Of course, you can take your loved one on a classic date in wine country, like a fancy dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a wine tasting for two at a beautiful vineyard. But if you’re looking for a more original date that you can’t stop talking about, then your search is over.
We’re compiling lively and memorable date ideas from all over Sonoma County. First up: Santa Rosa. This dynamic city in the heart of the department has been ranked among the 10 best »fun places to live in usaby US News & World Report last year. An abundance of arts, dining, and recreational pursuits — from outdoor excursions to cozy indoor retreats — make this city a great spot for any type of romantic date.
Here are 12 fun dates you can only experience in Santa Rosa.
Romance on Ice – Snoopy’s Home Ice: Dress in layers to prepare for one of the coolest date nights in the county – Snoopy’s Home Ice. Whether you’re a novice needing the help of a partner on the rink or a skating connoisseur hoping to impress your date on the ice, there are plenty of opportunities to bond and have fun. General skating sessions are $11, plus a $4 skate rental; late night skating sessions are $9, plus a $2 skate rental. Check the calendar for skate times. After your skating session, cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate at the rink Hot coffee for puppiesor cross the street to Vietnamese Bistro Kettles share a large bowl of steaming pho and a cocktail.
1667 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-546-7147, snoopyshomeice.com
Art and Beers – Sonoma County Museum: Show off your cultured side and take your date to the sculpture garden and art exhibits at the Sonoma County Museum. The Downtown Santa Rosa Museum is home to various multimedia art exhibits, art-making classes every second Saturday of the month, and a carefully landscaped sculpture garden perfect for walking hand-in-hand with your art partner. General admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, students and people with disabilities. After your visit to the museum, head to the Brew café to discuss the artwork over specialty coffee or craft beer.
425 Seventh Street, Santa Rosa, 707-579-1500, museumsc.org
Food, Entertainment and Farmers – Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market: To get your food, drinks, dancing, and other exciting activities all in one place, take your date to the Wednesday Night Market in downtown Santa Rosa. From 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday from summer through August, the community’s large farmers’ market and street fair features live music (with plenty of room to dance), exhibits and artists, art and clothing vendors, and of course, dozens of locals. farmers and food concession stands. Plus, there’s a dedicated Kid Space with lots of fun activities for the little ones if you couldn’t find a babysitter in time for the date. Where else can you gorge on Peruvian food and juicy, farm-fresh pluots while playing with a Tom Petty tribute band?
Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, 707-246-6741, wednesdaynightmarket.org
Rose Garden Walks — Luther Burbank Home & Gardens: You could buy your date a dozen roses or, even better, bring them to a lush garden full of hundreds of them. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens offers a wide assortment of colorful flowers and plants, from year-round roses and hydrangeas to plum trees and Shasta daisies hand-raised by horticulturist Luther Burbank. Tours of the gardens and museums take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and the gardens are open for free strolling daily until dusk. Tours are $10 for adults and $8.50 for seniors, students, and children 12-18. If your visit is timed well, head to Juilliard Park across the street after galloping through your garden to enjoy the free music as part of the annual Juilliard Live Concert Seriesfrom 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Sunday, from July 17 to August 21.
204 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, 707-524-5445, lutherburbank.org
Independent Darlings – Summerfield Cinemas and East West Cafe: Change up your typical dinner and movie night with an independent film at Summerfield Cinemas followed by a fresh Mediterranean meal at the nearby East West Cafe. Summerfield specializes in independent, arthouse and foreign films – perfect for those with eclectic tastes. If you haven’t had your fill of popcorn, head to East-West Cafe to share a colorful Mediterranean platter and baklava or vegan chocolate cake for dessert. Bonus: charming Howarth Park is just across the street for strolling and chatting about the film.
551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, 707-525-8909, santarosacinemas.com/summerfield
Walk on the wild side — Safari West: If you’re dating a zoophile (an animal lover), treat them to a blast of fun in Sonoma’s Serengeti. From antelopes to zebras, Safari West’s 400-acre reserve is home to hundreds of animals, and there are plenty of ways to experience wildlife, Wine Country style. You can book a private safari, like the Winos & Rhinos Safari Adventure, where you and your partner can sip wine while touring the reserve and learning about its fun animals. Remember to reserve a place at the domain Savanna coffee for a South African-inspired meal, or book a romantic night in a luxury glamping tent or chalet.
