Rose Parade & Festival
Every year in late May, Santa Rosa has the Luther Burbank Rose Parade & Festival. Although the name has changed a bit, this event has been held for over 100 years. It celebrates the name of Santa Rosa, Luther Burbank an his love of plants, especially roses, and other Santa Rosa icons and institutions. In 2006, the unveilng of the new statute for the Peanuts character Woodstock, and the start of the "Summer of Woodstock" honouring that character (see my tip on Peanuts) was also part of it. The parade goes through downtown and ends on Santa Rosa Ave. at the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens and Julliard Park, a beautiful old park at the south end of downtown. There are many events at the park and the area, attractions for kids, plus lots of food.
Church of One Tree
The Church of One Tree, an old Baptist church built in 1873, is at 492 Sonoma Ave., on the portion of Sonoma Avenue west of Santa Rosa Avenue. It is attached to, and just north of, the adjacent Julliard Park, from which one can also reach the church. It was originally on Ross St. downtown, but was moved in 1957.
It was, as the name implies, built out of wood from a single giant redwood tree cut down in the logging sites in the nearby redwood forest. The church was an early feature of "Believe it or Not!" by Robert Ripley, a native of Santa Rosa.
It's not really used as a church anymore, I don't think, and was used as a memorial for Robert Ripley. The building has, unfortunately, fallen into some disrepair, so is not in the best shape. Fortunately, repairs have begun and there are some plans to bring it back to life.
There's a few. First is Saigon...
There's a few. First is Saigon Cuisine on 3rd and Dutton in the little shopping center. Its fabulous, fresh, fast and inexpensive.
Then, theres Omlette Express in Railroad Square, they make the best weekend or any day breakfast.
Santa Rosa if full of Ma and Pa type Mexican food stands. They are excellent and will fill you up for about $4.00. You can't spit in Santa Rosa withoug hitting one. There's this Vietnam soup heavy with noodles and veggies in a light broth. It's the best meal, it will fill you up for under $6.00
Great Sandwiches & Breakfast
This is more of a regular restaurant serving deli-style food than a store-like deli where one can also eat. It has great sandwiches, with a huge array of predesigned types, hot and cold, outstanding cole slaw, and great salads. It is also one of our absolute favourite breakfast places, with wonderful eggs benedict, scrmables, etc. and they make inexpensive "mickey" pancakes for kids. It can get really busy, though, especially at breakfast on Saturday after 10.00, or at the peak of the lunch hour.
It's open every day but Sunday and closes at about 5 pm. I think it closes a little earlier on Saturday. Corned beef sandwich, cole slaw, chili dog, scrambles, eggs benedict, etc.
Great, Simple Salvadorean Food
This is one of a few small Salvadorean restaurants in Santa Rosa. It is simple and pretty small, with a simple menu, but the food is great. They have several different types of pupusas, which are thick tortillas stuffed with a variety of food, typically cheese plus something like beans, chicken, chicharrones (pork rinds), or squash. They also have very good tamales (unusual, since rarely are tamales very good unless home-made), beans, etc. In addition, hey have fired meat-filled dumplings called pasteles.
A sweet thing they have is a plantain pupusa, which is made from plaintain, filled with soft crema, and fried. It is quite different from the other, savory, pupusas.
I should note that I marked "Mexican" above because it is the closest category I could find. However, while the cuisines are similar, they are also different. We love the squash-and-cheese pupusas, the fried pasteles, and the chicken tamales.