Sonoma is known as the heart of Sonoma County and a huge winemaking region. Besides wine, Sonoma offers various activities like art galleries, a colonial-era plaza, and numerous delicious restaurants.
While Sonoma doesn’t sit along the Pacific Coast Highway, it is one of those places that is perfect for making a detour to and exploring for a few days; pick your favorite activities among the following things to do in Sonoma… we promise you won’t regret it!
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
Best Things to do in Sonoma
Simraceway Performance Driving Center
- Address: 29359 Arnold Dr
As unusual as it may be, Sonoma has its own raceway that often holds events. Their biggest event is held in June, where a NASCAR race does occur. Besides watching cars race, you can try your hand at being speedy and racing cars on the track as well.
Sonoma Golf Club
- Address: 17700 Arnold Dr
Looking for a relaxing Sonoma attraction? Why not! Sometimes you need to spend a little time outdoors practising your swing with a beautiful backdrop.
This luxury gold course offers 177-acre of terrain that gives you stunning views of the Maya Cama Mountains and is surrounded by wineries. While visiting, you can do a round of golf or practice your swing.
Sonoma Train Town Railroad
- Address: 20264 Broadway
Sonoma is known for its trains that still run and take tourists on fun adventures. You can ride a steam train that will take you back into the olden days with recreated landscapes, old-time carousels, and there are llamas you can pet after your ride.
Sonoma Overlook Trail
- Address: 198 1st St W
Hikers will love heading out to the Overlook Trail for some outdoor recreation. This 3-mile hike is one of the most fun things to do in Sonoma, it offers a great walking path and stunning views. The trail is excellent for all fitness levels, and there are benches scattered throughout the hike for breaks.
Sonoma Coastal State Park
This coastal state park starts in Sonoma and extends to the Pacific Ocean. The park offers beaches, trails, fishing, and more. The parks and rec department does recommend not swimming in these parts of the ocean, though, since the water is very rocky and rugged. However, it is still a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the view.
California Missions Museum
- Address: 24737 Hwy 121
The California Missions Museum is a historical display of all 21 California missions. They were built to scale in 1939, and in 1998, a museum was constructed to showcase the missions and life-size figures of Father Junipero Serra and other art exhibits. The courtyard offers a picnic area, and the entrance to the museum is free. More info on this website.
Depot Park Museum
- Address: 270 First St
This museum offers a unique look into the history and culture of Sonoma and its old-fashion charm. Most of the museum features exhibits on railroad cars and big steam locomotives. It is a great museum to take the entire family to while exploring Sonoma. Check the museum’s site for opning hours and other details for the visit.
- Address: W. Spain St
This house and its estate is a museum built by General Mariano G. Vallejo. The museum is a historic state park initially built by the General as a safe house for his son.
Today the household exhibits to walk through, a garden, and a reservoir all meant for relaxing, just like the General wanted for his son. And is probably one of the most interesting Sonoma places to visit.
Sonoma International Film Festival
- Address: 103 E. Napa St
Sonoma brings indie filmmakers to show over 90 films for viewers like you for five days. The festival was named “one of the 25 coolest festivals” and a top ten destination film festival by USA Today. The event happens every March, and you can attend it both live and virtual if you prefer.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
- Address: 551 Broadway
This Sonoma art museum was founded in 1998 and holds work from regional, national, and international modern and contemporary artists. They’re open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm for guests to browse the exhibits, and admission is only $10. More info on the official website.
Ramekins Culinary School
- Address: 450 W Spain St
Looking for something fun to do in Sonoma? Then, head into the Ramekins Culinary School. Here, you can get a hands-on learning experience and demos of your favorite cooking classes.
Their classes range from pizza making to summer grilling, and all of their professional chefs love helping amateur chefs or someone eager to learn. Check hours, classes, and other programs here.
General Joseph Hooker House
- Address: 414 1st St
Now it isn’t what it sounds like; General Joseph Hooker House was built in 1850 by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Hooker and has been carefully restored today.
