Sonoma and Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun

November 15, 2016

Cornerstone Lighting of the Snowmen
Don't miss the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival at Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the benefits of living in the North Bay is having the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa right in our own backyard. It's a short trip from Marin but a world away, especially during the holidays, when the area does itself up in style.

Here are some selected family-friendly holiday events and happenings in Sonoma and Napa, as well as a few of our favorite places to visit in the Wine Country. There's nothing quite like taking in the Wine Country scenery (and maybe a glass of pinot noir) on a crisp and clear December day! Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.

Sonoma Valley

Victorian Christmas Crafts Workshop
General Vallejo's Home, Sonoma
Sunday, November 20, 11 am–3 pm

Craft handmade, affordable historical gifts or stocking stuffers at General Vallejo’s Home. Meet a special holiday guest. Free admission for ages 12 and under (accompanied by an adult), $2 for ages 13–17, and $3 for adults. Rain or shine. More information

A Winter Circus for the Holidays
Cornerstone Sonoma
November 25, 26, 27 + December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 1, 3 & 5 pm
An old style circus based on the French tradition of the 1920’s, Le Cirque de Bohème will transport you into a magical world filled with enchantment, adventure and wonder. This winter a Le Cirque de Bohème presents a new show: Stolen Moonlight. Delight in work of world class performers including a unicycle, contortionist, juggler, slack-rope, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, and a hooper aerialist. Tickets: $30 general, $1 kids under 15. More information

Photos with Santa at Larson Family Winery
Larson Family Winery, Sonoma

Saturday & Sunday, December 3 & 4, noon–4 pm
Larson Family Winery near Sonoma, is a great family-friendly winery. Kids can get their photo taken with Santa at the winery on Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6, from noon to 4 pm. Photos are free but donations accepted. Larson Family Winery is located at 23355 Millerick Road in Sonoma. More infomation

Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival
Cornerstone Sonoma
Saturday, December 3, 4–8 pm

Bring the family to watch the annual 12th annual Lighting of the Snowmen. Enjoy live holiday music, lights and decorations, face painting and ornament making, pictures with Santa, hot soup, beer and wine, and much more. Free admission. Parking $10. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.

Santa Paws
Cornerstone Sonoma
Sunday, December 4, 10 am–3 pm

Bring your kids and your pets for a picture with Santa! Enjoy hot chocolate, mulled cider, Christmas cookies and more. After you have your pictures taken, stay and shop at pet-friendly Cornerstone. Pictures are being taken in the Green Garden Barn at Cornerstone. To make your appointment with Santa, go to: or call (707) 996-4577 x110. More information

Christmas at the Mission
Downtown Sonoma
Saturday, December 10, 4:30–8 pm
Four candlelight choral sessions take place in the Sonoma Mission Chapel, with a campfire in the Barracks courtyard along with live music and refreshments served in the breezeway. The Pickle Creek Jug Band will perform at the Toscano Hotel. Tickets for the Mission Chapel performances will be distributed on Saturday November 19 at 10 am in front of the Mission. A donation of $2.50 per ticket is suggested, maximum four tickets per person. More information

Other Places to Visit for Family Fun

While you're in Sonoma Valley, check out some of our favorite family destinations, including Cline Cellars (where you can feed the fish) and the Missions Museum, Larson Family Winery, which offers outdoor games and even ride-on toys for kids, Sonoma Train Town (open Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm), Jack London State Historic Park, and the Sonoma Plaza with its historic sites.

Napa Valley

Napa's Christmas Parade
Downtown Napa

Saturday, November 26, 5–7 pm
The theme of 54th annual Christmas parade is “Bright Lights, Christmas Delights”, which lends itself to all kinds of creative interpretations. Napans build floats, decorate cars, animals and children, and march down the street in full Holiday spirit. Free admission. More information

Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Trains
Mondays–Thursdays November 19–December 29

Napa Valley Wine Trains' Santa Express Trains are a magical experience for the whole family. Trains run daily at 5 and 8 pm. Santa and some special friends will be on board, of course. Tickets do sell out very early, so check for availablity at (800) 427-4124. Tickets start at $55 per person. Refreshments available for purchase on board. More information

47th Annual Calistoga Christmas Faire
Saturday, December 3, 9 am–4 pm
This event at the Napa County Fairgrounds includes Breakfast with Santa, live music, Santa Paws, children's crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday contests, and an old-fashioned cake walk, as well as the opportunity to shop for artwork and crafts. More information

Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade and Holiday Village
Saturday, December 3, 7–8 pm
This small town holiday celebration features vintage and modern tractors and other vehicles decked out in dazzling lights on Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga's charming main street. Santa will make a special appearance, of course. The weather forecast is 100% chance of snow! Admission is free. More information

6th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Celebration at Robert Mondavi Winery
Saturday, December 3, time TBA
Welcome the holiday season at Robert Mondavi Winery's annual holiday party, which includes a tree lighting, horse-and-buggy rides through the vineyards, wine tasting, hot cider, carolers, Italian cookies, and cheese charcuterie appetizers. Admission is $25 per person; free for children under 12, Wine Club Members, and those who bring a food donation for Napa Valley Food Bank. 7801 St. Helena Highway, Oakville. More information

Pioneer Christmas at Bale Grist Mill
December 10, 10 am–4 pm

Every Christmas season, Bale Grist Mill hosts a 19th-century Christmas celebration, pioneer style. Make a clove pomander or wreath of rosemary for your home, or string popcorn and cranberries for the tree. Write a letter to Santa in calligraphy and seal with red wax. Children especially enjoy decorating gingerbread cookies, cutting paper snowflakes and making “leavings dolls” out of scraps of fabric. There are demonstrations throughout the day: lace making, wool spinning, waxed egg decorating and milling demonstrations. Cookies and cider too! Admission $5, kids under 5 free. Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is located between St. Helena and Calistoga along Highway 29/128. More information