20 Best Things to Do in Sonoma, California

Outside Sonoma City Hall

Sonoma is a historic city near the heart of wine country in northern California. It’s filled with fabulous world-class wineries and plenty of California history.

Sonoma County is a great spot to vacation with family, and kids, in a group, or on your own. With over 55 miles of coastline, public parks, vineyards, and local events, it is no surprise that Sonoma brings in close to a million travelers per year to experience the region’s activities.

It’s also conveniently placed to strike out at a number of other great California towns and attractions. This post contains some of the best things to do in Sonoma Valley during your stay, as well as a few awesome day trip ideas. Read on and start planning that vacation today!


  • Most significant landmark – Sonoma Plaza
  • Best park – Jack London State Historic Park
  • Free activity – Downtown Sonoma
  • Activity for kids – Sonoma Traintown Railroad
  • Activity for adults – Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
  • Place to eat – The Red Grape
  • Nightlife – Murphy’s Irish Pub
  • Place to stay – Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Things to Do in Sonoma, California

From world-class wines to bike tours, art galleries, and museums, there is no shortage of history, culture, and fun in Sonoma. Here are the best things to do and places to visit in Sonoma, California.

1. Sonoma Plaza & Downtown Sonoma

Outside Sonoma Plaza & Downtown Sonoma
Image by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar used under CC BY 2.0

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

The Sonoma Plaza is a must-see stop on your visit to Sonoma, California. You’ll witness the excitement of downtown Sonoma, meet local shop owners and community members, and get a taste of some of the best wines in the country!

The historic Sonoma Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Sonoma and attracts visitors from all over to get a feel of what Sonoma is all about. Stop at Sonoma City Hall, located in the center of the Sonoma Plaza, and view the 100-year-old building.

Downtown Sonoma is home to a wide array of restaurants, from casual bites to fine dining. From pub food to quaint ice cream shops, breweries, and cafes, you’ll never have a shortage of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

While downtown, jump on a trolley tour for a full day of wine tasting. For the best hotel accommodation in Sonoma, book a stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa.

Ready to start wine tasting? There are several spots near Sonoma Plaza worth exploring. If you’re bringing the kids, try Deerfield Ranch Winery, a kid and pet-friendly location.

La Prenda Tasting Room is a popular spot for tourists and locals. WALT Wines has some of the best pinot noirs in the area, and its wine-tasting rooms are top-notch. Stone Edge Farm Estate will knock your socks off with its unique cabernet sauvignon and red blends.

Aside from dining and wine tasting, downtown Sonoma offers excellent shopping, art galleries, parks, and exploring for the family. Don’t miss the Tuesday night Farmer’s Market, boutiques, wine shops, and much more.

See Related: Road Trip Ideas in California

2. Buena Vista Winery

Barrels of wine at the Buena Vista Winery
Image by Jeremy Thompson used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, CA 95476

Founded in 1857, Buena Vista Winery is one of the most popular Sonoma County wineries and the oldest commercial winery in California. Buena Vista Winery features stunning landscape views and a historic tasting room called The Press House. For a wine-tasting experience steeped in history and culture, look no further than Buena Vista Winery.

Since 1862, The Press House has been the first gravity-flow winery in California and continues to be a historic piece of Buena Vista Winery. The Press House offers wine tastings and a private tasting flight at the historic Press House Bar.

If the weather is nice, you can enjoy a wine tasting in the Champagne Cellar tasting room or outside in the fresh air. Guests can book a barrel tasting and a winery tour to see the winery grounds.

You’ll experience the caves of Buena Vista, and taste wine thieved directly from the barrel. They even host rip-roaring events like open houses and Halloween masquerade balls!

Buena Vista Winery is open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 5 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Arrive thirsty!

3. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Jacuzzi Family The front sitting area at the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
Image by Jim G used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 24724 Arnold Drive, Highway 121 Sonoma, CA 95476

Experience a taste of Italy in Sonoma County at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The Jacuzzi Family Vineyards sits on 190 stunning acres just off Highway 121. Upon your arrival at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, you’ll have several options for wine tastings, along with a few recommended wine pairings from their knowledgeable staff.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards offers a few tasting experiences for guests; you can book an Aperitivo Tasting that includes wines and salty snacks that pair perfectly. Or try the Taste of Italy tasting, which consists of a seasonal flight of Jacuzzi wines, freshly baked bread, and olive oil for dipping.

In the last few years, they’ve also begun hosting an annual grape stomp, with prizes for the best stompers! Jacuzzi Family Vineyards prioritizes sustainability in its farming; they compost organic waste and materials from the farm and rely on nature to control pests instead of pesticides.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Making tasting reservations is recommended, particularly on the weekends, as many Sonoma wineries become very busy.

Oh, and if you were expecting an on-site hot tub, sorry, there are no Jacuzzis here. It’s the family name, not an invitation.

4. Sonoma State Historic Park

Outside the Sonoma State Historic Park
Image by ray_explores used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 20 E Spain St #5729, Sonoma, CA 95476

Sonoma State Historic Park is a California state park located in the heart of Sonoma, California. It’s a national historic monument with a fascinating story just waiting to be explored. The historic park has six sites filled with a fascinating history; the Mission San Francisco Solano, the Sonoma Barracks, the Blue Wing Inn, La Casa Grande, Lachryma Montis, and the Toscano Hotel.

Founded in 1909, this Sonoma County public park has become home to many historic buildings in the last century. At its inception, the only building in the park was the Mission San Francisco Solano. Over the years, the state of California has added additional sites.

The original building, Mission San Francisco Solano (the Sonoma mission) was the 21st and last most Northern California mission. It’s also a California historical landmark, founded on July 4, 1893.

The Sonoma Barracks were built to house Mexican troops under the command of General Vallejo in the 1830s. A visit to the barracks will give you a glimpse into the history of California, learning the original Bear Flag story, archaeological findings, supplies and gear from the 1800s, and much more.

The Blue Wing Inn was one of the first hotels built north of San Francisco. Its occupants included US Army soldiers and gold miners during the Gold Rush.

Since there are several sites to see at Sonoma State Historic Park, booking a docent tour to see the properties is best. Need a place to stay? For a quaint and quintessentially California hotel, try the El Dorado Hotel, just a 2-minute walk away.

5. Sonoma Valley Bike Tours

A biker on Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Image by Justin Garland used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Address: 1254 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

See the beautiful Sonoma Valley and its many wineries on bike tours hosted by Sonoma Valley Bike Tours. In Sonoma, there are 11 wineries within 5 miles of the bike shop, making it an easy and enjoyable bike ride to each one!

A few of our favorites include Buena Vista Winery, Sebastiani, Patz & Hall, and Homewood wineries. Choose from hybrid comfort bikes, eBikes, or full-carbon road bikes to make your ride simple and fun.

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours has plenty of guides that can take you on an adventurous ride to taste a variety of local wines. Your guide will provide information about the area while escorting you to your choice of wineries and to a delicious lunch.

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours also provides vehicle tours and hot air balloon rides in Sonoma. For casual riders, Sonoma Valley Bike Tours provides a great way to explore Sonoma and its many wineries while getting some exercise. Head for the bike path near the rental center and quickly be on your way!

Enjoy the beautiful Sonoma Valley scenery as you pedal and spend time with friends and family. It sounds like a great time.

6. Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves

Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves
Image by Sarah Stierch used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Address: 23555 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

Nestled in the hills of the Carneros, Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves is the premier establishment of sparkling wines in Sonoma County.

As the first winery to offer sparkling wine in Sonoma, Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves has several tasting options for guests and groups. They provide a classic tasting experience in their outdoor vista pavilion, which includes four wines with cheese.

The tasting room has a Rosé tasting experience, a weekend brunch pairing, and a 5-course food and wine pairing. Visitors can take an agricultural vineyard tour from the comfort of a club car.

You will learn about the vineyard’s sustainable practices, the winemaking process, and more. You can also book a picnic experience that includes a full lunch, desserts, and your choice of wine.

Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves is another winery dedicated to sustainability and farming practices. If you’re a sparkling wine lover or you want to witness a breathtaking winery, make sure to plan a trip to Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves during your Sonoma trip. You won’t regret it.

See Related: Things to Do in Napa Valley, California

7. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

People visiting the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
Image by Sarah Stierch used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 551 Broadway Sonoma, CA 95476

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is half a block from the historic Plaza. Founded in 1998, the exhibits in this art museum feature a variety of mediums and presentations, including mixed media, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

You’ll walk through several exhibits during your museum visit and can enjoy the modern art and contemporary feel of each one. Previous exhibits include “Bay Area Art from the Campbell Collection” and “Seen and Unseen: Photographs from Imogen Cunningham.”

