El Verano is a small village located just north of Sonoma in the Sonoma Valley. With a population of just over 4,000, El Verano has a Sonoma city address but is a distinctly defined area of Sonoma County when being censused. The land used to be owned by General Vallejo, and eventually it became a popular vacation area for residents of San Francisco due to its hot springs. Today, the hot springs are no longer in use and El Verano is mainly residential. El Verano is a popular shopping area for Sonoma residents and has a selection of local restaurants that are affordable.
Having a car is very helpful while getting around El Verano and into its surrounding area. While the village is small, it is a car reliant area.
El Verano is served by a number of different airports:
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA) is the largest and is 56 miles away. From SFO you'll either rent a car or a limo to take to El Verano. If you are staying in Santa Rosa, you can take the Sonoma County Airport Express which can drop you off, for a cheap rate, at various locations around Santa Rosa. Avoid a cab - it's over $250 from SFO to El Verano and it's cheaper just to rent a car for the hour and a half drive.
- Oakland International Airport (OAK IATA) is the second busiest hub in the Bay Area. Certain flights from Europe and many from across the United States and Hawaii use OAK. It's little under an 1 1/2 hours from Sonoma Valley. Traveling from this airport you'll either rent a car, a limo, or take the Sonoma County Airport Express if you're staying in Santa Rosa. Cabs will be super expensive, so best avoid them.
- Sacramento International Airport (SMF IATA) is about 1 1/2 hours away from El Verano. Select international US-based carriers fly here and many regional. To get to El Verano from SMF you'll have to rent a car.
- Sonoma County Airport (STS IATA) is named after Snoopy creator Charles M. Schulz. It's located about 45 minutes north of Sonoma Valley and is the closest airport. It is served by Alaska Airlines and California based private flights. From here you can stay in Santa Rosa or head directly to El Verano. If staying in Santa Rosa, take a cab - but, you'll most likely need a rental car to get around the area. So rent a car and head to your destination.
From San Francisco you can take a Greyhound to Santa Rosa. That is the closest stop to El Verano. From there, you will have to rent a car or a bike.
Having a car is pretty critical to controlling your own trip to El Verano and the surrounding Sonoma Valley. You can also rent a private car or a limo. But, for your own fun... it's nice to have a car. Highway 121 brings you into Sonoma Valley. Highway 12 is the primary route that runs through the town of Sonoma, into El Verano, and beyond to Santa Rosa. Do note, Highway 12 is also called "Sonoma Highway" and Highway 121 is also called "Arnold Drive". El Verano is located between Ramon Street and Thomas Avenue when heading south to north; east to west it is from Sonoma Highway to Carriger Road.
- From San Francisco
- Go north over the Golden Gate Bridge (Highway 1) and follow Highway 101 north. Go east on Highway 37. Go north on Highway 121. Go north on Highway 12. When you pass Ramon Street you have entered El Verano.
- From East Bay
- Go north on 580 towards Point Richmond. From Point Richmond take the Richmond Bridge. Head north on Highway 101. Go east on Highway 47. Go north on Highway 121. Head north on Highway 12.
- From Santa Rosa
- Go south on Highway 101. Go south on Highway 12.
- From Sacramento
- Go west on Highway 80. Go west on Highway 12. Go north on Highway 29. Go west on Highway 12.
El Verano is a small area with long city blocks. The majority of El Verano's highlights are in a shopping center, parks, and a few additional locations. Having a car is a good idea, but you can also get around by bike, walking, and public transportation. There are no car rental in El Verano, but, presumably, if you are in El Verano you have arrived by car.
There are no bicycle rental companies in El Verano, but you can rent bikes in Sonoma which is a quick car or cab ride away.
- Wine Country Cyclery 262 West Napa St. +1 707-996-6800
- Sonoma Valley Cyclery [dead link] 20093 Broadway +1 707-935-3377
- Sonoma Valley Bike Tours 520 Broadway +1-877-308-2453
Sonoma County Transit connects El Verano to the surrounding towns in the county. Their website has information about how to purchase passes and taking your bicycle on to buses.
Two taxi companies service El Verano:
- Vern's Taxi Service, 254 1st Street East, +1 707-938-8885. This was the one and only taxi service in Sonoma until 2013.
- Sonoma Taxi, +1 707-889-1266. A Sherpa-owned and -operated taxi service.
- 1 Ernie Smith Community Park, 18776 Gillman Dr, ☏ . Sunrise to Sunset. Nice community park with free parking and free access. Dogs are welcome, there is a dog park onsite. There are also baseball and softball diamonds, picnic tables, a playground, and paved trails. Free.
- 2 Maxwell Farms Regional Park, 100 Verano Ave, ☏ . Sunrise to Sunset. Nice 85-acre park with soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds, tennis and volleyball courts, and 40 acres of trails. The park has a very popular skateboard park. The playground is ADA accessible . They have also have picnic areas and barbecues. $7.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
- 1 Picaso Cafe & Deli, 19100 Arnold Dr, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 6AM-4PM. Family owned by the Chavez family, Picaso is a diner that serves breakfast and lunch. Bagels, breakfast sandwiches and special omelets are available in the morning and the afternoon brings fresh sandwiches and Picaso's house made grilled burger varieties served with fries. They serve local beer and wine. A local favorite. $3-$10.
- 2 Happy Dog, 18962 Sonoma Hwy, ☏ . Consistently voted one of the best burgers in Sonoma Valley, Happy Dog is a legendary diner with cheap, not so healthy food. $4-$6.
- 3 Gourmet Taco Shop, 19235 Sonoma Hwy (in Maxwell Village), ☏ . 11AM-9PM. Tasty and cheap Mexican fast food. Indoor and outdoor tables, friendly service, and a salsa bar. $5-$10.
- 4 Breakaway Cafe, 19101 Sonoma Highway (in Maxwell Village), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 8AM-9PM. A casual restaurant with beautiful original artwork depicting the history of Sonoma Valley, Breakaway makes the best martini's in town - they have a cult following with locals. Prices are reasonable and the burgers, fresh seafood, and weekly specials are great. Comfort food with a twist. $11-$30.
- 5 Rancho Viejo, 18976 Sonoma Hwy, ☏ . 4PM-9PM. Rancho Viejo is a delightful restaurant serving Yucatan cuisine in the evenings. Indoor and outdoor seating, good margaritas. $11-30.
- 6 Juanita Juanita, 19114 Arnold Dr, ☏ . Woman owned Mexican restaurant with a quirky retro feel. Good food but it's more expensive than other Mexican restaurants in town. $11-25 - Cash only.
- 7 Palms Grill, 18999 Sonoma Hwy, ☏ . 6AM-10PM. One of two locations in the area (the other is in Petaluma), this is All American diner food that is beloved by the "mature set" in Sonoma. Great breakfasts and American classics like meatfloaf and chicken fried steak. Weekly specials. $11-25.
- Plaza Tequila, 19315 Hwy 12, ☏ . 10AM-10PM. Mexican restaurant with a big American Mexican restaurant feel. A bar, dining room, and outside patio provide plenty of options and plenty of food options. Has a rather mass produced feel, but the people are nice enough and the beer flows. Not the best Mexican option around, but good if you have a large party of people or kids. $11-$20.
- 8 Shiso, 19161 Sonoma Hwy (in Maxwell Village), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Lunch 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner 4:30PM-9PM. The only sushi restaurant in Sonoma Valley, Shiso is a classy place with fresh seafood each day and a rotating selection of experimental dishes, including "carbonara fried rice". A real nice change from "wine country eating". $35-$50.
- 1 El Verano Inn, 705 Laurel Ave, ☏ . Self described as the "last roadhouse in Sonoma Valley," the El Verano Inn is a dive bar with pool, live music, and yes, "lingerie shows". This historic building was built in 1887 and has been a post office, general store, bus depot, apartments, and many bars. $2-10.
- 2 Rossi's, 401 Grove St, ☏ . 3PM-12AM. The former Little Switzerland, Rossi's serves great barbecue and cocktails. In the evenings live music take holds and dancing commences to create a lively and hip atmosphere. $11-25.
El Verano has no hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts to call its own. You can find housing rentals via online websites or just stay down the street in Sonoma.
If you are in need of free wifi during your visit, the following restaurants and establishments offer it:
- 1 Breakaway Cafe, 19101 Sonoma Highway (in Maxwell Village), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 8AM-9PM. Casual restaurant with a bar and dining room; good martini's to enjoy while using their wifi. $11-$30.
- 2 Starbucks, 19239 Sonoma Hwy (in Maxwell Village), ☏ . 4:30AM-10PM. you can also go next door and use the wifi from the Starbucks at Burrito Shop $2-$6.
- 3 Park Point, 19111 Sonoma Highway (in Maxwell Village), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 5:30AM-10PM (Mon-Fri); 7AM-7PM (Sun). The most popular workout facility in town, Park Point offers discounted passes for visitors in need of a workout. They have all the standards, including classes like yoga and zumba, a pool, and tennis courts.
- Hairitage Salon, 18770 Sonoma Hwy, ☏ . 10AM-6:30PM.
- 4 Sonoma Nails, 18997 California 12, ☏ , ✉ Sonomanails@mail.com. Varies. Decent Vietnamese only nail salon available for mani/pedi needs. Appointments are suggested, as this is the most popular nail salon in Sonoma Valley. $10-$50.
- Agua Caliente - A town just north of El Verano with a springs history and a thriving Latino culture
- Boyes Hot Springs - The next town north of El Verano
- Fetters Hot Springs - The sister town to Agua Caliente founded for its hot springs and home to amazing Mexican food
- Glen Ellen - Northwest of El Verano, the historic home and hangout of Jack London during his last years.
- Kenwood - The last town before getting to Santa Rosa with many wineries
- Petaluma - West of El Verano, Petaluma is a hip and arty city with a laid back vibe
- Sonoma - The largest town in Sonoma Valley and right around the corner from El Verano