Introduction to Novato, California

Novato, California, in Marin county, is 9 miles SE of Petaluma, California (center to center) and 24 miles N of San Francisco, California. It's part of the San Francisco Bay Area. Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and several biotech firms are located in the city. Notable companies located at the former Hamilton Air Force Base include Sony Imageworks, Smith & Hawken, Birkenstock Distribution USA and Visual Concepts Entertainment. Rolling hills, cow farms and numerous ranches are located near the western portion of the city.

Novato History

The area originally included several Coast Miwok villages. The city was established in 1839 as Rancho de Novato by a land grant by the Mexican Government. Four additional land grants were created in the area. During the middle of the 1850's Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long purchased a large acreage and developed orchards and vineyards.

The railroad arrived in 1879 and connected the city with Sonoma County. During the Great Depression a large number of farmers lost their land. After World War II a vast number of homes were built. The city was incorporated in 1960. The Hamilton Air Force Base was decommissioned in 1974 and now includes homes and office buildings.

Novato and nearby Attractions

  • Miwok Park/Marin Museum of the American Indian is a notable venue.
  • Novato Arts Center at Hamilton Field.
  • Novato History Museum.
  • Novato Old Town features unique shops and attractive historic buildings.

Novato Activities

Stafford Lake is popular for fishing and picnicking and includes a scenic nature trail. The nearby Muir Woods is a well known scenic location and features the impressive coast redwood trees. Residents and visitors enjoy touring the nearby wineries located in Napa and Sonoma and the Pacheco Ranch Winery located in Novato. Samuel P. Taylor State Park features grasslands and coast redwood groves. The close by scenic Point Reyes, situated along the coastline features a vast number of bird species, a historic lighthouse, panoramic views, a variety of landscapes and scenic walking trails.

Olompali State Historic Park offers scenic views. Mt. Burdell is popular with hikers. Golf enthusiasts enjoy playing at the scenic Indian Valley Golf Club and the Stone Tree Golf Club. San Francisco is about a thirty minute drive away. The scenic Mount Tamalais State Park includes redwood trees and spectacular views. The beautiful and charming city of Sausalito, situated along the San Francisco Bay is a popular tourist location.


Total Population 54,133
Male Share of the Population 48.3%
Female Share of the Population 51.7%
Senior Citizens 17.1%
Employed Population 16+ 26,327
Age of the Population 44


% of people married 51.6%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 44.8%
Median Earnings25+ $45,607
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $19,679
Median Earnings With High School Degree $30,226


Median Family Income $100,471
% Above Poverty Level 92.3%
% Below Poverty Level 7.7%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 31 minutes
% Working from Home 5.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.5%
% Using Public Transportation 7.3%


People Living Alone 30%
Median Gross Rent $1,708
Median House Value $579,700


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 32%
US/American 0.1%
English 10.8%
Irish 14.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Novato Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 9 miles SE of Petaluma, California (center to center)
Nearest Large City 24 miles N of San Francisco, California
County Marin
Standard Zip Codes 94945, 94947, 94949
P.O. Box Zip Codes 94948
Company Zip Codes 94998
Phone Area Codes 415
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 38.107
Longitude -122.568

Novato Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 7.7 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 56 F
Apr Temp 47 to 69 F
Jul Temp 55 to 81 F
Oct Temp 51 to 74 F
Annual Precip 34.2 inches
Distance 11.9 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 58 F
Apr Temp 44 to 70 F
Jul Temp 52 to 83 F
Oct Temp 48 to 77 F
Annual Precip 25.8 inches
Station SONOMA
Distance 14.4 miles
Jan Temp 37 to 58 F
Apr Temp 43 to 72 F
Jul Temp 52 to 90 F
Oct Temp 46 to 80 F
Annual Precip 30.6 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Novato, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Bel Marin Keyes (94949)

Black Point (94945)

Ignacio (94949)

San Marin (94945)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Fairfax 7,584 $132,973
Larkspur 12,219 $121,486
Petaluma 59,340 $90,608
Ross 2,306 $220,341
San Anselmo 12,566 $128,469
San Rafael 58,819 $100,503

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Novato Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(415) 209-1300
Emergency Service: Yes

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Novato High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,134 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21

Serves 1,062 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22

A Charter School.
Serves 111 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

A Non-traditional School
Serves 111 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.2

A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 59 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.8

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