The City of Novato, one of the Bay Area's premier communities, is located in Marin County 29 miles north of San Francisco. Novato is the second largest city in the county. Incorporated in 1960 and encompassing 43 square miles with 3,500 acres of open space and parks, Novato is an agreeable mixture of a variety of neighborhoods. Waterfront communities, horse farms, and beautiful mansions are all part of the eclectic collection that is Novato.

Novato began as Rancho de Novato, a Spanish land grant given in 1839 to Fernando Feliz, but its roots are far deeper.

Olompali State Historical Park, just north of the city, is named for a key Miwok settlement, Olemaloke, that dates to 1300. Scholars debate the significance of an Elizabethan coin found nearby. Did it belong to Sir Francis Drake's crew that hit the coast in 1579.

The only battle of the Bear Flag Rebellion, which led to California's statehood, was fought at Olompali in 1846, and the Burdell family later established the first formal garden in Marin there in the 1870's.

The Chosen Family hippie commune serenaded by Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead lived in the old Burdell mansion until it burned in 1969.

Hamilton Field, on the southeast side of the city, served as an Army airfield from 1935 to 1947 and continued military operations to 1975. After years of wrangling, Hamilton opened in 1999 as a community of new homes. Cal Land's Novato office is located at 7250 Redwood Blvd, Suite 208.

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 form the traditional stores and boutiques on Grant Avenue in "Old Town" to the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center.

The city is home to Fireman's Fund Insurance, the county's largest private employer with about 2,500 workers. The nonprofit Buck Institute for Research in Aging, located in a striking complex on the slopes of Mount Burdell, is on the leading edge of biomedical research and the science of aging.

→ City of Novato
→ Novato Chamber

Important Phone Numbers

Police / Emergency Services: 911 (emergency) | 415-897-4361 (non-emergency)
Parks & Recreation: 415-899-8200
Town Services: 415-899-8900

School Links

    Novato School District

STAR Reports

    Novato Unified School District

Demographics - 2000 census

Total housing units: 18,975
Median household income: $76,146