Whether you’re looking for a special night out with your sweetie, want to celebrate Valentine’s Day or are hoping to pop the big question, date night in the Valley of the Moon is sure to be a magical experience. Intimate restaurants of world-class caliber, live music venues, a night at the theater, or some old-fashioned, al-fresco stargazing all make Sonoma Valley a must for your next date night.
Better yet, make it a special weekend by taking advantage of the plethora of lodging options, including hotels and cozy inns, charming guest cottages, and fabulous vacation rentals!
Great Dining Experiences
As the birthplace of the locavore movement, Sonoma Valley is known for its fabulous dining experiences, from small, intimate bistros and cozy farm-to-table restaurants, to idyllic patios and gourmet food trucks. Below are some of the valley’s under-the-radar dining gems, sure to get Cupid’s arrow flying:
Cafe La Haye: Just steps from Sonoma’s Plaza, this tiny, locally owned American bistro is the picture of intimacy, warm local hospitality, and culinary charm. Hailed by Wine Spectator for its “appealing unfussy sophistication,” La Haye features local, organic ingredients, romantic lighting and a killer wine list. A true fine dining experience!
Depot Hotel: One of downtown Sonoma’s local favorites, the Depot Hotel celebrates classic country-style Italian cuisine in a beautiful historic stone building, with cozy pockets of the dining room, and great service. On warmer nights, relax and unwind in the idyllic garden terrace, and dine poolside under the glow of market lights.
LaSalette: Owner-chef Chef Manuel Azevedo celebrates the varied and complex flavors of his native Portuguese homeland while adapting them to the immense offerings of top-quality California ingredients, with gorgeous seafood dishes, elevated rustic recipes, and plenty of small plates to share. Check out their sister restaurant, Tasca Tasca, if you want to go for the more budget-friendly tapas-style fare, with wine sold by the glass or carafe.
After enjoying a fantastic meal, consider opting for some music—a great shared experience. Sonoma Valley’s long list of live-music venues opens the doors to tons of options, particularly on Wednesdays through Sundays. Whether you just want to kick back and listen, or shake it on the dance floor, it’s not hard to find something. Some of the venues include the HopMonk Tavern, Murphy’s Irish Pub, Starling Bar, Layla at MacArthur Place, and The Reel and Brand. For larger venues with bigger acts, check out Green Music Center and Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, both a short 30-minute drive away.
Consider Hiring a Designated Driver
Speaking of a short ride away, why not hire a designated driver to allow you some freedom to play on your big night out? Whether you’re hoping to pop up to the valley from San Francisco for a day or a weekend, if your date night includes multiple couples, or if you just want to feel fancy for the night, transportation companies can only make your night out more special. Pure Luxury Transportation features luxury sedans, stretch limos, vans, buses, limousine coaches, and motor coaches. Cuddle up on the back seat with your main squeeze, sip on a glass of bubbly, and leave the driving to the pros.
A Night at the Theater
A night at the theater can also be a fun shared experience and definitely a great conversation starter. The historic Sebastiani Theatre, right on the Plaza, will transport you back to the era when theaters were elegant. Built by Samuele Sebastiani in 1933 as a movie house and was designed by well-known theater architect James W. Reid. While stately and elegant, it has a state-of-the-art projection and sound system for the movies, music, vaudeville acts, and live productions for you and your bae to discover. Consider their Monday night vintage film series if you really want to go back in time!
Transcendence Theatre Company is also a quintessential Sonoma experience that you won’t want to miss. Throughout the summer, Broadway’s finest performers flock to Glen Ellen from the Big Apple for “Broadway Under the Stars,” a musical theater festival located outdoors in old winery ruins, surrounded by 100-year-old vineyards at Jack London State Historical Park, the eponymous author’s former estate. Start the evening with wine, food, and fun near the old barn and end with musical performances known for their dazzling energy. Transcendence also performs at various venues around Wine Country throughout the rest of the year.
Romantic Stargazing & Glamping
If the Great Outdoors is more your game, consider a romantic date night under the stars. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park hosts star talks in the Robert Ferguson Observatory and full-moon walks along the park’s extensive trail system. The Observatory’s three main telescopes are available for viewing the Crab Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy or any number of heavenly bodies. Docents, who are more than happy to answer your questions, staff additional telescopes set up around the grounds. Best of all, Sugarloaf now offers glamping tent experiences, so you can extend the romance for another day or more without having to worry about setting up a tent or inflatable mattresses. Deluxe!
Luxe and love
Not into camping? That's ok - Sonoma Valley's resorts are great places to spend some quality time with your honey. The famous Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa (photo above) is known for their luxury as much as their classic spa, fed by geothermal waters that run under the sprawling property. A couple's massage, or even just some quiet time in a suite, are a perfect way to reconnect. Near the Sonoma Plaza the newly-refurbished MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa features secluded suites with outdoor showers and private patios. And in Glen Ellen, the Olea Hotel's stand-alone cottages are set among the oak-studded hills that form the Valley of the Moon, a perfect place for a quiet getaway.