If you’re the type of person who dreads travel-day snowstorms, roads teeming with crowds, and box-store commercialism, Sonoma Valley may be your new North
Star Pole for the holiday season. Behold a winter wonderland of a different kind—one without the traffic and big-city hype—just plenty of small-town charm, heartfelt hospitality, and fun festivities to keep you toasty from the inside out.
Wine and dine indoors in world-class establishments, among cozy fire pits and heat lamps. Stroll the plaza, bedecked in thousands of lights, and shop in bespoke boutiques, with shopkeepers who share local secrets and hidden hotspots while offering up unique gift ideas. Attend a local concert, filling you with enough yuletide cheer so that you’ll never miss another hectic holiday again. Then end your day in a romantic inn, where you’ll not only sleep like a baby, but you’ll be cared for like you’re one. And don’t worry: no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to rush or get stressed. Locals don’t call this place “Slownoma” for nothing.
Ready to book your ticket to Sonoma Valley? Use this quick guide to plan your stay. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas or Kwanzaa, a visit to Sonoma Valley means you’re guaranteed to infuse authenticity and awe into your holiday season. Buy tickets early for the festivities you most want to attend.
FIRE UP YOUR FA-LA-LA
Our calendar of events is a great place to start your planning. Find out what’s going on while you’re here and plan around the events that are most important to you. If you’re planning on coming during November or December, you won’t want to miss annual events like the Lighting of the Sonoma Plaza Celebration, Thanksgiving at Santé, and Transcendence Theatre’s Holiday Gala—among so many other memorable performances and gatherings. A little fa-la-la goes a long way in ushering in the seasonal spirit!
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS EARLY
Hoping to eat at that restaurant you’ve been reading about or to stay at that inn or hotel that keeps popping up in the online travel blogs? For peace of mind, book your reservations early. Be sure to consult our “Open for the Holidays” list to see all the businesses taking reservations for prix-fixe dinners and brunches on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Hotel rates are typically a smidge higher during the holidays, so don’t forget to factor in midweek nights to lower the total cost of the final bill. The weeks before and after Thanksgiving are a great time to enjoy the seasonal spirit valley, even if you’re not here for an actually holiday, and it will cost you substantially less.
MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING COUNT
Sonoma Valley’s boutiques are filled with individualized, inspiring, and intriguing gift ideas. From curated wine country fashions and home goods to locally made products, cookware and novelties, our shops showcase unique selections that you won’t find just anywhere. Best of all, a purchase in one of our shops supports small businesspeople and families—not corporations—making it a win-win for everyone in the supply chain. Now that’s consumerism you can feel good about!
LET YOUR TASTEBUDS SING
The holidays are a time for tempting your tastebuds with delicious things, and Sonoma Valley’s lacks for nothing. For food, check out our restaurants, gastropubs, cafés, bistros, ice cream and donut shops, and bakeries. There’s a ton of variety to enjoy from the simple to the sublime, with something to satisfy all diets and budgets. For drinks, Sonoma Valley is not only chock full of wineries, but also boasts distilleries, cideries, and breweries. Even those who don’t imbibe are sure to find non-alcoholic beverages well beyond the pale on many drink lists. Wherever you go to indulge, be sure to make reservations.
FOLLOW YOUR FANCY
Getting away means getting away, even if it includes holiday traditions. Make sure to make time for pleasure and self-care. Is food tourism your thing? Check out our list of unforgettable culinary experiences—all worthy visits. Love taking tours to soak in local history? Want to take an art class? How about take a hike or go on a bike ride? Dying for a spa day to help you settle into the vacation pace? Sonoma Valley offers countless things to do to make your stay truly yours. When the holidays feel more like holidaze, it’s time to look out for Number 1.
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Sonoma Valley is one of winter’s best-kept secrets! Take these tips from the locals to slow down, unwind, let your tastebuds sing, and follow your fancy. The holidays don’t have to be crazy. They can be exactly what you want them to be, with all the fun and none of the stress.