Sonoma & Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun
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. Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.
Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza
Saturday, November 18, 5–8 pm
Experience Sonoma Valley and celebrate the fourth annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza. Enjoy 8-acres of 100,000+ sparkling lights plus music and holiday treats! Free to the public and family friendly. Bring a picnic, including wine and beer! For more info, visit their website.
Cirque de Bohème presents Freedom
November 24, 25, 26 + 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: Freedom. Delight in work of world class performers including a unicycle, contortionist, juggler, slack-rope, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, and a hooper aerialist. Tickets: $25–$55. More information
Photos with Santa at Larson Family Winery
Larson Family Winery, Sonoma
Saturday & Sunday, December 2 & 3, time TBA
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 2 and 3, time TBA. 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
Saturday, December 2, 4–8 pm
Bring the family to watch the annual 13th 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 tasting, and much more. Free admission. Parking $10 donation. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
Christmas at the Mission
Saturday, December 9, 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. Tickets for the Mission Chapel performances will be distributed on Saturday November 18 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's Christmas Parade
Saturday, November 25, 5–7 pm
The theme of 54th annual Christmas parade is “'Twas the Night Before Christmas”, 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 Train
Mondays–Thursdays November 18–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 $49 per person. Refreshments available for purchase on board. More information
Calistoga Holiday Village & Christmas Faire
Friday, December 1, 4–8 pm & Saturday, December 2, 9 am–6 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. Holiday Village tree lighting takes place at 5:30 pm. More information
Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade and Holiday Village
Saturday, December 2, 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
7th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Celebration at Robert Mondavi Winery
Saturday, December 2, 3–5 pm
Welcome the holiday season at Robert Mondavi Winery's annual holiday party, which includes a tree lighting, horse-and-buggy rides through the To Kalon vineyard, wine tasting, hot cider, carolers, Italian cookies, and cheese charcuterie appetizers. Admission is $25 per person; free for children under 13, 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 9, 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
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