The museum’s mission is to build a community around art. Its commitment to the cause is prevalent in the local community events, art nights, adult art workshops, engaging performances, and family events.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art engages with community members and visitors through public outreach programs and education. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed Monday and Tuesday.

See Related: Things to Do in Glendale, California

8. Goat Rock Beach

Goat Rock Beach
Image by John Uhrig used under CC BY 2.0

Address: Goat Rock Beach, Jenner, CA 95450

Goat Rock Beach is a popular beach on the Sonoma coast located just south of the Russian River. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes north of Sonoma County and is easily accessible by car. To explore the great outdoors and enjoy the beautiful coastline of Sonoma, Goat Rock Beach in Jenner is the perfect beach,

Goat Rock protrudes into the Pacific Ocean at the southernmost end of Goat Rock Beach. You can easily access the base of Goat Rock via a narrow isthmus of land.

Keep your eyes peeled for whales spouting off the coast during your visit. Whales are usually spotted from December through April as they migrate from Alaska to Baja California, but you may get lucky and see them any time of year.

You’ll likely encounter harbor seals and their pups on the shore. Be sure to stay 50 yards away (it’s a California law), but you’ll enjoy watching them sunbathe and play in the sand.

If you want to stretch your legs, Goat Rock Beach has many hiking trails and scenic views. Try the Kortum Trail that runs south on the bluffs on Goat Rock Beach. You’ll stroll along, taking in the breathtaking views of both land and sea.

It’s truly a beach you must witness firsthand to appreciate its beauty. Plan to go for a few hours in the morning for the best views and minimal crowds.

See Related: Things to Do in Auburn, California

9. The Red Grape Restaurant

Address: 529 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476

Looking for a casual place to share a meal? The Red Grape is an Italian pizza joint in Sonoma that was voted the #1 pizza by locals. The Red Grape is located just off Sonoma’s historic plaza and has been a local favorite for 15 years.

The pizza spot specializes in thin, crispy pizza crusts, just how the Italians intended! Pizzas are topped with the freshest ingredients and locally sourced vegetables. The most popular pizzas include the Glen Ellen white pizza, pesto chicken, and the Sonoma red pizza.

If you’re in a pasta mood, come hungry! Locally-made pasta features in delicious dishes, including Joe’s Summer Corn Ravioli, Linguine and Shrimp, and Meatballs and Bucatini. The menu also includes burgers, sandwiches, and delicious desserts too.

If the weather is right, enjoy your meal from the relaxed patio and soak up the sunshine as you eat authentic pizza, fresh salads, hearty pasta, and decadent desserts.

The Red Grape works closely with local vendors and farmers to supply fresh ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine for its customers, including farm-fresh eggs, pasta, produce, and meats from farms all over Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Santa Rosa. The Red Grape is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m.till 8 pm and is closed on Sundays. 

See Related: Best Waterfalls in California: SoCal & NorCal Spots

10. Cline Cellars

Cline Cellars
Image by Sophie used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: 24737 Arnold Drive, Highway 121, Sonoma, CA 95476

Cline Cellars Winery is a family-owned and operated winery in the heart of Sonoma wine country. Cline Cellars specializes in Zinfandel, Rhône-style wines, chardonnay, and pinot noir for wine tasting.

Cline Cellars prioritizes sustainable farming, using cover crops and compost teas to nourish the soil and sheep to control the weeds and create healthy vines now and for the next generations. No pesticides, harmful chemicals, or herbicides are used in growing the grapes.

The winery has garden cabanas available for rent, where visitors can enjoy a bottle of wine and cheese, crackers, nuts, and salami. You can also book a wine tasting at one of the Cline Cellars’ quaint ponds; guests can enjoy various Cline Cellars wines, cheese, and other treats for 1.5 hours as they relax and take in the sights at the winery.

If you’re ready to splurge, book a tasting at the top of Hat Strap Hill and experience a luxurious wine-tasting experience like no other.

Visiting Cline Cellars in Sonoma County will provide a day full of delicious wines, learning about California’s history, and exploring sprawling grounds. As one of the most popular wineries in Sonoma, you’ve got to visit to see what the hype is all about. Cline Cellars is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See Related: Things to Do in Fairfield, California

11. Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London State Historic Park
Image by jennifer yin used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Home of the literary mastermind Jack London, the Jack London State Historic Park is a California State Historic Park near Glen Ellen on the eastern slope of the Sonoma mountains. The Jack London State Historic Park is one of the best locations for Sonoma outdoor activities because there’s so much to see and explore!

