Ensconced in the pastoral scenery of Sonoma County wine country in California, the idyllic small town of Sonoma draws in tourists from all over the world with its peaceful beauty and charm. At night, coastal fog descends on sprawling vineyards to cool them to perfection, and residents have the luxury of a Mediterranean climate that can make nearly every day feel like paradise.
Welcome to Sonoma
12,000 years before the Spanish missionaries arrived in the early 1800s, the Native American tribes, including Coastal Miwok, Pomo, and Wappo, were settled in the fertile valley. Sonoma’s rich and varied history involves changing hands several times, with its founder General Vallejo playing a prominent role. The city’s final incorporation occurred in 1883, and Sonoma is now home to around 11,000 residents.
The architecture of Sonoma is diverse, an homage to its long history and the various cultural influences that inspired the residential areas. With Mediterranean-inspired estates featuring spa amenities and gorgeous views, modern ranches set on sprawling acreage, contemporary mansions nestled into the mountains, and quaint, historic Queen Anne Revival homes set just minutes from the Plaza, Sonoma has a piece of luxury for every style and desire.
What to Love
- Lively activity in the elegant and historic Sonoma Plaza
- Access Buena Vista Winery, the oldest winery in California, founded in 1857
- Serene charm and elegance of the community
People and Lifestyle
Known as one of the best small towns to visit in the United States, Sonoma is perfect for anyone looking for their own private paradise in wine country. The town boasts incredible history, sophistication, affluence, and a charisma born of its close community and dedication to beauty.
Shopping, Dining & Entertainment
With its deep roots set in internationally renowned wine country, it’s easy to see how the city of Sonoma would be replete with some of the best wineries, breweries, and tasting rooms in the country. Head to the beautiful Sonoma Plaza at the center of downtown and enjoy a bevy of tasting rooms (over a dozen), such as BUMP
, Pangloss Cellars
, and Lake Sonoma Winery
, just to name a few. While you’re there, you can do a little retail therapy at boutique stores such as Bossa Nova Fashion Concepts
for the hottest trends or locations like Purely Sonoma, which offers skin care, beauty, and salon products to help you feel refreshed and lovely.
Try the delicious French country fare made with passion and locally grown ingredients at The Girl & the Fig
. Their award-winning wine list is certain to impress, and favorites like the quiche lorraine will have you coming back for more. For another gorgeous venue set in the Sonoma Plaza, make sure you dine in at Sunflower Caffeé
. The restaurant includes outdoor garden seating, and the menu is full of high-quality breakfast and brunch fare made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Things to Do
Whether you prefer partaking in self-care relaxation activities, sampling the best of wines, enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, or savoring time with the family, a taste of luxury awaits you in Sonoma.
Visit the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
to find yourself swathed in comfort and high-end spa treatments. Here, the geothermal pools await, along with body wraps, massages, and a large variety of spa options that will leave you feeling perfectly at ease. Once you’re revitalized, head to Jack London State Park
for a chance to explore the estate of one of the nation’s greatest literary writers. Here, London was a pioneer for innovative farming in addition to his works as an author, and the site features historic buildings as well as trails, a lake, and beautiful picnic areas.
Families and festival-goers won’t be disappointed in Sonoma. The city offers several fun places to enjoy with the kids, such as the Sonoma Traintown Railroad
, a 10-acre park with several railroad rides, a carousel, and a Ferris wheel. The area also hosts the annual Sonoma Harvest Music Festival
, which stands out as a more intimate, limited capacity event that has live performances, wine tastings, and stunning views of rolling vineyards.
Sonoma is home to a number of excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
- Sonoma Valley High School, 9-12, well-rated public high school
- Woodland Star Charter School, K-8, well-rated public elementary school
- Prestwood Elementary School, K-8, well-rated public elementary school