24 Fun Things To Do In Healdsburg
When we first came here on vacation, we instantly loved this town, but wondered, “What are some things to do in Healdsburg?”
Activities in Healdsburg include world class wineries and culinary cuisine, art galleries, museums, walking and hiking trails, Tuesday Concerts in the Plaza, Russian River sunning and swimming, antique shops, lovely country drives, jazz festivals, blackberry picking, outdoor movies. Free tennis courts, dog friendly everything, a renowned wine library, Coppola Movie Museum, organic farm tours, community band shows, art festivals, native plant and rose gardens, and a treasure trove of hidden gems, community events and outdoor activities to do.
If you’re wondering what to do around Healdsburg, there are literally hundreds of fun things available for families, couples, and singles. And, like many things in life, some of the most enjoyable are free. In this article, we’ll briefly cover many of the fun activities, events and attractions with links to pages containing more details on each. And if you’re wondering what’s open in Healdsburg, well pretty much everything is now open! When you want to see beautiful photos of things around town simply view our new Life in Healdsburg gallery.
Wineries Near Healdsburg
Okay, you probably already know wine tours are one of the things to do in Healdsburg. However, are you aware there are 92 wineries within 20 to 30 minutes of our town? In addition, we have another 42 tasting rooms here in the village. So, whether you like white wine or red, sweet, semi-sweet or dry wine, rosés or sparkling wines, Healdsburg’s wine country is flowing with remarkable and memorable experiences. Indulge in exquisite Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or any of Healdsburg wine country’s delicious varietals. You’ll see why more people now prefer Russian River Valley wines over Napa Valley wines, and making our little town one of their favorite destinations for day trips.
Some of the best wineries in Healdsburg have alluring wine tasting rooms, where you’ll discover some of the finest wines California Wine Country has to offer. Places like Dry Creek Vineyard, Rodney Strong Vineyards, and Truett Hurst Winery have exceptional wines. Our wealth of winery ambiences runs from country casual to millennial mayhem, and from classic contemporary to extraordinary European-style Estates and Château’s. Each day promises its own sensational array of adventures awaiting you. Click here for our list of Best Healdsburg Wineries in 2023, and click here to see the best pet friendly wineries..
Wine tasting around Healdsburg runs anywhere from free of charge to $75 per flight and are open seven days a week. We have dog friendly, family-friendly, picnic friendly, and tour friendly vineyards. We have wineries with astounding views. Wineries with rivers and ponds. Wineries and vineyards with elegant art and extraordinary architecture. You may not have enough time to enjoy all Healdsburg has to offer.
Restaurants in Healdsburg
The other ‘top of mind’ attraction Healdsburg is known for is our extraordinary culinary culture. Healdsburg has everything from family fair, all the way to Michelin Star 3 Star dining affairs. In addition, a steady stream of creative culinary talent from the SRJC Culinary School and nearby Culinary Institute of America (CIA) infuse their clever imaginations into amazing dining experiences throughout all our town’s dining establishments. Culinary escapades are only one of Healdsburg’s celebrated attractions to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for an exceptionally elegant evening out, wishing to impress that special someone near and dear to your heart, or are looking for a simple family-style sit down dinner, you’ll have 38 outstanding options to select from. Chef Dustin Valette’s venerable venue and Dry Creek Kitchen’s remarkable restaurant are among two of our town’s favorites; both right off Healdsburg Plaza. The best breakfasts in Healdsburg include the Costeaux French Bakery and The Parish Cafe (a favorite among locals).
Dining in Healdsburg makes for a special event in and of itself, with each restaurant adding its own special ‘flavor’ to your evening. And there are a few little restaurants, tucked away here and there, that only locals know about, which you can discover by checking out Healdsburg’s Hidden Gems. This place is a foodie’s heaven!
This page has a complete list of all your Healdsburg dining options along with hours and locations. Bon appétit!
Healdsburg Jazz Festivals
If you’re visiting Healdsburg during mid-summer, and are looking for things to do that are not wine oriented, put these performances on your must-do agenda. One of the more enchanting events which occurs throughout Healdsburg is an ensemble of performances during our annual Jazz Festival. The Festival is presented in concert with multiple restaurants around the square, and runs for 10 days each summer, typically from the end of May through the first week of June.