It was a house constructed in Sweden and shipped to American for Hooker to live in for a brief time during the Civil War era. In later years it was used as a tea room and library, and today it is being leashed by a local winery.
Breweries and Distilleries to Check in Sonoma
Sonoma is known for its wineries, but you can also discover insteresting breweries, distilleries, and cool places to hang out. Check them out down here.
Hanson of Sonoma Distillery
- Address: 22985 Burndale Rd
If handcrafted cocktails are your thing, pop into Hanson of Sonoma Distillery. Here you can enjoy a flight of vodka, a caviar pairing, or a cocktail menu that will make your mouth drop.
Their indoor tasting room is massive and has more than enough room for your party, but their outdoor patio is stunning and surrounded by beautiful vineyards with a courtyard and pond. Check their website to learn more.
Olde Sonoma Public House
- Address: 18615 Sonoma Hwy
Over at the Olde Sonoma Public House, you will have over 32 craft beers on tap and even more in bottles. We honestly can say it’s a beer lovers paradise.
Besides beer, they offer darts, pinball, pool, and live weekly music. You can enjoy the game on one of their televisions and have an overall great time tasting new beers.
- Address: 23570 Arnold Dr
Located in the Sonoma Plaza, Prohibition Spirits is great to head into to taste some of your favorite liquors. They offer gin, brandies, specialty liqueurs, and amaros. Besides some delicious spirits, they offer a light snacking menu and specialty cocktails for those who don’t want a tasting. Plan your visit here.
Sonoma Springs Brewing Company
- Address: 19449 Riverside Dr #101
One of the top things to do in Sonoma is to give beer a try, at Sonoma Springs Brewing they produce premium handcrafted ales, German-style beers and loves their barrel-aged beers.
Their brewery took inspiration from a German beer hall, but they put their own Sonoma County spin on it. While visiting, you’ll be greeted with over 20 fresh beers on tap, and they promise to have something for everyone. Check details for the visit on their website.
- Address: 453 1st St E
Sitting in the heart of Sonoma is Sonoma Plaza. Once a Mexican military station and a Spanish mission village, this 8-acre park has over 100 shops, plus eateries and tasting rooms. There is an on-site playground for the kids and dozens of places to relax and hang out while visiting, this is one of those Sonoma attractions that you don’t want to miss.
The Best Restaurants in Sonoma
Don’t miss the chance to taste the delicious gastronomic scene that awaits in Sonoma! Check these restaurants in town.
El Molino Central
- Address: 11 Central Ave
While it might not look like much, El Molino Central is where you want to head in for delicious Mexican food. They’re a casual dining spot that offers halibut ceviche, pork tamales to your classic tacos.
Their tortillas are handmade and to die for, plus you can find their tortillas at numerous farmers markets across the area. Want to book a table? Do it online.
- Address: 452 1st St E
It’s not often you can find a restaurant dedicated to Portuguese cuisine, but that is exactly what LaSalette did. They focus on seafood dishes with options like a fisherman stew or an oven-roasted octopus and caldaria. The restaurant also makes its cheese, bread, and sausage, which is incredible. Check their menu in detail here.
The Girl and The Fig
- Address: 110 W. Spain St
Sitting in Sonoma Plaza is The Girl and The Fig, a staple in Sonoma for over 20 years. The restaurant is technically a bistro and offers elegant, French-inspired dishes like Croque monsieur, steak fries, and steam mussels.
If you’re hanging around Sonoma in the summer, their fried green tomato BLT is a must-try. Check online whether a reservation is necessary before heading to the restaurant.
Layla at MacArthur Place
- Address: 29 E MacArthur St
Inside of the Historical MacArthur Place Hotel is Layla, a Mediterranean experience that gives you a dreamy and beautiful restraint that you’ll never want to leave.
