A friendly place to gather in Santa Rosa Ca

For the past 21 years, Santa Rosa’s best gathering place has been the popular summertime Downtown Market. A wonderful place to mix, mingle and meet people, it is held every Wednesday evening from mid-May to late August. Occupying over 3 city blocks and the central Courthouse square, this outdoor street faire creates an energetic and festive atmosphere for residents and visitors alike. The near-guarantee of great weather in the summer months in Santa Rosa provides an ideal backdrop for food, music, arts and crafts, and of course, an abundance of seasonal produce and fresh cut flowers.

This is a friendly event and offers plenty of opportunities to strike up a conversation. Talk to a local cheesemaker or learn about heirloom tomatoes from a family farmer. Ask questions from the young woman making hemp jewelry or the artist who specializes in local landscape photography. Pick a card from a roaming magician or play with adoptable puppies brought to the market by Humane Society volunteers.

Meeting other famlies is easy around the kids face painting or pony ride attractions. Enjoying the music? Join in the often free-form dancing that spontaneously errupts in front of the main stage. Are you looking to meet others who share your social or political views? Join in some hearty debate in the free speech section or visit one of the many booths hosted by local charities and nonprofit groups, located throughout the market. Many people forgo the car and ride bikes to the market, which offers conveneint and secure “valet” bike parking. Some summer evenings, it’s almost an community event in itself to take part in the two-wheeled trek to the market.

Often one of the best ways to meet others is through casual encounters that happen as families, singles and seniors enjoy picnic suppers in the lovely town square while local musicians entertain. There are numerous food vendors offering everything from tamales to turkey legs. Additionally, local establishments that line the pretty street welcome attendees to enjoy a sit down meal, linger over a cup of joe or enjoy a microbrew with new friends. Throughout the summer, as folks return week after week, new friendships are formed and kindred spirits are connected.

Originally started by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Market is now operated and managed by its own nonprofit organization. It is free and according to the Santa Rosa Market website, attracts over 120,000 visitors each year. No doubt many return because it’s Santa Rosa’s best place to meet people!