Some of the finest jazz talent, locally, from nearby San Francisco and imported from jazz centric centers throughout our nation, come to weave their extraordinary talents which drift along on our summer evening’s air. You can lounge around in Fountain Square most of these evenings and enjoy a beautiful serenade of soft yet playfully soothing sounds, as they resonate around Italianate architecture and bathe our lovely Square. Or, you may prefer to enjoy a dinner wrapped in the melody of these amazing artists, which grace several of our restaurants as these annual events blossom.
Whichever you prefer, it makes for a romantic and memorable evening when these jazz events in occur. Be sure to check our “Happenings” events calendar for times, locations and list of marquee talents.
Healdsburg Organic Farm Tours
Healdsburg and its surrounding area are becoming quite renowned for its cutting-edge organic farm-to-table approach to dining experiences. At the heart of this nouveau trend are our myriad of local organic farms. Many of these farms make tours available, and always welcome guests who simply want to roam the fields, learn of their produce process, or see some animals and livestock in their natural habitat.
Organic farms are a way of life here in northern Sonoma County. And with this rich, lush, fertile land which rolls from Healdsburg to the sea, there are few places in the country that compare when it comes to growing the finest fruits, vegetables, nuts and produce that flourish here.
Click here to learn more about Healdsburg’s organic farms. It’s a wonderful day away in enjoying getting back to nature
Healdsburg Community Band
Healdsburg has a wonderful Community Band which performs throughout the year, especially during the holidays. Its members are comprised of talented local residents, who love the art of music and enjoy sharing skills they’ve honed over decades with audiences of all ages.
The Community Band began in 1981 and has had performers including Milt Brandt, with his storied history of nature conservatism, among many other renowned talents from our area. The band typically performs monthly, as it fits into their otherwise busy lives (many of which involve contributing to our towns growth and prosperity).
Simply search our “Happenings” event calendar for performance dates, locations and tickets. And if you have an instrument, they may even consider allowing you to join in and play.
A Treasure Trove of Healdsburg ‘Hidden Gems’
There is an absolute treasure trove of hidden gems sprinkled throughout Healdsburg; places, talents, delicacies, shopping and surprises to delight in – some of which you can even take home with you. These are the experiences, scenes and secrets which typically only our locals are aware of – and now you too can savor some of our community’s ‘off the radar’ specialities. Here’s a list of Healdsburg’s Hidden Gems.
“And Here Are Some Fun Free Things To Do In Healdsburg”
Blackberry Picking in Healdsburg
Running wild throughout, Healdsburg is replete with blackberry bushes. These berry-rich bushes sprawl along our lovely country roads, surround some of our parks like a picket fence, and flow along many trails and nooks running along the river and other water laden locations. You’ll find beautiful plump blackberries ripe for the picking at many a turn. If you’re just strolling along, nibbling on a few as you go, then you won’t need much direction from us. However, if you want to dive in and get a small haul of these luscious little delicacies, you might want to be a little more prepared for the task at hand.
You can learn more about how to tackle blackberry picking in Healdsburg more wholeheartedly by reading this short post. But in any case, throughout July and August blackberries are simply one of those special, natural pleasures that are so common here in Healdsburg
Outdoor Movies at the Plaza
From May to August every summer, our beautiful Fountain Square Plaza becomes a giant outdoor movie theater, showing family-oriented feature films right after our Tuesday Concerts in the Plaza performances. There’s free popcorn and plenty a lawn space to spread out a blanket and enjoy a beautiful evening under the stars together with your family and children. There’s just something about watching a movie outdoors that’s so pleasantly relaxing.
You can bring any snacks or sodas you might enjoy, and of course, might want to grab a lawn chair or two. These are fun and festive family nights with ample opportunity to meet some new friends and neighbors. Check out our “Happenings” calendar for a schedule of this summer’s movies.
