"Novato, California" Novato by karenincalifornia

Novato Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 85 photos

More than just a place with a Target and a Costco

Although some locals will take issue with this description, Novato, California is mainly a bedroom community of San Francisco. It has a population of over 47,000, but has a relatively small commercial base for its population size. The few substantial businesses, like Firemen's Fund and Birkenstock's US headquarters, certainly cannot employ the entire town. Many people living in Novato head south to San Francisco to work and shop.

Old reasons to come here

Although Novato is the town immediately to my north, I used to come here only for limited purposes - shop at Target (but only when I was mentally prepared for the crowds and long lines), get my car washed at Matt & Jeff's (they donate eScrip to schools!), or drive through town on my way to Indian Valley Golf Course.

New reasons to come here

Lately, in Novato, I have been exploring places I have overlooked. Novato has some beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails outside its developed areas. When I get away from the development and head for the hills, frankly, I'm surprised that I haven't spent more time here.

Out with the old, and in with the new...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Terrific hiking and biking, lots of open space, great weather (usually)
  • Cons:Too homogenous (but even that is changing), shortage of fantastic eateries (but that is changing too)
  • In a nutshell:A city/town still struggling to find its identity, but definitely worth a visit
  • Intro Updated May 30, 2006
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Reviews (5)

Comments (2)

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Poor old bypassed Novato.

  • May 21, 2007 at 12:08 PM

    Karen, Thank you for the wonderful photos. I grew up in Novato and appreciated its beauty. In High School I worked with the open space program, which was in charge of the grooming and up keep of the fire roads. I even have a photo of snow on Mt. Baldy.


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