About Novato

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Get to Know Novato through our community:

Spirit of ‘Can-do’

“The City of Novato is a collaborative partner in our mission to educate 8,000 children of the Novato Unified School District. What makes Novato special is its family-oriented community that values education. The employees of both the school district and the city work together on many issues from facilities usage to outreach to at-risk youth. I am proud to serve as the Superintendent of the Novato Unified School District and consider myself a partner with the City of Novato.”

–Shalee Cunningham, former Superintendent, Novato Unified School District

A Place to Get Business Done

"With a successful mix of corporate headquarters, state-of-the art technology companies, and a variety of both specialty and large-scale retailers in our community, Novato IS the place to do business," said Coy Smith, Executive Director of the Novato Chamber of Commerce. "We offer access to one of the most talented and educated workforces in the U.S. as well as to a sophisticated consumer market. Whether you are a new business or looking to expand or relocate, get to KNOW NOVATO—we welcome your business."

– Coy Smith, CEO, Novato Chamber of Commerce


Community with a Heart

“Through thoughtful, progressive actions of local non-profit leaders, elected officials, concerned residents, and others, Novato is becoming known as much for its equity as its prosperity. The Marin Community Foundation proudly partners with this community to strengthen the common good locally and beyond.”

– Thomas Peters, Ph.D., President and CEO, Marin Community Foundation


Sweet Home Novato

“Novato, with its vast, green hillsides, is the ideal location for our research campus:  although our scientists hale from 30 nations, all are made to feel at home in this highly-educated, environmentally-friendly City.  Nearly half our employees live within Novato—a testament to the availability of quality, affordable housing to people still young in their careers.  The City’s people-oriented focus and friendly staff make Novato City government a pleasure to work with.  We count ourselves fortunate to call Novato ‘home.’”

– Mary McEachron, Chief Administrative Officer, Buck Institute for Research on Aging


Overview

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.

We have 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. The history of this early culture is celebrated in two fascinating sites in Novato, the Marin Museum of the American Indian and Olompali State Park, which is the site of the first Spanish colonial house believed to have been built in Marin County.

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.

Novato’s business mix includes corporate headquarters, state-of-the-art technology companies, and a variety of retail centers. The Novato Unified School District is the City’s largest employer with approximately 1,280 employees and it serves over 8,000 students in kindergarten through high school in eight elementary, three middle, two high, and three alternative schools.


 Just a few of the many things we are proud of in Novato:

  • We are a safe community & devote ourselves daily to the well-being of our residents. Our City has historically-low crime rates, which continue to decline year after year.
  • We respect our environment and plan for a sustainable future: we have integrated recycled water into our irrigation systems; are an early adopter of a Climate Change Action Plan; established ordinances to protect Novato’s hillsides & wetlands; are a leader in Green Building Standards & our Streetlight/LED Conversion Program.
  • Well-known high technology companies and a growing biotech sector 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.
  • Our historic downtown which serves as a welcoming place for visitors and residents to shop and dine. It is the heart of our City, home to our City Hall and offices, and hosts our many annual community events.
  • Our vast open space and parks in and near the City--more than 3,600 acres of protected open space within the City limits (that includes our 27 oak-studded parks)--making it a haven for hiking and mountain biking.
  • 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.
  • The views from the 1,558 foot high Mt. Burdell are outstanding.
  • A great place to raise a family! Great schools: Novato Unified School District is the City’s largest employer with approximately 1,280 employees and it serves over 8,000 students in kindergarten through high school in eight elementary, three middle, two high, and three alternative schools.
  • Still affordable compared to the rest of Marin; high-rate (68%) of owner-occupied housing.
  • Arts & Cultural offerings--we have history and art museums, art studios, a theater company, and a soon-to-be renovated historic Novato Theater.
  • A thriving Hamilton community--a grand example of successful redevelopment of a former Air Force base.
  • Our many, unique neighborhoods

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