Things to see in Sonoma – city highlights

The Main plaza square in Sonoma

Things to see in Sonoma


While visiting wine country in Sonoma, it’s also worth a visit to the city of Sonoma to enjoy the many attractions around the old part of town and other places just outside of the city. The town centers around the main square plaza where the majestic City Hall resides, a stately stone manor currently used as city hall and visitors bureau. Around the park is a children’s park, a rose garden, fish ponds and public restrooms. The town’s beginning and entry to California history starts with the presence of the northern-most mission built in Alta California. The mission at San Francisco de Solano is along the main square and worth price of admission which covers entry to the mission, barracks, hotel, museum and the estate and home of General Vallejo, the earliest commander of Alta California.

Surrounding the main square are some of the stately buildings that have been refurbished and converted into hotels, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. Some of these buildings like the Sebastiani theater have also been remodeled and preserved as a theater showing first run independent art oriented films. A mannequin sits in the front cashiers box in period clothes as if frozen in time. It’s a very popular spot to take pictures of the theater and make-believe cashier.


Sonoma City Hall

Sonoma City Hall




Sebastiani Theater on the main square

Sebastiani Theater on the main square


The restored Sebastiani Theater, Sonoma square, features current art and independent films.



Things to see in Sonoma - city highlights

The ticket booth at the Sebastiani Theater




Sonoma main square and ponds

Sonoma main square and ponds


Highlights around Sonoma

There are many things worth seeing around Sonoma and just on the outskirts town.  These include to following attractions:


1) There are many wineries just outside of the town including the oldest wineries Buena Vista Winery and Gundlach Bundshu Winery within the city limits.

2) Cornerstone Gardens is just outside  the city and worth a visit for those interested in art, design, gardens and cool galleries all in one space. Here is a recent post on Cornerstone that I just completed.

3) Mission San Francisco Solano is located on the main square. The entry ticket includes admission to the barracks, hotel, museum and the home of general Vallejo’s summer home. For more information about the mission visit their website here.

4) The headquarters and tasting room for Sonoma cheese factory is also on the main square and you can taste all the amazing Sonoma cheeses that they produce for sale on the premises.

5) Anyone interested in visiting a unique diner in the valley should head just outside the city to Fremont Diner – a very cool spot to try some local favorites with hearty wine country flair

6) Visitors interested in trains should stop by Sonoma Train Town, a fun park for children with a petting zoo, miniature train ride and amusement park. To see some highlights and activities visit Train Town’s website here.

7) General Vallejo home – a preserved Victorian historical home of the home of General Vallejo, the highest commander of Alta California at Sonoma. The home depicts early lifestyle and living conditions in the early Sonoma days of the generals family. To visit the site and schedule a tour, go to their website here.

8) Infineon Raceway – A variety of Nascar and other competitive racing including sports car lessons you can also take on the racing lessons through the Audi sports car  experience at the Sonoma raceway.

9) A wine country drive through Sonoma Valley along Highway 12 and Highway 121 will give you the best wine country experience to the magnificent valley. Along these scenic drives are many wineries with excellent tours and gardens, along with tasting centers to try any of each wineries daily offerings.

10) Sonoma Valley Museum – This local museum presents a rotating schedule of local and contemporary art and hosting impressive shows featuring artists from Goya, Picasso to David Hockney. The museum also hosts lectures, classes and various community events. To learn more about the museum and events, visit their website here.


Sonoma Wine country

Sonoma Wine country





Antique shopping in Sonoma

Antique shopping in Sonoma




The Fremont Diner

The Fremont Diner


A beautiful drive along wine country roads in Sonoma



Wine country in Sonoma

Wine country in Sonoma


Sonoma is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy a morning or a few days discovering the various attractions and lifestyle in the valley.

Hope you enjoyed your Sonoma visit and if you did, please like the post below or help share it with any of the share buttons below.

Linking to Our World Tuesday, Outdoor WednesdaysTravel Photo Thursday and Oh the Places I’ve been

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22 Responses to Things to see in Sonoma – city highlights

  1. The Tablescaper October 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Wow, I think it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been there. Very neat place.

    Wonderful to have you at “Oh, the PLACES I’ve been!”

    – The Tablescaper

  2. Johanna October 6, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    Loved the photo of the truck! Such impact and clarity. Also the vines … from one wine area to another … reminded me of home 🙂

  3. Ruth October 4, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Does that old truck go with the diner? I am in awe of what you capture in your photos.

  4. SizzleandZoom October 4, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Gorgeous photos. Love the old truck. Very interesting things about Sonoma.

  5. Liz @ Infuse With Liz October 4, 2013 at 3:37 am #

    Looks like a fabulous place to visit. I need to get back out to California again- it’s been a very long time. Your photos are fabulous. Love the diner and the old truck.

  6. InsideJourneys October 4, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    Seems there’s a lot to do in Sonoma besides tasting wines. I’d lose myself in the antique shops!

  7. Mary {The World Is A Book} October 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    I’ve only passed by Sonoma and I’m glad you’ve highlighted their other attractions beyond the wineries. I really need to divide my time between Napa and Sonoma next time. Beautiful pictures and really make me want to go on a road trip soon.I love those wine country pictures.

  8. Sharlene October 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    During our Mission quest we popped into Sonoma and the Mission. It’s a cute little place. I just wish I’d had time to do some wine tastings (and someone else to drive).

  9. Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) October 3, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Make that stayed in a hotel not a town! Duh.

    • Noel October 3, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      There’s a lot of wonderful things to see in Northern California especially wine country without drinking the wines 🙂

  10. Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) October 3, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    We stayed at a town on the main square of Sonoma a few years ago. I loved the town and the whole area. We used it as a base for some bike rides and wine tasting. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  11. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} October 3, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    One of my best friends lives near Sonoma, and I really hope to get over to visit her sometime. Your post is fueling the urge. I really like that expanse of blue sky over City Hall.

  12. EverywhereAmy October 3, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    I’ve never been to Sonoma, and it really hasn’t been on my list. But your pictures are stunning! Thanks for sharing the highlights!

  13. muzachan October 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Very beautiful place…

  14. Jennie @ Got My Reservations October 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    We love Sonoma; there is so much to see that you can visit again and again and not run out of things to do. And the restaurants… Lovely post!

  15. JO October 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    such a wonderful place!!!

  16. Jennifer October 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I haven’t been to Somoma, but I have no doubt that I’d enjoy a visit. I loved Napa!

  17. Marilyn Armstrong October 2, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    I’ve been to California a bunch of times, but that’s one place I haven’t been. It looks gorgeous. SUCH a big state … bigger than many countries I’ve visited!

  18. Renuka October 2, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    Sonoma has so much to offer! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse October 2, 2013 at 2:50 am #

    I love that ticekt booth!

  20. Joyful October 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Lovely photos and information about Sonoma!


  1. 10 things to do in Sonoma without tasting the wines | Travel Photo DiscoveryTravel Photo Discovery - October 3, 2013

    […] The historic city of Sonoma was formed around a plaza and the mission at San Francisco de Solano. You will find many wonderful dining venues, art, antique and great shopping, along with the historic buildings and architecture of victorian Sonoma. To learn more about attractions around the city, take a look my recent post on Sonoma city here. […]

I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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