Make a Day of it Downtown on Santa Rosa’s Historic Fourth Street
Looking for a leisurely day of shopping in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County? There’s no better spot than downtown’s Fourth Street. Lined with redwood trees and historic shop fronts, this is the best place in town to find local, one-of-a-kind stores suiting just about every need or desire.
Fourth Street’s main shopping area stretches from the Santa Rosa Plaza down to E Street, a few scenic blocks that offer an extra-pleasant walk on a sunny day. Bars, cafés, restaurants ranging from Thai to Indian to “Rock ’n Roll sushi” (dreamed up by a celebrity chef), and even an English tea room round Fourth Street out into the kind of spot where you’re happy to let the afternoon drift by.
Here are a few of my favorite spots to shop, browse, and while away a day.
Have you ever been to the house of an eccentric acquaintance and spent hours marveling at his walls and walls of built-in bookcases, his exhaustive collection threatening to spill off the shelves?
Treehorn Books is like that, except you’re actually allowed to take the books home with you. Used and rare books are organized into sections as wide-ranging as “fiction” and as niche as “animals,” “mountaineering,” or “wine country bike rides,” meaning you can find just about anything here — except, maybe, Fifty Shades of Grey or The Hunger Games.
Instead, it’s the huge selection of the out of print, the classic, and the perennial favorites that have earned Treehorn a loyal clientele. True devotees of the written word should call ahead and make an appointment to visit the rare book room, a hidden space absolutely chock-a-block with the best obscure vacation reading you’ll find anywhere.
“It’s a collectible book lover’s dream,” said Grant Hotaling, whose family has owned Treehorn since 1979.
625 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-525-1782
This fun and colorful shop caters to stylish babies and kids, moms, and even trendy moms-to-be. Part Beatrix Potter storybook, part upscale fashion boutique, Cupcake will have even non-parents trying desperately to come up with friends’ kids they can buy an outfit for.
641 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-579-2165
Ninety percent of the hunts I’ve ever gone on for Christmas or birthday presents have eventually ended at Skeeter’s. And for good reason: it’s hard not to find something to please just about anyone in this little place. Skeeter’s specializes in high-quality women’s clothing and jewelry often made as close as a few blocks away, but before too long you’ll find yourself admiring the handbags, scarves, throw pillows, and other bits of beauty, too.
626 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-523-1651
Corrick’s is a classic Santa Rosa institution that continues to reinvent itself with refreshing modern twists. Owned and operated by four generations of the Brown family since 1915, what was once a simple stationery store is now a go-to destination for all things pretty.
While Corrick’s still specializes in custom-printed stationery and fine ink pens, its offerings today also include gorgeous china, Waterford crystal, wine-country-chic home goods, and pieces from some of the most respected artists participating in Santa Rosa’s annual ARTrails.
“We have things that you have a really hard time finding easily any more, even online,” said store employee Susan Nieblas.
The most recent addition to Corrick’s is also perhaps its most innovative: Right inside the store you’ll find the first wine tasting room in downtown Santa Rosa. Ancient Oak Cellars pours seven days a week from a long, custom-made wood bar right in the middle of the store, so you can sip before — or after — you shop.
637 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-546-2424
An old-school music store with every instrument imaginable and a hodge-podge of music books to match.
640 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-545-4827
Positively Fourth Street
The kind of store you go into meaning to buy a gift for someone else and always seem to leave with a gift for yourself, too. If it’s named after a Bob Dylan song, it must be good.
628 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-526-3588
In addition to those mentioned here, there are plenty of other fantastic stores on and near Fourth Street in Santa Rosa. Head downtown and find your own favorites! You may want to stop by the Santa Rosa Visitor Center for local maps and brochures.