Take A Sonoma Food Walking Tour
On the Sonoma Walking Food Tour, youll get the chance to sample locally-made wines and artisanal cheeses as you stroll Sonomas historic downtown with a local foodie guide. From there, try fine chocolates and olive oil at a few gourmet boutiques. Youll get to try the latest flavors at six curated tasting stops along a relaxed, route and learn the stories behind the regions culinary legends, thriving vineyards, and remarkable artisanal renaissance.
Enjoy Some Retail Therapy
Love shopping? Each of the Napa Valley towns has tempting offerings, so allow some time for browsing. Shops and galleries feature everything from fine art and jewelry to gifts and local food items. And wine, of course!
Chocolate goodies at Kollar Chocolates in V Marketplace
In Napa, head to First Street for the best shopping. Youll find gifts and souvenirs, art, apparel, and food items. Try olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings! In Saint Helena, stroll the charming Main Street, where you will find lots of gift stores and artisanal foods.
In Yountville, V Marketplace offers upscale shopping and a lively vibe. If you want to see artisanal chocolates being crafted, stop by Kollar Chocolates. The art galleries here are outstanding. In Calistoga, Lincoln Avenue, the main street, is lined with charming boutiques and art galleries.
Napa Is More Than Just Wine
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do for those who arent fans of wine or need a break from wine tasting. You dont have to be a wine drinker to have a fun time. Its a gorgeous area with lots to see.
Have you been to Napa? Other than wine tasting, what did you enjoy?
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Where To Stay In Sonoma:
My top pick for where to stay for luxury in Sonoma County is Farmhouse Inn a tucked away, understated, inn in Forestville with all the right luxuries you need for a perfect wine country vacay. Think: a Michelin star restaurant , complimentary fire pits and smores, a dreamy jacuzzi and heated pool, and adorable wine country hotel room bungalows with the most comfortable beds you can imagine!
I also loved that Farmhouse Inn is only a 10 minute drive from some of the most DELICIOUS wineries in Northern California Flowers, Gary Farrell, Twomey, etc! Youre also only 20 minutes from Healdsburg, another of my favorite regions
Kenwood Inn & Spa
Another adorable boutique hotel I just LOVE in Sonoma is the Kenwood Inn & Spa. I mean how dreamy is waking up on this balcony? Its super small, really luxe, has a great pool and is a perfect romantic getaway spot to stay.
For a bigger hotel in Sonoma, I also love Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, which is closer to downtown Sonoma, and a great spot to base for a wine country vacation. They have an amazing spa, and a great pool open year round.
Things To Do In Sonoma County Besides Wine Tasting
- 10 Things to do in Sonoma County Zipline at Sonoma County Canopy Tours. Ill start with the most adventurous! Go ziplining at Sonoma County Canopy Tours! There is nothing quite like … Kayak at the Russian River, Doran
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Napa Vs Sonoma: Where You Should Visit In California Wine Country Between Napa Valley And Sonoma County
Napa vs. Sonoma : Which part of California wine country is right for your next vacation? These two gorgeous areas of wine country are buzzing with amazing food, stunning countryside, and of course, great wine. Separated by only a mountain range, youd think Napa and Sonoma would be somewhat similar, but, like any siblings, these two beauties could not be any more different.
But what makes them so different? And should you do both Napa and Sonoma in one trip? In this post, Ill break down all my favorite parts of each area of California wine country, and just what makes them SO different, so you can choose the trip thats right for you.
If you guys have been following me for awhile now , you know my undying love for good wine. I can almost always be spotted with a glass of chardonnay in hand, and if you invite me over I will 100% be bringing my favorite California pinot noir or Cab Sauv. Growing up an hour from Napa Valley and the Sonoma Coast afforded me the ability to go California wine country a ton. I have memories being a little kid and getting served grape juice at a wine tasting and I loved it. You better bet I swirled that grape juice and pretended like I knew what I was talking about. Napa must have known they were already wrangling in their biggest lifetime customer, at age 6.
And now he loves them just as much as I do.
Is Sonoma Worth Visiting
Its a great time to visit Fall in Sonoma County is one of the most iconic, beautiful times of year to visit. Sonoma County is open for business, from the countryside rivers and valleys to the charming towns to the 55 miles of coastline. Discover charming wineries, beautiful redwood forests, and gorgeous beaches.
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Sonoma: Things To Do In The City
Although it may be small, Sonoma boasts its own record. SonomaPlaza, the town square, is the largest in all of California and theres nothing better than finding a quiet corner in the square to have a picnic with a bottle of wine purchased from one of the local wineries or directly from a boutique in the square. Dont underestimate this. Unlike Sonoma, in Napa and the surrounding area, its rare for wineries to allow visitors to enjoy a picnic on their own premises.
