Located in the rolling hills and valleys of northern Marin County, Novato is the second-largest community in the county. Formerly known as a gateway to the Wine Country, Novato is increasingly being discovered as a destination in its own right. The reasons: great weather, a lively downtown, and homes that provide the best value in Marin.
Upscale housing includes the luxury homes of Black Point, waterfront living on the lagoons of Bel Marin Keys, the wooded Alameda Del Prado, and Indian Valley Road and its horse-country estates.
Big-box shopping is concentrated in the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center, which houses a Costco, a Target, and a Macy's Furniture, among other businesses. Downtown, a beautification program has brought new life to the businesses along Grant Avenue. The downtown area is alive with a Tuesday evening farmers' market, outdoor movies, parades, and art and wine festivals.
In the '90s, military base Hamilton Field was converted to new housing and a business park. The former hangars now house cutting-edge biotech companies, digital development companies, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and more than 40 art studios. Novato is also headquarters of large insurance company Fireman's Fund, as well as the Buck Institute, a research organization that focuses solely on aging.