Rohnert Park, California


Looklyloo Score: 82

View Full Profile


What's it like to live in Rohnert Park?

Cotati/Rohnert Park vs Petaluma

I live in RP. It's a nice place to raise a family. No real crime, though petty property crime is rising. Extremely convenient home-life shopping - every large box store in the country seems to have found a spot here. Some very good restaurants, but admittedly a lot of ho-hum besides a few winners. Plenty of open/park space. Traffic isn't too bad once you actually enter RP, but entrances/exits at 101 can be tough at commute times. Still better than west Petaluma though.

RP is distinctly not exciting. SSU has some interesting events, as does the casino. Nice farmer's market in season. But otherwise, it's pretty generic. Works for me, I sort of prefer it that way at this stage of my life, but it's not everyone. I don't think anyone is miserable because of the town's embrace of suburbia, but may find better options elsewhere if that doesn't appeal to you.

Cotati is pretty cool but if NIMBYism is already bothering you - new things coming to town can get heated there. RP is pretty neutral. Unless you try to put up a homeless shelter right by a neighborhood, then things get loud.

Cotati/Rohnert Park vs Petaluma

My husband and I grew up here in Rohnert park, as did a large portion of our friends, but I’ve never experienced anyone being against transplants moving here from other places. Rohnert park didn’t even exist before the 1950s, so literally all of our parents who moved here were transplants from elsewhere. The one thing I do notice people complaining about, is that all of the new houses they’re building seem overpriced and have hardly any back yard.

As far as walkability, it’s actually not too bad, as long as you don’t live on the very edge of town (for example, in the new W section). I can walk to the grocery store in about 20 min, but it’s my preference to bike there since it’s so much faster. If you’re into biking, bike lane quality varies throughout town, and definitely avoid biking on Golf Course Drive, as biking accidents are common there.

The schools are fairly good, and for Elementary school you can choose which one to send your kids too. You aren’t required to send them to the school in your neighborhood if you like another one better. The different schools have different focuses and teaching styles, and there’s even a year-round elementary school option.

My in-laws moved to Petaluma, and every time we visit them, I feel like Petaluma is just kind of a bummer compared to RP, in terms of ambiance. RP has lots of redwoods, parks, and multiple creek trails… Petaluma just feels a little bland in comparison, so I sort of know what you mean!

Cotati/Rohnert Park vs Petaluma

I grew up in San Francisco and we moved to Petaluma in 2012. At that time, it was right on the cusp of the mass influx of San Franciscans, but as soon as I got there I definitely felt like an outsider. I lived on the west, and people were generally friendly and very open to conversation, but it felt very obvious that I was an outsider to them. The kids have their friend groups well established by 1st/2nd grade, youth baseball is a cult among the parents (this was the year Petaluma little league won the championship or something), and there's definitely a big Karen vibe among people in the west. You can't do ANYTHING without someone watching you, or worse, getting into your business and asking a bunch of questions. Once my dad and I went to dump some cardboard boxes at Grant Elementary's recycling, and this lady who was walking her dog decided to interrogate us.

I live in Rohnert Park now, and I like it a lot better. Sure, we don't have a downtown, but the neighborhoods are newer, there are more parks accessible to every neighborhood, and the houses are better. Also, the culture is a lot more welcoming because most people who live in Rohnert Park are not multi generational families who have been here since the dawn of time. The newer neighborhoods are a lot more culturally diverse and people are very social. Just stay away from D, E, F, and R section. Those tend to have longer term residents and a LOT more wackos. R is full of cops, and D section is the only place I have seen trump flags in Rohnert Park.

[22 Male] Moving to North Bay Area for a job offer and debating on living in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, or Novato

Move here to Petaluma. You could look at Theater Square apartments if you like being downtown. There's always cool stuff going on. I moved here from FL last summer after looking at Novato, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa. I don't regret landing in Ptown.

Novato is nice but it's a lot quieter. I feel like it's more of a retiree place. It's not so much closer to SF that it's worth living there and commuting to Petaluma.

Rohnert Park is definitely the most affordable and it is close to both Petaluma and Santa Rosa. So if you don't mind a little bit of driving or you're used to it, that could be a good deal too.

You could also look at Cotati and Pengrove. They're nice little communities.

I'm a little older than you (42) but if you have any questions about being a recent transplant here, message me. I grew up near Grand Rapids so I may have a little shared perspective.

[22 Male] Moving to North Bay Area for a job offer and debating on living in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, or Novato

I wouldn't worry about distance to SF. If you don't work there it is unlikely you will be going there enough to have that influence your location.

Santa Rosa is a larger city, so it has a real downtown with quite a few restaurants, bars, clubs (sorta) and whatnot. Definitely a fun place for a young person if you live walking distance.

Rohnert Park is a lot smaller and less exciting in my book. More of a quiet family area with some hippies, but I don't really go there much so I could be corrected.

Novato is pretty darn boring and caters to people that commute into SF. Not worth the price and definitely not an enticing place to live for somebody in their 20's.

Honestly, I would say you should live in Petaluma proper. Its a cool large town/small city with a great downtown. Good selection of bars, breweries and restaurants. Leaves you close to both Santa Rosa and SF if you want more or different entertainment. Also, you will thank me later that you don't have to commute down Highway 101. It is a nightmare.

Living In Rohnert Park Ca | Everything You Need To Know (VLOG TOUR)