7.0 out of 10


Ranked 52nd best city in California
38.0954530076849 -122.555053213484
Great for
  • Schools
  • Safe & Sound
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Resale or Rental Value
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Professionals
  • Country Lovers
  • LGBT+


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5

"Safe, Upscale Suburb"

Novato is Marin County’s northernmost town and borders on Sonoma County, but is much more high-end yuppie developments and less wine country meets farm country. Unlike its southern neighbor, San Rafael, Novato is comprised primarily of very wealthy older adults and families. Aside from a few less developed areas close to the interstate, the area is very white-bread, with some strong East Coast influences.

Three-bedroom houses in the more compact developments with no backyards can run close to a million dollars, and while the beautiful hillside views and a near-perfect climate are great, it is tough to justify the price.

Marin County, especially northern Marin County, is far less attractive to young professionals than comparable towns and neighborhoods on the Peninsula. While both are family-friendly, Marin lacks the density of fun, popular downtown areas and trendy restaurants that one will find in towns like Palo Alto and Redwood City. However, if you want a safe, family-oriented bubble with great hiking in the hills, and proximity to San Francisco, Wine Country, and the redwoods, Novato may just be the ideal place.
  • Safe
  • Clean and modern
  • Nice parks nearby
  • Very expensive
  • Very quiet and suburban
  • Some cell phone dead zones
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers

Best Neighborhoods in Novato



"Great Place to Raise Kids"
38.1054834512693 -122.578944811361

Unranked Neighborhoods in Novato


"Main Drag, Nice Houses"
38.1228991704121 -122.583627657398


"Very Nice, Very Expensive"
38.0647800136233 -122.554513358675

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