Santa Rosa is a city located in the Bay Area of Northern California. Its ideal location and warm weather have made it an enticing option for retirees. The city is home to a relaxed atmosphere and plenty to do outside such as visiting vineyards and state parks.
Climate and Geography
The climate in Santa Rosa is classified as warm-summer Mediterranean, which means summers are warm and dry, while winters are cool and wet. Residents of Santa Rosa can expect to see about the same amount of rain as the national average, little to no snowfall, and approximately 256 sunny days each year.
The city is situated on the flatlands of the Santa Rosa Plains, while the surrounding terrain consists mostly of mountain ranges and peaks. Santa Rosa Creek runs through the center of the city where it also branches off into Matanzas Creek. There are three public lakes in the city: Fountaingrove Lake, Spring Lake, and Lake Ralphine.
Recreation, Culture, and Entertainment
Santa Rosa is home to plenty of outdoor attractions, giving residents many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the pleasant California weather. The most prominent of these is Trione Annadel State Park which extends into the Sonoma Mountains and Sonoma Valley. There’s also Safari West, Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Spring Lake Park, and many other state parks. Residents can also visit the renowned beaches on the Pacific Coast, just over a half-hour drive away.
Not to mention, some of the best natural scenery can found at Santa Rosa’s large vineyards and wineries, where residents can take tours, relax, or do a wine tasting. Locals also enjoy going to the farmers markets, antique shops, and art stores throughout the city and downtown.
For access to more extensive shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, central San Francisco is about an hour and a half away, providing the perfect opportunity for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Cost of Living
Like most of California, the overall cost of living in Santa Rosa is significantly higher than the national average. This is primarily due to the very high cost of homes and housing. All other individual cost of living indexes—utilities, transportation, health care, and groceries—are slightly higher than the national average.
California is not typically considered tax friendly to retirees. Although Social Security income is not taxed in the state, all other forms of retirement income are fully taxed at some of the highest rates in the country. Residents who are 65+ are eligible to double the standard exemption for their income taxes, but the maximum allowed is $516. Property taxes are generally low in the state, but due to the high price of homes this can still be a significant expense.
Santa Rosa is home to three highly rated hospitals, according to U.S News. They are Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center.