Shop At The Napa Premium Outlets
Take a break from all the eating and outdoor adventuring with a little bit of retail therapy! Napa Premium Outlets is located minutes away from Downtown Napa and features a number of name-brand outlet stores, including Adidas, Cole Haan, Coach, Kate Spade, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Nike, Pendleton, and Gap.
Not the most impressive outlet in the Bay Area, but there are still decent options here .
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Breakfast/brunch At Sunflower Caffe
Start the day right with some California-style breakfast! Head to Sunflower Caffé, one of the best places to enjoy stellar coffee drinks, breakfast, and lunch on their beautiful garden patio.
Sunflower Caffé is committed to buying produce from local and organic farms, which means the food tastes that much better. How it works: You order in the front and then they seat you. The food and service are beyond excellent!
Pro Tip: They dont take reservations and theres always a line , so head there early or be prepared to wait your turn.
Wine Tasting In Healdsburg And Sonoma County: 5+ Spectacular Wineries To Visit
A smaller wine region, the Russian River Valley is tucked away just north of Napa and Sonoma. The Russian River Valley has a cooler climate, which makes for some fun and unique wines. The most popular varietals from this area are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Russian River Valley includes the areas of Healdsburg and Forestville to the north and Sebastopol and Santa Rosa to the South. Spending a weekend wine tasting in Healdsburg is a great couples or girls getaway.
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Jordan Winery Estate Tour And Tasting
If youve been to wine country before, youve probably grown weary of the assembly line experience or alternatively, the chaos of securing your next pour. The antidote: Jordan Winerys Estate Tour and Tasting treats guests like VIPs as they guide a maximum of twelve around the picturesque Alexander Valley property. The 3-hour interactive and outdoor tour includes walks in the chef garden and vineyards, with comparative vintage tastings of their Chardonnay and Cabernet set up at scenic spots. Seasonal food pairings from Chef Todd Knoll, using ingredients sourced from the house garden and local butchers, complement the wines.
What To Do Besides Wine Tasting In Napa
Besides wine tasting in Napa, make sure to check out the Oxbow Public Market for some great food choices and cute little shops. Visitors also must stop at Bouchon Bakery for breakfast or to grab a pastry. The line gets long, so make sure to get there early. Another fantastic food option is Girl and the Fig. This little cafe offers mouthwatering food and an extensive cocktail and wine list. Sky and Wine offer light bites to eat and great views of downtown Napa. If interested in more outdoor activities, visit the Jack London State Historic Park, the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Rescue, or the Old Faithful Geyser of California.
No matter what, there are a ton of awesome things to do in Napa and many amazing wineries to visit. Interested in visiting other California wine regions? Make sure to check out Paso Robles, Healdsburg, the Sta. Rita Hills, or Temecula.
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Grab Brews At Russian River Brewing Company
Sonoma County has a long history of beer-making and was actually once known for having the best soil for hop yards. Today, there are still a number of popular breweries standing including the Russian River Brewing Company, known for its super popular Pliny the Elder and Pliny The Younger, only available in February.
Russian River Brewing Company is a great spot to grab casual beers before moving on to dinner at one of the many dining options in Santa Rosa, CA.
Fun Things To Do In Napa Valley Besides Wine Tasting
Posted by Anisa | Sep 5, 2018 | California | 31
When you think of Napa, you think wine! There are about 400 different wineries, a dream for wine lovers. Those who dont like wine or dont drink might be hesitant to visit the area.
You may be surprised to learn there are also plenty of things to do in Napa Valley besides wine tasting. If you need a break from wine tasting or youre not a fan of wine, here are some ideas for your visit to Napa, California.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosure for more information.
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Go Ballooning Over Napa Valley
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Its an early start, but an amazing way to see more of Napa than anyone else. Sunrise balloon rides over Napa Valley give you unbeatable views and a stunning way to experience this beautiful area.
Balloons over Napa launch just after dawn, when the winds are at their calmest. You and up to 20 others, although you can splurge and go for a private flight, will rise gently into the air and spend around an hour drifting and enjoying the sunrise over the valley.
A sunrise balloon ride over Napa is definitely worth the splurge!
Most companies you go with will offer a breakfast option and champagne too, so you can truly celebrate your experience. Its not a budget endeavor, your ride will cost you $200 and up, but its a truly memorable experience. We loved seeing the sun come up and the mist clear over the valleys, it was a spectacular way to start a day in Napa and wed really recommend it.
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Biking can be a fun way to see Napa Valley!
During my visit, I rented from Calistoga Bikeshop. Everything I needed was provided with the rental, including helmet and bike lock. After two days of non-stop wine tasting, biking through the vineyards at my own pace was a refreshing break!
