15 Best Things To Do In Santa Rosa, CA

things to do in santa rosa california

Nestled in the heart of California’s wine county, Santa Rosa is the perfect vacation destination for those looking to combine outdoor adventure with metropolitan luxury. Choose from this list of activities to make your next trip to Santa Rosa one to remember!

Check into the best hotels or Vrbo vacation rentals in the city, and read on to find out the best things to do in Santa Rosa, CA:

1. Hike the trails of Trione-Annadel State Park

Tree at Annadel State Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user harminder dhesi used under CC BY-ND 2.0

In such a beautiful landscape like Sonoma Valley, it’s quite hard to ignore the outdoors. One of the best spots to go on a hike with your friends is Trione-Annadel State Park. It’s located in the northern part of the valley close to Spring Lake Regional Park. This state park is home to a diverse wildlife and flora, and besides strolling through the picturesque meadows, some other popular things to do in the area are mountain biking and trail riding.

Trione-Annadel State Park

Address: 6201 Channel Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95409, United States

Website: Trione-Annadel State Park

2. Get to know aviation history at Pacific Coast Air Museum

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CrabTree13 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Kill your curiosity about aviation history and pay a visit to Pacific Coast Air Museum in Santa Rosa. This museum, initially established in 1989, aims to immortalize the history of aviation by restoring and exhibiting historic aircraft like those of the US Military. In fact, there are displays here that were used during World War II, Vietnam War, and Korean War. There are also propeller and jet aircrafts on-site. You can also sign up for classes such as principles of flight.

Pacific Coast Air Museum

Address: One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, United States

Website: Pacific Coast Air Museum

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

3. Check out the exhibit at Calabi Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

"Primeval Times" by Roy De Forest (1930-2007) 1993, Lithograph in 6 Colors, Edition of 75, 32 x...

Posted by Calabi Gallery on Thursday, May 20, 2021

If you’re someone who enjoys an unusual mishmash of contemporary and antique art, there’s a special spot just for you in Santa Rosa. Calabi Gallery, owned by Dennis Calabi, aims to bring awareness to the lesser-known inspirational artworks. With the goal of moving people, Calabi Gallery features works from the 19th and 21st centuries, as well as a special focus on 20th-century art. The eclectic selection of works available at the gallery is sure to evoke an emotion in you.

Calabi Gallery

Address: 456 10th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, United States

Website: Calabi Gallery

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

4. Enjoy a pint with friends at Russian River Brewing Company

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Russian River Brewing Company on Friday, March 26, 2021

Looking for a place to hang your hat for a bit and have a nice chit-chat with your friends? Sonoma County may be known as a wine region, but if beers and other spirits are your jam, the place to go is Russian River Brewing Company. This brewery was established in 1997 and is notable for strong IPAs and sour beers. Their signature lagers and ales are Happy Hops, Pliny the Elder, and Blind Pig IPA. For Belgian-inspired fare, try Beatification and Damnation!

Russian River Brewing Company

Address: 725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, United States

Website: Russian River Brewing Company

Opening hours: 11am - 9:30pm (daily)

5. Dine out with friends at SEA Thai Bistro

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

NEW! Tony's SET for 2: This week we are showcasing ribeye steak! Crying Tiger Salad w/ribye, tomaoes, onions, mint, and...

Posted by SEA Thai Bistro on Thursday, April 22, 2021

Capping a trip with a nice meal is always a good idea. If you’ve been craving Thai food, one of the best restaurants to check out in Santa Rosa is SEA Thai Bistro. The eatery specializes in Thai fare with a hint of its Southeast Asian neighbor countries, all while using sustainable and organic ingredients. The restaurant maintains a laid-back vibe while still being elegant. Go on a gastronomic trip while in town and make sure that you treat yourself and your loved ones to a sumptuous dinner at SEA Thai Bistro.

SEA Thai Bistro

Address: 2350 Midway Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95405, United States

Website: SEA Thai Bistro

Opening hours: 11:30am - 3pm, 4pm - 8:30pm (daily)

6. Visit the home of the Charlie Brown comic strip

Source: Photo by user Rojer used under CC BY 2.0

Don’t know what to do in Santa Rosa with the little ones? Charles M. Schulz, of Charlie Brown fame, called the Sonoma Valley home for over 40 years. To honor his legacy and bring the comic strips to life, the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa has numerous exhibitions, events, and displays sure to please visitors of any age. For the little ones, consider signing up for classes and educational camps designed for young artists.

Adults can choose from a wide range of museum-led tours and classes while the kids are at play. And, don’t forget to check out Snoopy’s home ice rink – the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Stop by the rink to beat the heat on a warm summer day and enjoy an afternoon of ice skating or some fresh local cuisine at the Warm Puppy Café!

Visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum

Address: 2301 Hardies Ln, 95403 Santa Rosa, CA

Website: Charles M. Schulz Museum

Snoopy's Home Ice

Address: 1667 W Steele Ln, 95403 Santa Rosa, CA

Website: Redwood Ice Arena

7. Hit the slots at a local casino

Graton Resort ^ Casino - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user UncleVinny used under CC BY 3.0

Just outside Santa Rosa, the intrepid visitor will find a handful of resort getaways. For those looking for the complete vacation package or just a night of poker and slots and other fun Santa Rosa activities, the resorts and casinos of Sonoma County are sure to please. Each resort in the area boasts a wide variety of luxurious amenities for every budget, from all-inclusive vacation packages to discount promotions. Each resort has its own distinct flair, so finding one that suits your interests won’t be difficult.

If you’re looking for nightlife, check out local resorts’ line-up for nightly live entertainment and their assortment of dining options, from restaurants to bars and lounges. Many resorts also have spas and salons for those looking for an oasis retreat from city life. Whatever your desires, the resorts and casinos are worthy destinations for your Santa Rosa vacation.

Graton Resort and Casino

Address: 288 Golf Course Dr. W, 94928 Rohnert Park, CA

Website: Graton Resort and Casino

River Rock Casino

Address: 3250 CA-128, 95441 Geyserville, CA

Website: River Rock Casino

8. Stand underneath a grove of California redwood trees

California Redwoods
Source: Photo by user Benson Kua used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, a majestic grove of ancient coastal redwood trees, is just a half an hour drive from downtown Santa Rosa. On a beautiful summer day, these magnificent giants offer a bit of quiet respite from daily life. The park, created in the 1870s to preserve the beauty and intrinsic value of this stand of redwoods, features walking and horseback trails, picnic facilities, an outdoor amphitheater, and a visitor center. Guided trail hikes are available to those looking for local knowledge on the nearby flora and fauna while the park hosts numerous education events throughout the summer season. Be sure to include a trip to see the redwoods on your next Santa Rosa vacation.

The Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Address: 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, 95446 Guerneville, CA

Website: The Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

9. Head to the museums!

Old Santa Rosa Post Office, Downtown Santa Rosa,2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wulfnoth used under CC BY 3.0

Sonoma County boasts some of California’s best museums. Head indoors on a rainy day to enjoy some uniquely curated art exhibits or take a stroll through the sculpture garden on a sunny afternoon. Get your history fix in during a tour of Sonoma County’s History Museum. Current exhibits frequently feature the best of local, state, and national artifacts and are sure to bring out the historian in everyone. This Santa Rosa attraction is a perfect rainy-day activity.

Museums of Sonoma County

Address: 425 7th St, 95401 Santa Rosa, CA

Website: Museums of Sonoma County

10. Have a two-wheel adventure

BLM Winter Bucket List #24: Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, California, for Rugged Trails
Source: Photo by user Bureau of Land M... used under CC BY 2.0

Take a break from walking around town and hop on two wheels. Santa Rosa has an intricate network of bike trails from easy city strolls to intense mountain adventures that are sure to be a perfect match for everyone in your group. The city-cruiser has a plethora of options for their urban escapade from the short, but popular Santa Rose Creek and Prince Memorial Greenway trails to the scenic 13.5-kilometer (8.5 mile) long Joe Rodota Trail.

For those looking for a challenge, Santa Rosa boasts some long-distance endurance trails. Two trails of interest are the 60-kilometer (36-mile) long “Back in the Saddle” line and the 125-kilometer (76-mile) Santa Rosa Napa Circle, both of which are sure to give you a great workout before you embark on a tour of the finest cuisine and wine Santa Rosa has to offer. In Santa Rosa, your bike tour is as customizable as your vacation. If you choose not to bring your own bike, there are plenty of bike rental companies in town. Additionally, should you be interested in a professionally guided tour, there are many bike outfitters in town whose local knowledge and expertise are sure to make your ride one remember.

Go for a ride!

Website: Santa Rosa Cycling Club Ten Great Rides

11. Take a stroll around the garden

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, June 2012
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Frank Schulenburg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Amidst the hustle and bustle of city life are some of Sonoma County’s finest botanical gardens. Step off the concrete and into a flowery oasis for a peaceful escape from the excitement downtown. Experience a guided tour and a museum or simply take an hour out of your busy schedule to smell the flowers. Choose from a selection of local gardens for your next city escape.

Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

Address: 204 Santa Rosa Ave, 95404 Santa Rosa, CA

Website: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

12. Float down the Russian River

Sea Kayak
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thruxton used under CC BY 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Enjoy some family-friendly fun on the water during a beautiful summer day in Santa Rosa. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the stress-free environment of the great outdoors. Local outfitters will supply all of the equipment you need for your flat-water canoe adventure on the Russian River – the lifeline of California’s wine country.

