The City of Novato is located 29 miles north of San Francisco, just off Highway 101 and about 40 miles from Oakland. Incorporated in 1960 and encompassing 43 square miles with 3,600 acres of open space and parks, Novato is an agreeable mixture of a variety of neighborhoods. Waterfront communities, horse farms, beautiful mansions, inviting family neighborhoods, are all part of the mix in Novato.
Novato’s recently restored Grant Avenue, “Old Town”, has made downtown Novato a welcoming place for visitors and residents to shop and dine. The Vintage Oaks Shopping Center, anchored by Costco and Target, includes more than 50 retail stores and restaurants. Well-known high technology companies have made their home in Novato, including the non-profit Buck Institute for Aging, a prominent complex on Mt. Burdell designed by famed architect I. M. Pei. The city is also home to Fireman's Fund Insurance, the county's largest private employer with about 2,500 workers.
With 3,600 acres of open space, Novato is a haven for hiking and mountain biking. The views from the 1,558 foot high Mt. Burdell are spectacular. 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.
At the Pacheco Ranch Winery, the oldest land grant property in California, visitors can observe how grapes are grown and enjoy fine California wine tasting. A lovely drive to the West, out Novato Blvd take you to the Marin French Cheese Company, where visitors can sample award winning cheeses and enjoy a picnic with views of the tranquil, surrounding meadow and pond.
Novato is largely a bedroom community — more than 7,600 students are enrolled in the Novato Unified School District — but the city also has made its mark in business and industry. Shopping in Novato ranges from the traditional stores and boutiques on Grant Avenue ("Old Town") to the large Vintage Oaks Shopping Center.
Hamilton Air Force base, decommissioned in 1974, has been transformed into a beautiful community with a mixture of high-end homes and affordable housing, as well as parks, office buildings and retail space. Many businesses have recently relocated here from other parts of the U.S. as the old hangers have been turned into beautiful office space.
Housing in Novato...
Housing in Novato is still affordable. One can still purchase a single family home for between $550,000 to $600,000, well below the Marin County average and slightly below the National average. Many town homes/ condo developments start in the low $300,000.