Navato California




Rolling Hills and San Pablo Bay

Life in Novato

The city of Novato is a more contemporary town, with all the charm of its past. The nationally recognized Marin Museum of the American Indian is located here and pays homage to its Native American heritage. The first Spanish colonial house was built in Navota and is located in Olompali State Park. 

Downtown Novato has plenty to offer with beautiful, historic buildings like the Novato History Museum, City Hall, and Druid's Hall. Locals enjoy the weekly Farmers Market with fresh produce, products, and live music. If you like to shop, Novato's business district has charming boutique stores, delicious restaurants, and the Vintage Oaks Shopping center.

Novato has more than 3,600 acres of open space. Stafford Lake Park is ideal for fishing, hiking, biking, and camping, and Scottsdale Marsh, Deer Island Preserve, and Pacheco Pond Wildlife Area for wildlife observers. It is minutes away from Sonoma and Napa Wine country and also very close to major cities across the Bay Area. Novato is a family-friendly, affordable town located in idyllic northern Marin County. 

Affordability & Real Estate Insight

In 2020 515 homes were sold for a median sale price of $1,039,000. The sale price of these homes ranged from a low of $430,000 to a high of $4,250,000 – 44 of these homes were sold off the market. 260 condominiums sold in 2020 for a median sale price of $547,500. These condominiums ranged in price from $310,000 to $900,000.


The Novato Unified School District serves a diverse and varied population with ten elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools, in addition to special programs and continuing education. Novato is home to private, religious, and non-profit schools to serve a child's every need better.


Novato was originally the site of several Coast Miwok villages: Chokeche, near downtown Novato, Puyuku, near Ignacio, and Olompali, at the present Olompali State Historic Park. In 1839 the Mexican government granted the 8,876 acres of Rancho Novato to Fernando Feliz. The rancho was named after a local Miwok leader. Subsequently, four additional land grants were made in the area; Rancho Corte Madera de Novato to John Martin in 1839, Rancho San Jose to Ignacio Pacheco in 1840, Rancho Olompali in 1843 to Camilo Ynitia, son of a Coast Miwok chief and Rancho Nicasio, and the most extensive grant of 56,621 acres was awarded to Pablo de la Guerra and John B.R. Cooper in 1844. 
Novato, along with the rest of California, became part of the United States on February 2, 1848. Early pioneers included Joseph Sweetser and Francis De Long, who bought 15,000 acres in the mid-1850s and planted orchards and vineyards.

The first Novato post office opened in 1856, and the first school was built in 1859 at the corner of Grant Avenue and what today is Redwood Boulevard. The original town was located around Novato Creek at what is now South Novato Boulevard. A railroad was built in 1879, connecting Novato to Sonoma County and San Rafael. The area around the train depot became known as New Town and forms the edge of what today is called Old Town Novato. The current depot was built in 1917 but closed in 1959. The depot consisted of two buildings, a warehouse, and a station. The warehouse burned twice in the intervening years and was torn down in late 2007 to make way for a Whole Foods development while the station is still standing.

A Presbyterian church, still a landmark in Novato today, was built in 1896. The steepled red structure now houses Novato's city offices. The Great Depression of the 1930s had a marked effect on Novato as many farmers lost their land. After World War II, Novato multiplied with the construction of family homes and Highway 101 connecting Marin and Sonoma County to the north. Novato was incorporated as a city in 1960. Novato has maintained its agricultural heritage and charm. The outlying areas have many orchards and vineyards, and one can still see stands of pear and apple trees tucked into the well-established neighborhoods. Horse ranches in the Indian Valley neighborhood and around Stafford Lake's bucolic rolling hilling are reminiscent of Old Novato.