Hills, vineyards, towering redwood groves, and majestic oaks surround the city...


Hills, vineyards, towering redwood groves and majestic oaks surround the city of Cotati's unique, downtown hexagonal square. La Plaza Park and its bandstand hosts a Kids' Day Annual Parade and Festival, a summertime farmers' market and the Cotati Jazz Festival.

To maintain its small-town feel, Cotati residents – which total nearly 8,000 - voted in the 1990s to curtail growth by forbidding any annexation of land beyond a fixed urban boundary line. That ensures Cotati will remain a quiet residential community though it has also added to the surge in home values.

However, with the political winds changing and the lack of affordable housing throughout California enraging many voters, Cotati like other cities in the state are now required to add more housing stock.

Accordingly, homes for sale in Cotati will increase and buying a home in Sonoma’s wine country should be easier and slightly more affordable in the future.

Land Grants, the Riches of the Earth & Wooden Raceways

Cotati is named after the chief of the Poma tribe which settled the area long before the arrival of Europeans.

In the early 1800’s, the Mexican government was encouraging people to settle in Sonoma County which, they hoped, would stop Russian fur traders and settlers from drifting southward and colonizing more of Northern California.

A Mexican General from Texas in 1844 was given a land grant which included today’s Cotati. It covered over 17,000 acres. When California became part of the U.S. these large land grants were broken up and settlers began planting pastures of fruit trees, hops and grapes.

In the early 1920’s, one enterprising entrepreneur built a massive wooden speedway in Cotati – the Daytona 500 of its day he hoped – only to see it fail two years later. Fortunately for local residents, the acres of wooden planks from the speedway were used to build houses and downtown stores which remain to this day.

Peace, Love and a Hippy Hangout  

During the Summer of Love, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District was the center of  the hippy counterculture movement. As the hippy scene began to sour in San Francisco some of the long haired flower children bailed out of the city and moved to Cotati.

Two rather well known hippy communes were established in Cotati and many of San Francisco’s famous rock bands played there blasting their psychedelic sound at ear bleeding decibels (it’s not surprising that many of these musicians wear hearing aids today). These famous bands would often “road-test” their songs at Cotati’s Inn of the Beginning. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, Santana, the Grateful Dean and Janis Joplin all performed there.

The ‘60’s laid-back lifestyle continued into the 1970’s and Cotati gained a reputation as being a wonderful place to “chill” because of the town’s tolerance for unorthodox lifestyles. Many artists moved there because of the low prices compared to San Francisco which was just 50-miles away.

Continuing its “peacenik” reputation, during the Cold War, Cotati’s city council passed a resolution making the town a nuclear free zone. They banned the production and storage of nuclear weapons within city limits. Today, it’s nice to know that you won’t find any intercontinental ballistic missile silos cluttering up the city’s many parks and open space.

Festivals of the Strange

Cotati is know around Sonoma County for it rather odd and bizarre festivals and parades. For example, the folks in Cotati are proud to tell you that they have the world’s shortest parade, which is 60 to 100 feet long.

Cotati's local flavor can perhaps best be experienced at the quirky Cotati Accordion Festival, which attracts thousands of aficionados of the instrument to La Plaza Park for a weekend of all things accordion.

The city also sponsors more traditional  entertainment such as Jazz and arts festivals as well as Octoberfest.

Homes for sale

There are only two homes for sale in Cotati as of 3/23*. You can find more homes for sale in Sonoma County if you look elsewhere in the area. However, you’re unlikely to find homes for sale that are more affordable than in Cotati.

The least expensive home for sale in Cotati is a small 997 sq ft two bedroom, one bathroom home with an asking price of $699,000. The most expensive is a four bedroom, three bathroom newly constructed home that is 1,777 sq ft. The asking price is $1,049,000.

Prices in Cotati have declined by almost -18% from the previous year. However, because so few homes go on the market each year, this number really isn’t a good indicator of whether prices are declining or increasing.

The median price of a home in Cotati is just $645,000. Homes sell for 2.5% above their asking price and they take an average of 44 days to sell.

If you decide to buy a home in Cotati, be sure to practice flashing the peace sign to your new neighbors and don’t forget to bone up on your accordion skills.

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