10 Fun Things to Do: Food, Wine, Music & More

Hot air ballooning over Sonoma County

There’s an incredible variety of fun activities in vibrant Sonoma County — which makes it difficult to trim a list down to just 10!

Bearing that in mind, here’s a short list of don’t-miss picks for special Sonoma County adventures available year-round. 

Green Music Center, Rohnert Park

guests on the lawn of the green music center in Sonoma County
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park

Since its debut in late 2012, the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park has garnered accolades as a world-class concert venue.

The state-of-the-art theater, concert hall, and lawn performance space have hosted top-name performers. You’ve got to love that the center has a recital hall named after the Peanuts character Schroeder in honor of Jeannie and Charles M. Schulz’s contributions to the university and ties to the community.

The onsite Prelude restaurant usually operates only during performances, offering a seasonal Prix Fixe dinner, various desserts and appetizers, and pours of Sonoma County wines. 

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa

luther burbank center for the arts in Sonoma County
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa

The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts hosts world-class performances of a wide variety of music, as well as theater, dance, stand-up comedy, and family programming. The roster also occasionally features renowned speakers, nationally recognized education programs, contemporary sculpture, and popular community events.

Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park

The exterior entrance of the modern casino
Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park

This flashy, 340,000-square-foot casino is heaven for fashionable gamblers, thanks to a dizzying array of games played in luxurious surroundings. Here are the stats: 3,000 slot and video poker games; more than 120 table games, like blackjack, baccarat and Pai Gow poker; a 20-table poker room; a high-limit table game room with private salons; and a high-limit slots room.

For refreshments, Graton Resort & Casino provides three bars and lounges: The G sports bar with 42 flat-screen TVs; the Sky with a 360-degree diamond-shaped bar; and the 8 — a VIP lounge in the high-limit area.

Enjoy casual dining in four full restaurants: Gourmet Italian at Tony’s of North Beach; dry-aged beef and seafood at 630 Park Steakhouse; classic American and Mediterranean cuisine at the Daily Grill; and an eclectic mix of Japanese and East Asian cuisine in the Boathouse Asian Eatery. Or check out the seven eateries in the casino’s Marketplace, offering pizza, burgers, sushi, barbecue, and more.

The Barlow, Sebastopol

Barlow sign in the Barlow in Sonoma County
The Barlow, Sebastopol

There’s a treasure trove of shopping, wine tasting, and dining at this 12.5-acre, 220,000-square-foot culinary, art, and shopping center in Sebastopol.

Set in a former apple cannery property at the southeastern entrance to town, The Barlow is home to Barrio Fresca Cocina Mexicana, which offers mouthwatering Mexican-style street food with a gourmet edge in a paper-plate setting; Taylor Lane cafe; Spirit Works Distillery for handcrafted gin and whiskey; and three on-site breweries: Crooked Goat Brewing and Seismic Brewing Company (with food from local restaurants) and Woodfour Brewing Company (with a full gastropub menu). Or browse through Gallery 300 and much, much more.

California Cheese Trail, in Sonoma County

Cheese from Sonoma County
You’ll find a variety of different cheeses along the Cheese Trail in Sonoma County.

Discover the actual producers of famous cheeses like Bellwether by following the Cheese Trail through Sonoma County. Chart your course with the printed or online version of the official California Cheese Trail map for delights such as the Achadinha Cheese Company of Petaluma, where 900 goats graze year-round on verdant pastures, supplemented by brewers’ grain from local breweries.

The Ranch at Lake Sonoma Horseback Riding, Geyserville

horseback riding at the ranch at Lake Sonoma in Sonoma County
The Ranch at Lake Sonoma Horseback Riding, Geyserville

Explore nature on the back of a sure-footed horse. Take a guided horseback trail ride with gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding countryside, only minutes from downtown Healdsburg.

The Ranch at Lake Sonoma offers a wilderness experience on horseback, wandering through Sonoma County’s largest 17,000-acre park. A variety of trail rides are available, from those suitable for timid or first-time riders to more challenging treks for experienced equestrians. For kids aged 3 to 8, there are hand-led donkey rides in the arena or on a trail (accompanied by a walking parent/guardian).

Quivira Vineyards and Winery, Healdsburg

pigs at Quivira in Sonoma County
Quivira Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg

Get up close to nature by wandering the Quivira vineyard, which overlooks a restored stream that welcomes leaping fish during the annual salmon runs.

Other stops on this biodynamic-farmed estate include a one-acre garden filled with fresh vegetables and herbs grown exclusively for Sonoma County’s best restaurants (chefs stake their own signs in the beds to claim the crops); a peek at colorfully plumed heritage chickens pecking in the soil; beehives; and even resident heritage pigs that root happily beneath apple trees.

Go on your own or reserve one of the winery’s environmental experts for a guided tour. Before, after, or even during, you can sip hand-crafted Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.

Woody’s Wine Tours, Santa Rosa

For more than a decade, Woody has tasted thousands of wines and cultivated relationships with hundreds of winemakers. These relationships allow Woody’s Wine Tours to create custom tour packages that are pure entertainment, with an intimate connection to the wine country you will never forget.

Hot Air Ballooning, in Sonoma County

hot air ballooning in Sonoma County
A hot air balloon soars above Sonoma County.

Experience Sonoma County’s stunning landscape from the basket of a hot-air balloon. You’ll feel like a bird, way up high, floating above the world. Drift over vineyards, fields planted with crops, and streams and creeks. Most flights finish with a champagne toast and possibly brunch.
Up & Away Ballooning
Wine Country Balloons

Sonoma County Farm Trails

Explore Sonoma County’s agricultural heritage and experience life on the farm with sheep, llamas, honey bees, butterflies, and more as you visit the places listed on the Farm Trails map.

Members of Sonoma County Farm Trails have opened their farms and ranches to the public for more than 40 years, and the tradition continues. The adventures change with the season and can include baby animals and fields of flowers in the spring, picking berries in the warm summer sun, exploring apple orchards and pumpkin patches in the fall, and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree over the holidays.

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