With stunning wineries and some of the most breathtaking views in the country, Sonoma is the perfect place to live, enjoy a vacation home, or simply visit for an unforgettable vacation. Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Sonoma is a short 25-minute drive from Napa, another staple of wine country, and a little over an hour from the city of San Francisco.
If you’re planning a visit to Sonoma, you might be wondering how you can best spend your time. Here is an expert list to get you started!
Because of its popularity as a world-renowned wine lovers’ paradise, Sonoma is not often thought of as a family destination. However, there are plenty of things to do in Sonoma that are enjoyable for those of all ages.
Sonoma TrainTown Railroad
Open year-round, the Sonoma TrainTown Railroad is the ideal place for families with younger children. Parking and admission to the attraction are free, and visitors buy tickets for individual rides. In addition to the scaled-down mini railroad on four miles of track, the theme park also has a carousel, a Ferris wheel, and a mini roller coaster. It’s the perfect place for a birthday party or a fun family outing.
Go for a bike ride
There’s no better way to take in the sights of beautiful Sonoma than taking a scenic bike ride. The city of Sonoma features more than four miles of designated bike paths and routes, with the longest Sonoma City Trail extending for 1.5 miles, which is perfect for families with younger children. Along your journey, take in the sights at Depot Park, Olsen Park, and more. Are you just visiting or don’t yet have bikes for the whole family? No problem! You can easily rent a variety of bikes to ride on your adventure.
Explore the nightlife in Sonoma
Sonoma might not be the right place to find a hopping nightclub that stays open until the wee hours of the morning, but you can still have a wonderful time after the sun goes down.
Go to a winery
When it comes to fun-filled things to do in the evening or around dinner time, most people turn to Sonoma’s wide variety of outstanding wineries. Some of the best wineries to put on your list include Valley of the Moon Winery, Three Fat Guys, and Kamen Estate Wines. Other wineries of note include Roche Winery & Vineyards, which operates both a vineyard and a downtown tasting room (and also has frequent pop-up events with a local pizzeria).
Check out Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery for its gorgeous barrel room with antique redwood tanks, or Three Sticks Wines at the Adobe, located in a beautifully designed showcase home in downtown Sonoma.
Keep in mind that many wineries close relatively early after dinner, but tasting rooms tend to stay open a bit later. Always call ahead if you plan to visit a winery or tasting room to inquire about their hours of operation.
Visit a bar or pub
If wine isn’t your style (or you’ve already maxed out your wine-tasting capacity), you can enjoy a drink and some great conversation at establishments like Murphy’s Irish Pub, Steiner’s Tavern, or Starling Bar Sonoma.
Go shopping in Sonoma
Are you seeking some souvenirs from your trip, or do you need to find some fashion or home essentials? Sonoma has you covered! Here are some great places to shop when you’re in the area.
Sonoma Marketplace Shopping Center
As the bustling shopping destination of the valley, the Sonoma Marketplace boasts 28 restaurants and shops where you can pick up anything from groceries to the perfect outfit for your next wine tasting. From the Savory Spice Shop to Hollyhock, this is a great spot for a bit of retail therapy.
As a go-to retail spot in the community, Sonoma Plaza features all the best in fashion and some truly unique finds. Check out the high-end and one-of-a-kind offerings at J. James, Sign of the Bear Kitchenware, Perle, The Total Look, and more. Shop for new clothes at Bossa Nova Fashion Concepts, look for a birthday gift at Tiddle E. Winks, or find fashionable home goods at SummerVine. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Wine Country Chocolates or The Chocolate Cow.
Check out the fantastic restaurants
It’s no surprise that eating at fabulous restaurants is one of the favorite things to do in Sonoma for both visitors and residents alike. Whether you are pairing your wine tasting with some delicious accompaniments at a winery or going out to celebrate with a fancy meal, you’ll find a memorable dining experience in Sonoma. Here are some of the best places to grab your next meal.
The Girl & the Fig
With their seasonal menu and spectacular charcuterie plates, The Girl & the Fig is the ideal place for a relaxing lunch or light dinner. Along with their extensive wine and cocktail list, this outstanding restaurant offers appetizers like artisan bread and fried green tomatoes, entrees like the duck confit and quiche, and delicious seasonal salads and sandwiches.
Layla at MacArthur Place
If you’re visiting Sonoma, make time to eat at Layla, the boutique hotel’s popular restaurant. This Mediterranean kitchen focuses on organic, locally sourced ingredients to create delightful dishes like their crispy halibut sandwich, fusilli pasta with braised rabbit, and game hen with spinach and mustard flowers.
A Portuguese tapas restaurant, Tasca Tasca offers a unique dining experience that will stay in your memory for years to come. The rustic atmosphere is comforting, and the staff is always welcoming as they serve selections like Portuguese-style mac n’ cheese, shrimp passion fruit ceviche, and steak tartare. You can get three-, five-, or seven-item tasting plates for both lunch and dinner so that you can experience a variety of delicious choices and never go home hungry.
Have you fallen in love with wine country and would like to consider making it your primary home or purchasing a vacation home here? Reach out to trusted agent Ginger Martin
, a Sonoma
real estate expert with an unwavering commitment to excellence. She can help you with all your real estate buying needs.
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock