Incredible wineries, fine dining, and captivating art galleries? Healdsburg is the type of place you leave with a plan for what to see when you return, and the unassuming nature of the town is quite often what makes it so appealing. It has a certain charm, which California is renowned for having, of course, but then it's really only when you step away from the big cities and crowded nature of the coastline that you can experience everything else it has to offer.
A picturesque town in Sonoma Valley, and one of the most fascinating gems of Northern California, a weekend in Healdsburg makes for a perfect getaway close to San Francisco.
Healdsburg is located just off Highway 101 and approximately 1 hour 15 minutes drive, provided the traffic is relatively calm. That being said, it is best to avoid traveling this route during rush hour, especially in the evening, as Highway 101 can get quite congested during these times. Reaching Healdsburg is easy with it being a straight run north from San Francisco where at 66 miles, you take exit 503 and keep left at the fork in the ramp which leads to the center of the town.
If you have time to spare enroute to Healdsburg, consider stopping in Santa Rosa to pay a visit at the Charles Schultz Museum. Schultz was the man behind Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts Gang.
The Best Western Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg blends the comforts and amenities you want with the budget you need. It features a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub, free Wi-Fi and parking, and an onsite restaurant. This hotel also has a great location for local action, like biking and hiking, and for super-short side trips to Bodega Bay and Santa Rosa.
Hotel Healdsburg is known for its modern design inside and out, which includes a 60-foot garden pool and a hot tub. The hotel is perfectly located in downtown Healdsburg, putting you within reach of more than 100 Sonoma County wineries. French cuisine is served at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, open for lunch and dinner. Coffee and snacks are available at the Healdsburg’s Café Newsstand, and the Grand Fireplace Lounge is the spot for your nightcaps.
The H2 Hotel in Healdsburg is a hot spot for fresh design and amazing guest experience. H2, a LEED-certified hotel in downtown Healdsburg, is one block from the Plaza and is only a 15-minute walk from the beach. H2 features a solar-heated creekside pool and you can enjoy dining at Spoonbar, the hotel’s onsite restaurant, which serves seasonal pasta and meat dishes made from local ingredients.
For an evening meal, Scopa on the main square is a traditional Michelin-starred Italian restaurant with fresh pastas and hand-tossed pizzas. But the menu runs well past the iconic Italian dishes. Grilled calamari, braised pork and grilled salads are a few more ideas. But you can't go wrong at Scopa. It's reputation is beyond well-deserved across the board.
Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar is not to be missed, featuring platters of prawns and fish with raw oysters in a remarkably friendly atmosphere. There's tons to rave about here but one hint: ceviche. The hamachi ceviche with rocoto chili, lime juice, pepitas and served with house made taro chips ... so fresh, so yum.
Barndiva is an just off the square in Healdsburg, and welcomes you with a gorgeous and warm atmosphere. Cocktails are creative and the seafood and veggies, in particular, make this the kind of restaurant where you can feel good despite indulging. Fresh ingredients, friendly staff, contemporary rustic design. Barndiva is a special place.
After a bike ride or morning wandering the wineries, ease your muscles with a mud bath at Calistoga Golden Haven Hot Springs in nearby Calistoga. This three-step experience will carry you from mud bath to hot mineral jacuzzi to a comforting blanket wrap. You will leave with melted muscles, detoxified skin, and refreshed for whatever comes next in your day.
The wine tours and tastings are plentiful in and around Healdsburg. This is what they do here -- and likely why you came here -- so dive in and tour responsibly. You can't go wrong with any of these experts who know their way around this world-renowned wine country.
Nearby Sonoma Plaza is history in the heart of this wine country, with nature, shopping and, of course, wine tasting opportunities filling the plaza. Enjoy a sandwich and ice cream on a gorgeous sunny day or plan a night out with a candlelit steak dinner and prime wines. Sonoma Plaza is the heartbeat of the county, surrounded by the hills and vineyards.
There are seemingly countless ways to taste Sonoma Valley through the vines, but the Olive Press gives a lesser known twist. These makers and sellers of award-winning olive oils will serve up tastings and bottles of their own. The Olive Press is the most highly awarded olive oil maker in the nation, having won nearly 600 awards for its oils since 2001.
Looking for a breather from the vineyards and wine tasting? Try a different spin with a Sonoma County brewery bike tour.Peddle the charming streets and rolling vineyards of Sebastopol and Santa Rosa alongside a knowledgeable guide, stopping at breweries along the way.