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The town of Sonoma proper offers a wonderful base camp from which to explore the Valley of the Moon, and even all the way over to Napa.

The crown jewel of the town is the plaza – the largest town square in all of California – and the historic mission and adobe buildings that flank it. You can legally drink on the plaza – a rarity in California parks – but only between 11:30am and sunset. As you radiate out from here, there are wonderful tree-lined blocks with Victorians and a few inns.

Around town, there's a number of excellent eateries and tasting rooms, as well as a hodge-podge of fun drinking establishments where locals mix with tourists, games of pool are won and lost, and plans are hatched for the next day's excursions into the nearby countryside.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Sonoma.