Memorial River Beach for Sunning and Swimming
With the historic Russian River slowly winding its way along the eastern and southern borders of Healdsburg, it’s only natural that someone would build a lovely park and provide a brilliant beach to enjoy beautiful days of sunbathing and swimming where barbecues, blankets and beach balls abound.
Healdsburg does a magnificent job providing a beautiful sandy beach along the Russian River, with designated swimming areas cordoned-off in three sections; one for children under three (with a parent), one for children under 15 years of age, and a larger section in the deeper water for swimming laps or just floating along and relaxing that’s just for adults. Snorkeling is pretty cool in this section too.
Memorial Park, which is situated next to Memorial Bridge, is where you’ll find this free to enjoy treasure of Healdsburg. The Park has volleyball pits, outdoor showers, clean restrooms, and lifeguards on duty seven days a week. It’s a summertime favorite with local residents. And when the water’s up, there’s always Russian River Adventures for kayaking.
So, grab your swimming suit, towel, suntan lotion, hat and a picnic basket filled with goodies and come on down and enjoy a historic, not-so-hidden-away in Healdsburg pleasure, which is been cherished by travelers from across America since the 1800s. And our local Healdsburg Museum has the photographs to prove it
Free Tennis Courts in Healdsburg
Giorgi Park in Healdsburg is a beautiful, well-manicured children’s park just a little east of the center of town. It has a lovely little barbecue area, semi-shaded seating in a modern-style gazebo, and a beautiful little wrap around children’s park filled with fun, intriguing and safe amusements for little ones to enjoy while you play a match on one of its two beautifully kept tennis courts.
The tennis courts are extremely well-kept public outdoor open courts. They’re clean swept, and have see-through shaded fencing surrounding them, so you’re not distracted while trying out your new serve; however, you can easily see your children in the play areas which wrap around the courts. These courts are also lighted, with the switch on the pole next to the courts. You’ll have to turn them on if you play towards dusk or evening, and you always want to make sure that you turn them off once you’ve finished playing.
These tennis courts are a wonderful, free fitness activity you can enjoy nearly year-round because of Healdsburg’s most clement weather. So, enjoy a good match together today.
Dog Friendly Parks and More
Almost all the parks in Healdsburg are dog friendly, however if you need fenced sections where your pup can roam free, we’ve got you covered. And there’s always the Riverwalk Trail, which begins at Badger Park’s southeast corner and runs along the Russian River. This is a fun little stretch where your river Rover can roam free and even take a dip in the river if they’re ruff-n-ready. Healdsburg is one of the most dog friendly cities in America, and our parks are simply part of that equation. You can find more frisky-friendly events, activities and places to go on this page. And be sure and remember, we have plenty of dog friendly hotels.
Healdsburg’s ‘World Class’ Wine Library
In the mid-1970s a young lady named Millie Howie began what was to become one of the first winery associations in the country. Her love of wine, wine making, and the beautifully vibrant wine country of Sonoma County were her life’s passion.
In 1989, in coordination with the Russian River Wine Road association she began, Millie started working on compiling what was to become one of the world’s most renowned and comprehensive wine libraries. The compilation of materials she procured became so voluminous that it required the building of a new library in order to store the archive she amassed. Today the Healdsburg Wine Library contains over 5,500 books, as well as various other winemaking and wine related literature, some of which dates back to the early sixteenth century.
There’s also an exceptional array of original wine industry posters, which you can enjoy simply by asking a librarian to grant you access. You may also find some of our most renowned winemakers perusing these texts to find lost secrets in the art of making wine. This compilation of literature is considered to be one of the world’s most comprehensive archives on wine and wine making.
Coppola Movie Museum
One of the most magnificent attractions in all of Sonoma County is the Francis Ford Coppola Winery Movie Museum. This free venue, housed within the entry foyer of the Coppola Winery, is a tribute and testament to the legendary man for whom the winery is named.
Its founder and American icon, Mr. Francis Ford Coppola, has incredible, authentic memorabilia and props from many of his movies in his museum. Including the actual desk from the movie The Godfather, from which Marlon Brando and Al Pacino uttered lines now carved in American cinematic lore
In addition, there’s the original Tucker automobile which was used in the movie of the same name, and many props from the epic movie Apocalypse now. It’s an amazing display of artifacts and memorabilia from one of the finest legends in the history of American movie making. This magnificent and famous display is free to view seven days a week, merely by making your way to the famous Coppola Winery.
