Why Residents Love Living in Sonoma Valley

Why Residents Love Living in Sonoma Valley

  • Peter Colbert
  • 01/30/23

Located in the heart of Wine Country southwest of Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley has a reputation for being more laid back than its glamorous neighbor. Besides the vast array of vineyards, there are many farms, parks, and nature preserves in the region. Sonoma has year-round sunny skies and temperate weather, attracting wine lovers, tourists, and visitors from all over Northern California. With top-rated schools, gorgeous neighborhoods, and sprawling scenic vineyards spread out across Sonoma Valley, it is no wonder that residents are in love with a city that is praised as one of the best places to live in California. So, if you’re interested in moving to Sonoma Valley real estate, read on for what makes the area so great.

Living in Sonoma Valley

Life in Sonoma goes by at a slower pace than in the rest of the Bay Area. With its chill vibe, rural feel, and industries heavily focused on agriculture, services, and tourism, living in Sonoma Valley can feel worlds away from bustling San Francisco. For commuters, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland are all within a one- to two-hour drive. If you like the idea of living in a scenic rural town with some of the best wines in the world, all within driving distance of beaches and major city centers, then there is no better place than Sonoma Valley, California.

Things to do in Sonoma Valley, CA

From boutique shopping and fine dining to touring one of the many nearby vineyards, there is no shortage of things to do in Sonoma. If spending an entire day wine tasting is not your idea of heaven, there is still much to experience, including luxurious spas, nature preserves and hiking trails, 5-star restaurants, and many different tours of the scenic valley.

San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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The San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a 13,000-acre wildlife preserve and tidal wetlands along the shores of San Pablo Bay that is home to many endangered waterfowl and shorebirds. The park is a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers, and bird watchers. Here, visitors can see the famous San Francisco city skyline in the distance on a clear afternoon across the bay. 

Bodega Bay

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From Sonoma, you can enjoy a scenic hour drive west to visit nearby Bodega Bay, famous for its tall oceanside cliffs and whale-watching scene. From this gorgeous cliffside vista, you can walk along the many trails or charter a boat from the beach below, which is also a popular surfing spot for local beachgoers.

Wineries and vineyards

No matter where you go in Sonoma, there is no escaping the fact that you are in the heart of California Wine Country. The vineyards stretch across the rolling hills all across Sonoma Valley. Here, you can find more than 425 wineries to suit any taste. Many wineries are small, rural, family-run businesses that offer public tours with wine and cheese tasting. Sonoma wineries are slightly more casual than what you might find in Napa Valley. It is here locals have coined the term “wine country casual.”

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Among the numerous wineries, vineyards, and wine-tasting venues scattered throughout Sonoma Valley, there are a few notable ones visitors will not want to miss.

Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa combines a winery with an art and sculpture gallery, housing many unique pieces constructed for the annual Burning Man Festival. Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville is owned by the famous director and hosts a restaurant, two swimming pools, and an exhibition for movie memorabilia open to the public. Guerneville’s Korbel Winery is also a delicatessen and market, which is a great place to stop for lunch when touring through the valley. Here, you can enjoy fresh salads and artisan sandwiches on the outdoor patio while taking in the breathtaking views.

Dining and lifestyle

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Shoppers in Sonoma will find high-end boutique shops, winery gift shops, antique stores, bookstores, and fashion retailers in the area. Sonoma Plaza is an extravaganza of shopping, food, and fun located in the town square. The plaza is bustling with activity and has many street vendors, gourmet food trucks, and live performers. Sonoma Plaza is surrounded by a city park with plenty of open grass seating, walking trails, and exotic flowers on display. You can also head up to Santa Rosa Plaza Mall to find an array of department stores and over 120 specialty gift shops and stores.

After a day of shopping and touring wineries, visitors can relax at the Osmosis Day Spa in Freestone and enjoy a refreshing cedar enzyme bath, which promises to relieve joint stiffness and improve circulation. The spa is designed around a scenic Japanese garden that enhances your sense of peace and calm.

Once you have worked up an appetite, you will want to check out one of the many fine-dining restaurants in the area. The Girl & The Fig, located inside Sonoma Plaza, features cheese and charcuterie platters, outdoor patio seating, and hearty French classics such as steak tartare and crispy duck confit.

Visitors will also enjoy John Ash & Co.'s elegant fine dining located inside the Vintners Resort in Santa Rosa, with seasonal dishes paired with your favorite of 275 wines made from local Sonoma wineries.

Sonoma Valley real estate

Luxury home buyers looking to settle down in this upscale community have many attractive options available with a wide range of architectural styles to choose from, including California Ranch homes, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, and Italianate designs. This could be good news for those looking to invest in such a stable and proven market in a gorgeous area.

If you are interested in Sonoma Valley houses for sale, or if you would like more information about Sonoma Valley real estate, consider working with local agent Peter Colbert. Peter and his team are well-versed in Sonoma Valley and would love to help you get started on your journey.

*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash

Recommended Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Sonoma Valley, CA

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