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Novato, CA - Information & Property Search

Grant Street Bakery, Novato, Ca

At one time, the rest of Marin tried to pretend that Novato belonged to Sonoma County, but Novato's reputation as a cow-town is long gone.  Thanks to Novato's active downtown revitalization program, Novato's Old Town is a thriving retail center.  Small specialty boutiques, independent restaurants and cafes and many more (over fifty establishments on Grant Ave alone)give Old Town the old-fashioned main-street feel that Novato is famous for. 

Although it has a population of over 51,000 people, Novato prides itself on its small-town atmosphere.  It is the second largest city in Marin, and the northernmost, bordering Sonoma. Novato was recently rated by Money magazine at #16 out 100 as the best city to live and launch a small business.

Novato is spread over 28 square miles from peaks of over 1500 feet down to an elevation of 18 feet downtown.  Novato homes are scattered throughout Ignacio on the southern edge of town, Black Point and Bel Marin Keys along the bay, and large acreages and ranches on the west side, as well as the central part of town.  Hamilton Field is a community built on the beautifully restored Air Force Base, which was decommissioned in 1974.  The Novato Unified School District is devoted to high-quality public education, and the wonderful Novato Police Department keeps the crime rate much lower than the rest of the Bay Area.  Even with all that Novato has going for it, home prices here are still the most affordable in Marin.

Novato Creek winds through the city, beginning on the west side of Mt. Burdell and feeding into Stafford Lake.  It runs through the city before flowing through Bel Marin Keys and into San Pablo Bay.

Novato maintains its rural feel with over 3,600 acres of Open Space; naturally hiking, mountain biking, and birding are favorite pastimes.  1,558-foot high Mt. Burdell soars over the town, and receives a dusting of snow every winter.  Playgrounds and tot-lots dot the city, many in Novato's 27 parks.  Stafford Lake Park, 139-acres surrounding a gorgeous 195-acre man-made lake, is a major attraction for visitors and residents who enjoy fishing, hiking, and biking, and it is a popular spot for birthday parties and barbeques. Bird watchers, joggers and horseback riders can always be found along the Rush Creek trail, running beside the marsh at the base of Mt. Burdell.

In the mid-1850s, pioneers Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long planted 15,000 acres of orchards and vineyards over what is now the city of Novato.  The many walnut trees you see around town are remnants of that time.

Novato is proud of its agricultural roots and maintains a rural character.  However, Novato is an important center of business and light industry.  Novato is home to many technology and biotech companies, as well as the nonprofit Buck Institute for Age Research.  It also has an active retail trade.

The community gathers together for annual events such as the Novato Festival of Art, Wine and Music, held each June, the immensely festive 4th of July Parade in downtown, and the Labor Day Picnic and Fireworks at Stafford Lake.

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