Beloved Restaurants, Cozy Hotels + Wine Tasting in Downtown Sonoma
Sonoma Plaza. (Courtesy of @sightofsonoma)

Beloved Restaurants, Cozy Hotels + Wine Tasting in Downtown Sonoma


Downtown Sonoma, once the birthplace of the California flag that marked the state's independence from Mexican rule, lures visitors with the charm of its heritage along with all the modern trappings of Wine Country life.

Go for the wine tastings, quirky speciality shops and restaurants du jour.

Where to Stay in Downtown Sonoma

(Courtesy of MacArthur Place)

MacArthur Place

MacArthur Place is within walking distance to the Sonoma Plaza, but once inside, you'll feel far from city life. Set on 300 acres, the inn is home to an 1850s Manor House with 10 country-style rooms (64 total), romantic gardens, lawn sculptures, quiet sitting areas, a life-sized chess board, and heated pool. Dine at the on-site restaurant Layla, have a classic cocktail in the plush bar, or borrow an old school movie from the library. The rooms at MacArthur Place received a glow-up back in 2019; the spa and pool are set to reopen following a remodel in late August 2023. // 29 E. MacArthur St.,

Ledson Hotel

Sleep like royalty at Sonoma Plaza's extravagant boutique-sized Ledson Hotel, where the guest quarters are larger and have more amenities (fireplaces, whirlpool tubs) than some San Francisco apartments. All six rooms are unique, with wood-carved ceilings and beds, intricate chandeliers, marbled vanities, and plush oriental rugs. We also suggest making the 25 minute drive to Ledson's majestic winery in Kenwood. // 480 First St. East,

El Dorado Hotel

Book your stay at the El Dorado Hotel and awake to the tantalizing aromas of one of the town's best restaurants—there are churros for breakfast, hello. Here the country and the city sides of Sonoma County merge in rooms that are rustic yet modern, neutral yet warm, with French doors and private balconies that overlook the Plaza. Catch a siesta by the solar-heated saltwater pool before dinner. // 405 First St. W.,

Where to Taste Wine (and a Little Beer) in Downtown Sonoma

(Courtesy of @hopmonksonoma)

Three Sticks

The Vallejo-Castenada adobe—the longest-occupied residence remaining from California's Mexican Period (1822-1846)—got the magic treatment from San Francisco interior designer Ken Fulk, who transformed the historic interior into an enchanting space for tasting Three Sticks' primo chardonnay and pinot noir, sourced from some of the top vineyards in Sonoma County. // Reservation required;143 W. Spain St.,

Sojourn Cellars

Want a taste of some of the best pinot noir in all of California? Sojourn Cellars' Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir regularly receives top honors. It's not too surprising, as Sojourn has a reputation for producing stellar, single vineyard pinots, which can be sipped side-by-side in an intimate tasting. They also pour excellent Sonoma County chardonnay and some Napa cab in a country-chic cottage. If you've been here before, use this year's launch of Sojourn Brut sparkling wine as an excuse for a revisit. // Tastings by appointment 10am to 5pm;141 East Napa St.,

Sigh Sonoma

This bubbly bar feels like a New Year's Eve party all year long. The luxe location off Sonoma Plaza pours local sparkling wines, but the real treat is the chance to try Champagnes and bubblies from around the world. Pair with fancy cheeses and caviar, and look out for the occasional live music set and Monday trivia nights. // Seatings are first come first served beginning at noon daily;120 West Napa St.,


Kamen Wines represents the second career of screenwriter/producer Robert Mark Kamen, who brought us The Karate Kid. Back in 1980, Kamen bought property in Sonoma and began to grow mountain cabernet sauvignon, eventually starting his own wine label. The only decoration in his sleek, minimalistic tasting room is a series of quotes from his famous films above the bar. Wax on, wax off, drink up. // Open daily for flight tastings ($25 and $50); 111B East Napa St.,

Walt Wines

Taste your way through California at Walt, which makes chardonnay and pinot noir sourced from vineyards that span 1,000 miles of California coast, making for a diverse portfolio of wines that showcase the terroir of each region along with their distinct flavor characteristics. Walt is the sister winery to Napa Valley's Hall Wines, but the vibe here is considerably toned down. More fitting for Sonoma, Walt tastings go down in a charming country house where the best seats are on the patio. // 10:30am to 5:30pm, reservations recommended; 380 First St. W.,

