Pros and cons of living in Santa Rosa, California

Are you planning to move to Santa Rosa? Then you’ll need to know about this classic and beautiful city in the northern part of California. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Santa Rosa?

Located 50 miles away from San Francisco, Santa Rosa offers benefits such as the climate, strong economy and access to opportunities, location, diversity and kid-friendliness, and an amazing food scene. But you also have to deal with challenges like cost of living, high taxes, and car dependency.

However, the challenges shouldn’t deter you from moving to Santa Rosa. This is why it’s essential to examine both sides to see what the city is really about. This article looks at the pros and cons of living in Santa Rosa.

Pros of Living in Santa Rosa

If you choose to live in Santa Rosa, here are some benefits you can expect from being a resident.

Excellent Economy and Job Opportunities

Santa Rosa’s economy is good to a large extent, and there are several job opportunities. The unemployment rate here is lower than the national average. In June 2021, the employment rate in Santa Rosa was 5.7%, while the national unemployment rate was 5.9%.

Major industries in this city include retail trade, healthcare, manufacturing, and educational services. The County of Sonoma is one of the biggest employers in the city, and the average salary in the city is around $68,019, which means it’s higher than the national average.

If you’re planning to live in the city, you can enjoy the benefits of Job Link. This is a free service that provides training funds for new careers, gives career counseling, connects employers to job seekers, and provides job assistance.


The weather in Santa Rosa falls within the Mediterranean climate, which is a perfect one. It’s mostly warm, and the winters are damp. It’s rare to find snow here, but it lasts less than a day if it falls. If you live here, you can expect July and August to be the hottest months of the year. Living in Santa Rosa means you’ll enjoy the beautiful weather, which is excellent for outdoor activities. 

Ideal Location

Santa Rosa is located 55 miles away from San Francisco, and all it takes to get there is a little over an hour. Its proximity to the Bay Area is an added advantage. Many of those who work in the Bay Area choose to live in Santa Rosa. So, if you’re working in San Francisco, living in Santa Rosa might be ideal for you.

Kid-Friendly and Diverse City

Santa Rosa is also a very diverse and friendly city. So, moving here means you can easily meet new people and make new connections. Moreover, with the cultural and ethnic diversity among its population, you have nothing to worry about.

If you’re moving to Santa Rosa with your kids, you’re even luckier. This city is rated as 37th in the best cities to raise a family in the United States. It’s even higher when it comes to health and safety, ranking 6th in the whole country. However, when it comes to education and child care, it ranks 39th.

Fantastic Food and Drinks Scene

There’s no way we can talk about Santa Rosa without mentioning its foods and drinks. The city is famous for its wines and beers, which go back decades. You can easily get fresh and organic food here. Wineries and breweries are plenty here, which explains why wine tasting is quite common.

Sonoma County, where Santa Rosa falls into, is the 14th best food city in the US and its second-best wine vacation spot.

Cons of Living in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa isn’t all roses and sunshine; it comes with its problems too. Unfortunately, if you move there, you can expect to face these issues.

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in California is well known, and Santa Rosa isn’t any different. The overall cost of living here is 49% higher than the national average. Fortunately, the average income is also higher. The primary factor contributing to the high cost of living is the prices of homes. Here, it’ll cost an average of $680,420 to buy a house.

However, the cost of living and housing here is still below the California average, even though it’s almost double the national average. That’s a major reason many of those who work in the Bay Area cities migrate to Santa Rosa and its metropolis. For example, homes in San Francisco cost as much as $1.5 million on average, and the city is less than two hours away.

High Taxes

Another issue to contend with here is the taxes. Living in California means you have to pay high taxes. The average income tax here is 9.3% for those in the income bracket of $53,980 to $275,737. But beyond the state income tax, there are other taxes particular to the cities.

For Santa Rosa, the minimum combined sales tax rate is 9.25% which is relatively high. In addition, there is also property tax to be paid. With all these tax rates, it’s clear the tax burden in the city is high.

Car Dependency

If you live in Santa Rosa, you’ll need a car to commute properly and efficiently. The city has a walk score of 44, which shows you need a car for most errands. Fortunately, The bike score is a little higher at 51, and there are several bike trails in the city. Most public transport even allows you to bike into the public transport. SMART Trains can take up to 24 bikes, and buses have space for two bikes.

The transit score is relatively poor at 27%. If you’re going to be commuting here, it’s essential to do all necessary to avoid rush hours when traffic is usually heavy.

In Conclusion

Santa Rosa is a good city to live in. A quaint and unpretentious city where the wines are good and the cost of living isn’t too high. But it has a few problems that you must adapt to if you choose to live here. Fortunately, they’re not beyond manageable. So, it might be the ideal city for you.