From the Native American tribes that occupied Sonoma Valley for millennia, to the Mexicans that established in Sonoma in 1823 the last of Mexico’s 21 Franciscan missions in California, to those that reside here today, Sonoma was and is one of the most beautiful, fertile and gentle places on earth.
Located just north of Marin County and about 45 minutes from San Francisco, the town of Sonoma is close enough to the city but light-years away from it in terms of climate, natural beauty and quality of life. One striking example is that the people here are genuinely friendly and will go out of their way to help you.
Sonoma does not suffer from cultural lack. It is a town that is both sophisticated and simple; rural and luxurious. Here you can enjoy a quintessentially American hometown 4th of July, music, theater, art galleries and shows, cultural events, community events and great dining. The tree covered roads that are lined with vineyards are a beauty to behold and the variety and quality of the “fruit of the vine” that those vineyards produce is extraordinary.
Sonoma is the center for California’s wine industry and home to the Sonoma Valley AVA Appellation, among several others. The incorporated town had a population of just over 10,000 in 2010 but the greater area around the town, also known as Sonoma, had a population of over 32,000.
The town was laid out in 1835 by General Mariano Vallejo in accordance to Spanish regulations that required streets, lots, a central plaza and a broad main avenue. The towns beautiful symmetry, wide avenue Broadway leading to the center of town and the historic Sonoma Plaza are testament to his exceptional design. The plaza in the center of town is 8 acres square and is recognized as the largest town plaza in the state of California. The plaza was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
Sonoma's City Hall is in the center of The Plaza. Dedicated in 1908, the building was originally designed with four identical facades so that merchants on all sides of the square could boast that City Hall faced their business.
With a duck pond, two playgrounds, the Grinstead Ampitheatre, large shade trees, a rose garden, and other amenities, the Plaza is a popular location for both locals and visitors. Daily it is the site of leisurely strolls and many family gatherings and picnics. The seasonal Valley of the Moon Farmers Market as well as many special events are held at the Plaza.
In terms of homes, Sonoma offers nearly every level and price-point in housing from mobile homes, to condos and townhomes, to single family residences, to luxurious estates and mansions.
Sonoma is comprised of a number of areas including Sonoma, El Verano, Fetters Hot Springs, Boyes Hot Springs and Agua Caliente. Prominent neighborhoods include Diamond A Estates, George Ranch, Armstrong Estates, Mission Highlands and The Ranch.