Located an hour north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa is a vibrant city with a lively downtown, historic attractions, green parks and great restaurants. Admire drawings of Peanuts at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, learn about horticulture at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, stroll through the Rail Road Square Historic district and shop at the farmers markets. Best things to do in Santa Rosa, California, with kids include fun in the parks, ice skating and
interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.
1. Charles M. Schulz Museum
© Rick Samuels, Courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research
Dedicated to the man behind the much loved Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the world-renowned Peanuts characters, the Charles M. Schulz Museum pays homage to Charles M. Schulz and his unique contribution to society through his work. The museum not only showcases the largest collection of original Peanuts art work in the world, made up of drawings and original comic strips, but also offers a range of exhibitions about the art of cartooning, how Schulz played a role in the development of the genre.
Take a peek behind the scenes at his art studio where he created the lovable characters and learn to draw your own cartoons in the museum’s hands-on education room. Watch documentaries and animated Peanuts cartoons in the state-of-the-art theater, and participate in a variety of events at the museum, including opportunities to meet professional cartoonists. The Charles M. Schulz Museum is one of the best Santa Rosa attractions. Read more
2301 Hardies Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, Phone: 707-579-4452
2.Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
© Luther Burbank Home
Famous for being the home of renowned horticulturist, Luther Burbank Home and Gardens in California pay homage to the place where he lived and worked for over 50 year, as well as his horticultural genius. Born in 1849, Luther Burbank was famous for his plant breeding experiments - he introduced more than 800 new varieties of plants to the world, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains that we grow and eat today.
The house and gardens are a Registered National, State & City Historic Landmark and showcase Luther Burbank’s work over his time in Santa Rosa. The Carriage House Museum exhibits feature a variety of subjects reflecting on the work done by Burbank, such as his introduction of plums, prunes and plumcots. The grounds are open daily from 8 am to dusk year-round for self-guided tours, while walk-in docent-led tours run from April through October.
204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, California 95404, Phone: 707-524-5445
3.Museums of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, California
© Museums of Sonoma County
Made up of the Art Museum of Sonoma County and the History Museum of Sonoma County, the Museums of Sonoma County are dedicated to showcasing the region’s history, art, and culture. Housed in the historic Post Office building that was built in the early 1900s in a Renaissance Revival style with stark Spanish influences, the museums are home to a collection of over 25,000 works, including historic paintings and drawings, pieces of furniture, ceramics, textiles and prints, as well as photographs, and graphics documenting the history and culture of Sonoma County during the 19th and 20th centuries.
The museums present a variety of discussions, lectures, interactive displays and educational tours and programs on a regular basis with the aim of supporting, inspiring and encouraging visitors to delve into the heritage of the area.
425 7th St, Santa Rosa, California 95401, Phone: 707-579-1500
4.Railroad Square Historic District
© Railroad Square Historic District
The Railroad Square Historic District is the historic heart of what used to be the city’s ‘Old Town’, and is now a beautiful center of preservation and heritage surrounded by architectural gems, quaint stores, antique shops, busy restaurants and vibrant cafés.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Railroad Square has a number of beautifully restored and preserved buildings that echo the bygone era of the railroad age, and charming stores selling items and antiques. The square boasts plenty of things to see and do, as well as places to dine and enjoy a drink.
5. Children's Museum of Sonoma County
© Children's Museum of Sonoma County
The Children's Museum of Sonoma County inspires, stimulates and delights children through their curiosity and exploration of the arts, sciences and nature. Located on West Steel Lane, the museum offers a wonderful array of interactive exhibitions and hands-on displays for children under the age of 10. Children can try their fort-building skills in the Wild Zone or go shopping at the Farmers Market. If you are wondering what to do in Santa Rosa with kids, this is a great place to visit.
