Novato is the northernmost city in Marin County, California, and is located approximately 29 miles north of San Francisco and 37 miles northwest of Oakland. Novato, which covers 28 square miles, has a population of nearly 53,000—a density about one-half of San Rafael, and nearly one-third of Petaluma or Vallejo. Novato has a rural atmosphere largely because of its low population density and the high amount of open space and parks in and near the City.
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, a 16,000 square foot skate park and a network of 27 oak-studded parks. Novato’s 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 also drawn to Scottsdale Marsh, Deer Island Preserve and Pacheco Pond Wildlife Area. Slightly north of Novato, is the 900-acre Olompali State Park.
Novato has a proud tradition of community events within our historic Old Town, including the Novato Festival of Art, Wine and Music each June, our annual 4th of July Parade, Nostalgia Days Classic Car Show in August, the Downtown Farmers’ Market held from May through September, and our Holiday Tree Lighting in December.
The history of Novato dates back to 1300 when Miwok Native Americans lived in villages at the base of Mount Burdell.
Novato's restored Grant Avenue 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 one of the foremost non-profit, biomedical research institutes in the world and the first independent research facility in the U.S. to focus solely on aging and age-related conditions, the Buck Institute for Aging, a prominent complex on Mt. Burdell designed by famed architect I. M. Pei.
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