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The Redwood Empire Ice Arena, also called Snoopy's Home Ice, is the only ice arena in the area. It was created by Charles Schulz, opening around 1970, and thus has a Peanuts/Snoopy theme. One can go skating, take lessons, and see some ice hockey events as well as Peanuts holiday ice shows like The Great Pumpkin Festival. Since the mid 1970s, it has also hosted the annual Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament.
It is also right next to the Charles Schulz Museum and the Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop. It has a restaurant as well, the Warm Puppy Cafe, where Charles Schulz would apparently get breakfast every morning when working at his studio up the street.
Updated Sep 29, 2010
Address: West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa
Julliard Park is a beautiful green patch in downtown Santa Rosa, with water and arched bridges and decorated park benches. The city often puts on a summer concert series here.
For two other views of Julliard Park, see my Santa Rosa main page.
Updated Oct 12, 2009
Address: 227 Santa Rosa Ave.
These large stone heads are reminiscent of Easter Island, but they are gifts from one of Santa Rosa's sister cities, Jeju City in South Korea.
There is a pretty little park there, with a bridge, a bamboo grove, and a small waterfall. It's a nice place to sit and rest for a while.
Updated Oct 11, 2009
Address: Sonoma Avenue near Santa Rosa Ave.
Festa Italiana is an annual event sponsored by the North Bay Italian Cultural Foundation, and it's a lot of fun for the whole family, even if you're not Italian. There's live Italian music, dancing, cooking demonstrations, classic cars, a silent auction, handicrafts and baked goods for sale, and -- of course -- food and wine.
For $1, your bambino can do arts and crafts projects under adult supervision while you shop in a different part of the room.
The Festa usually takes place in late September or early October. Tickets are $5 in advance, $8 at the door (under 10 years - free).
Lunch is a bargain at $5: it includes salad, garlic bread, and your choice of pasta, risotto, polenta, chicken, or tri-tip sandwich. There are also gelato and drink stands.
For more photos of the classic car show, see my travelogue.
Updated Oct 11, 2009
Address: Santa Rosa Veterans Hall
During summer, on the first Friday of each month, downtown Santa Rosa, including the core around Old Courthouse Square, as well as Railroad Square area and, to the south, the South A Street neighbourhood (see my tip on that part of town), hosts art and art displays. Artists set up their works on the street and in various shops, there is often free wine, snacks, etc., and one can look at and buy art of a wide range. There are often street musicians, etc., and the South A Street neighbourhood, with its art galleries and studios, opens the studios to visitors.
Written Aug 10, 2009
This venue, opened in the old 1894 Del Monte cannery near Railroad Square, offers live performances of plays and musicals. The variety is pretty wide and although quality varies a bit, overall it's quite good, is one of the main locations for live performances in the whole county, and it does a very good job of filling this niche for the region. Its productions are popular, the facility is very nice, snacks and beverages are available, and it is just a very short walk from the core of Railroad Square. It is just 3 blocks from the Hotel La Rose, 1 block up Wilson St and two blocks west on 6th, across the railroad tracks.
Updated Aug 8, 2008
Address: 52 West 6th Street
Like other towns in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa has a wealth of beautiful, quaint, or cute old neighbourhoods with interesting old houses.
In Santa Rosa the grandest old houses, including large plantation-style houses, and very substantial Victorians, tend to be concentrated mostly on and near McDonald Ave., just NE of downtown. These include Mableton, the mansion of Mark McDonald powerful local businessman who owned, among other things, the local power company. This house was used in the old Disney movie Pollyanna and is on a huge corner lot. McDonald Ave. has huge, beautiful old trees, too. Other nearby neat streets include Monroe, Spring, Proctor, 16th St., etc.
The Burbank Gardens area south of downtown has smaller, but very interesting homes in another old-fashioned neighbourhood. It is next to its namesake, south of Sonoma Ave., east of Santa Rosa Ave.
The South A St area is nearby and similar. It's mostly along South A St, but includes Sonoma Ave west of Santa Rosa Ave, Sebastopol Ave., Boseley St. It's between Hwy 101 to the west and Santa Rosa Ave to the east, south of downtown.
The Cherry St. area in the northern part of downtown has many Victorians. This area is primarily north of 7th St, south of College Ave., and between Mendocino Ave and E St.
The St.Rose area of northern downtown is another significant area. It is between Hwy 101 and Mendocino Ave, north of 7th and south of College Ave.
The West End is a neighbourhood north and west of Railroad Square, mostly between Wilson St and Dutton Ave, south of 9th St. It connects to the Ripley St neighbourhood, not yet officially designated, which is between Wilson/Cleveland Ave to the west, Hwy to the east, north of 9th and south of College.
On Mendocino and College Avenues, busy streets north of downtown, there are many other large, architecturally significant homes, many of which are now offices. Mendocino in particular has some significant houses, including the large Comstock house.
Updated Jan 31, 2008
There is a nice park/greenway, walking/bicycle path area along much of Santa Rosa Creek in downtown Santa Rosa, extending west from the corner of Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Ave. beyond Railroad Square all the way out to the Laguna de Santa Rosa west of town. It is very well-constructed, with different levels, and provides a nice opportunity to walk between these areas away from cars, etc., and connects to the new convention centre south of Railroad Square as well as to a small park with a playground. On can walk along it from the sourthern edge of downtown, under the freeway, to or beyond Railroad Square, and go out to eh countryside. It is now also connected to the Joe Rodota Trail, a pedestrian and bike path which goes right to downtown Sebastopol. The connection is at a bridge behind the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Railroad Square and there are signs. As a result, one can ride or walk on an improved path all the way between downtown Santa Rosa and downtown Sebastopol.
Updated Jan 24, 2008
Railroad Square is the most old-fashioned part of downtown Santa Rosa and is focused on Depot Park and the old Railroad Stations. One station, the old NWP depot, is made of rough-hewn basalt blocks like the nearby coffee house and the old La Rose Hotel across the street on Wilson Street. See my tip on the California Welcome Center. The other station, the Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad station, is at the south end of the square, is a Mission Revival building, and is now Chevy's restaurant. There are other neat old buildings on the various blocks in the area.
It was here, at the NWP depot, that Joseph Cotten arrived in Santa Rosa in the 1943 Hitchcock film Shadow of a Doubt. Much of the immediate area still looks basically the same, and several existing buildings, such as the Hotel La Rose on Wilson and the 1906 Lee Brothers building at 4th and Wilson, are visible in the film.
See also my tip on the California Welcome Center and my travelpage about Railroad Square and the West End.
One of the great things about this area is that, while kind of touristy and capitalizing on its old charm, it is still a "real" example of downtown, a normal, functioning, living area. It is not some artificial tourist trap with cheesy shirt stores and sweet shops found in places like Old Sacramento. Instead, it is still a normal, functioning part of town, typical of how Santa Rosa's downtown can be a great place to visit or relax while still functioning as a real town. Along with the nice eateries, hotels & antique stores, there are, among others, numerous old homes, new condos, offices, an appliance store, an engineering firm (where the modern hop-harvester was created), a feed/farm store, and 100-year-old warehouses still being used as such.
A final note is that the Railroad Square Association webstie (see below) has plenty of information on events and a "virtual" walking tour of the area.
Updated Jan 24, 2008
Spring Lake is surrounded by paths for strolling through oaks and scrub. The adjacent hills have paths for hiking. The scenery is beautiful. At dusk, we often see deer. Lots of dog walkers in morning.
Written Sep 24, 2007
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