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TOP THINGS TO DO IN SONOMA

CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP GUIDE


Sonoma is a short and very worthwhile detour from the Pacific Coast Highway or San Francisco. Besides being the heart of California's wine country, Sonoma also offers interesting historical sites, 19th-century architecture, boutiques, art galleries and an amazing culinary scene.

Top Things To Do in Sonoma - Chateau Montelena

 

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WINERIES


Sonoma and the neighbouring Napa Valley are world-renowned for their winemaking, and no trip to this region is complete without a visit to at least one of the hundreds of local wineries. Even if you don't wish to try the wine, the rolling hills covered in vineyards and the stunning buildings are worth driving through.


Many top wineries don’t accept walk-ins for tastings, so we recommend planning ahead and booking the places at the top of your list. Most wine tastings cost money, and some are quite expensive compared to other wine regions nearby. There are many operators you can book wine tours with if you would prefer someone else to do the planning and the driving.


Our highlight was Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley. This winery is famous for winning the white wine segment of the Judgement of Paris wine competition. It has a stunning castle covered in vines overlooking a pond, a Chinese garden, and picturesque vineyards.

The other highlights we visited or stopped by include Buena Vista Winery (California’s first winery), Round Pond Estate Winery, Viansa Sonoma Winery & Tasting Room and Groth Vineyards & Winery.


SONOMA PLAZA


Sonoma Plaza was laid out in 1835 and named a National Historic Landmark in 1961. It is centred around a beautiful green park, which is also home to Sonoma’s City Hall. The streets surrounding the park are lined with shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants and tasting rooms. You can easily spend an afternoon exploring everything the plaza has to offer.


We personally loved Readers Books, Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma Cheese Factory, Summer Vine and Chateau Sonoma. We also had a lovely lunch in the courtyard of The Swiss Hotel.


SONOMA STATE HISTORIC PARK


Also at Sonoma Plaza is the Sonoma State Historic Park. This park has six historical sites; Sonoma Barracks, the Servants Quarters, The Toscano Hotel, Mission San Francisco Solano, the Blue Wing Inn and Lachryma Montis (also known as Vallejo’s Home).


Some of these sites have a small admission fee.



SONOMA OVERLOOK TRAIL


The Sonoma Overlook Trail is a 4.8 km (3 mi) hike that offers views of the town and Sonoma Valley. The trail starts at the entrance to the Mountain Cemetery and takes around one hour in total.



PLANNING A CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP


For more destinations and attractions along the West Coast, check out our guide for Top Things To Do on a California Road Trip.



OUR GOOGLE MAPS


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use too.



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