For history buffs, Jack London State Historic Park is home to historic buildings, including the House of Happy Walls Museum, Jack London’s gravesite, Jack London’s cottage, the Beauty Ranch, and Wolf House Ruins.

Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the park and learn about the history of Jack London and the aforementioned historic buildings. Tours do not require a reservation; they are free and available on weekends. If you want to stay in the historic park, the Jack London Lodge is available to book.

Enjoy outdoor exploration? Well, 29 miles of back-country trails are just waiting to be explored on foot, by horseback, or by bike. Two historic walking trails in the park will guide you to the Wolf House and lead you on a tour of the Beauty Ranch.

You’ll travel through mixed forests, redwood groves, oak woodlands, and grassy meadows on your hike. Other popular trails include the Sonoma Mountain Trail, Sonoma Ridge Trail, and the Historic Orchard Trail.

Witness a 14-foot-wide redwood on the Ancient Redwood Trail. The park hosts many community events throughout the year, including a Halloween dog walking event, a Fall Hike, a Thanksgiving Waddle Hike, and many photo-taking events.

See Related: Things to Do in Venice, California

12. Visit the Russian River Valley

Russian River Valley
Image by JJG53 used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Address: located in Windsor, CA 95492

Ready for a wine and water adventure on a day trip from Sonoma? Look no further than the Russian River in Dry Creek Valley. Visitors have flocked to the Russian River and its surrounding area for over 100 years to swim in its calm waters, explore the hiking trails, and experience the region’s delicious food and wine amid biblically beautiful surroundings. Yes, it’s a bit of a trek, but it’s worth it if you’ve rented a car.

Located about an hour and a half north of Sonoma, the Russian River Valley offers much for visitors to do on a day trip from Sonoma. Popular wineries in the Dry Creek Valley are Hatfield Creek Vineyard, Myrtle Creek Vineyard, and Briar Rose Winery. Stop in and enjoy a delicious wine tasting to wet your whistle and grab a snack.

Many visitors prefer to see the area by kayak and bike tour. Kayaking on the Russian River is a picturesque way to experience the slow-moving river and its peaceful surroundings. The Russian River flows through Wine Country, and you’ll see beautiful birds and wildlife.

Paddle competitively for a workout or relax and let the river push you along. It’s up to you! If you have a day to spare, the Russian River Valley has fun for the whole family. From wineries to kayak tours and quality restaurants, you’ll certainly be adding it as a stop to your next Sonoma trip.

13. Spend the day in Petaluma

Spend a Day in Petaluma
Image by Lisa Davis used under CC BY 2.0

Address: Petaluma, CA

Petaluma is an easy drive from Sonoma, around 15 miles south and 30 minutes in the car. If you’re in the mood for a change of scenery for the day, Petaluma is a great choice for a quick getaway.

Petaluma is gaining traction as a must-see spot in wine country for providing an experience beyond Sonoma and Napa’s wineries. Petaluma offers breweries, farms, antique stores, and fabulous dining options for visitors.

For a quick stop for local cheese and other snacks, drop in at Marin French Cheese Co. for provisions. They sell beer, wine, sandwiches, and their famous handmade cheeses. Enjoy your snacks in the picnic area and take in all the sights.

For a dose of Petaluma history, visit the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum. Featuring exhibits from the 1850s, the building is designed in the neo-classical style, with original fan-glass windows and original interior wood paneling.

Learn about the history and culture of the region, and don’t miss a chance to look up and see the most spectacular and largest free-standing glass dome in Northern California.

If you do want a glass of wine in Petaluma, you won’t have to look very far. McEvoy Ranch is a family-owned vineyard known for its wines and most impressive production of extra virgin olive oil. Stop in for a glass of the popular sparkling wine and sample the delicious olive oil paired with bread, cheese, and other wine options.

For an easy day trip to a historical, welcoming city, Petaluma is a wonderful town filled with farms and vineyards, great shopping and dining, and friendly locals.

14. Sonoma Raceway

An F1 car practicing at the Sonoma Raceway
Image by zug zwang used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Address: 29355 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

Sonoma Raceway is a road course and drag strip in Sonoma County that hosts one of the few NASCAR Cup Series races each year. The Sonoma road course has 12 turns along its challenging, hilly course, making it one of the most exciting NASCAR raceways.

The raceway hosts many events throughout the year, including the Sonoma Drags & Drift race, Go Kart experiences, Nascar weekend events, and more. Race fans from all over the country find their way to Sonoma Raceway to experience racing and all the thrills that it offers.

