when the order is initially made could cause bigger problems later on.

The resident may decide to leave later on and be left without the ability to do so.

What Are The Top Attractions?

Safari West is a common destination, as it allows local residents to mingle with the animals as if they were on an African safari.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum is another popular place for locals and visitors alike, as they are given the chance to learn more about the lore of the Peanuts creator.

Luther Burbank Home and Garden offers another chance for Santa Rosa residents to learn more about the city.

He is a fascinating figure who is responsible for the existence of as many as 800 types of plants.

How Hot Is The Climate?

Believe it or not, Santa Rosa is actually one of the more moderate places that you can live in California, from a climate standpoint.

There is no snow here, the temperatures top out in the 80s during the summer and the winters tend to be quite mild.

June and July are considered to be the most comfortable months that Santa Rosa has to offer.

How Close Is Santa Rosa To The Ocean?

Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean are both within a 40-minute drive of Santa Rosa.

Depending on your selection, you can either head west on Highway 12 or north on Highway 1.

Does Santa Rosa Have a Lot of Violent Crime?

According to the most recent statistics, a Santa Rosa resident has a 1 in 194 chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime.

However, these numbers dwindle significantly depending on the neighborhood.

Those who reside in neighborhoods like Bennett Valley, Villa Los Alamos, or Oakmont Village are not going to have these types of concerns.

A little bit of research always goes a long way in these instances, whether it is Santa Rosa or any other California city.

3 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Santa Rosa, CA

  1. K
    K Alpha says:

    Live in Santa Rosa for over 20 years and couldn’t take it anymore. The homeless, crime, air pollution, cost of living, and traffic made it horrible. There is not much to do and to go anywhere, expect to be in lots of traffic. Selection of stores are very limited. They do have bike trails but most are taking up and blocked by homeless and drug addicts. I definitely would not feel safe raising my children in Santa Rosa. Think of the east bay and that is Santa Rosa. It used to be a really nice blue collar safe clean town. It is by far horrible which is why I no longer live there.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Omg my husband and I were considering Santa Rosa for retirement …. So glad I ran across your comment. How long did you live there? When did you leave? Thanks, helpful comment.

  2. F
    Fred Garrison says:

    I will be moving here for work but it will only take 3 months. I hope I can relax and be peaceful here because I am going to be away with my family.

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