Go To Wineries For The Views Art And Architecture
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Even if you arent a wine-lover, you should still definitely place the Napa Valley on your itinerary if you are visiting Northern California. Many Napa Valleys wineries are worth visiting not only for their famous wines, but also for their locations and views, art and architecture, or grounds and gardens.
As you head north from the town of Napa toward St. Helena, a giant sculpture of a bunny along the side of the road will alert you that you are at Hall Winery. Visit Hall Winery for fabulous art: its free to wander the grounds but to view the art inside, you have to do a tasting. We love walking the grounds to see the whimsical sculptures strewn about the property, as well as the geometric serene infinity pool looking out towards the mountains. Even further north along Highway 29, you will come to Beringer Vineyards, one of my favorite wineries in the Valley. The stunning Rhine House at Beringer is on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk around and admire the beautiful lines of the structure and its stained glass windows. The grounds are gorgeous as well.
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Hike Through A Redwood Forest At Armstrong Woods
A fun outdoor thing to do in Sonoma County is to visit the Giant Redwoods at Armstrong Woods State Park. Come and see some amazing mature redwood trees and hike in serene majesty and quiet at Armstrong Woods State Park just outside of Guerneville and the Russian river. The parks extensive trails are relatively quiet in many of the popular trails along the bottom and reaching all the way to the crest line with magnificent views of the Russian River valley from above. To learn more about Armstrong Woods and the park, go visit their website here. Hiking through Armstrong Woods is a fun way to explore these ancient redwood trees that were saved from mining and extinction and definitely a cool Sonoma county experience to treasure.
Sonoma City Hall
Visit The Charles M Shulz Museum And Ice Skate At Snoopys Home Ice
Any Peanuts fans out there? Sonoma County was home to Charles M. Shulz. The museum, in Santa Rosa, is a ton of fun for Peanuts fans. Then, have fun ice skating year-round at Snoopys Home Ice . I grew up ice skating here, right underneath Charles Shulzs office. How fun is that? We loved watching him work through glass windows as we skated. It is a great place for first-time ice skaters, as they provide buckets for kids to hang on to as they learn to skate .
It is beautifully decorated at Christmas, but it is a lot of fun to visit throughout the year. It is a great place to cool down if you want to escape the summer heat.
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Replenish In The Redwoods
Northern California is abundant in redwoods and Sonoma is home to the 805-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Its a modestly sized park, but nonetheless awe-inspiring with its collection of magnificent trees.
We enjoyed doing a self-guided walk through the reserve, spending about an hour amid the trees. The oldest tree there is 1,400 years old. Visiting the redwoods was one of my top Sonoma things to do.
Get Outdoors At Forestville Ca
A summer destination for bohemians, artists, and vacationers since the 1900s, this tiny town has all you need for a laidback natural retreat the Russian River at your feet, the majestic forest spanning more than the eye can see, and a quaint town full of local flavor.
If you end up near Forestville, it is totally worth your time to pick up a few loaves of bread at Nightingale Bakery . For breakfast, stop by the Russian River Pub. This local spot serves up seriously good eats, from crab cake Benedict to the homemade Irish soda french toast.
Canoe or kayak down the Russian River or just relax by one of the many beaches in the area Steelhead Beach, Sunset Beach, and Moms Beach. If youre looking for an outdoor adventure on wheels, bike the West County Trail through vineyards and orchards .
And of course, you cant miss Front Street, the hippie, laid-back downtown area of Forestville.
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How To Get To Sonoma County California
Sonoma County, located less than an hour from San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge, features more than 400 wineries and 50+ miles of stunning Pacific coastline. Now that youve made the decision to visit Californias more laidback version of wine country, the next big question is how to get there. Whats awesome about Sonoma County is that its location really isnt too hard to get to.
Lets use Sonoma, CA, as a point of reference. Sonoma is located near several airports:
- 30 miles from Sonoma County Airport
- 65 miles from San Francisco International Airport
- 60 miles from Oakland International Airport
- 73 miles from Sacramento International Airport
- 90 miles from San Jose International Airport
Your best chances at finding cheaper flights would be to fly into SFO, OAK, or SJC.
From any of these airports, the most convenient option will be to rent a car. With such a manageable distance from the Bay Area to Sonoma, driving is definitely the best option. Even if you dont have your own vehicle, you can easily rent a car at any of the airports and set your own pace for the trip up to Sonoma County. We love booking rental cars from Priceline because of the free cancellation and the flexibility to compare prices between various car rental companies.
Dont want to rent a car but coming from San Francisco, Oakland, or Sacramento, CA?There are still some options for you.