Sonoma Raceway has several camping options, with accommodations and spaces suitable for tent camping, RVs, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. There are also trackside RV terraces, where guests can book a campsite next to the track and enjoy a stunning view of the Sonoma hills.

There are special events and activities for the little ones to ensure the kids have fun at the races. Be sure to catch Burnin’ Bovine, the official Sonoma Raceway Kids Club mascot, when you’re exploring your campsite or the track.

Whether you need a change of scenery from all the wineries or just love racing, Sonoma Raceway is a great way to spend the evening or weekend.

See Related: National Parks to Visit in November

15. Bodega Head at Sonoma Coast State Park

Bodega Head at Sonoma Coast State Park
Image by Joseph McCarty used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Address: Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Bodega Head is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, located in Sonoma Coast State Park. Bodega Head forms the rocky entrance into Bodega Harbor. It’s located about an hour from Sonoma and is an easy drive for a day trip and a nice change of pace.

As you drive to Bodega Head by car, you’ll pass through Bodega Bay. You’ll see boats parked at the docks in the marina and seafood restaurants. Stop at Campbell Cove for a quick picnic if you’re getting hungry.

As you drive to the top of the bluffs of Bodega Head, you’ll see stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and cliffs jutting out into the water on the Sonoma coast.

On the ocean side of the peninsula, there are hiking trails, coves, and bluff-top views to be explored. From the top of the bluffs, you may see gray whales spouting from the ocean during their migration.

Exploring the Bodega Head Trail is a fantastic way to experience the sights and sounds of the Sonoma coast. In the one-mile loop, you’ll see migratory birds, incredible ocean and bay views, and plants and animals.

Just south of Bodega Bay is Doran Regional Park, a stretch of beach ideal for walking, picnics, and spending a few hours. As far as Sonoma tourist attractions go, Bodega Head is a must-see.

While you may have to journey a bit off the beaten path of wineries to get there, it’s a day trip you will remember as a highlight of your Sonoma trip.

16. Visit Santa Rosa

Address: Take the CA-12 W from Sonoma

Santa Rosa, California, is located 21 miles north of Sonoma; it takes about 40 minutes by car. It’s a lovely drive and a great way to spend the day seeing other cities beyond Sonoma without traveling very far.

Santa Rosa has many exciting excursions and activities beyond wine tours and tasting rooms. One of the most popular attractions in the city is Safari West. In this wildlife preserve, guests can get up close and personal with many animals, including giraffes, rhinos, and zebras.

See Santa Rosa and Sonoma County by air balloon if you’re feeling adventurous. In the mood for wine? A stop at St. Francis Winery St. Francis Winery is a must. The award-winning wine-tasting rooms and food pairings at St. Francis make it one of the must-see stops for any Wine Country visit.

For a breath of fresh air in Santa Rosa, stop at the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens to experience some of nature’s most beautiful plants and flowers, along with the historic home of the famed horticulturist Luther Burbank. For a delicious meal, grab dinner at Spinster Sisters.

If you have the freedom in your itinerary, planning a day to visit Santa Rosa will be well worth it. There are fun activities for the whole family, plus plenty of wineries to tour along the way.

On your way back from Santa Rosa, plan to stop at Francis Ford Coppola Winery to taste one of the 40 wines produced on-site, a restaurant serving fresh farm-to-table cuisine and knowledgeable staff to provide an unforgettable wine-tasting experience.

If you’re looking for an easy day trip to see some additional sights, Santa Rosa is a great way to spend the day.

17. Bedrock Wine Co.

Bedrock Wine Co
Image by Sarah Stierch used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 414 First Street East Sonoma, CA 95476

Still thirsty? Visit the historic General Joseph Hooker House in downtown Sonoma at Bedrock Wine Co.

A Union general during the Civil War (and the reason prostitutes are sometimes referred to as Hookers), Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker owned land in the Sonoma Valley. His home has been restored to its former glory so guests of the area can visit, taste wine from local wineries, and immerse themselves in California history.

The house is located a few blocks from the historic Mission and Sonoma Barracks, off the beaten path of downtown and the hustle and bustle. The current winery owners and home partnered with the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation to showcase historical 19th Century photos so guests can see the Hooker House and a slice of Sonoma history when they visit.

As for the wine itself, Bedrock Wine offers tasty blends, including an aromatic Zinfandel, a classic Semillon, a crisp Rosé, and a dense Sauvignon Blanc. At the General Joseph Hooker House, guests can enjoy a wine tasting and explore the restored home from the 1900s.

