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5 Must-Visit Historic Sites In Novato, California


by Othelia Cecil


Novato, California, is a city steeped in history, boasting a rich tapestry of fascinating historic sites that offer a glimpse into the past. From well-preserved landmarks to immersive museums, Novato beckons history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike to explore its heritage. The city’s historic sites tell the story of its evolution, from its early beginnings to the vibrant community it is today. Whether you’re a history buff or simply eager to delve into the local culture, Novato’s historic sites promise an enriching and captivating experience. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the five must-visit historic sites that encapsulate the essence of Novato’s compelling history.

Novato History Museum

Immerse yourself in Novato’s rich history at the Novato History Museum. Housed in a former post office building dating back to 1850, this museum showcases the area’s heritage through engaging exhibits and artifacts. From the Miwok Native Americans to the arrival of European settlers, visitors can explore the diverse cultural tapestry that shaped Novato into the vibrant city it is today.

Olompali State Historic Park

Step into the past at Olompali State Historic Park, where centuries of history unfold amidst breathtaking natural beauty. This site holds evidence of human habitation dating back over 8,000 years, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Coast Miwok people. Visitors can wander through ancient village sites, explore the adobe house built by the Burdell family in the 19th century, and hike scenic trails that lead to panoramic views of the Novato countryside.

Rush Creek Preserve

Experience the legacy of the Gold Rush era at Rush Creek Preserve, a site that preserves the remnants of a once-thriving 19th-century dairy ranch. Stroll through the pastoral landscape and discover the historic Hagmaier barn, a tangible link to Novato’s agricultural past. As you traverse the rolling hills and meandering creeks, imagine the bygone days when this land played a vital role in sustaining the local community.

Hamilton Field History Museum

Delve into the aeronautical history of Novato at the Hamilton Field History Museum, located within a former air base established in the 1930s. This museum pays homage to the military personnel who served at Hamilton Field and provides insight into the base’s significant contributions during World War II and the Cold War. With its extensive collection of aircraft memorabilia and historical archives, the museum offers a captivating journey through Novato’s aviation heritage.

Marin Museum of Contemporary Art

Discover the intersection of art and history at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in a repurposed historic building that once served as a World War II military hospital. This vibrant cultural hub not only celebrates contemporary art but also honors the site’s wartime legacy. Through its thought-provoking exhibitions and diverse artistic programs, the museum invites visitors to engage with the evolving narratives of both art and history in Novato.


Novato, California, is a treasure trove of history waiting to be explored. From the awe-inspiring beauty of the Olompali State Historic Park to the fascinating exhibits at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Novato offers a rich tapestry of historic sites that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply someone who appreciates the stories of the past, Novato’s historic sites are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and embark on an unforgettable journey through time as you explore these must-visit historic sites in Novato, California.

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Q: What are the opening hours of these historic sites in Novato?

A: The opening hours vary for each historic site. It’s best to check the official websites of the respective sites for the most accurate and up-to-date information on their opening hours.

Q: Are these historic sites family-friendly?

A: Yes, most of the historic sites in Novato are family-friendly and offer educational and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages.

Q: Are there guided tours available at these historic sites?

A: Some historic sites offer guided tours, while others allow for self-guided exploration. It’s recommended to check with each site individually to inquire about tour options.

Q: Are these historic sites wheelchair accessible?

A: Many of the historic sites in Novato are wheelchair accessible, but it’s advisable to check with each site regarding specific accessibility features and accommodations.

Q: Can I take photographs at these historic sites?

A: Photography policies vary by site, so it’s advisable to review the photography guidelines of each historic site before your visit.