15 Best Things To Do in Sonoma, California

Sonoma just isn’t America’s wine country but also has other facilities for enjoyment that keep the chef, sybarite, athlete and explorer inside you entertained fully. Hike, take drives, shuck oysters or nibble on local smoked salmon. And of course, don’t forget to taste the great local wine. Here we have covered you with all tourist attractions Sonoma and best places to visit in Sonoma.

Sonoma, CaliforniaImage Source: wikipedia.org


Let's explore Sonoma points of interest  and 15 best things to do in Sonoma:

1. Go Kayaking with Getaway Adventures

Randy Johnson’s team that runs Getaway Adventures take you down the county’s most picturesque waterways in bright yellow kayaks. You either go as two-person teams  or in small groups on the Russian River as also its coastal mouth at Jenner. This point is where the seals nap or frolic near Goat’s Rock Beach. Those seeking the Sun and adventure could ply the river stretch. Watch the mist roll into the coast during summer. Tough water shoes and waterproof clothing are advised. You can also go biking through the local vineyards.

2. Zip across trees with Coastal Redwoods

You will be simply enchanted by the towering redwood trees that dominate this seven-line course close to Occidental. Fly at nearly two hundred feet above the ground as you go streaking between trees at speeds of about 35 miles an hour. For the more adventurous, traversing the longest line at 850 feet is also possible. Rent helmets fitted with video cams to log your crazy flights. However, you have to be over 11 years of age and 70 pounds by weight.

3. Indulge the chef in you with Relish Culinary Adventures

A brainchild of Donna del Rey, who put Sonoma’s long vine growing seasons and abundant natural bounty to good use by instructing visitors on how to cook some great food easily. You can have a private cooking party for $1300. Learn to cook Applewood-smoked salmon, grill farm fresh peaches and make shallot pickle. You can also attend classes on mozzarella cheese making and canning.

4. Hike to Armstrong Redwoods Reserve

Just immerse yourself in the great natural beauty of the Armstrong Redwoods Reserve to chill out. Known for its short and flat loops meandering through its towering trees, the place is ideal for exploring on foot. The more adventurous have the option of tackling uphill ridges or walk 3 miles to numerous campsites located on the adjacent Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Facilities for drive-in camping also available. A great venue for family picnics and barbecues.

5. Enjoy your tipple and nibble around Healdsburg

This town comes alive in the afternoons as the morning fog fades. Join the locals as they hit the outdoors for snacks and cocktails. Go bar hopping and taste the traditional margarita or La Paloma at Mateo’s, the renowned Mexican restaurant. Zip across to Campo Fina to play bocce while munching on some brick oven-baked salsiccia pizza. Follow it up with sips of sherry and tapas at the Bravas Baron’s back patio. Taste some incredible local wines at the outdoor lounge of the Hotel Les Mars along with pork belly biscuits.

6. Taste the Tomales Bay Oysters

Hog Island Oysters is a great mid-week venue for tasting oysters. You get a glove, oyster shucking knife and ice tray for $5. The oysters cost extra. A great picnic zone on weekends. A must visit for oyster shuckers.

7. Go wine tasting at the Jordan Winery Estate

Go on this tour to avoid assembly line chaos so common to wineries. Rather, get VIP treatment as you join a twelve-member group to tour this picturesque property at Alexander Valley. This 3-hour interactive tour includes a walk in the vineyards and the chef’s garden coupled with vintage tastings of their Cabernet and Chardonnay wines at scenic spots. Its seasonal food tasting sessions using ingredients from local butchers and its house garden truly complement their excellent wines.

8. Just sip at The Barlow

The Barlow is Sonoma’s most happening wine and food destination. This 220,000-square-foot area is also host to a plethora of art galleries and shops but its main attractions are artisan wine, coffee, beer and edibles. Go wine tasting at your own free will at the Wind Gap, and the MacPhail. Take in the aroma of some great coffee roasting at Taylor Maid Farms. Experience live brewing at the Spirit Works distillery or tuck into Vignette’s crisp Neopolitan style pizzas.

9. Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse and Cowgirl Creamery

This is ideal for a half day sightseeing tour in Marin County, known for its spectacular coastal and country California scenery. Located on the Pacific Coast’s windiest point the Point Reyes Lighthouse dates back to 1870 and warned sailors of impending collisions and accidents. On your way to the lighthouse, you have to pass through Point Reyes village and try out some of its famous Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. The lighthouse is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Certainly worth a visit.

10. Try the heavenly menu at J Vineyards

J Vineyards’  six-course menu is a foodie’s delight and goes hand in glove with an array of some excellent still and sparkling wines. Enjoy it at the vineyard’s elegant Bubble Room, furnished with comfortable pea-green couches and tables for larger groups. The menu contains some amazing food, based on ingredients that are available seasonally such as heirloom tomatoes on its August menu, to quote one example.

11. Rest your tired feet at the Sonoma Plaza 

When you tire of traveling constantly on foot in Sonoma, take a break at the Sonoma Plaza. Host to several gourmet joints, this quaint town square is the ideal place for having a family picnic or just hanging out with friends. Watch the world go by as you tuck into some delicious food while also giving your feet that much required rest.

12. Go Napa Valley Wine Country Touring 

Napa Valley is yet another must-visit for wine enthusiasts and offers a tour to four wineries by way of the Napa Valley Wine Country Tour. You can take a ride by limo van, party bus or limousine from San Francisco and the tour also includes a picnic lunch and a Mimosa breakfast. Round trips from and back to San Francisco also available.

13. Pay a visit to General M.G. Vallejo’s Home

General Vallejo, a soldier, land grant holder and politician was responsible for California's independence and guided the procedure from Spain. His house at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains is worth a visit. The Victorian architecture, antique equipment and furnishings are also worth seeing. You also get to see the Fort and the Mission. Free parking is available or you could take a short walk from the plaza. Wine enthusiasts would also be interested as General Vallejo pioneered some award-winning Sonoma wines.

14. Pick up some great cheeses at the Vella Cheese Company

Here history comes together with some  fantastic cheeses. Vella's cheeses keep you coming back for more. There are also cheese tasting sessions for free. Moreover, prices too, are reasonable.  This destination is certainly worth checking out. Notable items include the Golden Bear Dry Monterey, Oro Secco Monterey and Mezzo Seco Monterey jack cheeses. The creamy Toma cheese is also worth tasting.

15. Take the Sonoma day trip 

With Napa and Sonoma valleys being a haven for wine enthusiasts, this tour takes you to Sebastiani Vineyards, Madonna Estate  and Sutter Home. Enjoy a splendid lunch at Sonoma Square downtown, known for its dining facilities and boutiques. You travel from Fisherman’s Wharf by coach and cross Golden Gate Bridge on the way. You’ll be amazed at how the Bartolucci family has combined conventional and modern wine-making technology to create some astounding wines at the Madonna Estate from grapes grown organically. The Sutter Home Winery owned by the Trinchero family offers you some great white zinfandel as also other high-quality wines. Discovering the super-premium wines of the Sebastiani Vineyards is yet another delightful experience.

Author: Meghana Agashe
Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession. The eternal love for exploring different places and cuisines, the urge to interact with people across cultures and the thirst for a...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Sonoma, California

Must see places in Sonoma ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of Sonoma tourist attractions & points of interest.

  1. # 1 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 312 times in trip plans
    Sonoma Valley

    Tags: Outdoors, Tour, Cafe, Restaurant

    Address: California, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Sonoma Valley on the western coast of USA is one of the major wine producing counties and is the birthplace of the Californian wine industry. Known as the Valley of Seven Moons, the valley has a ton o...Read more

  2. # 2 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 428 times in trip plans
    Simraceway Performance Driving Center

    Tags: Go Carting, Sport, Educational Site, Entertainment

    Address: 29359 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA

    Adrenaline junkies will get a kick out of this one. The Simraceway Performance Driving Center not only teaches you to enhance your driving skills, but also allows you your dream run with the McLaren 5...Read more

  3. # 3 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 472 times in trip plans
    Sonoma Plaza

