The Sign Post

This way to discover Sonoma Valley at its best.

Holiday Cheer, Squared

If the North Pole has a sister city, it’s the town of Sonoma.


Holiday_Sonoma_0228 copy

Particularly from Thanksgiving through the New Year. The shopping is cool and eclectic. The dining is as good as it gets. For the historically inclined, you can follow in the footsteps of California’s founding. And, of course, you’re also in the heart of California’s first wine country, so be sure to stop into a few tasting rooms to sample the local specialty.

Now, if all this sounds a little overwhelming, here are a few tips to get you on your way to an exceptional day on the Sonoma Square.

Okay, but first, wine



Is it wrong to start your day with a few sips of Sonoma Valley’s finest? Not when there are about a dozen places to sample local wines right around the square. There are tasting rooms to suit every taste, but let us recommend the new kid on the block.

Pangloss Cellars just opened in a beautifully restored 113-year-old structure on the town square. In fact, the esteemed team behind Pangloss have gone to great lengths to ensure the Pangloss Cellars experience is a celebration of the building’s historic soul.


The entire structure has been given an extraordinary makeover, with exquisite designer touches throughout. The main room has a sophisticated family living room intimacy.


There’s an impressively grand tasting bar, but also several comfortably appointed seating sections scattered around the warmth of an antiquated fireplace. The wines, handcrafted using an Old World minimalist approach, are no less awe-inspiring. Pangloss offers a range of tasting options depending on your preference.


To reserve a private tasting call 707-933-8565 or email

Gift Locally


Holiday_Sonoma_0008 copy

About the only thing you won’t find in the small shops and boutiques around Sonoma Plaza are the expected kinds of gifts you’ll find at big box and chain stores. Just unique and original items here. So leave your list at home, you’ll want to browse around and see what the local merchants have on hand. From timeless gifts to contemporary and handcrafted originals. From the coolest new trends in eclectic clothing to unique cookware and creative home décor. Take your time, browse around, you’ll find something for everyone eventually, and enjoy the welcome hospitality at every stop.

Dine Finely


salon1 copy

When it comes to the culinary arts, Sonoma Plaza offers a little bit of everything, from quaint cafés to world-class restaurants, all within a few blocks. Ready for a quick nibble? Sample from the salon du fromage at the girl & the fig or gather around a side of hot truffle fries at El Dorado Kitchen. For hardier fare, Harvest Moon serves an amazing Niman Ranch rib eye steak, and the daily risotto at Café La Haye is off the hook, right off the plaza. The culinary bar is set quite high around here. So it’s hard to go wrong wherever you stop to fuel up for more exploring.

Time Travel



If shopping only holds your attention for so long, take some time to stroll back in time through a century old mission. Originally built in 1823, Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma was the last of California’s 21 missions. It is, however, one of the most carefully restored. Walking through the gates truly is like stepping back in time. Walk through the mission yards and you can almost see and hear what life was like before the Gold Rush. Tour the army barracks that housed soldiers involved in the Bear Flag Revolt that led to the creation of California as we know it. Lose yourself in the museum, with its relics of life in Sonoma Valley long ago.

Learn more about the Sonoma State Historic Park here.

End Your Day On A Bright Note


Holiday_Sonoma_0231 copy

As the sun sets on another stunning Sonoma day, the plaza comes to life with lights. The square at night is like walking through a giant Christmas tree. Or the closest you can get to the stars. Words can’t quite capture it. Pictures can come close, so here are a few.

Holiday_Sonoma_0225 copy

However, like everything else about the town of Sonoma during the holidays, you really have to experience it yourself.

Here’s a handy, downloadable map of Sonoma Plaza.

You can find a more complete overview of all there is to do and see and eat and drink and buy here at the Holidays In Sonoma Valley website.