Novato Travel Guide

  • Novato, California
    Novato, California
    by karenincalifornia
  • Open space near Novato, CA
    Open space near Novato, CA
    by karenincalifornia
  • Mountain biking near Novato, CA
    Mountain biking near Novato, CA
    by karenincalifornia

Novato Things to Do

  • Mountain Bike Trails (moderate)

    I like these trails because they follow well maintained fire roads, and aren't outrageously steep like the killer hills closest to my house. Not all the trails permit bikes, so make sure you know where you are going. As a general rule, you are fine on any of the fire roads. If you are on a bike, stay off trails that turn into narrow foot trails...

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  • VT Meet part III, the food

    Zohara was totally surprised when we entered Jessica and Mark's dining room to begin the VT EATS part of the meet and found that she had a birthday cake for her birthday, it was a great surprise. But then we all got down to eating all the food everyone had prepared, each member had brought something from home, even the visitors from Israel (yes...

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  • VT Meet part II, Tal's car madness

    I must admit that our daughter Tal is a car freak..she sees special cars that she likes and it is amazing to see her eyes light up...so when Al and Carol both arrived at the VT meet at Jessica and Mark's in CONVERTIBLES, well the fireworks began...and to make it even better, both Al and Carol took her for a ride, her first time in an open top, talk...

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  • Have a VT Meet, what else !!!

    Thanks to Jessica and Mark, who invited us into their home for a VT meet when we came to California we were able to meet some of the fantastic people of VTCalifornia. We met Jessica and Mark of course, but also Al and his wife, Julie and Jo, Smurti and her boyfriend and Keren and Greg also were there with their kids and also Linda, Jessica's...

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  • Hike in the Mount Burdell Open Space...

    Just north of Novato are hundreds of acres of open space with beautiful hiking trails. I like the Mount Burdell area because of its natural beauty and feeling of being in a remote area. The hike goes through bay laurel forests, over streams, and through grassy meadows dotted with coast live and white oaks, laurels and buckeyes. Wildflowers are...

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  • Novato Art & Wine Festival

    Every year Novato hosts a weekend long Art & Wine festival where crowds gather to look at local artist's work, drink wine and beer, eat festival food and listen to live music. The town closes off several blocks of "Old Town" streets and booths and stages are set upi in the streets.This year the festival took place on June 12 and 13.I heard the...

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Novato Hotels

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Novato Restaurants

  • The restaurants in Novato are improving

    I used to have a tip posted here with words of praise for Novato's Kitchen Restaurant. I've erased that because we went back last Thursday and everyone's dish was mediocre. My salad was overpriced considering I only got a couple of leaves of lettuce, some tiny crescent shaped beet slices and a thimbleful of gorgonzola. My ravioli plate was small...

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  • TWO BAD DINING EXPERIENCES IN A ROW

    When you open the door to this relatively new restaurant in Old Town Novato, the first impression is "warm and cozy". After being seated everything went downhill very quickly. We had a table for four and I was the only vegetarian, so my choices were rather limited . I ordered the Endive Salad and a Pasta/Fungi dish. I was told by the rather...

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  • Decent Mexican food

    Las Guitarras has pretty good Mexican food, although like most Bay Area Mexican restaurants, the food it serves is not spicy. However, it is tasty enough, and the margaritas are fairly good. The restaurant is located in a small cottage (not your typical stucco building). It also has a good sized outdoor dining area (with an unscenic view), which is...

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  • Great grilling!

    Housed in a former A&W location, this place looks a little dive-ish, if you know what I mean. However, it's a great place to go if you want some good ribs or grilled tri-tip or chicken. The formerly outdoor patio is covered in a tent-like structure, with plastic walls, and heaters to keep you warm. Chinese chicken salad. The chicken is delicious...

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  • Finally a really GOOD restaurant in...

    A small restaurant that is generally full, so you'd better make reservations, this place is great! We'd been hearing about it for months but hadn't had the opportunity to go there. On the spur of the moment, 6 of us decided to go there for an early dinner. We arrived at 5:30 and there were enough empty tables for them to put together a 6-person...

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  • Delicious South West cuisine

    The building was a church many decades ago and has gone through a few restaurant incranations in the past 30 years. It's latest incarnation has been around 12 years and is still quite successful. I can, with certainty, say that this is the best food being served in Novato right now. At least, that's going by our most recent experience. Everything...

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  • More upscale Mexican dining

    Very good Mexican food (ETS calls it Tex-Mex tho) in a more upscale setting than many of the Mexican restaurants in town. Lovely patio dining is available, as is indoor seating both upstairs and down. Chicken taco salad, please and thank you. Though a top shelf margarita on the rocks aint half bad.

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  • "Late night" dining

    Okay, when I say late night, it's relative. So far, finding a restaurant open past 9pm has been a challenge! We walked in to Peppers at 9:50pm one evening, after a baseball game with cjg1, and my god, they were open! They closed at 10, and there was only our table and two other tables with customers. I think they even had to reopen the kitchen......

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  • Oh my GOD sandwiches

    These guys make GREAT sub sandwiches. They have the absolute best cheese steak sandwhiches I've ever had. Their meatball and pizza sandwiches are pretty damned good too. If you're looking for cheap and yummy, here's the place. Nothing fancy here. Cheese steak!

