If you live in Santa Rosa and haven’t had visitors yet, just wait; you will. We here at OutThereSR have taken it upon ourselves to collect some favorite activities of people who actually live here. We asked them what they would choose to do if given 48 hours in Santa Rosa. In our 48 Hours Series, we’re sharing what we found, so the next time your favorite uncle in Nebraska needs a getaway, you’ll be ready. Pro tip: this article is going to be full of links since it’s chock full of places to check out. Hover over the name of anything that sounds interesting and click away!

Just when we think we’ve seen it all in Santa Rosa, we sit down and talk with someone like Bryce Dow-Williamson. Bryce is the Marketing Director for Second Octave Entertainment and the solar-powered SOMO Concerts at SOMO Village. He also volunteers with Chimera Arts and Maker Space and The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics in Santa Rosa. And yeah yeah, he’s doing wonderful things for Santa Rosa’s community and art scene and all that…but my favorite thing about Bryce is his open, friendly nature and the fact that he’s a downright cutie patootie. Just kidding; it’s the friendly nature thing. Okay cutie. Friendly. Cutie. Bah! Moving on.

As someone who regularly brings talent and entertainment to Sonoma County I thought Bryce would be a fun person to pal around with, so I asked him what spending 48 hours in his world might look like. No, I was not flirting…but yes, I was doing you all a favor, because check out all of the ideas he had for the perfect weekend! You are welcome:


Every time a friend visits me in Sonoma County I’m excited to play tour guide because it lets me experience our beautiful small-town city through fresh eyes. I like giving guests a full sensory overload of taste, nature and art.

I like to have an extra bicycle for guests. If they’re into it, Santa Rosa is a reasonably safe and accessible 1 gear ride from Fulton to Howarth Park and Annadel. We have so many great breakfast spots but I would take my friend to Criminal Bakery, where they have amazing rotating seasonal breakfast and lunch with local coffee from Melody, brewed in small batches. I’d have to take them to Juilliard Park to see Bud Snow’s mandala mural and the famous Church of One Tree.

48 hours in Santa Rosa Bryce Dow-Williamson

We’d bike down Sonoma Avenue down to Summerfield and access Annadel through Parktrail Drive so we can get right into the trees. I like to go up through the oaks, look over the entirety of Santa Rosa, and point out some landmarks, like the old Rosenburg’s Department Store. If we’re driving instead, I like to go around the back of Annadel to enter off Channel Drive. That puts you close to a number of ponds and views of the valley and fungi, if the season is right.

After all that exercise it would be necessary to recharge and just be still. If my friends are lucky enough to be in town on a Tuesday, then it’s possible to get beer and brats at 3rd Street Ale Works for $2.50 each and catch a $5 movie right next door at the 3rd Street Cinema.

48 hours in Santa Rosa Bryce Dow-Williamson

While we’re close, I’d stop by Treehorn Books to walk between their comforting walls of literature and see what new used books they have. You can always tell a lot about a person by where they first go in a bookstore (don’t tell anybody but I go to the comic book section). It’s the kind of place that would have a store cat. If we were in need of another meal I like to visit the Thai House on 4th, where they have a beautiful wooden carved room and I can satisfy my deep need for Tom Kha Gai. Such indulgence could only be bookended by one of the dangerously brilliant award-winning cupcakes at Sift before wandering home to a fire, good scotch and old stories.


On the second day of our Santa Rosa adventures I’d have to show off a breakfast featuring the great produce that we have readily available through The West End Farmer’s Market and Community Market, then pair it with damned good meat from Sonoma County Meat Company. To work off them greasy calories and get the blood going we’d bike off again to the Santa Rosa Memorial Park Cemetery and Crematory to have a lovely little stroll through the oaks, graves and mausoleums. During September they do Lamplight Tours, which are fund-raising events, present dramatic vignettes from the lives of the famous and not-so-famous people buried in the Rural Cemetery including Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

48 hours in Santa Rosa Bryce Dow-Williamson

Close by is another favorite Santa Rosa stop, Mombo’s Pizza, who have won the North Bay Bohemian’s Best of Award every year since 2002 and now have my favorite local beer, Death & Taxes from Moonlight Brewing, a dark lager that is as dependable as its name. Right across the street is a local treasure dear to my heart and anyone else who loves the highest highs and lowest lows (sonically speaking), The Last Record Store. Not only does this upstanding business have the catalogue and knowledge that any enthusiast would hope for, they also feature live music from legends and hometown heroes.

The Last Record Store

Apart from all the great nature, music, food, drink and indulgence our little Charlie Brown-ed town has to offer I’ve found some inspiring theatrical work by The Imaginists, who are always up to something that blows my mind and opens my heart, and 6th Street Playhouse, who present with precision everything from My Fair Lady to Rocky Horror Show and The Railroad Square Music Festival After Party. In the summer, theater enthusiasts can catch sunset and a show with Shakespeare in the Cannery, at the site of the former California Packing Company’s Plant No. 5 on 3rd Street, complete with solar-powered stage lighting and a set that incorporates the remaining cannery walls into its creative design.

48 hours in Santa Rosa Bryce Dow-Williamson

The last stop for our tour in the city of roses would be in our Historic Railroad Square. There’s a charming little English pub called the Toad in The Hole which has tasty cornish pasty’s, crisp ciders and my favorite aforementioned Death & Taxes. They host cozy little shows that feature intimate evenings with local treasures like John Courage, Ashley Allred and Girls + Boys.

toadCan we just stop for a moment to say…perfect weekend?! With the cool breezes of autumn blowing, and all of the great ideas we’ve gotten from our local experts, I for one cannot wait to get out there! As always, we’d love to hear what your favorite spots in Santa Rosa are in the comments!