Corner 103

Named simply for its address, Corner 103 strips down the oft-intimidating tasting experience into something more relaxing, fun, and educational. Owner Lloyd Davis, formerly of the much larger Viansa Winery, wanted to do something different, without the crowds. Here you'll find no bar (all tastings are done comfortably seated), and there are no stupid questions. Opt for flights with artisan cheese or light bite pairings. // 11am to 5pm daily for groups up to four people, by appointment;103 W. Napa St.,

Pangloss Cellars

With 4,000 square feet to work with, Pangloss has a tasting experience to match every mood. Saddle up to the bar for a classic tasting ($30/five wines), sip wines with light bites in the cozy lounge, or head to the cellar for immersive journeys into Pangloss' portfolio of Rhone varietals and Moon Mountain District appellation wines. Not too long ago, Pangloss completed a painstaking restoration of their gorgeous, 1902 building featuring the original redwood and stone walls. // Reservations required;35 East Napa St.,

HopMonk Tavern

When you've had enough wine, you can drink all the beer at HopMonk Tavern. The 15-beer tap list includes a mix of HopMonk's own brews, as well as some from the West's top brewhouses—Lagunitas, Dogfish, and Drake's to name a few. Head there for "hoppy hour" or a nightcap in the massive beer garden complete with a fire pit and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. // Opens at 11am daily; 691 Broadway,

Downtown Sonoma's Best Restaurants

(Courtesy of @thegirlandthefigsonoma)


You'll want to make a reservation at Oso, an intimate alcove that's great for date night. Chef/owner David Bush gets creative with flavor combos in everything from shareable plates (Dungeness crab deviled eggs; mole-braised pork shoulder tacos; steamed mussels in a coconut-tamari and lime broth) to cocktails—try the Abuelita (Han Soju fire whiskey, cold brew coffee, and coco powder). // Closed Sunday and Monday 9 East Napa St.,

Girl & the Fig

It's not a proper trip to Sonoma without a meal at this Wine Country institution, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017. The restaurant was a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement and still grows much of its own produce and cures all meats in house. Cal-French plates include plenty of namesake figs: Order the starter of duck liver mousse with fig jam on toasted brioche; chocolate-dipped dried figs for dessert; or a Fig Royale. // Open for lunch and dinner daily plus weekend brunch;110 West Spain St.,

El Dorado Kitchen

The seafood paella is a local favorite at El Dorado Kitchen, but you can't go wrong with the housemade fettuccine carbonara or the not-so-plain Petaluma chicken served with tasty and seasonal fixin's. Choose to dine inside the historic 1843 adobe or alfresco beneath the fig trees. // Open for three squares daily;405 First St. W.,

The Red Grape

The owners of this casual, family-run pizza joint created their recipe for crispy thin crust pies almos 20 years ago and have been charming foodies ever since. Order up a side of truffled onion rings and then choose from nearly 20 offerings including the Four on Four (four cheeses, four meats) and Pears and Gorgonzola, one of several delightful spins on the tomato-less white pizza. // Closed Sundays; 529 First St. W.,

Sunflower Caffé

For a quick bite between tastings, grab a table at the casual Sunflower Caffé, inside the original home of Captain Salvador Vallejo (brother of General Vallejo, Sonoma's founder), who reportedly lost the house in a poker game. Now the old place serves seasonal dishes—think smoked duck or avocado pepper jack sandwiches—made with local ingredients. Whatever you order, we're certain it'll pair well with the farmer-approved Bloody Mary, made with organic beet, tomato, and cucumber juices. Craving something sweet? Look for waffles in fun, rotating flavors like apple pie and bananas foster. // Open 8am to 3pm daily; 421 First St. W.,

Things to Do in Sonoma: Food Tours, Hiking + More

(Courtesy of @sonomaadventures)