Healdsburg Art Galleries
Incredibly, the town of Healdsburg has 15 art galleries that you’re free to enjoy most any day the week. These art galleries include paintings, sculptures, glass and luminescent art forms from both native artists, and artisans who now call Healdsburg home after having traveled the world learning their craft.
These art galleries capture a magnificent array of the vibrance of life; its depth, its soul searching, its majesty, and its simplicity. Some of the exhibits reflect a humor and lightheartedness toward life; while others capture the essence of a moment, the serenity of a view, or the solace of an occurrence. Encountering these stunning works expands your perception and perspective, all within the quiet context of a simple stroll through their gallery halls.
In addition to the Coppola Movie Museum, there is also the Healdsburg Museum, the Hand Fan Museum, and the Healdsburg Center for the Arts. Each of these museums is free to view; though the Healdsburg Museum occasionally has paid exhibits in half of its display area.
The Healdsburg Museum contains excellent displays reflecting both the history of Healdsburg, as well as artifacts and memorabilia from our wine growing region as a whole. The Hand Fan Museum has a beautiful array of antique hand fans, whose designs and decorations tell stories of world history in and of themselves. And the Healdsburg Center for the arts is a unique and eclectic display of varying forms of art and collectible pieces to enjoy.
Nature Walking Paths
There are trails for enjoying a soft walk on a light summer’s day, or in the crisp liveliness of an autumn afternoon. The Riverwalk Trail is a beautiful option for wine country walking, as is Healdsburg’s Ridge Open Space Preserve. Healdsburg’s Ridge Open Space Preserve has a gentle path down to its Froggy Pond, though the rest of the trail is a bit more inclined and mildly challenging.
Healdsburg Hiking Trails
Hiking trails abound in and around Healdsburg. There are three regional parks – Shiloh Park, Foothills Park and Riverfront Park – all of which provide a wide range of trails and options to facilitate whatever length of hike or height of elevation you wish to sojourn. Of course, there’s always the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve when you want to keep your hiking near town.
For those looking for a little more of a rugged trail, we have nearby Lake Sonoma Trails and – of course – the one and only Armstrong Woods Redwood Forest. These parks provide anything from the most subtle and relaxed paths to stroll, all the way up to the more daring and adventurous climbs available in our area.
For complete details, pictures, hours available and directions, simply go to our hiking page. Be sure and download the Healdsburg Hiking Guide which also covers proper attire, equipment and protection.
Concerts In Fountain Square
Every Tuesday during the summer it seems the entire Healdsburg community pours into our beautiful little Fountain Square Plaza for a series of exceptional concerts. Extremely talented bands playing a wide variety of music are featured during these summer concerts; from upbeat country, to classic rock, to a variety of contemporary and cultural music.
Last summer Sunny and the Black Pack played amazing soul, rhythm and blues, and rock. Afrolicious played disco funk and soulful sounds you simply couldn’t sit still to. The Duvets rocked our square with music that had the whole crowd grabbin’ a partner and dancin’ away. These are just a few of the incredible bands that came in and lit up our lives. Healdsburg brings some serious talent into town. It’s hard to imagine this much fun can be packed into a simple Tuesday summer’s eve.
And by the way, enjoying a glass of wine while these festivities roll-on is not only allowed, it’s pretty much required. So, to learn more and see some photos of these wonderful little afternoon events just go to our Concerts At The Plaza page. And to see this upcoming summer schedule search our “Happenings” community calendar.
Healdsburg Antique Shops
The antique shops in Healdsburg are an excellent place to discover historical pieces, unique collectibles and conversation inspiring decor for your home or work space. Just perusing through these antique shops is always so enjoyable, as glimpses of the past refresh memories of your childhood, remind you of things your grandma used to have, or stun you with memorabilia you’d forgotten used to be so popular.