Bedrock Wine Co. is open six days a week and is closed on Wednesdays. Note that appointments are required. 

See Related: Couples Getaway Ideas

18. Bar Hop in Sonoma

Bar Hop in Sonoma
Image by Daniel Bentley used under CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: start in downtown Sonoma

If you need a break from the Sonoma wineries, we highly recommend bar hopping in Sonoma to experience nightlife like a local.

So many taverns, pubs, and breweries in Sonoma await exploring. Start at HopMonk Tavern, just blocks from Sonoma Plaza, the year-round beer garden and listening room. Order a beer, relax on the outdoor patio, and enjoy some live music.

Visit Starling Bar for wood-fired pizzas and craft cocktails, like the Black Walnut Manhattan and Bacon Bourbon Sour. You’ll also find live music and other performances, like comedy nights and karaoke.

Steiner’s Tavern is popular with locals for its sports bar feel and laid-back atmosphere. Steiner’s offers a full menu with a few beers on tap, including the Maui Waui IPA and a Scrimshaw Pilsner.

End your night at Murphy’s Irish Pub, where locals and tourists gather for great beer, live sports, music, and a contagious atmosphere. Murphy’s Irish Pub has been voted the best bar and music venue in Sonoma, so they must be doing something right!

Sonoma might be in the heart of wine country, but that doesn’t mean the local pubs and bars don’t have a scene of their own. If you love beer or the atmosphere of small pubs, check out these spots for a different vibe and a memorable night on the town.

19. Sonoma TrainTown Railroad

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad
Image by Marcel Marchon used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Address: 20264 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

All aboard! TrainTown Railroad opened in 1968 and has welcomed young and old visitors to witness its tabletop railroad and quaint amusement park.

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad features a 15-inch miniature railway and delights children and adults alike. Aside from the train, visitors can enjoy rides including the Iron Horse carousel, Ferris wheel, air scooter, coaster, and more.

Whether your kids love trains or you do, Sonoma TrainTown Railroad is a great place to spend a few hours away from the wineries. Spend time as a family at a fun amusement park in Sonoma and enjoy learning about its history and founder, Stanley L. Frank. It’s one of the best things to do in Sonoma with kids.

Sonoma TrainTown Railroad is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from August through June (winter and spring months) and is open daily in the summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Park admission and parking are free; tickets are required to enjoy each attraction. 

20. Sonoma Botanical Garden

Sonoma Botanical garden
Image by John Rusk used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 12841 Sonoma Hwy, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Formerly known as Quarryhill Botanical Garden, this botanical research garden is home to one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-source Asian plants in North America and Europe.

Sonoma Botanical Garden is located in Glen Ellen, about 7 miles from Sonoma. Guests check in at the gift shop and embark on a self-guided tour of the botanical gardens.

Featuring over 1,300 different types of plants on 25 acres, the botanical garden is home to many endangered Asian trees and shrubs. The garden is also home to waterfalls and ponds and offers a stunning view of the Sonoma Valley. While visiting, you’ll also encounter oaks, Asian roses, magnolias, and lilies.

The park has a few spots ideal for enjoying a picnic lunch in nature. Pack a lunch and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. The botanical garden is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm and is closed on Tuesdays. General tickets are $12, and children under 12 get in for free. Experience the beauty of the outdoors in Sonoma for yourself! 

Tours in Sonoma

1. Join-in Flight in Sonoma Top Recommendation

This experience will allow you to enjoy the incredible beauty of Napa Valley from a whole new perspective. Soar high in the sky as you take in stunning views of the rolling hills and lush vineyards below, all while floating over hundreds of acres of grapevines. After landing, toast to your successful flight with a complimentary glass of champagne and be regaled with stories by your expert pilot.

2. Guided Private Wine Tour to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

If you enjoy wine and want to experience the beauty of Napa and Sonoma Wine Country, let a local tour guide take you on a private scenic drive through stunning landscapes. Along the way, learn about the wine-making process and how these regions produce some of the best wines in the world.

3. Sonoma Valley: Guided Winery Tour with Picnic Lunch

Sonoma Valley is well-known for its award-winning wines, but there's more to it than just wine. Come explore the beauty of one of California's most well-known wine regions with a guided winery tour and picnic lunch. On your tour, see how the finest wines in the world are made at three local wineries, as you learn about their history and take in breathtaking views of rolling hills and vineyards.

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Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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