Healdsburg, California may not be on your radar yet, but it’s well worth getting to know. Located in Sonoma County — northern California’s more casual companion to Napa Valley — Healdsburg is a relaxed-cool, wine and food-driven town. And, when it’s just over an hour drive and a straight shot up the 101 from San Francisco, it’s easy to consider spending three days touring and soaking in the best this dynamic region has to offer.
Healdsburg has been the destination on everyone’s lips lately, and with due reason. You can find everything from inventive cuisine, diverse shopping, and of course, world-class wines. The locals are welcoming, there’s a great sense of community, and you won’t find any inflated egos in this wine country town.
We’ll make it easy for you. Here are over 20 reasons why you should dig in and explore it all in 72 delicious hours.
A Healdsburg mainstay, a visit to SHED is an absolute must. This hot spot has it all — it’s a market, cafe, and event space. Sun-drenched and welcoming with a beautifully curated selection of on-trend homewares and gourmet food products, you may want to save some space in those suitcases to take home the goods.
Their in-house coffee bar roasts a local favorite, Flying Goat Coffee. Grab a cup and peruse their beautiful shop, or enjoy a light meal at their ingredient-driven cafe before you really get down to business in Healdsburg.
Now there’s no need to become a show off, but after a cocktail making course with Spoonbar’s bar manager Alex Vlastnik, you’ll have plenty of reasons to brag. The hip bar boasts Sonoma County’s largest collection of local and domestically produced spirits, and you’ll have the opportunity to master a few of the bar’s favorites. Get crafty with this exclusive Wine Country Experience and shake up your personal cocktail game.
Take those tired arms and enjoy a breather and bites farm-to-table style at Barndiva. Celebrating the food sheds of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, Barndiva’s inspiring team has created a movement driven by the zen-like mantra, “Eat The View.” With two on-site gardens, an events space, gallery, and restaurant all celebrating the rich flavors of the region, this is one view you’re going to want to dig into.
What would a visit to Sonoma County be without wine tasting? The area surrounding Healdsburg is ripe with acclaimed vineyards ready to pour from the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley AVAs.
A visit on a Friday means smaller crowds, and more opportunities to mingle in tasting rooms and soak in the killer views. With over 100 wineries in the region it may be hard to find a starting point, but here’s three stand-out suggestions to sip, savor, and explore.
Jordan Winery: Bordeaux-style California Cabernet Sauvignon, Jordan Vineyards has been welcoming guests and pouring out amazing wines in their beautiful winery chateau since 1972. Tastings and tours are by appointment only.
Quivira: This eco-friendly winery’s commitment for producing holistically farmed fruit shines through their wines. And, a visit to their Healdsburg tasting room gives added insight through their beautiful onsite garden and personable tasting experiences.J Vineyards: Everyone likes bubbles, and when one of the top sparkling houses of the region is located in Healdsburg, it’s a must-stop on your tasting tour. Enjoy their sunny terrace while toasting a three-day weekend in Sonoma County.
Take a load off and head to your eco-chic accommodations at h2hotel to check in. Located downtown and in walking distance from the very best of Healdsburg, find a simple, yet modern, aesthetic and serenity in their Leed Gold Certified building built from stunning reclaimed wood and smooth concrete.
Each one of their 36 suites boasts a private outdoor area and organic linens, and if you’re feeling extra green, book an eco-suite or eco-studio for added courtyard views and a dip in your own private, Japanese plunge tub.
Book through Sonoma.com for exclusive perks. Enjoy cocktails for two at Spoonbar, their onsite restaurant, a complimentary room upgrade, and $25 in much-deserved spa credit.
The second Healdsburg restaurant of acclaimed local chef Shane McAnelly, Brass Rabbit is a warm, welcoming space serving up flavorful meat-heavy dishes downtown. Using ingredients sourced in the region, Chef McAnelly’s Sonoma County take on American culinary classics have us salivating with just one look at the menu.
Delight in their daily specials (on Fridays they’re cooking up lobster) or take a bite out of a classic — like their burger with slow-cooked onions, bacon and cheddar, and summer truffle aioli.
Find that second wind and head over to Duke’s Bar. This local’s favorite has drinks that are showy and delicious, but far from pretentious, and the scene is perfect for mingling with Healdsburg natives until the wee hours of morning.
With two locations in Healdsburg, The Flying Goat is an easy start to a slow Saturday morning. Their original location has held court for over 20 years, serving up cups to locals and tourists alike. Stop by and take in the scene, and be sure to grab a choice caffeinated pick-me-up of your own to get the weekend going.