They can fish for salmon in the Russian River, use their budding engineering skills to create water tables and participate in weekly art projects at Ella's Art Studio. The museum has a very popular Museum-on-the-Go, a mobile museum which boasts a number of superb interactive exhibits, from hydrodynamics to face painting, which can be experienced at festivals and fairs in the area. Read more
1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, California 95403, Phone: 707-546-4069
6.The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market
© The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market
Established in 1967, the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market is a market where farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers gather to sell their delicious wares to eagerly awaiting gourmands, aficionados and food lovers. Being a ‘certified’ farmers market guarantees that all the produce is as fresh as it gets, from fruit and vegetables, honey, eggs and flowers, to meat and poultry products, all of which are grown locally.
The market is open year-round on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm and offers a fantastic chance to stroll around in your own time, take in the sights, sounds and smells and chat with the vendors.
50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, California 95403, Phone: 707-522-8629
More things to do: Safari West
7.California Cheese Trail, Santa Rosa, California
© California Cheese Trail
The California Cheese Trail is a tasting tour across the epicenter of California's artisanal cheese movement where you can meet artisan cheesemakers, learn all about artisan cheese and the cheesemaking process, and sample of the region’s finest cheese and other dairy products that the farms produce.
This self drive tour takes you through some of California’s most beautiful backcountry and offers an array of farms to visit, such as Cowgirl Creamery, Bravo Farms Cheese, Harley Farms Goat Dairy and Matos Cheese Factory.
Some farms are open year-round, while others require appointments to be made ahead of time.
8.Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
© Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
Osmosis is a Japanese-style day spa and sanctuary that offers a tranquil and exclusive retreat. Surrounded by exquisite bonsai and bamboo gardens, the spa combines its idyllic location with luxurious amenities, a variety of vitality and wellness treatments, massages, and facials, and talented professionally trained staff. Osmosis is the only day spa in America where guests can try the Cedar Enzyme Bath.
The spa offers an array of specialized spa treatments, including massages, organic facials, and vitality and wellness programs. After your treatment, relax in the Osmosis Meditation Garden surrounded by the sounds of nature. Several packages are available, and guests can enjoy a delicious organic lunch in the scenic Picnic Grove.
209 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, California 95472, Phone: 707-823-8231
9. St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
© St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
St. Francis Winery and Vineyards is a beautiful family-owned wine estate that has been growing and producing award-winning wine for over 40 years. Steeped in history, the farm has a long tradition of producing elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes, from over 400 acres of sustainable vineyards in Sonoma and Russian River Valleys.
The estate boasts a state-of-the-art winery, which practices sustainable and eco-friendly winemaking with the aim of preserving the region’s natural resources and surrounding environment. It also features an innovative Visitor’s Center in the heart of the rolling vineyards woth a rustic bell tower whose 1,000-pound bronze bell from the Marinelli Foundry in Italy can be heard chiming across the valley every hour. Stop by the contemporary tasting room to sample some of the estate’s finest wines and tasty food surrounded by beautiful views. Read more
100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, California 95409, Phone: 707-538-9463
10.Sonoma Canopy Tours
© Sonoma Canopy Tours
Take to the trees and experience Northern California’s beautiful Redwood forest like never before with Sonoma Canopy Tours. The adventure company offers unforgettable guided eco-tours through the forest, which consists of climbing, skywalking, ziplining, and rappelling. You will get a chance to get up close and personal with some of the oldest and tallest living trees on the planet.
The tour begins at the Welcome Center where experienced guides will lead you into the forest to the base of the adventure trail. From here, the two-and-a-half hour tour takes you across two sky brides, along seven zip lines, up a spectacular spiral staircase, and ends with a rappel down to the forest floor under the expert hands of the tour guides. These educational and spiritual canopy tours are suitable for adults and children over 10 years old and participants need to be in fairly good health as the tour involves a lot of climbing and physical movement.
6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, California 95465, Phone: 888-494-7868
11.Platypus Wine Tours, Santa Rosa, California
© Platypus Wine Tours
Wine lovers will delight in the lighthearted and relaxed approach learning about wine on one of the Platypus Tours’ fun-filled adventures. The company offers intimate wine tours in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, as well as other renowned wine regions such as Dry Creek, Russian River, West Side Carneros, and the Alexander Valley. The company can pick you up in Santa Rosa if you sign up for one of their Healdsburg, Russian River and Northern Sonoma County Tours.
