Santa Rosa, gateway to
Sonoma Wine Country, provides several days of entertainment not only as
a home-base for wine country exploration but also for families and adult
travelers seeking fun activities and museums. Dozens of wineries are located
within a few miles of the city and offer great appeal, but for those looking other attractions, there's the world-class Charles Schultz
Old Towne antique shops, Luther Burbank House and Gardens and Safari
West, a theme park filled with endangered African animals and birds
where you can sleep in your private hut imported from Africa.
Ballooning is delightful when you wake up early and take a ride
above the vineyards as the sun comes up. It's a great way to start
the day in Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa is Sonoma County's largest,
sprawling city with a population of around 150,000 that runs along
Highway 101. Located an hour or 55 miles north of San Francisco, you can
fly into the Bay Area and rent a car or enjoy a scenic 430-mile drive
from Los Angeles which takes about six and a half hours. It is the arts
and entertainment hub of the coastal region, a stretch of outrageously,
beautiful land with colorful wild flowers, deer, sea lions, rocky
cliffs, beaches and clear ocean water.
Nearly three times larger than Petaluma, Santa Rosa offers the greatest variety of chain
restaurants, shops and hotels for those seeking value and amenities that
come with city life. At the renovated Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, for
instance, guests enjoy signature pillow-top mattresses in their hotel
room, a 20-meter swimming pool, free ample parking,
beautiful appointments, live music several nights each week, access to
24 Hour Fitness and a fabulous on site restaurant with a menu
that includes gourmet faire and an extensive and unique wine list. This
lovely hotel It is
one of over 15 hotels and accommodations available for immediate booking
on the internet. Known as the home of the B&B, Sonoma and Napa Counties
have loads of houses and inns you can enjoy but they are not for
everyone and don't always have the amenities and flexibility family and
business travelers seek. That's why we recommend Santa Rosa as the
perfect destination for Sonoma County wine country exploration.
Made up of Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa
Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Windsor, Sonoma County features some of
California's prettiest landscapes. From lush green fields and meadows
overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean to towering redwood trees and
forested, winding roads in unincorporated communities such as
Forestville, Monte Rio and Guerneville, character and country charm take
you back to a peaceful time missing in the newer tear-down & rebuild
Mediterranean communities such as Huntington Beach in Orange County.
Though such places provide an appeal, Sonoma is unique in protecting its
open spaces and trying hard to not bulldoze away the historical
buildings that people love and
Residents are nice as can be but don't always provide the best
instructions in getting around. That's where the California Welcome Center
in an historic train depot in downtown
district comes into play. There's an incredible array of maps,
guides and an informative person on hand to answer your questions.
Where to eat -
While visiting the Welcome
Center, stroll on over a half block away to a restaurant voted Sonoma
County's favorite breakfast and lunch place by several polls. I
ate there twice and found the salads excellent. The staff is friendly
and provides great service in a casual atmosphere.
Where to stay
- Our favorite place is the renovated
Sonoma County/Santa Rosa. Perched on a hill, the hotel provides a
top notch dinner menu with a wine list of rare wines that range in price
from affordable to boutique ($400 or so for a bottle.)
What to see - Charles M. Schulz
Museum and Research Center preserves, displays, and interpret the
art of Charles M. Schulz. The museum features changing exhibits on a
quarterly basis, many of them never seen before and specially created
for the official venue of the world famous cartoonist and artist who
created popular characters such as Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy.
Luther Burbank Center
includes an incredible line up of performers in comedy, music and dance.
Recent performances included Bob Newhart, Sammy Hagar, Travis Tritt, The
Temptations & The Four Tops, Three Dog Night, Foreigner, Pat Benatar,
LeAnn Rimes and Gipsy Kings Live! And that's just a sampling of the acts
in one month. The Center also includes Museum of Contemporary Art.
Luther Burbank Home &
Gardens includes the Home, Greenhouse, and Gardens where the famed
horticulturist, Luther Burbank, experimented with plants for most of his
50-year career. The Carriage House Gift Shop and Museum are offer self
guided tours or Docent tours. This unique city park is located at the
intersection of Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Avenue in Santa Rosa,
California - just across the street from City Hall and Juilliard Park.
Old Santa Rosa Railroad
Square was once a hub of northern California commerce. Santa Rosa's
Railroad Square national historic district re-creates the charm of
another era with buildings that have been rehabilitated and transformed
into antique shops, restaurants and specialty stores. The historic
district is bounded roughly by Sixth Street on the east, north by Davis
Street, south by Third Street, and Santa Rosa Creek on the west. At its
heart, directly across Wilson Street from the old Northwestern Pacific
depot and park, is Hotel La Rose. Built soon after the 1906 earthquake
to accommodate railroad workers and passengers, it retains its period
charm while providing modern amenities.
Safari West Wildlife
Preserve & Tent Camp is nestled on 400 acres in the heart of
California's wine country in Santa Rosa. Safari West is home for over
400 exotic mammals and offers lodging in unique cabins shipped from
Africa and re-assembled on the property.
includes these cities and regions:
Luther Burbank Home & Gardens in Santa Rosa
commemorate a great inventor
Santa Rosa (this page)