That’s one of the nice things about Northern California. Families have been around here for many generations. So, the treasures you’ll discover in these stores are genuine vintage antiques from a time gone by. Like many of us, you’ll probably find something you need to take home with you; even if it’s a small bobble or trinket to adorn your desk.
Our antique shops are just a few blocks’ stroll from Fountain Square Plaza. These stores capture the past and are an exceptionally fun and inspiring way to pass some leisure time here in Healdsburg.
Lovely Country Drives
If there’s one thing that can be said about the Healdsburg countryside, it’s that it’s both calming and stunning at the same time. Driving through vineyards on winding country roads, with glimpses of forests and mountains in the background, just seems to write a song on our soul. It’s one of the pastimes my wife and I enjoy so very much about living here in Healdsburg; our romantic hand-holding cruises past sentinel redwoods and through vineyard valley views along Dry Creek Road and Alexander Valley Road.
For a list of some of the most beautiful country routes Dry Creek Valley and a few photographs of the vistas awaiting you, click here to go to our Cruisin’ Country Roads section.
A Native Plant Garden
There’s a little block next to Foss Creek where a family has taken a small plot of land and planted a wide variety of native California plants, so visitors can see them growing in their natural habitat. The Wetzel Native Plant Garden can get a bit dry in the summer sun, however in fall, through the winter and into the early spring it reflects the unique nature of our desert area.
Astounding Rose Garden
The Russian River Rose Company is the life and love of Michael and Jan Tolmasoff, which began when they moved to Healdsburg in 1976. Since then, they have built a beautiful garden retreat with over 650 different kinds of roses; some of which are used in perfumes, which they’ve brought back into existence using long lost techniques from places such as Bulgaria.
Strolling through this garden is heavenly. The vibrant floral colors, scents and beauty this garden place unveils is truly a special joy to experience. You can go to this link to learn more and get directions to The Russian Rose Company’s heavenly garden.
Healdsburg Art Festivals
Healdsburg has a variety of community events throughout the year, many of which are centered around art, sculpture, photography and craftsmanship of all kinds. These include the Plaza Art Festival, Art After Dark, and semi-annual Cultural Fairs.
Simply see our “Happenings” calendar for community events which may be running during your visit or vacation here.
An Abundance Of Community Events
In addition to these events there are a myriad of other community events throughout the year. Healdsburg – which is just a just a hop, skip and a jump from Sonoma County Airport – is a community known for its deep roots, neighborly involvement and strong support for community events. There’s too much to list in one simple article, so keep an eye on our “Happenings” community calendar for a full listing of activities and events. They’re just part of what makes Healdsburg one of the premier vacation destinations in the United States.
Closed Attractions No Longer In Healdsburg
On a side note, there are some Healdsburg attractions you may read about in outdated articles which are now no longer here. Some of these former tourism attractions include The Shed, Bear Republic Brewing Company, The Jimtown Store, and The Bean Affair. Though some maintain an online presence, all of these once renowned and even famous landmarks are now closed and gone. While it’s sad to see these incredible pieces of Healdsburg history go away, we’re grateful for how much joy they brought us while here, and wish those who were the heart and soul of these once wonderful attractions our very best. Fortunately, there is still a magnificent abundance of things to do in Healdsburg.
Learn More Things To Do Around Healdsburg
You can click on the following links to learn more about attractions and fun free things to do around town, hidden gems only locals know about, where to go hiking around Healdsburg and community events to enjoy while you’re staying at one of our local Healdsburg hotels or B&Bs. And do feel free to drop us a line and let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see added to our site.
If you have any annual or year ‘round events or activities to add to our calendar, simply use our Contact Us form to let us know.
“Clear, crisp candor on Healdsburg’s hidden novelties and nuances.”
– Richard Slater
Please Note: All information in this article is provided on a ‘man on the street’ basis and is not a guarantee of services, availability, statistics or policies. Neither is anything on this site to be construed as professional or legal advice. Information for this article was obtained by personal experience, or by calling entities or establishments which may be referenced in this article and/or by visiting their websites. If you have any updated information or sources, please use our contact form to let us know so we can update our article for future readers. Thank you.