Things to do in Sonoma County
With a focus on wine, food and natural beauty, travel to Sonoma County is all about the finer things. An itinerary of things to do in Sonoma County can—and should—be a food-focused one. Make a reservation at one of the county’s renowned farm-to-table restaurants for fresh, five-star meals prepared with local produce, meats and cheeses. Or, check out the farmers’ market in historic Sonoma Plaza to pick up the ingredients for yourself.
No travel to Sonoma County would be complete to without time spent at its vineyards and wineries, but, with hundreds to choose from, trip planning can be daunting. Several tour options are available, including an afternoon outing bike with Sonoma Valley Cyclery. Eco-tourists can check out producers like Benziger Family Winery, who use sustainable, biodynamic practices in their winemaking process. Sonoma County travelers also have easy access to the great outdoors. Stand in the shade of old growth tree in the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve or set up camp in Sugarloaf State Park. Water-lovers can kayak along the Russian River or catch a glimpse of California’s North Coast at Sea Ranch.
Affiliated with Barndiva, Artists & Farmers carries artisan-made objets such as quilts stitched from antique saris and burled-wood bowls.
Howard Backen’s barnlike complex near the town of Sonoma houses several salons and lounges; choose between a flight of four, a five-course food-and-wine pairing, or a picnic by the pond.
The shop is a mash-up of beach cottage and kaleidoscope, where gingerbread- trimmed shelves brim with kids' clothes in a riot of colors and patterns.
In 1984, former garden designer and landscape design lecturer Alta Tingle opened her first shop, The Gardener, in Berkeley, California. She opened this second location in wine country in 1998 inside a corrugated metal barn that is surrounded by a large garden.
Run by husband-and-wife team Adam and Dianna Lee, Siduri Wines produces an average of 27 Pinot Noirs each year, more than any other winery in California.
Vintage furnishings with an industrial-meets-schoolhouse bent (drafting tables, Thonet chairs) are arranged into photo-ready vignettes.
Since opening in 2004, Cornerstone's Gardens has drawn international acclaim from publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Garden Design magazine.
The place is a local institution for dense and crusty sourdough loaves.
Independent and locally owned, this tiny coffee shop has now expanded to three locations, but the one just off the plaza in Healdsburg is the original. Inside the small space, tables are often filled with locals who come to sample the day's offerings, which are posted on a chalkboard.
Housed in a former dance hall, this small brewery is located in Guerneville, about two hours north of San Francisco. The company makes just a few beers at a time, with options ranging from the flagship Rat Bastard Pale Ale to the summery Bushwacker Wheat Beer, flavored with citrus and coriander.
Imagine a drive down a two-lane road through golden hills and river valleys on a retro Vespa, followed by private wine tastings and games of boccie ball. No, we’re not in Tuscany, but rather Napa and Sonoma—and exploring the region’s back roads European-style.
Access is by appointment only.
Specializing in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and sparkling wines, J Vineyards and Winery sources its grapes from 274 vineyard acres across the Russian River Valley. The winery, located just outside of Healdsburg, includes two tasting rooms and a large terrace.