Take a self-guided 16-kilometer (10-mile) canoe trip and appreciate the beauty of Santa Rosa’s natural landscape at your own pace. A half day, full day, or multi-day camping trip down the river is certain to be the perfect addition to your urban vacation. Canoe rental, campsite reservations, and shuttles to the riverfront are available through local outfitters.

Canoe and kayak in Sonoma County

Website: Canoe and Kayak in Sonoma County

13. Sit back and enjoy the music

Green Music Center
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Mast used under CC BY 2.0

For a truly world-class musical experience, spend a night at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. Home to the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Center is the musical core of the bustling city. Go online or head to the Box Office to get tickets for one of the many high quality shows at the Center. In the summer, the Green Music Center turns into a magical acoustic experience, complete with lawn seating surrounded by the beautiful Sonoma Valley landscape. Bring your own picnic meal or enjoy wonderfully catered meals and platters while you enjoy the music, it’s certainly an experience you won’t want to miss.

Green Music Center

Address: 1801 E Cotati Ave, 94928 Rohnert Park, CA

Website: Green Music Center

14. Shop and stroll in downtown Santa Rosa

Old Courthouse Square, Downtown Santa Rosa (Smaller Version)
Source: Photo by user Wulfnoth used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Santa Rosa is home to a number of beautiful, pedestrian-friendly shopping centers, complete with small shops, restaurants, and hotels. Visit downtown, one of the best places to go in Santa Rosa, for a chance to walk and shop in some of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. In the heart of Santa Rosa’s old town lies the historic Railroad Square. Once the center of city life in 1870s Santa Rosa, today’s historic Railroad Square boasts a wide array of shops, restaurants, and cafes perfect for every visitor.

Easily accessed by the newly installed Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) rail line and bicycle-pedestrian pathway, the historic Railroad Square is a perfect pit-stop during your city cycling or walking tour, or a worthy destination onto itself. Stop by to window shop or enjoy lunch at one of the Square’s many fine eateries or enjoy a show at the 6th Playhouse performing arts theater in the heart of the square. The historic Railroad Square is the perfect destination for visitors looking to experience the storied history and vibrant culture of Santa Rosa.

Shop and stroll in downtown Santa Rosa

Address: 135 4th St, 95401 Santa Rosa, CA

Website: Historic Railroad Square

15. Drink up! Visit California’s famous wineries (from USD 103.0)

Sonoma Winery
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The vineyards of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys are world famous. Whether you are looking for an afternoon of wine tasting, vineyard tours, or an all-inclusive winery vacation, there is a California winery experience for everyone. For those looking to visit multiple wineries, consider a guided wine and food tour, specifically designed to suit your group’s distinct tastes, or, book a night or two at a local winery for the complete culinary and vineyard experience.

Is beer your drink of choice? Luckily, in addition to world-class vineyards, Santa Rosa has a booming craft beer and distillery industry sure to suit everyone’s tastes. Create your own trip itinerary from the amazing selection of local taprooms or book a guided tour for the ultimate experience.

Sonoma County Brewery Tour Including Behind-the-Scenes Access

Duration: 6 hours

1 review

Drink up and have a good time in Santa Rosa

Regardless of your interests, Santa Rosa will have something for you. Soak up some fresh California sunshine, enjoy locally made wine, and experience the best of Sonoma County with these ten activities!

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Santa Rosa, California

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Santa Rosa?

If you’re visiting Santa Rosa for the first time, you definitely need to tour some of their vineyards. Besides heading out on a brewery or wine tour, some attractions you should plan to visit include Charles M. Schulz Museum, Museum of Sonoma County, and Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Santa Rosa?

The city of Santa Rosa lies in Sonoma County, where vineyards abound. Be sure to pencil in a vineyard tour so you can see the winemaking process up close. Other outdoor activities include biking with Santa Rosa Cycling Club and kayaking down the Russian River.

3. What are the best day trips from Santa Rosa?

Sonoma County is a beautiful region and there’s definitely lots to see. From Santa Rosa, you can head to Point Reyes National Seashore, a 50-minute drive away, or enjoy a history and museum-filled day trip to Fort Ross, which is over an hour away by car.

4. What are the most popular things to do in Santa Rosa with kids?

If you’re traveling to Santa Rosa with your kids in tow, they will definitely enjoy visiting Charles M. Schulz Museum, skating at Snoopy’s Home Ice, or kayaking down the Russian River.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Gaby is a climbing guide based out of wherever work and life happen to bring her. While traveling, Gaby seeks out the best outdoor adventures she can find, but appreciates a cold beer and a warm...Read more

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