Amtrak Getaways: A Local’s Favorite Things to Do in Santa Rosa

Yes, Santa Rosa is in wine country. And while this lovely town has its share of notable wineries, it’s also got a whole menu of only-in-Santa-Rosa attractions, from micro-breweries to museums and gardens.

Case in point: This is a city so grand it’s turned a born-and-raised East Bay boy into a proud Santa Rosan. Here, a few of my favorite things to do in Santa Rosa, from local watering holes to great eats and fun activities—all located within easy (and car-free) distance to downtown hotels.

What to do
1. Go “au natural” at Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, a must-see for history buffs and nature lovers alike. (204 Santa Rosa Avenue,

2. Enjoy a first class-show at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. (50 Mark West Springs Road,

3. Sip wine (hey, you are in wine county) and take in the gorgeous grounds at the organic, Biodynamic De Loach Vineyards, one of the pioneers in Russian River Valley wine-making. (1791 Olivet Road Santa Rosa,

4. Settle in for a hometown feel at Harvest Moon Estate & Winery, a dog-friendly stop with an outdoor pizza oven. (2192 Olivet Road,

5. Local tip: See a movie on a dime (or close to it) at Third Street Cinema. (620 Third Street,

Where to eat
1. Throw back some brews with the locals at Russian River Brewing Company. (725 4th Street,

2. With its award-winning ale, great food, and lively atmosphere, Third Street Ale Works is one of this local’s top-ranked spots in Santa Rosa. (610 Third Street,

3. Switch up the beer and wine swilling at La Rosa Tequileria and Grille, where Latin flavor (and tequila!) is the name of the game. Local tip: Stop in on “Taco Tuesday” $1 tacos! (500 Fourth Street,

4. Go wild at Tex Wasabi’s, a favorite haunt of this local. The brainchild of Food Network personality Guy Fieri offers a unique menu combining Asian and barbecue favorites—plus some innovative barbecue and sushi options. (515 Fourth Street,

5. A favorite haunt of San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow, The Sweet Spot is a fun local watering hole that serves up pub fare, Belizean dishes, and fun bar games. (619 Fourth Street Santa Rosa,

Where to sleep
1. A luxurious spa, tranquil sculpture garden, and central downtown location make the Vineyard Creek Hyatt (from $169 a night) a solid pick for those looking to stay in style. (170 Railroad Street Santa Rosa,

2. Rest within walking distance of all the great downtown attractions at the Courtyard Marriott (from $149 a night), a solid, central pick. (175 Railroad Street Santa Rosa, California 95401,

3. “Sleep” yourself in history at the landmark Hotel La Rose.

Take an Amtrak train to Martinez and transfer to an Amtrak Thruway Bus to Santa Rosa.

Photo: De Loach Vineyards