Surrounded by vineyards, sunny, arid Santa Rosa is really a beer town. Breweries literally line its central stretch of Highway 101; outside Russian River Brewing Co’s shotgun space on Fourth Street, a permanent line forms on weekends. But not even Beer City can escape the gravitational pull of the grape. (Witness specialty quaffs like St. Florian’s Brewery’s Winey Siren brown ale, aged in red wine barrels from Malm Winery in nearby Healdsburg.)
Want to cut out the middleman? Santa Rosa makes a chill base camp for broader California wine country adventures across Sonoma County’s 18 appellations, from Chalk Hill to newly designated Petaluma Gap. Yes, last fall’s deadly wildfires damaged dozens of wineries—some beyond recovery. All the more reason to show the county some love this summer.
Sadly, blazes claimed two of Santa Rosa’s larger hotels (Hilton Sonoma Wine Country and the adjacent Fountaingrove Inn). Book instead at the five-month-old Astro. This motor inn, freshened up with sleek Bauhaus touches, sits near creek-hugging Prince Memorial Greenway trail. Around the corner, brunch on avocado-and-cotija-heaped bean tostadas at Spinster Sisters.
For upscale sharing plates with citrus-forward cocktails and boozy "health shots,” try the Bird and the Bottle near Russian River. Nourish yourself as well at the Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market; for 30 years this downtown street fair has lured locals with fresh produce stalls, a sprawling beer and wine garden, and live music.
May round-trip direct flights from PDX to Santa Rosa start at $158 at alaskaair.com.