Easy afternoon in Sonoma with kids

 In Travel Tips, USA

While driving across the country in October 2014, we took a break for lunch in Sonoma, California to stretch our legs and let the boys run. I’d dreamt about seeing the vineyards, doing a lazy wine tasting tour and even staying in town for a night, but we were on a tight timeline to get to the east coast. We needed to do the express tour of Sonoma with kids.

It was easy to see the vines from the car. In fact, you couldn’t avoid them. Grapevines are everywhere in this part of California. Wineries are plentiful, but if you are short on time, many wineries have tasting rooms in town.

If you only have a few hours to spend, here is a quick guide to get you and your family fed, sneak in a little wine tasting and load up on some goodies before you hit the playground for one last swing and get back in the car.

Sonoma Cheese Factory

Lunch at the Sonoma Cheese Factory

Order a few paninis and a chicken salad sandwich to eat in the shop or outside on the patio (recommended if you have kids). Picky eaters will be happy with the BBQ Chicken sandwich, while those who are a little more adventurous will love trying the cheeses made in house and stocking up on picnic fixings for the road. Indulge in a little wine tasting in the back and buy a few bottles for your next destination or to take home.

  • Sonoma Cheese Factory, 2 Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476

Sonoma Plaza

Playground in the plaza

The two playgrounds in the plaza are perfect for kids of all ages. One caters to the younger crowd, while a larger play structure works for older kids. There is plenty of grass to kick a ball around while you picnic in the square if soccer is your thing.

Sonoma Plaza Ducks

Quack at the ducks

On the other side of the plaza from the playgrounds you will find a small pond filled with ducks to say hello to during your visit. These ducks are obviously used to being fed, as they will swim right up to you looking for a treat. If the ducks are missing that day, you can run around the circular rose garden that has blooms even into October.


Browse the shops around the plaza

It is easy to get intimidated by the prices in the shops around the plaza, but rest assured that there is something for every budget. Wine Country Chocolates has wine-infused truffles and even chocolate-dipped honeycomb you can munch on while you window shop, or take home for friends and family. Global Heart Free Trade is a free trade shop with lots of great jewelry at reasonable prices and amazing nativity sets from across the globe. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up one that was made in Peru or Africa. They were like nothing I had ever seen before. There is also pottery, clothing and bags, but definitely check out the more unique items you won’t find many other places.

  • Wine Country Chocolate Shop, 414 First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476
  • Global Heart Free Trade, 423 First St West, Sonoma, CA 95476


Wine tasting

Wine tasting with kids was never easier than when you are hanging out in Sonoma at the plaza. While one parent watches the kids at the playground, send the other to the various tasting rooms on the surrounding streets. Sonoma Plaza has a great wine walk map that can get you started. Don’t forget to swamp out after a few tastings so the other parent can indulge as well.

Sonoma deserves more than a day of your time, but if that’s all you can give you can pack plenty of fun into your trip. Sit back and enjoy the sunshine as your breeze through, or spend a weekend wandering if you can. Either way, you will always go back wanting a little more.


Sonoma with kids in CaliforniaFall foliage Sonoma, CA via ShutterStock.com

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Showing 2 comments
  • Kara {Our Whole Village}

    Next time you get there, you should also check out Train Town. It’s just down the street from the main square. Kids love it and lots of parents use it as bribery to get their kids up to Sonoma and through a tasting or two 😉

  • Tamara (We3Travel)

    I can’t wait to go back to Sonoma in March but we will have our 10 year old this time so I love this post. Chocolate dipped honeycomb? YUM!

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