Tours are led by well-trained and highly experienced tour guides who take you through the history of each region and their best known wine estates, as well as introduce you to some of the smaller estates, tell you all about the winemaking process, and offer samples of some of the region’s finest wines. Picnics, lunches, and light snacks can also be arranged along the way. Group and individual tours are offered on a daily basis and customized tours can be arranged for special occasions, such as celebrations, corporate events, and team building. Read more
12.Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa, CA
© Pacific Coast Air Museum
Founded in 1989, the Pacific Coast Air Museum is home to over 30 vintage aircraft from various periods and an interactive museum displaying a wealth of aviation-related materials. The museum educates visitors about the heritage and history of aviation in the United States, honors the veterans who served their country so loyally and looks at the future of space technology.
In addition to an incredible collection of vintage aircraft, some of which can be explored and climbed on during certain weekends, the museum also showcases a range of assorted historical artifacts and old engines, aviation reference books, and other aviation-related displays. With a strong support for the community, the museum provides community service opportunities for local high schools, as well as a number of educational programs for students and scholars, hosts veterans events, and provides speakers for civic groups.
One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa, California 95403, Phone: 707-575-7900
13.The Redwood Empire Ice Arena - Snoopy's Home Ice
© Snoopy's Home Ice
The Redwood Empire Ice Arena is Santa Rosa’s popular ice rink. Opened in 1969 by Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, the arena offers an array of ice-based activities, including ice skating for the public, ice hockey for children and adults, and private ice and figure skating classes.
The arena is best known for hosting Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament, which is held for a week every year and sees 64 teams from all over the world competing against each other in exciting ice hockey games. The Warm Puppy Café serves bistro-style meals and drinks. Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop across the road from the arena sells an array of Peanuts-related products, figure skating and hockey equipment.
1667 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, California 95403, Phone: 707-546-7147
14.Wednesday Night Market, Santa Rosa, CA
© Courtesy of Tim UR - Fotolia.com
Established over two decades ago to celebrate the spirit of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa's Wednesday Night Market is the county’s premier Farmer's Market and Street Fair. Held every night over a three-month period during the summer, the market is located in downtown Santa Rosa. It is a gathering of locals and visitors who come to sample food, cold drinks and listen to live entertainment.
The Market sees a little bit of everything, from delicious food and drinks from different countries to vendors selling a range of items. You will find handmade clothing, hair and beauty products and specialty items such as homemade dog kennels. The Wednesday market is a great spot for people watching, eating and drinking, while live music plays in the background.
701 4th St, Santa Rosa, California 95404, Phone: 707-524-2123
15.Pure Luxury Transportation Wine Tours
© Pure Luxury Transportation
Pure Luxury offers a selection of wine tours though the beautiful Sonoma and Napa wine regions, which include luxury transport to the region driven by professionally trained chauffeurs, private estate tours with wine tastings, and gourmet picnic lunches. Sonoma Wine Tours include stops at famous wineries such as Kunde Estate, Ledson Winery & Vineyards and VJB Vineyards & Cellars.
The company has a range of vehicles to suit every need, from luxury sedans and limousines for private tours or airport transfers, to vans and buses for group tours, sports events, concerts and other special occasions.
16.Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA
© Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
The Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is a non-profit community supported art center which presents a range of world-class performances, visual arts programs and community events. Founded in 1981, the Arts Center is owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation and is world-renowned as being one of the world’s top performing arts centers, playing host to an array of dance, theater, music and arts events.
Located in the of the Sonoma Wine Country, the center features exhibitions of student artwork, as well as offer a range or educational programs and workshops aimed at encouraging children, scholars and students with a passion for the performing arts.