After the excitement of Friday, and what’s to come, a slow morning wandering town may be what you’re needing. The famed, historic Healdsburg Plaza should be on your itinerary and is the perfect spot to watch the morning unfold on the grassy square. At the center of town, this beautiful and quaint area is surrounded by sweet shops, eateries, and tasting rooms.
And just blocks away, the Healdsburg Farmers Market is in business from 8:30-noon on Saturdays through November. Gain a firsthand look at where the fresh produce of the region is sold to the famed chefs that call the area home. Take notes of what’s made it to the market racks and source out the seasonal delights as you eat your way through town.
As a top destination for food and drink and boasting titles like one of the 10 best small towns in America, it’s no wonder the Taste of Healdsburg Food Tour was created. Depart on a 3.5 hour journey to get to know Healdsburg’s tastemakers, the people that make this vibrant city tick, through ample sips and epicurean sensations.
After all that imbibing, it’s time to grab one of h2hotel’s complimentary bikes and hit the streets for a two-wheeled tour to fulfill your inner shopaholic. New boutiques and specialty shops are popping up often, and whatever your pleasure, there’s bound to be a store that sells the goods that speak to you. We suggest making stops at ereloom, OSKA, Urban Lumber, and M.S. Ceramic Design. And no worries, the bikes come with ample-sized baskets.
After a few hours of riding around town, your sweet tooth is probably beckoning and thankfully Moustache Baked Goods is just down the street from your overnight digs. Crafting small-batch cupcakes, macarons, cakes, brownies, and much more, this sweet shop leverages local ingredients to mix up their wares. And for those avoiding gluten, there’s typically a cupcake or two with your name on it.
No one ever said a pre-dinner cocktail was a bad idea, and when you’re partaking in it at the Alexander Valley Bar, it’s like a step into a bit of Sonoma County history. Located just outside of town, this refurbished watering hole has the likeness of a combo old-timey saloon and modern cocktail bar. Pull up a seat indoors or swig on an artisan cocktail on their valley-viewing porch.
Mexican food and California cuisine meet at Mateo’s Cocina Latina, and chef Mateo Granado has made his mark in signature dishes celebrating the best of both regions. Bringing the flavors of the Yucatán to Healdsburg, experience the undeniable passion behind each delightful and creative dish. Take a peek in the kitchen, you’ll probably have a chance to see Chef cooking up the night’s meal.
The doors to the shop have been open since 1923, and while the space has been under many different names over the years, Costeaux French Bakery has perfected their loaves and is a celebrated Healdsburg locale. Offering a French-inspired Sunday brunch, nosh on flaky croissant sandwiches packed with fresh ingredients or Benedicts over their “Best In Show” sourdough baguettes.
As your travels begin to come to a close, why not give yourself one last wine country treat with a visit to The Spa Hotel Healdsburg for Wine to Spa through October 31st. Taking cues from the 2017 harvest, the spa has created antioxidant rich, grape-based products to add to their services. Whether you’re looking to reverse the signs of aging or loosen up tight muscles, you’ll find an ultimate sense of zen because each spa offering also includes a glass of merlot or sparkling rose.
Namaste your way around downtown for one last look at a few local favorites.
Copperfield Books: Find your inner book worm with hardcover, softcover, and every kind of pages in between at this Sonoma County gem.
Erickson Fine Art Gallery: Showcasing a mix of mediums and located in a historic, three-story building, Erickson Fine Art Gallery highlights talent from around the globe. Be sure to wander through their sculpture garden for a look at mammoth works in steel, granite, and aluminum.
Gallery Lulo: An exploration of all forms, Gallery Lulo is part gallery, part gorgeous boutique. Celebrating a minimalist aesthetic, the Healdsburg space has been open since 2009 and curates beautiful paintings, sculpture, and jewelry.
Bocce anyone? If you can pair the playful game with a lunch of wood-fired pizzas, paninis, and oysters, ultimately everyone has won. Enjoy your meal courtside and soak in the Sonoma County sun on their bright patio.
For those outdoorsy types, the region surrounding Healdsburg is a hiker’s paradise. Located just north of town, the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space is 155 acres offering easy to moderate trails with epic celebratory views at many points along the way.
While wine may be the star of the show in Sonoma County, Bear Republic brewery has done way more than just leave a mark. The craft brewery all began with a passion for homebrewing and has grown into two Sonoma County locations. With over 20 beers on tap at their Healdsburg brewery, chug down a cold one (or two) alongside their approachable, delicious, and dietary-friendly bar food.
Want even more inspiration? Check out our article on 15 Healdsburg Instagram Accounts You Should be Following.