They offer a contemporary Mediterranean menu with shakshuka, patatas bravas, and a falafel burger. If you’re a lover of seafood, make sure to get your hands on their crispy Spanish octopus or their whole roasted sea bass. It’s always suggested to book a table online.
- Address: 2698 Fremont Dr
Southern comfort food has a home in Sonoma, thanks to Lou’s. Their menu hasn’t changed in decades and is focused on biscuits and fried chicken that is served on the bone or in a sandwich. They have their own take on Nashville hot chicken and is known to be one of the best in the Bay Area. Read their whole menu here.
Wit and Wisdom Sonoma
- Address: 1325 Broadway
Wit and Wisdom Sonoma is a Michelin rated restaurant that you need to try. This modern and semi-casual eatery has a great menu with a seafood tower, duck wings, and wood fire pizzas. Their pasta is handmade, and if you’re a meat-lover, you will enjoy their crispy Berkshire porchetta. Check more info on their website.
- Address: 23584 Arnold Dr
FolkTable is a newer restaurant gracing Sonoma and is run by Top Chef finalist Casey Thompson. They create one-of-a-kind dishes like Okonomiyaki Tots or truffle lemon chicken hand pies. Their breakfast options are plentiful, like avocado toast or a croissant toast with spring garlic cream cheese and pickled onions. Menue online available here.
Top Wineries in Sonoma
Visiting a winery in Sonoma is one of the top things to do during your visit. In no particular order, these are the ones we suggest.
Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves and Vineyards
- Address: 23555 Arnold Dr
If you enjoy a glass of good sparkling wine, head into Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves and Vineyard. This winery is the first to plant Champagne grape closes and offers 355-acres of vineyards for their grapes.
A guided tour is offered three times a day, and reservations are required for a tasting. Their wine tastings also include food pairs, and you can grab a picnic if you like. Check the winery’s site here.
Buena Vista Winery
- Address: 18000 Old Winery Rd
This winery was founded in 1857 and is one of the oldest commercial wineries in California. They are open for tastings all year long, and you can choose to do a tour if you like, including exclusive barrel tastings.
While there, you can head into their on-site museum to learn more about the vineyard and its history. Read more info here.
Jacuzzi Family Winery
- Address: 24724 Arnold Dr
The Jacuzzi Family Winery is owned and operated by the same family who brought our Jacuzzi baths and spas; we’re not kidding. Today this 161-acre winery offers chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon wines and even house-made olive oils.
Visitors will be greeted with a stunning view and a tasting fee of $10, which is a great price in Sonoma. Their website has tons of details to visit.
- Address: 24737 Arnold Dr
If you’re looking for a delicious wine flight, stop into Celine Cellars. The winery is big on biodiversity and biological cycles and doesn’t use pesticides; instead, they have sheep and goats take care of their problems.
You can take a winery tour, where you can say hi to the animals and learn more about the winery’s history. If you’re ready to visit, check the hours on the website.
- Address: 4200 Napa Rd
This smaller winery is perfect for an intimate tasting and relaxing vibe. Their wines include chardonnay, merlot, syrah, and pinot noir and use French oak barrels to age their wine and store them underground.
While the winery is only 40-acres, you’ll enjoy every moment here. Read more about this winery on their website.
Stone Edge Farm Estate Winery
- Address: 21692 8th St E #110
For those who love a good Cabernet Sauvignon, head into Stone Edge Farm Estate, where you can grab a glass of their premium wine. They are open Wednesday through Saturday by appointment only, but once you’re in, there will be an unforgettable experience.
The winery is inspired by old-world hospitality and offers artisan food to pair perfectly with their wines. Check their visiting hours on the website.
Eager to visit more wineries? Check these 50 amazing wineries in Sonoma!
There are plenty of things to do in Sonoma, the area is nothing but the perfect detour to take when exploring the PCH. You’ll find something to do no matter where you go and enjoy your time while in the Sonoma Valley.