Windsor (California)

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Windsor is in Sonoma County in the Bay Area of California.

Windsor Town Green

Get in[edit]

Windsor is primarily accessible by car, although it is also a destination for those bicycling through California's wine country. California Route 101, a restricted access highway, runs through the middle of the town, and Old Redwood Highway (formerly Route 101) runs roughly parallel to the highway. The main commercial district is just south of the town square, just east of Highway 101.

Just south of Windsor is the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport, which has direct commercial flights to and from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego. There are several rental car options at the airport, as well as a bus (line 62N/62S) to and from Santa Rosa, a much larger city about five miles south of Windsor.

The Sonoma County Airport Express has multiple daily buses between the Sonoma County Airport and the Oakland and San Francisco Airports. Locally, Sonoma County Transit [1] provides service (on Route 60) between Santa Rosa, Windsor, and (to the north) Healdsburg and Cloverdale.

Get around[edit]

Street view near downtown Windsor

The town of Windsor is almost completely flat, and most streets have sidewalks, so walking is feasible for relatively short distances. The town has been modifying streets to add bike lanes, and plans to continue to add to them. [2] The town is actually one of the best in California for getting around by bike, though not many locals do so.

Sonoma County Transit has one bus line, Route 66, that provides service within Windsor. There is one local taxi company, Windsor Express Taxi, but both Santa Rosa and Healdsburg are close enough for their taxi companies to provide service to addresses within Windsor.

See[edit]

Pacific Coast Air Museum

Windsor was a small north coast community which has experienced noticeable development after it incorporated in 1992. Visitors will find recently-created buildings of a mixture of revival architectural styles, built to create a new small town, near the new Town Green. This development demonstrates aspects of new urbanism as well as the growth supported by expanding interest in California's wine country.

  • Raven Theater Windsor195 Windsor River Road +1 707 433-6335. Opened in 2014, two blocks from the Town Green, this theater is a (smaller) sibling of the Raven Performing Arts Theater in Healdsburg.
  • Pacific Coast Air MuseumOne Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa +1 707 575-7900. Tue Thu Sat Sun 10AM-4PM, closed major holidays. Near the airport, so technically not in Windsor (but close by), PCAM is definitely worth a visit for those interested in airplanes, or those with children old enough to be interested in the wide variety of (mostly) military planes, helicopters, and aircraft-related displays.

Do[edit]

Windsor's "do" activities primarily relate to "buy" and "eat", but strolling around the downtown, investigating the small shops and restaurants, or enjoying entertainment in the square may also be experienced without actually buying or eating anything. Most notable are kids movies on Tuesday nights and music concerts on Thursday nights [3], on the town green, during the summer, that are free (though a donation is requested).

Options for activities include:

For more ideas, check out the town's Visitor's Center, run by the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, at 9001 Windsor Road. Their hours are Mon-Fri, 8:30AM to 4:30PM, and Sat-Sun 10AM to 3PM.

Buy[edit]

Windsor offers a variety of local shops. Downtown Windsor features many little shops ranging from apparel to candy. Elsewhere in the town, travelers will find essentials and the usual small-town businesses for groceries, gas, and other basics. One large cluster of retail locations within Windsor is a pair of adjacent shopping complexes (Lakewood Shopping Center and Lakewood Village Shopping Center) just east of Highway 101, close to the central Windsor highway exit. Just west of the Shiloh Road exit off 101 is another large shopping center, anchored by Walmart, Home Depot, and Office Depot. Most other businesses within Windsor are on Old Redwood Highway, which is roughly parallel to Highway 101, or on Conde Lane, also along Highway 101, south of downtown.

Eat[edit]

Visitors have their pick of restaurants that range from pub fare to high-end dining. Many are found just south of the town square, on McClelland Drive and on Windsor River Road.

The Windsor Farmers Market takes place Sundays, April through December (10AM to 1PM), just off the town square. From June through August, it is also held Thursday evenings from 5 to 8PM; the evening version is oriented toward those listening to music, on the town green (see above) - selling food to be eaten out - rather than toward those looking to buy produce.

The best restaurants in the town are (listed alphabetically):

  • Chinois Asian Bistro186 Windsor River Rd (A few blocks from the town green),  +1 707 838-4667. Lunch M-F 11AM-2:30PM, dinner M-S 5PM-9:30PM. Contemporary Pacific Rim dining (Asian fusion), with a good selection of wine.
  • Himalayan Restaurant810 McClelland Drive +1 707 838-6746. 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5PM-9PM; closed Monday. A wide variety of really good food; the top-rated restaurant in Windsor.
  • Jaded Toad275 Windsor River Rd +1 707 838-8336. Daily 11AM-10PM. Barbeque/Cajun/Southern with a beer garden and fire pits. Some people love the food, but quality - and service - can be inconsistent.
  • KC's Downtown Grill9501 Duvander Lane +1 707 838-7800. Daily 7AM-9PM. Facing the town green, the restaurant aims to "capture the exciting times of the post-modern late 50's and early 60's, when Elvis was King and The Jetson's was the coolest show on television!"
  • KIN740 McClelland Dr +1 707 837-7546. Daily 11AM to 10PM. Opposite the town green, featuring fresh food with interesting flavor combinations. Try the sweet potato fries or tater tots.
  • Saigon Bistro Restaurant610 McClelland Drive +1 707 836-1947. M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A newcomer to the across-from-the-town-green restaurants in Windsor, this purveyor of Vietnamese food has been getting good reviews.
  • Tomi Thai Restaurant426 Emily Rose Circle +1 707 836-1422. 11AM-9PM, closed Sunday. it's small, and tucked away a few blocks from the town green, but worth searching out (and making reservations for) if you like Thai food.
  • Ume Japanese Bistro8710 Old Redwood Highway +1 707 838-6700. M-F 11AM-2:30PM; M-Sa 4:30PM-9:30PM. Good Japanese food, conveniently located just east of the central Windsor exit off Highway 101.

For dessert places, two to consider are:

  • Powell’s Sweet Shoppe720 McClelland Dr +1 707 836-0808. M-Sat 10AM-9PM, Sun 10AM-8pm. A franchise of a small West Coast chain, with an incredible variety of candy and other sweets. Plus ice cream, of course. Ideal for kids.
  • Nieve Mexican Ice Cream / Paleteria Mexicana390 Windsor River Road +1 707 837-5584. M-Thu 12-7:30PM, Fri-Sat 12-8PM, Sun 12-6PM. Ice cream with an incredible depth of flavor, plus a lot of unique flavors as well as the customary ones. Located across the street (diagonally) from the train station.

Drink[edit]

A number of wineries with tasting rooms are located five to ten minutes drive outside Windsor's town limits, primarily to the north (along Old Redwood Highway) and south (along or close to River Road).

Very close to the town square, there is a tasting room for a local beer manufacturer, Old Redwood Brewing Company, at 9000 Windsor Road, the same address as the Windsor Tasting Lounge, which features wines. On the same block (at #9050) is the Mutt Lynch winery tasting room, which opened in February 2014. Also opening that month was the Tap Room of St. Florian's Brewery, at 7704A Bell Road.

Sleep[edit]

Go next[edit]

By resisting the temptation to get back on Highway 101, and instead taking Old Redwood Highway (or other alternate routes), travelers will find many local spots of interest, from tamales vendors to wineries.

Routes through Windsor
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