On the world stage, Sonoma Valley may be best well-known for wine, but it’s definitely not just for drinkers. In fact, Sonoma Valley has long been a center for wellness, attracting nature-lovers, creatives and makers, spa-goers, and more. So, whether you’re not a drinker, gearing up for a dry January, or looking for new things to do on your next visit here, Sonoma Valley offers tons of stimulating options that won’t hurt the liver or your wellness goals.
GET OUT IN NATURE
If you’re looking to hold-off on drinking for a while or forever, nature is the ultimate drug. Science has proven that being outside in nature reduces cortisol levels—our stress hormones—which instantly puts you at ease, improves your mood, and helps you relax. For those who love being active in nature, it can boost your confidence, foster better fitness, and connect you to fellow nature-lovers.
And let’s face it, there’s no better high in Sonoma Valley than climbing to the top of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park or through the redwoods of Jack London State Historic Park. With forests, meadows, and creeksides to discover, Sonoma Valley’s many state and regional parks offer an endless playground of diverse flora and fauna to explore. For those who are more into adventuring in nature, consider Sonoma Ballooning Adventures or Sonoma Zipline Adventures for a bird’s eye view.
DISCOVER THE ARTS
Whether you’re a creative or an appreciator of art, Sonoma Valley’s arts scene is food for the soul. Making fosters a healthy channel of expressing ourselves, increasing self-esteem, and improving cognitive function. Appreciating art helps us see the world through new perspectives and critical thinking.
Those looking for a creative adventure will the classes and workshops offered at Musette Atelier, Art Escape, and Sonoma Community Center. If kids are involved, check out the Charles Schulz Museum and Research Center for regular illustration classes or the Epicurean Connection for cheese-making classes—a blast for the entire family. If you’re more of an appreciator than a maker, make sure to visit Sonoma Valley Art Museum, a center of contemporary local art, or di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, to see an ever-dynamic rotation of fascinating and creative exhibits. To catch annual festivals and exhibits like Sonoma International Film Festival in March, the Plein Air Festival in September, and the ongoing Sonoma Speakers Series, be sure to consult our calendar of events.
PLAN A SPA DAY
Spa treatments have a way of erasing a bad day and making a good day great. They improve confidence, lower blood pressure and stress, and make your body glow from the inside out.
Sonoma Valley has been a center for wellness since this land belonged to the native Miwok, Poma, Patwin, and Wappo peoples. Once a hotbed of thermal pools, the Valley is now a haven for wellness of all kinds. With world-class spas massages, facials, and scrubs, there’s something to boost your mood and while easing whatever ails you. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, Kenwood Inn & Spa, and The Lodge all offer an incredible array of treatments. Make sure to book your appointments early so you’re sure to get your preferred dates and times.
ENJOY SOME RETAIL THERAPY
Contrary to popular belief, retail therapy isn’t a justification for spending money; it has real benefits. Shopping can help foster personal control, ease feelings of sadness, and, depending on what you’re purchasing, put a little shimmy back in your step.
Sonoma Valley’s many boutiques, stretching from Viansa Winery & Marketplace and Sonoma’s historic plaza all the way up to Kenwood, offer up fun and enticing shopportunities! Clothing boutiques like Bossa Nova showcase the best of the wine country look. For gifts, check out Tiddle E. Winks—a retro extravaganza—the Barracks Gift Store for a little Sonoma pride, and Global Heart for unusual fair trade creations. Home goods aficionados will swoon for the furnishings and décor Chateau Sonoma and JAK W. And that’s just for starters. Lovers of handmade items won’t want to miss Large Leather or any of the plaza’s many galleries. Shopping alone could keep you busy for days here in the valley!
VISIT HISTORIC SITES
Connecting with history is a great way to put a place into better context and perspective. By looking at the past, we’re able to understand the present, and make new choices for our future. For those who love a little intellectual boost on their vacations and getaways, visiting historical sites creates connection with place and people in new and exciting ways.
History buffs will go haywire for Sonoma Valley. With a rich native cultural tradition to the Spanish and Mexican explorers, there’s centuries of history to discover. To learn about Sonoma’s native peoples and early settlers, check out the Mission San Francisco Solano and the nearby barracks. To gain better insight into Sonoma’s chief founder, General Mariano Vallejo, stop by and visit his former home on West Spain Street. The Depot Park Museum is a great way to trace the span on Sonoma’s history, with a rotation of fascinating exhibits to keep you engaged.
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Sonoma Valley’s natural and cultural mosaic makes it easy to appreciate, through whatever lens you choose to look through, be it nature, spa treatments, the arts, shopping or history. And when we embrace curiosity about any of these options, we open the doors for personal growth. So, yes, there is a lot more to our valley than wine and drinking. There’s wellness to soak in of all kinds, just waiting for you to enjoy.