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Novato Nightlife

  • The "hip" bar -- ick

    I suppose this is the "hip" bar to visit in Novato. But I can't help but have an aversion to it. While it's got the nicest interior of lots of hard wood, there's something about it that I just don't like. Too snotty. Too fern-bar. Too... I don't know. But it's been a long time since I went to "The Bit," so I suppose it's time to go back and give it...

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  • A dive bar to visit

    This bar is oddly placed, on Redwood Boulevard, near the corner of Grant Avenue. Yes, it's downtown. But it looks so odd from the outside. Grey painted cinderblocks with some darkened windows to look out on the commuter traffic.Go inside and see paintings of viking boats, vikings, a couple pool tables, the lights for live music, but no live...

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  • There are a few bars in Novato...

    There are a few bars in Novato -- one with live music (that I know of). I'll just mention the one with music: Mancuso's. It's a down-home place, in a shopping center, next to the town post office. Sometimes they've got pretty good live music, and hey -- it's much closer than going to San Francisco for the locals! Casual.

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Novato Transportation

  • JeanCooke's Profile Photo

    by JeanCooke Written Oct 4, 2002

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    The park is located three miles north of Novato on U.S. 101. The entrance is accessible only to southbound traffic from Highway 101. Northbound vehicles should continue north past the park and make a safe U-Turn at San Antonio Road, in order to travel south and enter the park.

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Novato Shopping

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    People shopping

    by jessicadf Written Jun 27, 2004

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    On Tuesdays, from 4 to 7, during the Summertime, a few blocks off of Grant Avenue are closed for the Farmer's Market. There you can buy the freshest fruits, vegetables, baked goods and some delicious roasted chickens or barbecue... a great way to do your shopping!

    What to buy: Whatever is fresh and sweet and ripe.

    What to pay: Less than the grocery stores

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Novato Local Customs

  • School Support

    Marin County is made up of 19 separate public school districts. Like the rest of Marin County, Novato strongly supports its public school district and is willing to tax itself to supplement the substandard funding provided by the State of California. Novato recently passed a school bond that enabled it to make substantial renovations to its aging...

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  • We're not the only ones on the planet...

    ...remember the creatures great and small. Don't forget to look down. While these kinds of caterpillars remind me of childhood and they're so soft and fuzzy... I know they spell a bad year for the oak trees. They're hungry little buggers.

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  • Set fire to something

    Preferably a barbecue... and be careful in the Summer when the hills are dry and ready to combust. If you come to town, I'll see if we can get my uncle Jon to "burn some bird" for you. He makes the best barbecue of anyone I know. Mmmm, mmm, mmm!

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Novato Off The Beaten Path

  • Looking for a companion?

    The Marin Humane Society is located in Novato. Here you can find all kinds of domestic animals who are looking for loving homes.

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  • The pony's friend...

    Living in the paddock with the pony is this little donkey. Or is it a mule? I never can remember. Let's call it a burro and split the difference? Regardless, it's very laid back, with a sweet disposition.

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  • Novato IS off the beaten path...

    Novato IS off the beaten path for most tourists. This is the most populous town in Marin County, however. It's mainly known as a 'bedroom community', with people living in Novato, and then commuting down the Highway 101 corridor to San Francisco each day for work.

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Novato Sports & Outdoors

  • jessicadf's Profile Photo
    Giddyup!

    by jessicadf Written Jun 17, 2004

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    There are numerous horse stables in Novato, but my favorite is Willow Tree Stables. There you can take lessons in Western and English style riding, as well as rent horses for a trail ride (the stables provides a leader for the trail ride). In the Summer, they have Sunset rides where you can ride up the hills and along the ridges to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

    Monte, the owner, is a great teacher and skilled horsewoman. Highly recommended!

    Equipment: Wear boots with a heel, so your feet can be snug in the stirrups and wear long pants. A hat and sunscreen are good if you're riding in the sun a lot.

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Novato Favorites

  • jessicadf's Profile Photo
    Novato City Hall

    by jessicadf Updated Jun 17, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Novato, California is the northernmost city in Marin
    County, approximately twenty-nine miles north of San Francisco
    and thirty-seven miles northwest of Oakland. Novato covers twenty-eight
    square miles. As of the 2000 Census, Novato has a population of 47,630
    which is 76.3% White, 13.1% Hispanic, 5.1% Asian, 1.9% Black and 3.6%
    all other races.
    The highest point in Novato is Mt. Burdell at 1,558 feet. The

    elevation in downtown Novato is 18 feet. The mean annual temperature

    is 67 degrees, with an average minimum of 46 degrees and an average

    maximum of 71 degrees. Rainfall averages approximately 27.5 inches

    per year. Novato is California's 151st largest city.



    The City of Novato was incorporated on January 20, 1960 as a general

    law city. The City Council is made up of five members, elected

    at large, serving four-year terms. The Mayor is selected for a

    one-year term from among the members of the City Council. The

    City operates under a council-manager form of government. The

    City Council appoints the City Manager, City Attorney and City Clerk.

    *Picture courtesy of marin.org.

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Explore Deeper into Novato
Cheap and tasty eats!
Restaurants
Best Pizza in Novato
Restaurants
Hilltop Cafe
Restaurants
Play with children
Local Customs
Olompali is not overly crowded...
Off The Beaten Path
Map of Novato

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