Many of Sonoma County’s quintessential Wine Country towns feature bustling town squares and plazas, surrounded by world-class dining, wine tasting, arts, culture, and shopping, all located within minutes of these central hubs.
The best-known town centers that receive the most tourist traffic in Sonoma County may be those in Healdsburg and Sonoma, but Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Windsor, and Cloverdale also all have thriving downtowns or central plazas, and these cities serve as great base locations from which to explore Sonoma County – whether you are visiting local wineries, breweries and cideries; hitting hiking/biking trails; or exploring the best restaurants and foodie finds.
The following 10 hotels are among the best and most walkable accommodation options in the Sonoma County cities of Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Cloverdale. These hotels and inns offer not just comfort and character but proximity to some of Wine Country’s best restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues.
Explore these Sonoma County Wine Country towns with just a leisurely stroll from your hotel and a short walk from place to place – making your trip that much more relaxing and eliminating the need for a designated driver.
The riverside town of Petaluma is now a foodie haven, with dining options that include a mix of ethnic cuisines and awarding-winning restaurants using the best locally grown and produced products. In addition to wine, Petaluma boasts world-class beers and ales, award-winning olive oils, and artisan cheeses that are served in some of the finest restaurants nationwide.
Situated in the heart of downtown Petaluma, the historic Hotel Petaluma (built in 1923) with its vintage 1920s facade offers guests the convenience of being located within a few blocks of the restaurants and eateries, bars, antique shops, museums, and entertainment venues in downtown Petaluma as well as a short walk from Theater Square. Housed inside the same beautiful, old building are The Shuckery restaurant, Barber Cellars tasting room, and a small cocktail bar inside the hotel’s lounge and lobby area.
Housed in a 140-year-old restored building, Metro Hotel has garnered acclaim for its colorful Parisian style, historic charm, unique character, and delicious French bakery fare. At well under $200/night, the hotel is also a popular budget-friendly option in Petaluma. The 15-room boutique hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Petaluma’s Theater square and popular restaurants and bars like Sol Food, La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge, and Wild Goat Bistro.
Just 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa is a good base for exploring all that California Wine Country has to offer. Its thriving downtown boasts three distinct shopping districts, five historic residential neighborhoods, arts and culture, events, great restaurants, famous chefs, wine tasting rooms, brew pubs, and a comfortable inviting atmosphere.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa, Hotel E, a luxury boutique hotel, is perfectly situated to allow exploration of downtown Santa Rosa on foot. Housed within a storied beaux-arts edifice, the hotel’s prime location in Courtyard Square offers effortless access to the vibrant array of bars, restaurants, breweries, and shops along 4th street and downtown Santa Rosa, with Railroad Square (and its popular restaurants and bars) also located under a 10-minute walk. Guests will also enjoy the proximity to Courthouse Square and park (located right across from the hotel’s entrance), where live music and movie nights are held in summer.
Hotel La Rose
Within the enclave of Railroad Square, Hotel La Rose is positioned at the epicenter of food, drink, and entertainment offerings. Built in 1907, this cherished, historic establishment has been a hub for travelers and locals alike for more than a century. Parts of the property have been renovated with the goal being to modernize while still preserving the historic hotel’s original charm.
Guests of Hotel La Rose have the benefit of not just being located within minutes of many local cafes, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (such as 6th Street Playhouse) but also of being located in the same building as the popular Grossman’s Noshery and Bar – a New York- Jewish style deli and popular breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot.
The Courtyard by Marriott and Hyatt Regency Hotels
The Courtyard by Marriott and Hyatt Regency are also prime accommodation choices in downtown Santa Rosa with high walkability scores. These two establishments are just a stone’s throw away (under a five-minute walk) from the shops, dining establishments, and museums of Railroad Square, making them ideal options for guests desiring a central location in Wine Country while immersing themselves in the charms of downtown Santa Rosa.
For budget-friendly, casual accommodation options located within easy walking distance of downtown Santa Rosa, the Astro Motel shouldn’t be overlooked.
Remodeled in 2017, the Astro Motel motor lodge-turned-urban hotel offers Wine Country guests a retro 1950s motel vibe with modern amenities and comforts. Located on Santa Rosa Avenue, an area that can feel more industrial/commercial due to the large chain retailers like REI, Cost Plus, Target and Trader Joe’s that run up and down the avenue, is also just a 10-minute walk from the heart of downtown Santa Rosa and 15 minutes from Railroad Square.
Windsor may not offer as many boutique or luxury hotel options as neighboring cities like Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, but the city is perfectly located for easy access (with just a short drive) to almost every part of Sonoma County. For those who are looking to visit wineries, shop, or attend events in both Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, Windsor is the perfect base from which to explore. The city features a charming town center focused around the Windsor Town Green where locals and visitors gather almost all year long for outdoor events and is home to many of Sonoma County’s best wineries.
Hampton Inn and Suites
Located 12 minutes north of Santa Rosa and nine minutes south of Healdsburg by car, Hampton Inn and Suites provides a comfy base from which to explore Sonoma County Wine Country by car. The inn is also conveniently situated just a short walk from the Windsor Town Green and central Windsor shops.
Cloverdale sits in the northernmost part of Sonoma County at the border between Sonoma and Mendocino counties, just 15 minutes north (by car) from Healdsburg.
Housed in a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian house built in 1901, the historic Pinschower Inn offers luxury accommodations in the heart of downtown Cloverdale. Merging Old World craftsmanship with modern amenities, this charming, stately bed and breakfast sits right on Main Street, within one to two blocks of downtown tasting rooms, shops, and restaurants. The property features seven unique rooms, including three tower suites. All stays include a full breakfast each morning.
Written by Brooke Herron
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