Sonoma Valley is a great destination for music-lovers. From indoor and outdoor performances to annual music festivals and small, intimate venues, there’s variety to choose from at any time of the year. Below are some of our favorite live music venues and experiences to discover. Check the venues and their websites for the most up-to-date calendars.
SMALL, INTIMATE VENUES
For a flavor of local musicians and performances, Sonoma Valley’s theaters and bars offer an intimate setting to appreciate music on a smaller scale. For interesting and original performances, we love the Sebastiani Theatre, a classic example of 1930s theatre architecture and a cultural gem of the community.
For both indoor and outdoor performances by mostly local musicians, check out the HopMonk Tavern and Murphy’s Irish Pub in downtown Sonoma, and Palooza Gastropub & Brewery and TIPS Roadside in Kenwood. All have a fabulous, regular rotation of live music that’s great to drop in and see while you eat or grab a drink—both on weeknights and weekends, both indoors and outdoors offerings for each venue. All venues offer shady patios to escape the Sonoma sun and cozy, indoor spaces to get you up close and personal with the musicians. We recommend making reservations ahead of time to ensure you get a great seat.
Pro tip #1: The HopMonk is a great way to catch a sunny patio in the middle of the winter, without getting cold. Their large tent lets all the sunshine in without any of the cool breezes.
For free live music, don't miss the Tuesday Night Farmer's Market on the Sonoma Plaza, from 5-8pm from May through September. Pull up a picnic blanket, grab a bite from one of the food trucks and sit back and enjoy a different band every week. In that same spirit, Fridays and Saturdays at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn are quite the party, too! From March to October, from 5pm-8pm enjoy live music on the lawn, cozy up at one of their outdoor firepits, enjoy seasonal bites from CaliForno Street Eats, and sip on your favorite cocktails and Sonoma wines from 38º North Bar.
Pro tip #2: If you go to hang out at the plaza or the Fairmont, make sure to arrive early to get good parking.
LARGE CONCERT HALLS
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University is a large-scale venue that offers world-class performances year-round. Just thirty minutes from the Sonoma Plaza, it’s a culture oasis of stunning architecture, indoor acoustics that rival those of the grand performing spots in Europe and lawn seating that fans out from the open back wall of the venue. The Green Music Center is a must-see for music fans in wine country.
In the summer, don’t miss their "Summer on the Green" series, where music-lovers gather for picnics, food and wine and music presented both inside Weill Hall and spilling out into the lawn outside. In fall and winter, the action moves inward as performers take to the stage inside Weill Hall, from classical performers like acclaimed pianist Lang Lang and violinist Itzhak Perlman to contemporary and classic blues, jazz, chicano-rockabilly, country and more.
Pro tip #3: Make things fun and easy by reserving one of their picnic dinners and bottle of wine for pick-up at your next concert at the Summer on the Green series.
ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVALS
Annual music festivals make summertime in Sonoma Valley a ton of fun! The season starts with Transcendence Theatre’s Broadway Under the Stars in June, with three different shows with multiple dates available throughout the summer. Starring a cast of Broadway singers, actors and dancers, you’ll easily fulfill your showtune itch in the heart of Jack London State Historic Park. And, their pre-show picnics are great fun, with food trucks, more live music, and wines and beers galore.
The Valley of the Moon Music Festival at Hanna Boys Center typically takes place in July. Performing with antique instruments, this beloved festival brings classical music to new heights! It’s also one of the rare festivals featuring antique instruments—an experience that’s not to be missed.
For those who love contemporary music, Huichica at Gundlach Bundschu Winery, and Sonoma Harvest Music Festival at B.R. Cohn Winery are two summer must-sees! Both combine the love of food, wine and the great outdoors with outstanding musical acts and performances, often with big-name musicians.
Pro tip #4: Tickets for these festivals tend to sell out early, so make sure to buy early and plan your visit to Sonoma Valley around them.