photo collage of sonoma county outdoor food and wine experiences

Things to Do in Healdsburg: Restaurants, Wineries plus Lodging

Nestled in northern Sonoma County, about an hour north of the Golden Gate, lies the foodie destination of Healdsburg. A quaint, friendly town settled in 1867 by Harmon Heald, Healdsburg has been continuously recognized as one of the top 10 small towns in America. Living and working here, we tend to agree. What’s not to love? Many of the top-rated wineries in the country call it home, and the culinary scene continues to inspire chefs from all over to set up shop. We’re fortunate, indeed. To pay homage to our favorite playground, we’ve put together our list of the best things to do in Healdsburg, from delectable restaurants and award-winning wineries, to creative cocktails and amazing appetizers. We play a lot here, so we know all of the hidden secrets. In addition, our recommendations focus on outdoor experiences to help you feel safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on!

Best Things to Do in Healdsburg – Outdoors

outdoor jordan winery picnic with jordan chardonnay and snacks

Sonoma Winery Picnic Experiences

We’ve put together our list of fabulous Sonoma winery picnic lunch experiences available this summer. Many of these wineries didn’t host picnics before the pandemic, but they’ve pivoted away from their indoor wine tastings and created wonderfully delicious ways to enjoy a casual food and wine pairing meal in the open air. This list does not include wineries with picnic areas for bringing your own lunches. These Sonoma wineries handle all of the details of your wine country picnic for you–removing any bit of stress grocery shopping may cause during these unusual times.

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Jordan Winery Salmon Rillete Outdoor Lunch in Healdsburg

Lunch in Healdsburg

Finding an epic dinner experience in Healdsburg is fairly easy: Think Michelin-rated SingleThread, Valette, Spoonbar and Dry Creek Kitchen that always wow their diners. But lunch is another story since many of these spots are closed during the day. Fortunately, a few great chefs open their restaurants for lunch, usually Wednesday – Sunday. Here’s your guide to finding the best lunch in Healdsburg, with hours and safe outdoor seating noted.

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Willi's Seafood Restaurant Healdsburg Restaurant with Patio Seating

Outdoor Dining

Sonoma County is heaven-sent for outdoor dining in the summer months. No insects, near-perfect warm weather and patios galore. It’s definitely one of our favorite things to do in Healdsburg: Sip local wine made just down the road and enjoy spectacular food. We suspect many day-trippers and out-of-state travelers would agree. For those of you who share this same love, here is a hit list of the best Healdsburg restaurants with patios for your next trip to one of the best small towns in America.

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close up of tuna tartare appetizer from Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar

Appetizers to Try at Healdsburg Restaurants

One problem with Healdsburg – if you can call it that – is you can’t experience all the amazing dishes in one trip. We have a travel hack for that. Whenever someone says they’re visiting our town only for a few days and looking for the best things to do in Healdsburg, we often recommend a grub crawl. Over the course of an evening, visit a few Healdsburg restaurants and only order two appetizers at each spot. You’ll be able to get the flavor of each locale and then come back to peruse the rest of the menu at your favorites. To help start your restaurant crawl travel planning, check out our list of the best appetizers at Healdsburg restaurants to try.

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lambert bridge sonoma county winery healdsburg patios

Our Favorite Healdsburg Wineries

When someone visits Healdsburg, wine tasting is always on the agenda. It makes sense: Three celebrated wine regions intersect on the town square. While there are literally hundreds of winery destinations in Sonoma County, we have a few that we love, especially those with patios where you can enjoy wine and sunshine simultaneously. Never a bad thing. We’ve focused primarily on wineries in the Healdsburg area, but included other favorites in Sonoma County to round out our list.

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“The Board," a selection of cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments made by Ram's Gate Winery
Ram’s Gate is famous for “The Board,” a diverse selection of cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments.

Wineries with Charcuterie Pairings

Considered a classic pairing with wine, a charcuterie plate is filled with an array of rich, savory sausages, air-dried meats and pâtés, as well as dried fruit. All of these foods offer different flavor profiles, textures and unctuous fat to complement and contrast with still and sparkling wines. In our Healdsburg neighborhood, we’ve identified five wineries that offer charcuterie and wine tastings on terraces with some of the best views in three renowned regions: Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley.

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balconies attached to guest rooms at h2 Hotel in Healdsburg

Healdsburg Lodging Guide

Our small town offers a variety of lodging options, from upscale hotels, to charming bed and breakfasts and quaint inns. We’ve placed our favorites into one convenient reference sheet which features all the amenities and average prices to help you make decisions on where to stay in Healdsburg. Most of these accommodations are intimate, smaller properties with personalized touches and outstanding attention to detail.

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We hope you enjoy planning and then experiencing your retreat in our little town. You won’t regret it.

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Born and raised in rural Kansas, Lisa Mattson fell in love with wine during college in South Florida and worked for a wine magazine before moving to Northern California. Her days are spent being a writer, photographer and videographer for Jordan Winery and nights cooking Thai food or microgreen salads. When she’s not eating and sipping her way through Sonoma County, she travels the world with her husband in search of the best restaurants, snorkeling spots and tiki bars.

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