Novato is the northernmost city in Marin County, located 29 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The city straddles US Highway 101 and the Western end of State Highway 37. Novato covers 28 square miles and has a relatively low population density and a high amount of open space and parks in and near the city.
Novato has been the fastest growing city in Marin County for the past few years and now has 53,357 residents, according to the State Department of Finance. Despite the growth, Novato is still the second-largest city in Marin, behind San Rafael.
Novato Real Estate is among the most affordable in Marin County with properties ranging from beautiful multi acre properties in the high $4 million range to modest single family homes and condos as low as $165,000. The median price as of year end 2010 is $692,000. For additional information on Novato Real Estate, click on the Novato Real Estate link for weekly updated statistics or the Novato Monthly City Report Link.
Other quick facts: The highest point in Novato is Mt. Burdell at 1,558 feet. The elevation in downtown Novato is 18 feet. The mean annual temperature is 67 degrees, with an average minimum of 46 degrees and an average maximum of 71 degrees. Rainfall averages approximately 27.5 inches per year. Novato is California’s 153rd largest city.
About Novato’s community…
Novato Residents love the sense of community, the safe environment and the fact that the people are down-to-Earth. The small-town feel and community events bring people together and make it a great place to raise a family.
Major community events include the Farmers’ Market (weekly from April through October), the Novato Festival of Art, Wine and Music each June, Concerts in the Park throughout the summer, the annual 4th of July Parade in downtown Novato and the City’s Labor Day Picnic at Stafford Lake.
Novato is also a great place to live because of all the outdoor recreation opportunities. The city itself is home to a total of twenty-seven parks, including three major city parks.
Novato boasts seven county-maintained open space preserves with more than 2,600 acres of open space. That includes 1,600 acres surrounding Mt. Burdell in Northern Novato. If you add Olompali State Park, just north of Novato, then the total is nearly 3,500 acres. Novato’s great weather (warmer than its south county neighbors) makes an ideal spot to enjoy the outdoors.
Good schools are also a draw for many people. The Novato Unified School District serves more than 7,600 students in kindergarten through high school. The District encompasses nine elementary schools, three middle schools and three high schools.
In addition to education, shopping is a popular pastime in Novato, which is home to the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center. There you’ll find Costco, Target, Sephora and Macy’s Furniture Store, among many others. Novato also has seven full service supermarkets including Trader Joe’s and upscale markets such as the new Paradise Foods and Whole Foods.
The multi-million dollar revitalization of Novato’s downtown corridor is complete and there you can find dozens and dozens of small businesses, including restaurants, offices and boutiques.
The City of Novato successfully mixes corporate headquarters, state-of-the art technology companies and a variety of retail centers in its business community. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company is the City’s (and Marin County’s) largest employer with 2,400 employees.
In addition to Fireman’s Fund, Novato is the corporate headquarters for footwear company Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, high-end gardening retailer Smith and Hawken, and The Republic of Tea, one of the largest tea distributors in the United States.
The city is also home to the Buck Institute for Age Research, one of the foremost non-profit, independent biomedical research institutes in the world. As for technology, several companies are based in Novato, including DriveSavers data recovery and Sonic Solutions.
The former Hamilton Air Force Base is also in Novato, but was decommissioned in 1974 and designated a Historic District in 1998. Today it is the site of new homes, parks, and businesses including Disney animation studios and charitable organizations like the multi-billion dollar Marin Community Foundation.
A little history…
Novato’s rich history began in 1839 when the Mexican government granted Rancho de Novato, consisting of some 8,876 acres to Fernando Feliz, who acted as a facilitator in settling the land. Subsequently four additional land grants were made in the area: Rancho San Jose to Ignacio Pacheco in 1840, Corte Madera de Novato to John Martin, a Scotsman, in 1840, Rancho Olompali awarded in 1843 to Camillo Ynitia, son of a Coast Miwok chief, and Rancho Nicasio, by far the largest at 56,621 acres, awarded to Don Pablo de la Guerra and John Cooper in 1844. Novato, along with the rest of California, became part of the United States on February 2, 1848. Early pioneers included Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long who bought 15,000 acres in the mid-1850s and planted orchards and vineyards.
Here are links to useful websites about Novato. Scroll down to watch a video.
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