Things to do in Santa Rosa

Things to do in  Santa Rosa

Wine among the redwoods

As the gateway to Sonoma’s famous wine country, Santa Rosa is an ideal urban base for exploring vineyards, giant redwoods, and the rocky shores of the Sonoma Coast. Wine tasting and a walk through the towering, ancient trees at Armstrong Redwood State Reserve top the list of things to do, while in-town attractions include historic Railroad Square and the Charles M. Schulz Museum, home to original works by the Peanuts cartoon creator. For a walk on the wild side, travelers can experience an African-style safari right in California at the Safari West animal park.

Top 8 attractions in Santa Rosa

Castello di Amorosa

Fashioned after a 13th-century Tuscan castle, Castello di Amorosa looks like it belongs on an Italian postcard instead of in the heart of California wine country. The vineyard produces several varieties of red and white wines, but many visitors are drawn by the eight-level structure itself, which includes five defensive towers, a drawbridge, and a moat.More


Located at the base of Mount Saint Helena in Napa Valley, Calistoga is known for its laid-back charm, natural hot springs, and volcanic-ash mud baths. In addition to numerous spa resorts, Calistoga also offers proximity to world-class wineries and plentiful restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.More

Benziger Family Winery

Known for growing organic grapes and using sustainable farming practices, Benziger Family Winery attracts visitors with its open-air tram tours that show off the beautiful property spread across the hills of Sonoma County. The winery is set in the town of Glen Ellen, making it easy to visit from both San Francisco and Napa.More
Hanna Winery

Hanna Winery

In a region full of wineries, Hanna stands out by offering picnics under a famous oak tree and a prime location in the Russian River Valley between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. A local favorite since the 1980s, the winery has two tasting rooms: this location and another up north in the Alexander Valley, near Healdsburg.More

Russian River

California's Russian River is one of the longest rivers in the San Francisco Bay Area, beginning in Mendocino County and cutting through Sonoma County on its way to the ocean. The area is famous for its wine and farm-to-table cuisine, and in warm weather the river is a hotspot for outdoor adventures like canoeing, swimming, and fishing.More

Safari West

Safari West is a 400-acre (162-hectare) private wildlife preserve located in Santa Rosa, California. The park focuses on species native to Africa and is home to more than 800 wild animals, including cheetahs, Cape buffalo, zebras, rhinos, and giraffe.More

HopMonk Tavern

A brewpub in the heart of California wine country, the HopMonk Tavern is known for craft beers, live music, and a fun atmosphere—it’s a great place to get a taste of local brews in an area famous for its wine. Housed in a historic stone and timber farmhouse, it’s particularly lively on sunny days when the patio becomes a beer garden and fire pits keep you warm during the evenings.More
Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park in Sonoma County is part fortress, part settlement. It was originally built in 1812 as part of the Russian-American Company, a commercial enterprise to supply goods to Russian outposts in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Most of the buildings date to 1836 and offer a well-preserved peek into an overlooked piece of California history.More
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All about Santa Rosa

When to visit

Summer in Santa Rosa, as in any California city, can get brutally hot and dry. If you’re looking for warmth, plan a visit in the springtime, when you also can catch the city’s annual Battle of the Brews event that celebrates its craft beer. If you don’t mind the cooler weather, winter can be a fun time to visit Santa Rosa, since many of the city's wineries are decorated with holiday finery during the Christmas season.

Getting around

Santa Rosa’s downtown area is walkable, and you’ll have no trouble getting around without a car. For visits to Santa Rosa wineries, plan to drive, take a taxi or rideshare, or book a guided winery tour that provides transportation with a driver. Booking transportation with a driver included is always a good idea if you're consuming alcohol. If your travel plans include hopping around Sonoma County, you can use the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit service (SMART).

Traveler tips

Many travelers go to Santa Rosa to take advantage of its numerous wineries, but for a unique experience, head off the beaten path just a bit and spend a day and night (or two) at the city’s Safari West wildlife preserve. This park allows you to explore the African wildlife during the day on safari-like tours, and then enjoy all of the wildlife sounds at night from your campsite. Yurt-style glamping accommodations imported from Botswana are available on-site.

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People Also Ask

What is Santa Rosa most known for?

Santa Rosa is the gateway to the Russian River and Northern California Wine Country. Travelers visit for wineries, breweries, and trail-lined green spaces, such as Annadel State Park. Safari West is a private wildlife preserve located north of town. The Charles M. Schulz Museum is dedicated to the famed cartoonist.

How do I spend a day in Santa Rosa, CA?

Start by exploring the Railroad Square Historic District and visiting the Charles M. Schulz and Sonoma County museums. After lunch at the Russian River Brewing Company, head east toward Annadel State Park. Explore the trails and small lakes through the late afternoon, and dine at a local winery.

Is Santa Rosa a nice place?

Yes. Santa Rosa is the gateway to the Russian River and Northern California Wine Country. Travelers come for wineries, breweries, and trail-lined green spaces, such as Annadel State Park. The walkable town boasts the Museum of Sonoma County and the Charles M. Schulz Museum, dedicated to the local cartoonist.

Does Santa Rosa have a downtown?

Yes. Santa Rosa’s walkable downtown is home to the Museum of Sonoma County and the Russian River Brewing Company—one of the oldest brewpubs in Northern California. The Railroad Square Historic District is the heart of downtown, while Fourth Street near Old Courthouse Square includes shops, historic buildings, and redwood trees.

Is Santa Rosa family friendly?

Yes. Santa Rosa is a family-friendly town in Sonoma County. Families can visit the Safari West wildlife preserve and outdoor spaces such as Annadel State Park and Howarth Park. The Charles M. Schulz Museum, dedicated to the local cartoonist, and the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County are ideal for kids.

How far is Santa Rosa from the ocean?

Santa Rose is about 30–45 minutes east of the Pacific Ocean by car. From downtown, it’s about 25 miles (40 kilometers) to Bodega Bay and 30 miles (48 kilometers) to Jenner, situated just north of Sonoma Coast State Park. Fort Ross, Inverness, and Point Reyes National Seashore are farther along.

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