Top Things to Do This Fall and Thanksgiving
Fall is always such a vibrant time in Sonoma Wine Country, tempting with hikes in the colorful parks and vineyards, shopping, wine tasting, and Thanksgiving dinners and activities.
Extra bonus: Be sure to check out great deals and discounts on lodging and activities in our Seasonal Deals.
Thanksgiving Feast with Snoopy
What could be more heartwarming than this family celebration at Charles M. Schulz Museum, where you and your loved ones can help prepare a re-creation of Snoopy's Thanksgiving meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans from the classic television holiday special? The afternoon of fun includes hands-on crafts, games, and other family-friendly activities, typically held the week before Thanksgiving. For details, check the museum's Calendar of Events.
On a Saturday in mid-November, downtown Santa Rosa's SOFA Art District comes alive with the Winterblast! festival. Join the party for open houses from the neighborhood's 30+ art studios, street performers, giant puppets, live music, fire dancers, and a marching band. Free and family-friendly, it's worth a visit just for the rollicking, one-of-a-kind electric Sofa Parade that's exactly what it sounds like.
Light Up Your Life
The annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza kicks off the holiday season each year in mid-November, with a spectacular display , including more than a quarter-million sparkling lights. The annual lighting includes music, performances, food trucks, and the chance to visit the holiday displays around the eight-acre Plaza. Learn more about the annual holiday lights in Sonoma Plaza.
Take a Hike
Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve spans 805 acres, in lush groves of 500 to 2,000-year-old trees towering to 350 feet (that's taller than a football field is long). Breathe deep and savor the velvety quiet and solitude.
The massive trees are often shrouded in mystical fog with swords of sunlight piercing through.
For one of the easiest ways to navigate, take the mile-and-a-half-long round trip Pioneer Nature Trail over mostly flat terrain. Tip: Dogs are not allowed on trails, though they can join you in the developed picnic areas.
Explore Fine Wine
The Alexander Valley Black Friday Open House held on the Friday after Thanksgiving is a day of wine tasting, food pairings, and special sales. Alexander Valley Vineyards, deLorimier Winery, HANNA Winery & Vineyards, Medlock Ames Winery, and White Oak Vineyards & Winery will all open their doors to wine lovers and shoppers. Browse unique wine country gifts and taking advantage of great deals on wine for the holidays. Coordinated by Taste Destination 128, an association of these seven scenic, family-owned wineries.
Spend Thanksgiving in Wine Country
What better way to connect with family away from all the hustle and bustle and the cooking chores! Find a great Sonoma wine country hotel or resort (or campground) here. For example, the Flamingo Resort is the perfect resort for a getaway complete with a Thanksgiving Day Buffet.
The Day After Thanksgiving Party
Join DaVero Farms and Winery for its annual TDAT party, offering tons of fun, olive oil samplings, delicious wines, and a chance to enjoy Davero's farm and gardens. Play Frisbee, bocce, and romp with your well-behaved dog. All ages welcome. Learn more about visiting DaVero Farms & Winery.
Sonoma County brims with independently owned boutiques. One great area to focus on is Santa Rosa's Historic Railroad Square district, which sits on the west side of Highway 101 and stretches roughly from the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country hotel to Western Farm Center, anchored by a beautifully restored Northwestern Pacific Railroad Train Depot made of locally quarried stone (now home to the Santa Rosa Visitors Center / California Welcome Center). Dozens of stores range from Green Fish Trading (hand curated items from Asia), to Cast Away Yarn Shop (Malabrigo yarn and lace, hand spun and hand dyed in Urugua), to Whistlestop Antiques (delicate china tea cups and nostalgic items) to Miracle Plum (beautiful kitchen wares and fine foods). Learn more about Historic Railroad Square.
Get Ready for Snowmen and Santa
It all began in 2004 when David Allen, owner of Artefact Design & Salvage at Cornerstone Sonoma, discovered that a snowman factory in Boston was closing, and bought its entire stock. Each year since then, the hundreds of smiling snowmen are arranged in a creative and stunning scene that is different every time. Santa Claus is always on hand for the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Festival in early December. After the festival, the lighted snowmen remain on display through the end of the month, creating an important setting for holiday events at Cornerstone. For details, check Cornerstone's Calendar of Events.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.