Exclusive yet welcoming, relaxed yet vibrant, Sonoma is California Wine Country at its absolute best
Although small, with a population of just over 10,000, Sonoma draws its allure as the soul of one of California's most spectacular regions. Along with Napa, which is less than 10 miles due east of Sonoma's town center, it's the hub of California Wine Country.
But when one thinks of Sonoma, it's usually just the region or idea of Sonoma they're courting and its astonishing 425 wineries. Understandable, sure, but the namesake city carries its own incomparable charm, both related to wine and beyond. It's a place not easily forgotten.
A mostly rural yet spirited enclave, the city possesses a level of sophistication not often encountered in such a rustic setting. Along lushly manicured streets, the homes are stately and refined, with detailed design elements, and many of the oldest restored with a loving hand.
The National Historic Landmark downtown plaza
Hundreds of wineries all within an hour’s drive
Bucolic setting—a quaint small town amid rolling farmland and vineyards
An ideal location close (but not too close) to the North Bay's most celebrated spaces, including urban areas, state and national parks, and vineyards and wineries
Although its neighbor to the east garners much of the press regarding California wine country, Sonoma is happy to take the relaxed (and refined) under-the-radar approach to its notoriety. It's a distinction that residents here take pride in.
Sonoma is a tight-knit community that appreciates its history, the surrounding natural landscape, and, of course, wine. It's an exclusive enclave that feels nothing of the sort, and the lifestyle you lead is entirely up to. Upscale and elegant. Rustic and low-key. Lively with a little bit of everything. It's all easy to achieve in Sonoma.
Though it's most widely known for its wine, Sonoma is a culinary haven, with a long list of establishments to suit every taste. Arguably the city's best and most famous eatery is the French-influenced The Girl and the Fig in the Sonoma Plaza.
For a shopping experience unlike any other, a tour around the Plaza is a favored pastime in Sonoma. A local treasure is Chateau Sonoma, a French-styled antique and home store. They have one market on the Plaza and another at Cornerstone Sonoma Marketplace.
Considered the birthplace of California winemaking, the state's oldest winery, Buena Vista Winery, is located in Sonoma. Much of what happens in Sonoma celebrates the city's heritage to the vine.
The annual Taste of Sonoma is the perfect fusion of wine and food. Each year sees over 100 area wineries, and nearly 50 local restaurants participate. Out in the Vineyard sponsors wine and travel events for the LGBTQ community and hosts the popular Gay Wine Week in Sonoma every July.
Sonoma's historic downtown plaza and its beautiful architecture and central location is indeed the best place to access all the city has to offer. It's also the best spot to catch the annual Fourth of July Parade.
When you venture just beyond the city limits, you’ll be immersed in a number of outdoor pursuits. The Montini Open Space Preserve borders the city to the north, and the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco are less than an hour away. It's little surprise that the town of Sonoma is a popular destination not just for visitors but also for those seeking to lay down roots of their own.
Sonoma is home to a number of excellent schools. Some of the most celebrated educational opportunities include: