Sonoma Tourist Attractions
Location and generalSonoma lies some 43mi/70km north of San Francisco on the beautifully situated U.S. 12, in the valley bearing the same name.
The name "Sonoma" is not, as often assumed, of Spanish origin, but can be traced back to the Wintun Indians who once lived here, and in whose language it meant "nose". However, exactly why this name was chosen when the town was founded in 1835 is uncertain.HistoryThe last of the 21 Californian mission stations was built in Sonoma in 1823.From June 14th to July 9th 1846 Sonoma was the capital of the short-lived Republic of California, the Stars and Stripes of America giving way briefly to a flag with a bear as its emblem. In the morning mist of June 10th 30 cavalrymen from the Sacramento Valley drew up in front of the Casa Grande, the headquarters of the Mexican General Mariano Guadalupe, arrested him and his troops and proclaimed the Republic of California without a single shot being fired. William Ide was made President of the Republic.An American man-of-war arrived in Monterey on July 7th, the day on which California became part of the United States. Two days later an advance guard arrived in Sonoma, thus finally putting an end to the "Grey Bear Revolution". However, the old bear flag lived on and in 1911 became the official flag of California.
Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma
The last of the mission stations and the only one to be built during the period of Mexican rule, it bears the name of one of the Spanish missionaries in Peru. After secularization General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo went to the trouble of nominating the governor Figueroa commandant of North California as a precautionary measure against the Russian advance. At the same time Figueroa became administrator of the mission and was to maintain it as a buffer against the Russians. For reasons which are not known the church collapsed. In its place was built a parish church, which was also destroyed but was rebuilt in the years 1911-13. The nearby monastery built in 1825 survived, and is thus the oldest building in Sonoma. It houses a museum.LocationNear the plaza in Sonoma. From San Francisco, 38mi/60km away, it is easily reached via the U.S. 101, CA 121 and 12. It is part of the Sonoma State Historic Park and houses the Jorgensen collection of water-colors of Missions of California.
Sonoma State Historic Park
Worth seeing is the Sonoma State Historic Park around the plaza. In addition to the San Francisco Solano Mission you will find the former residence of General Vallejos, dating from 1850/1851 (corner of West Spain Street and 3rd Street West), the 1834 Mexican barracks (East Spain Street and First Street West), the former Toscano Hotel and a row of interesting houses dating from the town's early days.
Address: 20 East Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476-5729, United States
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Closed: Thu
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD: Adult $3.00, Child $2.00
Facilities: Gift shop
Typical Visit: 1 hour
CornerStone Sonoma features over 20 garden installations featuring landscape architects from around the world, some of which are hands on and interactive. Each garden designer was given 1800 sq ft to work with and is designed from traditional to modern gardens.
General Joseph Hooker House (formerly the Vasquez House)
Vasquez was built in 1855 for General Joseph Hooker, who became famous during the Civil War. Hooker sold the house and adjoining land to the Vasquez family and they occupied the house until 1901. It was moved here from its original location on First Street West.
Sonoma Golf Club
The Sonoma Golf Club was established in the 1920's when president of the California Golf Association and a group of golf professionals came to the Sonoma Valley to find the ideal location for a golf course. The course is set in view of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Sonoma Traintown Railroad
The Sonoma Traintown Railroad features 10 acres of landscaped park with steam trains that are one fourth the normal size. The trains pass through tunnels, waterfalls and historic structures, taking about 20 minutes. The park also features a petting zoo and ferris wheel.
Address: 20264 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476-7568, United States
Opening hours: Jun 1 to Sep 3: 10am-5pm
Sep 4 to May 31: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu
Sep 4 to May 31: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu
Always closed on: Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Rides require tickets.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Depot Park Museum
The Depot Park Museum, housed in a replica of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot, has a collection of artifacts from the 19th century. The museum features an array of items highlighting Native American culture.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
The Toscano Hotel in Sonoma was built in 1851 and originally housed Italian immigrants. The hotel is furnished with period furniture. The Toscano Hotel is the oldest commercial wood-frame structure in Sonoma.
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
Lachryma Montis (Vallejo Home State Historic Monument)
Lachryma Montis is the estate of General Mariano Vallejo which he built in 1851 and lived in till his death in 1890. The home is a state historic monument.
Sonoma Cheese Factory Retail Store
Map of Sonoma Attractions