Even with a bustling population of more than 58,000 residents, of all the cities in Marin County, Novato best captures a small-town-America feeling. Located just below Petaluma, adjacent to Sonoma and Napa counties, and surrounded by oak and bay tree-studded hills, it’s about a half hour drive from San Francisco at non-peak times (but can take over an hour in traffic). Golden Gate Transit offers Wi-Fi on board and a very comfy commute of 55 minutes to just over an hour to San Francisco’s Financial District, depending on the starting point.
Novato offers immediate access to several mountain bike and foot trail systems, the refurbished Black Point Boat launch, and several children’s camps and family programs. Many homes enjoy generous lots with flat lawns, tons of sun, and a high quality school system. Some recent changes are making Novato an even more appealing choice. The Grant Avenue downtown business district has been charmingly redeveloped and includes Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and the Tuesday night farmer’s market. Along with the annual Art, Wine and Music Festival, Novato has become an extension of nearby Sonoma’s culinary focus.
Vintage Oaks Shopping Center offers just about every convenience, including both Costco and Target, as well as dining and live music at Hopmonk Tavern, and a whole host of other retail options. The beer garden at nearby Moylan’s Brewery is a great place to watch a game and is a favorite among locals. Ignacio valley's Pacheco Plaza is home to Nugget Market, Boca Pizza & Some Like it Hot Yoga & Boutique.
The history of the City of Novato in Marin County dates back to 1300 when Miwok Native Americans lived in villages at the base of Mount Burdell. Olompali State Park, named for a key Miwok settlement, is the site of the first Spanish colonial house believed to have been built in Marin County.
Novato has more than 3,600 acres of open space, making it a haven for hiking and mountain biking. The views from the 1,558 foot high Mt. Burdell are outstanding. Novato has two public golf courses and a network of 27 oak-studded parks, including a 16,000 square foot skate park for young skateboarders. Stafford Lake Park, a 139-acre expanse is a major attraction for visitors and residents who enjoy fishing, hiking, biking or day camping. Bird watchers and wildlife observers are drawn to Scottsdale Marsh, Deer Island Preserve and Pacheco Pond Wildlife Area.
Novato is served by Novato Unified Public School System, which includes the top-rated Pleasant Valley and Rancho Elementary schools.
Marin Country Club is an active, family oriented private country club in Marin with a vibrant social life on and off the course and courts located in southern Novato's Ignacio Valley.