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 707-579-2551, safariwest.com
Become children again – Poppy Bank Epicenter: Relive your childhood with an exhilarating date at the epicenter of Santa Rosa, filled with exciting activities. The epicenter is home to an arcade, bowling alley, trampoline park, laser tag arena, virtual reality platform, 3D interactive theater and even an ax throwing arena. In addition, there are regular weekly appointments events like comedy shows, musical numbers, bingo, karaoke and paint nights, all of which can be enjoyed with a meal from the Epicenter Victory House Sports Bar and Restaurant.
3215 Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-708-4625, visitpicentre.com
Fly Away — Wine Country Balloons: Those with a head for heights need not apply, as this breathtaking date will take you over 1,000 feet in a colorful hot air balloon, with sublime views over vineyards, pristine pastures, oak forests and pine forests. redwoods. Rest assured the balloon pilots are highly experienced – Chief Pilot Scott van der Horst has logged over 8,000 hot air balloon hours, personally welcoming over 50,000 passengers. Reserved flights cost $275 per person and other amenities are available for an additional fee, such as a cake for a special occasion or a personalized DVD video of your hot air balloon experience. Wine Country Balloons also offers transportation to and from launch and landing sites, ending at Kaffe Mocha & Grill for a post-flight Champagne brunch.
397 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa, 707-538-7359, winecountryballoons.com
Be theatrical – 6th Street Playhouse: Let the talented theater troupe of the 6th Street Playhouse dazzle you and your date with a captivating show in the renovated Cannery near historic Railroad Square. The venue will open this season with its production of the classic Jane Austen witty romance Pride and Prejudice, starting August 11, followed by an intimate and sultry performance of Broadway hit Cabaret starting September 15. Ticket prices vary. After the play, you and your date can recite show tunes while strolling along Santa Rosa Creek or treat yourself to a romantic dinner at the nearby French restaurant The train station.
52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa, 707-523-4185, 6thstreetplayhouse.com
Ascent Time — Vertex and Session Climbing Centers: Get your heart pumping with an adventurous rendezvous of bouldering, rope climbing and other physical activities at Santa Rosa’s two climbing gyms. The high climbing walls of Vertex and Session offer the perfect opportunity to support your partner as they find their place and make their way to the top. Vertex offers aerial skills classes (starting August) for flying through the air with silk bands, and both centers offer yoga classes for a more relaxed workout together. Day passes to Vertex are $20 for adults, $18 for youth, and $16 for the early bird special (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday). Day passes to Session are $25 for adults, $22 for youth, seniors, and military, and $20 for the early bird special (before 4 p.m. Monday through Friday).
Summit3358a Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-573-1608, climbvertex.com; Session965 South A Street, Santa Rosa, 707-852-1040, sessionclimbing.com
Cherished Scavengers – Operation City Quest: Work together and grow closer in the process to solve puzzles and search for items in downtown Santa Rosa using the Operation City Quest scavenger hunt app. The organization offers fun photo scavenger hunts in cities across the country, but only one in Sonoma County, starting at Old Courthouse Square to search for items within a two-mile radius. There is even a special dated version treasure hunt, with six additional challenges to bond and learn more about each other. To plan your couple’s scavenger hunt, buy and redeem tickets on the website (original version is $20 per person and date version is $22 per person), download the app and start your hunt at the suggested starting location (detailed instructions and a game code will be sent to your email address).
50 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, 843-212-6609, operationcityquest.com
Dance the Night Away — Monroe Hall: Hunted into each other’s hearts at this 2,700 square foot dance hall that has been a place for dancing and social gathering since 1922. Monroe Hall hosts daily events as well as exercise and dance classes – sessions from folk dancing and jazzercise to square dancing and hoe downs. Swing, cha-cha and waltz with your partner into the night in this charming and lively room, learning awesome new moves along the way. Vaccination is mandatory but masks are optional. Prices range from free to $20 per session, depending on the type of event or class.
1400 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa, 707-824-1008, monroe-hall.com