Healdsburg: The Best Things to Do in This Vibrant Sonoma Town
While the world cocooned, the popular Sonoma Wine Country haven of Healdsburg never stopped adding to its appeal, with new restaurants, bars, tasting rooms and hotels now ready and open for business. Healdsburg hosted the inaugural Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience in May 2022, an event modeled after the popular Aspen Food & Wine Classic held every summer in Colorado, and it was a huge success, bringing thousands to the area to enjoy seminars, grand tastings and dinners from an all-star lineup of chefs.
About a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, Healdsburg draws visitors from all over the world as well as locals looking for a great meal, cocktail bar and time around wine. One of the northern-most cities in Sonoma County, it is surrounded by the wine regions of Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley, and makes a fantastic hub for journeying through the larger area whether it’s Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon you’re after.
Here is everything you need to know about where to stay, eat, drink and more around Healdsburg.
14210 Bacchus Landing Way, Healdsburg, CA
With seven wine tasting rooms and more than 3 acres to explore, Bacchus Landing is a new gathering spot with lots to offer beyond wine. Live music, food trucks and community events add to the appeal, with picnic tables, bocce courts and lawn games on offer. The site is also home to the Odyssey Wine Academy.
The Elephant in the Room
177 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA
The Elephant in the Room is a hidden pub and live music venue known mostly to locals that’s worth checking out. The outdoor patio, local beers and English meat pies combine for a good night out, especially late night, which Healdsburg otherwise lacks.
132 Plaza Street, Healdsburg, CA
Idlewild has always been the most unique place for wine tasting in Healdsburg with its focus on Piedmontese varietal wines made from vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Here you’ll find Grignolino, Arneis, Dolcetto, Cortese, Barbera and fun blends like Flora & Fauna White, Red, Sparkling and Rosé. Founder/winemaker Sam Bilbro just added Ciao Bruto, a wine shop/mercantile and art gallery, next door.
Journeyman Meat Co.
404 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA
Pete Seghesio of the Seghesio Winery family operates this stellar butcher shop and salumeria in the heart of town, making all manner of sausage, bacon and salumi to be enjoyed on-site or taken to go. Pete works with local farms to make it all happen, studying with Italian masters to learn his craft. His salumificio in fact was built by technicians from Parma, Italy, where he cures and processes the meats and has a set of small-batch fermentation rooms.
25 North Street, Healdsburg, CA
A restaurant, cocktail and wine bar, wine shop and coffee bar, Little Saint focuses on plant-based food and sells cut flowers and fresh produce from its farms every day. The menu reflects and highlights what’s growing on those farms, including the one that delivers sumptuous ingredients to Single Thread, a 3-Michelin star temple to fine cuisine.
Lo & Behold Bar & Kitchen
214 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA
A welcome entry to the town’s bar scene, Lo & Behold was started by the previous founders of Duke’s, another popular place to enjoy innovative cocktails. At Lo, drinks, snacks and full meals can be enjoyed at the bar, lounge or from the outdoor patio. Bottle Service is a way to enjoy 6 servings of Aperol Spritz, Sangria, Punch, or Eff Me Pumps (Fernet Branca, strawberry, lime, Carpano Antica, seltzer and sass). There’s also beer and wine and a good selection of spirit-free drinks.
1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA
A boutique hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant, The Madrona was recently given a $6-million renovation and is stunning inside and out. Dining and drinking options include the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the separate Hannah’s Bar, with original and classic cocktails in addition to a Parlour Menu of such things as oysters, deviled eggs, salads, pizzas and dips and an exquisite burger with beef fat fries. Much is sourced from the estate gardens.
Marine Layer Wines
308 B Center Street, Healdsburg, CA
Focused on cool-climate wines from the Sonoma Coast, Marine Layer’s downtown tasting room is a fun place to lounge and enjoy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay alongside mezze plates from Little Saint. Started by Baron Ziegler, who also founded the popular Banshee Wines, Rob Fischer makes the Marine Layer wines from outstanding vineyards like Charles Heintz, Gap’s Crown and Walala.
106 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, CA
Among the most exciting of Healdsburg’s new spots is Chef Dustin Valette’s three-story restaurant on the square. On the first floor is the much-fun Wine Wall, with 88 wines on tap, rotated frequently, from local favorites to the most rare and coveted tastes of the world. The main dining room features a Chef’s Tasting Menu of finely sourced dishes (halibut, Waygu, caviar) while Roof 106 upstairs is an open-air respite where wood-fired oven plates, including pizzas and piadines, are the star.
The Meeker Vineyard
5 Fitch Street, Unit 5, Healdsburg, CA
Based in an old hanger a few blocks off the square, Meeker is a family-run winery based in Healdsburg with deep roots in the area. Here, second-generation winemaker Lucas Meeker makes classic bottlings of Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and hosts informal tastings right in the middle of the production facility. He also makes a purely experimental line of wines under the name Hone, including a tasty Pét-Nat Sparkling Rosé.
100 Montage Way, Healdsburg, CA
Enjoy indoor or outdoor dining at this true Sonoma County getaway, just outside of town, with beautiful views of the mountains and vineyards that abound. Hazel Hill is the signature restaurant focused on California cuisine and local ingredients. The estate also has vineyards of its own, tended to by esteemed local winemaker Jesse Katz of Aperture Cellars.
Quail & Condor Bakery
149 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA
Exquisite breads, croissants, cakes, biscuits and all other things baked draw lines out the door of this tiny bakery that has earned a worthy buzz since day one. Chef/owners Melissa Yanc and Sean McGaughey have since added the Troubadour sandwich shop, too.
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