    Tags: Landmark, Monument, Market, Plaza

    Address: 453 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Located in the central part of Sonoma, the Sonoma Plaza is the largest plaza in California. The Sonoma’s early 20th century city hall which is situated in the plaza’s center is still in us...Read more

  4. # 4 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 140 times in trip plans
    General M.g. Vallejo Home

    Tags: Museum, Vineyard

    Address: West Spain Street Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was the founder of the city of Sonoma Valley and was staying in an estate just north-west of the Sonoma Plaza till his death. The house, built sometime around 1850, h...Read more

  5. # 5 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 111 times in trip plans
    Bartholomew Park

    Tags: Outdoors, Trail, Park, Hiking Trail

    Address: 1695 Castle Road,Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    One of the most famous wineries in Sonoma was owned by Frank Bartholomew and his wife sometime in the 1940s. The family lived on a ranch close to the Bartholomew Winery and in 1990, after the death of...Read more

  6. # 6 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma
    California Missions Museum Image

    Tags: Museum, Specialty Museum

    Address: 24737 Arnold Drive/Hwy 121, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 04:00 pm Details

    California is home to some Spanish missionary settlements. As tourists, you may not be able to visit all of them, so the California Missions Museum has brought them all under one roof. This museum at ...Read more

  7. # 7 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 220 times in trip plans
    Sonoma Coast State Park

    Tags: Beach, Park, View Point, Leisure

    Address: Highway 1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    All the beaches along the Highway 1 in Sonoma County form the Sonoma Coast State Park. The beaches of South Salmon, North Salmon, Schoolhouse, Portuguese, Duncan’s Landing, Shell, Blind, and Goa...Read more

  8. # 8 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 65 times in trip plans
    Mountain Cemetery

    Tags: Tour, Cemetery

    Address: 90 First Street West, Sonoma

    Timings: 08:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Most of the revolutionaries who fought for the emancipation of Sonoma Valley from Mexico are laid to rest in the Mountain Cemetery. Located a few blocks away from the town centre, the cemetery is situ...Read more

  9. # 9 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 4 times in trip plans
    Gloria Ferrer Caves And Vineyards

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 23555 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves may sound like just another name in the list of vineyards in Sonoma but it stands out from the others for many reasons. First, the vineyard specialises in sparkling wine....Read more

  10. # 10 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 2 times in trip plans
    Ravenswood Winery

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 18701 Gehricke Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    This is one of Sonoma’s youngest vineyard. The production techniques here are have been borrowed from those at Bordeaux and Burgundy in France. This winery ages their wines in French oaks, with ...Read more

  11. # 11 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma | Added 21 times in trip plans
    Donum Estate

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 24500 Ramal Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Donum Estate specialises in the production of pinot noir and chardonnay. Their vineyards are in Carneros, Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. The bottles are named after the vineyard from which ...Read more

  12. # 12 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma
    Prohibition Spirits And  Hellocello Distillery

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 23570 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    If you have had too much of wine in Sonoma, what you need is a bit of change. And that change is the Prohibition Spirits Distillery. Started by Fred and Amy Goth in 2008, the distillery produces its o...Read more

  13. # 13 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma
    Viansa Winery And Italian Marketplace

    Tags: Library, Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard

    Address: 25200 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Founded in 1989, the Viansa Winery is the place to be if you like your wine with a view. Situated on the rolling hills near Sonoma, the vineyard has its own restaurant called they call the marketplace...Read more

  14. # 14 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma
    The Olive Press

    Tags: Farm

    Address: 24724 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:30 pm Details

    Olives are a supplementary business in Sonoma. The first olive mill was set up by The Olive Press. Through this business, they encourage small farmers growing olives in the region. Here you can sample...Read more

  15. # 15 of 277 Things To Do in Sonoma
    Sonoma Barracks

    Tags: Museum, Military Museum, Exhibition , Specialty Museum

    Address: 20 E Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    The Sonoma Barracks serve as another reminder of Sonoma’s struggle for freedom. It is just opposite the San Francisco Solano Mission and an integral part of the Sonoma State Historic Park. Built...Read more