For Weekend Warriors

Sonoma State Historic Park

Today Sonoma is best known for its world-class wines, but the town has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s when it played a pivotal role in California's declaration of freedom from Mexican rule. Get the full story at Sonoma State Historic Park, where admission ($3) gets you access to six historical sites including the Mission San Francisco Solano. // 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays; 20 East Spain St.,

Sonoma Adventures

Meet up with Sonoma Adventures for a half- or full-day guided bike tour through Wine Country including stops at wineries, a picnic lunch and, for full-day tourists, a tasting at Vella Cheese Company. You can also rent bikes for a choose-your-own adventure. // 1254 Broadway,

Sonoma Overlook Trail

A trip to Sonoma can mean maximum food and wine, and very little exercise. If it's balance you seek, find the trailhead at Mountain Cemetery, just a few blocks from the Plaza, and explore old Native American hunting grounds. The leisurely, three-mile Overlook Trail hike is beloved for its accessibility and panoramic views of Sonoma Valley; look for longer and more rigorous trails at the adjacent Montini Open Space Preserve. // First St. W. and Mountain Overlook Trail,

For Foodies

Sonoma Food Tour

Food makes everything, even history class, better. That's why we love the idea of discovering Sonoma's heritage while hopping around its local eateries, specialty shops, and tasting rooms. Book the Original Sonoma Food, Wine & History Tour ($149/person) for a delicious three-hour stroll around town. // 11am to 2pm Thursday through Saturday by reservation at least two hours in advance;

Figone's Olive Oil Company

Olive oil is the new wine at Figone's, where you can taste an array of EVOOs in sundry flavors including white truffle mushroom, sun-dried tomato and blood orange, as well as aged balsamic vinegars. Figone's olive mill is located a bit outside of town, but it's worth the trip for a tour of one of the few mills that opens to the public during crush time. // Tastings ($30/person) available with advance reservation; 483 First St. W.,

Vella Cheese Company

The Vella family has been making cheese, including their signature high-moisture jack, behind the stone walls of their downtown Sonoma factory since 1931. Sadly they don't do public tours, but you can stop by to sample Italian-style cheeses, cheddars and salami. // 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday;315 Second St. E.,

Sonoma’s Specialty Shops

(Courtesy of @harvesthomestores)

Sonoma Roadside

On your way out of downtown, pull over at Sonoma Roadside, a welcoming collective of businesses. Shop quirky locally crafted gifts (need a bonnet for your cat?), snarky greeting cards, soaps, and preserves at Fat Pilgrim General Store and then head next door to Harvest Home, the San Francisco design shop known for Wine Country–chic furniture and antiques. Taste wine with Three Fat Guys. // 20820 Broadway (Sonoma),

Tiddle E. Winks Vintage 5 & Dime

Like a real-life vintage Etsy shop full of fun, classic items that'll add a pop of color, humor, and nostalgia to your home. But don't be fooled by the name. This is still California's Wine Country, where nothing is 10 cents, but your new Crazy Cat Lady dinner tray will be worth every penny. //115 E. Napa St.,

Global Heart Fair Trade

You can feel good spending your money at Global Heart, which sells fairly traded goods—think colorful scarves, home decor, and trinkets—made by artisans from all over the world. The vibrant downtown store places a focus on global outreach and awareness too; sales of their handmade cards help victims of sex trafficking and landmines. // 423 First St. W.,

The Candlestick

California's largest specialty candle store has been making homes smell wicked amazing since the 1950s. Browse this whimsical shop and stock up on candles of all kinds for every season. // 38 W. Spain St.,

Escape to Carneros

(Courtesy of @gloriaferrer)

Visit Gloria Ferrer and relax with world-class sparkling wine, immersive hospitality, and sprawling estate vineyard views. From culinary food and wine pairings to extended tirage library selections to vineyard excursions and weekend brunch, Gloria Ferrer has curated unique experiences that highlight the best of Sonoma Wine Country. On your visit, discover Gloria Ferrer’s multi-generational expertise in sparkling wine-growing and their commitment to regenerative and sustainable practices on over 300 acres of estate vineyards. Hit the pause button as you sip limited-production wines on their vista terrace.

// Plan your getaway to Sonoma and unlock the passion of Gloria Ferrer at

Thank you to our partners at Gloria Ferrer.

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