50 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa, California 95403, Phone: 707-527-7006
© Balletto Vineyards
Balletto Vineyards is a lovely Santa Rosa winery owned and operated by John Balletto since 1977, following his father's untimely death and his postponement of college to help his mother operate his family farm. Today, the Ballettos' farm has become one of Northern California's largest vegetable farm operations, producing more than two million cases of mixed vegetables per season. Its winery and vineyard operations produce a wide variety of delicious red, white, sparkling, and fruit wine variants, ranging from classic Pinot noir, Chardonny, Zinfandel, and Syrah varieties to unique wines produced with strawberry and tropical fruit notes. Guests can enjoy wine tastings at the winery's public tasting room, with no reservations necessary for groups of six or less during public hours. Self-guided winery and vineyard tours are available during times when the winery is open to the public, with special events such as dinner and movie nights, artist receptions, and wine pickup parties hosted on site periodically.
5700 Occidental Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, Phone: 707-568-2455
18.Annadel State Park
© Courtesy of Maks_ershov - Fotolia.com
Annadel State Park is a beautiful stretch of natural landscape which offers visitors a network of trails ideal for walking, hiking, biking and running, as well as horseback riding and trail riding. At the center of the park lies Lake Ilsanjo, a perfect spot to fish for bluegill and black bass. The park boasts a modern visitor’s center, which features interpretive exhibits and educational programs about the park and its surrounding environment.
Guided tours can arranged through the park by trained local guides. There are a variety of pleasant picnic areas dotted about the park, as well as a pristine beach area, and a scenic point offering beautiful vistas of the landscape. Camping is not allowed inside the park, however camping is available at the county campground at Spring Lake and at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, just ten miles east of Annadel.
More travel ideas: 45 Best Weekend Getaways from San Francisco.
19.Spring Lake Regional Park
© Courtesy of Sonoma County Regional Parks
Spring Lake Regional Park is a 320-acre area which offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities and adventures surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. The park is crisscrossed by a network of paths and trails for walking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. There is a three-acre lagoon for swimming in the summer months, as well as a 72-acre lake for fishing, boating and other water sports, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing.
The lakes are fringed by sandy beaches, lawns with picnic sites and ancient redwood trees. The park is home to a campground with over 30 sites, 200 lovely picnic areas with tables, seating and grills for barbecues, and a modern Environmental Discovery Center, where visitors can learn more about the park, what is has to offer and the natural landscape. Have a meal at the new Lakeside Grill at the swimming lagoon, which serves a seasonal cook-to-order menu, as well as beer and wine.
393 Violetti Rd, Santa Rosa, California 95409, Phone: 707-539-8092
19 Best Things To Do in Santa Rosa, California
- Charles M. Schulz Museum, Photo: Rick Samuels, Courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research
- Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, Photo: Luther Burbank Home
- Museums of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, California, Photo: Museums of Sonoma County
- Railroad Square Historic District, Photo: Railroad Square Historic District
- Children's Museum of Sonoma County, Photo: Children's Museum of Sonoma County
- The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, Photo: The Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market
- California Cheese Trail, Santa Rosa, California, Photo: California Cheese Trail
- Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary , Photo: Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
- St. Francis Winery and Vineyards, Photo: St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
- Sonoma Canopy Tours, Photo: Sonoma Canopy Tours
- Platypus Wine Tours, Santa Rosa, California, Photo: Platypus Wine Tours
- Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa, CA, Photo: Pacific Coast Air Museum
- The Redwood Empire Ice Arena - Snoopy's Home Ice, Photo: Snoopy's Home Ice
- Wednesday Night Market, Santa Rosa, CA, Photo: Courtesy of Tim UR - Fotolia.com
- Pure Luxury Transportation Wine Tours, Photo: Pure Luxury Transportation
- Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA, Photo: Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
- Balletto Vineyards, Photo: Balletto Vineyards
- Annadel State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Maks_ershov - Fotolia.com
- Spring Lake Regional Park , Photo: Courtesy of Sonoma County Regional Parks
- Cover Photo: Rick Samuels, Courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research