Your Sonoma County Culture Guide

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Sonoma County has drawn artists to its coastal beauty, sprawling countryside, and quaint towns for decades, resulting in a bevy of galleries, performance spaces, and sculpture gardens. With an estimated 27,000 artists in residence, it’s thought to be home to more artists per capita than anywhere else in California. Take advantage of the thriving cultural scene with our list of nine of the best cultural experiences in the region.

1
Things To Do / Santa Rosa

Charles M. Schulz Museum

This Santa Rosa museum is dedicated to the works of Peanuts creator and cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. It is home to the world’s largest collection of Peanuts’ strips, and is a great place to enjoy the lighter side of life. Check out the latest special exhibit, “Mr. Schulz Goes to Washington,” a collection of presidential-themed strips, corresponding with American presidents and campaign memorabilia.

Insider Tip

Plan to visit the ice rink, Snoopy’s Home Ice, to create your own moment reminiscent of the cartoon strip and movies.

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2
Things To Do / Santa Rosa

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts is the premiere destination for performing arts in Sonoma County. The theater provides the intimacy of a small theater — there isn’t a bad seat in the house — but attracts some big name acts: past performers have included John Legend and Ryan Adams. Summer events include Lily Tomlin, Wanda Sykes, and a children’s theater performance of Rapunzel.

Insider Tip

John Ash and Company is just a few minutes away, and makes for a romantic pre-show dining experience.

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3
Things To Do / Petaluma

Rivertown Revival Festival

This Petaluma Festival, billed as “The Greatest Slough on Earth,” celebrates the community and local nonprofit Friends of the Petaluma River. Festivities include live music, art boat races, local food vendors, wine, and interactive art. The annual event is scheduled to be held in mid-July.

Insider Tip

Be sure to browse this year’s Sculpture Walk, and keep in mind that all the art is available for purchase.

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4
Things To Do / Healdsburg

Upstairs Art Gallery

Although small and cozy, this space offers a great collection of fine art and jewelry from local artists. Past featured talent has included Monica Lee-Boutz, who includes layered mixed media paintings, and Donna Schaffer, an oil painter and landscape artist. The downstairs of the shop is a bookstore, so be sure to allow enough time to browse on the first floor too.

Insider Tip

The gallery is next door to the Downtown Bakery & Creamery, so stop for a treat while discussing the works you’ve just seen.

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5
Things To Do / Healdsburg

Bob Johnson Art Gallery

This Healdsburg gallery is comprised of four gallery spaces, an art studio, and a library, in an upstairs suite overlooking Healdsburg’s Plaza. Located in the Gobbi Building, the Bob Johnson Art Gallery showcases representational art by contemporary artists.

Insider Tip

After perusing the art, stroll down the street to Bravas Bar de Tapas for some yummy Spanish small plates.

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6
Things To Do /

Sculpturesite Gallery

Sculpturesite Gallery, an extensive collection of art sculptures, moved to its new home at Jack London Village in Glen Ellen in 2015. Enjoy a stroll through the outdoor showing space, which is filled with modern and contemporary fine art sculptures, but don’t forget to check out the indoor gallery, which features smaller works of metal, wood, stone, and glass.

Insider Tip

After exploring the art, head across the street to Eric Ross Winery for a tasting.

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7
Weddings / Sonoma

Buena Vista Winery

Historic Buena Vista Winery’s vineyards are planted on the land once farmed by Agoston Haraszthy, the man credited for bringing the first European grape varieties to California (thereby ushering in the modern era of California winemaking). The winery houses a wine tool museum, with handcrafted tools and artifacts of California’s winemaking history. Access to the museum is available via guided tour only (try the tour and tasting option for an opportunity to fully experience what this historic winery has to offer).

Insider Tip

Buena Vista is just up the street from Carneros Brewery, a fun place to stop for a beer and a change of pace.

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8
Things To Do / Guerneville

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens

Kendall-Jackson hosts this all-day culinary event every September, at the peak of heirloom tomato season. Hailed as the ultimate harvest festival, the event pays tribute to the mighty heirloom tomato, and features over 150 varieties. Festival-goers enjoy tours of Kendall-Jackson’s culinary gardens, the heirloom tomato growers’ competition, wine seminars, and dishes from prominent Bay Area chefs and food purveyors.

Insider Tip

To take a break from the heat, go for an afternoon break at nearby coffee shop, Kaffe Mocha.

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9
Things To Do / Santa Rosa

Sonoma County Harvest Fair

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair celebrates fall’s bounty with a grand, three-day festival of wine and food. Expect plenty of award-winning wine and beer too: the Tasting Pavilion hosts more than 100 local wineries and breweries. There’s always something new and different from year to year — past festivities have included fun events like a classic car show, and a llama petting zoo.

Insider Tip

You won’t want to miss a festival favorite: the Harvest Dog Dash is an adorable racing event open to small dog breeds.

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