The 10 Best Museums in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, nestled in the heart of California’s wine country, is a cultural gem waiting to be explored. Among its many attractions, the city’s museums stand out as a testament to its rich history, vibrant art scene, and scientific wonders. Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, or a family looking for an educational outing, Santa Rosa’s museums offer a little something for everyone.

1. Charles M. Schulz Museum

For fans of the beloved Peanuts comic strip, the Charles M. Schulz Museum is a must-visit. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the world of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang. The museum features original sketches, comic strips, and memorabilia that celebrate the legacy of Schulz’s work. Interactive exhibits and a replica of Schulz’s studio make it feel like you’re stepping right into the cartoonist’s creative process.

2. Sonoma County Museum

The Sonoma County Museum, also known as the Museum of Sonoma County, is a cultural beacon showcasing regional history and contemporary art. With a diverse collection that spans from historical artifacts to modern installations, this museum offers a deep dive into the area’s past and present. The rotating exhibitions ensure there’s always something new to discover, making each visit a unique experience.

3. Pacific Coast Air Museum

Aviation enthusiasts, get ready to soar at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of aircraft, from vintage warbirds to modern jets. The museum’s open-air setting allows you to get up close and personal with these mechanical marvels. Special events like the “Climb Aboard” days let visitors sit in the cockpit, a thrilling experience for kids and adults alike.

4. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

While not a museum in the traditional sense, the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens is a living exhibit of horticultural history. The famed botanist’s residence and experimental gardens are a testament to his life’s work. Strolling through the gardens, you’ll encounter a variety of plant species developed by Burbank himself. The on-site greenhouse and a museum with Burbank’s personal belongings round out the experience.

5. Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

For families with young ones, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County offers an interactive playground for the mind. The museum’s exhibits are designed to spark curiosity and encourage learning through play. From a miniature Russian River for water play to a science and imagination gallery, it’s a place where kids can touch, explore, and discover.

6. Art Museum of Sonoma County

Sharing a space with the Sonoma County Museum, the Art Museum of Sonoma County focuses on the visual arts. It features works from local, national, and international artists. The museum’s commitment to showcasing a wide array of mediums – from painting and sculpture to video installations – makes it a dynamic destination for art lovers.

7. California Indian Museum and Cultural Center

The California Indian Museum and Cultural Center shines a light on the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of California. Through a rich collection of artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays, visitors gain insight into the traditions and contemporary issues facing California tribes. It’s an educational resource that fosters understanding and appreciation for the state’s original inhabitants.

8. Bennett Valley History Museum

Located within the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, the Bennett Valley History Museum is a hidden gem. It’s a small but fascinating place filled with local lore. The museum’s exhibits focus on the early settlers of Bennett Valley and the development of Santa Rosa. It’s a quiet spot that offers a glimpse into the lives of those who shaped the region.

9. Railroad Square Historic District

While exploring Santa Rosa, don’t miss the Railroad Square Historic District. This area, with its beautifully restored buildings, feels like a living museum. It’s home to antique shops, boutiques, and eateries, all housed in structures that date back to the early 1900s. The district’s history as a railroad hub is evident, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon.

10. The Museum of International Propaganda

Last but not least, The Museum of International Propaganda offers a thought-provoking look at the art and artifacts of propaganda from around the world. With items spanning the 20th century to the present, the museum examines how governments have influenced public opinion through propaganda. It’s a fascinating, if somewhat sobering, exploration of the power of persuasion.


  • What are the admission fees for these museums?

    Admission fees vary by museum. Some, like the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, offer free admission, while others charge a modest fee. It’s best to check each museum’s website for the most up-to-date information.

  • Are there any special discounts available?

    Many museums offer discounts for seniors, students, and members of the military. Some also participate in reciprocal programs that provide free or discounted entry to members of other museums.

  • Can I visit multiple museums in one day?

    It’s possible to visit several museums in one day, especially if they’re located close to each other, like the Sonoma County Museum and the Art Museum of Sonoma County. However, to fully appreciate each museum, you might want to spread your visits over a couple of days.


Santa Rosa’s museums offer a rich tapestry of experiences that reflect the diversity and creativity of this Northern California City. From the whimsical world of Charles M. Schulz to the historical depths of the Bennett Valley History Museum, there’s a wealth of knowledge and enjoyment to be found. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these top 10 museums provide a unique glimpse into the art, history, and culture that make Santa Rosa truly special. So next time you’re in town, why not take a cultural journey through these remarkable institutions? You’re sure to come away with new insights and cherished memories.

Kurby Team

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