Great Gifts for the Holidays in Wine Country
Blink, and before we know it, the holidays will be here again. The season comes with the joy of giving and receiving gifts, but first there's the fun of finding them. Shopping is particularly joyous in Sonoma County, because while we do have a few great malls, our focus is on quaint town squares and villages, and unique, independently-owned boutiques.
Here's where to shop for the holidays in Sonoma County:
Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma
The largest plaza of its kind in California, this eight-acre park and town center is ringed with charming shops, tasting rooms, and popular restaurants. The mix of small stores is beguiling, from handcrafted bedding at Broadway Quilts, to fair trade kid's wear, coffee, home decor, and jewelry at Global Heart.
You can stock up on gorgeous kitchen tools at Williams-Sonoma, and spices at the Savory Spice Shop. Nearby, the Church Mouse is a treasure chest of gently loved clothing, furniture, books, and jewelry, with proceeds benefiting the St. Francis Solano School.
Cornerstone Sonoma, Sonoma
Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa
One of the grandest shopping centers in Sonoma County, this open-air mall covers all the bases, with more than 70 shops offering fine clothing, shoes, home accessories, jewelry, and beauty products. Some highlights include J. Jill, Sur La Table, White House/Black Market, and Copperfield's Books. Amid the anchor tenants, some special finds include Birds Nest Antiques, and Village Art Supply. Stroll from store to store on a garden path, enjoying frequent live music performances as you refresh and refuel at popular eateries like Monti's.
Coddingtown, Santa Rosa
Opened in 1962, this traditional mall with rows of under-roof shops has long been the go-to for Sonoma County shoppers—and for good reason. The comprehensive selection here includes the legendary Coddingtown Jewelers, Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, Old Navy, and The Humidor, with 150 cigar selections.
Santa Rosa Plaza Mall, Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa's downtown mall is home to more than 120 specialty and name-brand stores, including Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Disney Store, The Apple Store, Brookstone, Eddie Bauer, and Victoria's Secret.
Railroad Square, Santa Rosa
The Railroad Square Historic District has long been a commercial hub, as the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad Train Depot welcomed its first trains here in 1870 and the Hotel La Rose across the street was built in 1907. Today, both the depot and hotel have been beautifully restored and surrounded by dozens of stores ranging from Green Fish Trading (hand-curated items from Asia) to Cast Away Yarn Shop (Malabrigo yarn and lace, hand-spun and hand-dyed in Uruguay), to Whistlestop Antiques (delicate china teacups).
The Barlow, Sebastopol
This 12.5-acre commercial wonderland houses a 220,000-square-foot, $23.8 million culinary and arts center. Most of the products sold here come directly from the people who make them, and many are made on site. That means you can watch an array of more than two dozen food producers, winemakers, brewers, distillers, and artists create their crafts.
To refresh yourself amidst your local-goods shopping spree, pause for a coffee or tea at Taylor Lane Organic Coffee; stop for a beer and small bite at Woodfour Brewing Company; or enjoy a flight paired with charcuterie at Pax Wines.
Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg
Spanning just an acre, Healdsburg Plaza is ringed with boutique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and wine stores, with a footprint that expands into the 19th-century residential neighborhood surrounding it. It's easy to spend an entire day wandering from place to place, stopping at Clutch for pretty purses by Francesco Biasia, Coach, and Monsac, to fancy goodies for Fido at Fideaux pet boutique. Most of the stores here are upscale, but you can find great bargains at antique stores like Mill Street Antiques Plaza and Modern Antiquarium.
Duncans Mills is an entire, tiny town in west Sonoma County, and it couldn't be more ideal for unique-gift shopping. Set on both sides of Highway 116, the nearly two dozen stores here are independently owned and stocked largely with one-of-a-kind merchandise, such as the lovely liquid jewelry by Studio Nouveau, and American-made clothing and crafts from Pig Alley.
Fort Ross State Historic Park, Jenner
Make a day of shopping along the coast. Pack a picnic, bundle up, explore the beautiful coastal grounds of Fort Ross State Historic Park. On your way out, swing through the gift shop to find the perfect gift for friends and family, including note cards featuring designs from talented local artists and photographers; stuffed animals for stocking stuffers; cozy socks; and a wide variety of locally made ornaments, from wooden snowflakes to glass-blown jellyfish.
And don't forget: you can also stock up on artist and artisan-made gifts found in many craft fairs around Sonoma County. Happy holidays!