Sonoma County's Gay Playground

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Fall & Winter at the River

Grape Harvest, Craft Fairs, warm days and cool nights. That's part of what you'll find here during the fall and winter. We're in a very temperate weather zone so we don't get snow in the winter. That means that when the sun's out - we're usually running around in shorts. (or in December, a raincoat and shorts). It's a great time to visit. Life starts to slow down for everyone after the harvest is in. Locals start to kick back and relax and visitors get to see what Sonoma County is like during the 'local season'. Roads aren't as congested, and staff at your favorite wineries and restaurants have a bit more time to spend with you.

What to look forward to:

Halloween parties - Most of our local bars will be having parties and costume contests. Lots of fun.

A Food & Wine Affair - One of our favorite wine/food events of the year takes place the first weekend in November. Not as crowded as some of the summer events and ticket sales are limited so it's not as crazy as Barell tasting.

Holiday Parade of LIghts - Join us for a fabulous evening parade down Main Street in Guerneville. A fun, charming, local celebration that embraces all religions, beliefs and people (and adds twinkle lights). Local businesses will be open late. More information can be found on the website's calendar.

Celebrations: Local restaurants will have special dinners for the holidays as well as special events celebrating the New Year (get your reservations now),

Oh, and we'll give you a tip - when you stay, let your innkeeper know about what your plans are and they may have special discounts and 2 for 1 coupons for things like wine tasting and some of the other attractions in the area.


But really, what's going on? Well...

  • *   Fun with the locals. Get a chance to chat up the locals at various weekly events: Check out the calendars at the
  •      Rainbow Cattle Company and at the R3 Hotel.
  • *   First Friday Artwalk - the first friday of the month our local galleries stay open in the evening and offer opportunities
  •      to meet artists.
  • *   Amazing food. And Wine. And cheese.

Oh, and many of the local establishments will have special events going on, take a look at their websites for details.


What's New?

If you haven't visited before, just scroll down and we'll let you know what you've been missing. For all of our regular fans, a quick update on what's going on...

For Activities (festivals, theme weekend, etc.) check out our calendar AND these local event calendars (R3 Hotel, Russian River Chamber, Sonoma County Tourism, Wine Road) Gay events in town include Women's Weekend (May); Sonoma County Pride (June); Lazy Bear (Aug ) and, of course, all the major summer holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day). Every 2nd Saturday the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence throw a big ol' BINGO party to raise funds for any number of worthy causes (check out their calendar)

Restaurants & Bars: New additions in the last few years would include: Revival (at Applewood Inn) creative cuisine featuring all local, fresh ingredients;  Dick Blomsters Korean Diner which has taken over Pat's Diner (keeping the best of Pat's breakfasts & lunches and adding Korean Fusion fare); Seaside Metal (specializing in seafood and local beers & wines), 3 Alarm (specializing in hot dogs), and El Barrio (tequila, mescal & burbon with tasty appetizers) all on Main Street and the Juicy Pig (BBQ and other comfort food) on the corner of 4th and Mill St.. 

Needing a Spa Day? We've got lots of options for you to choose from. Get a massage at your favorite inn or resort. Pamper yourself with a facial. Although many of our salons offered manicures (and pedicures) we now have a Nail Salon. They have the huge massage chairs with a foot jacuzzi (featuring all the latest tech for safe & hygenic foot care).

Farmer's Market (seasonal June through September: We've got our own FM every Thursday afternoon from 3pm to about 7pm. At least once a month there is live music as well. Based on last summer... we found a wonderful assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables, organic meats, local fish and cheeses, along with plants, flowers and some crafts.

All the time:

Nightlife:  We've got live music at several of our local restaurants and bars (and, of course, at the River Theater), kareoke and local theater productions.

Outdoors: Hiking, Canoing, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Segway Touring, Wine tasting, Zipline through the Redwoods! Birding, wildflowers, tidepooling, fishing, kite flying (ok you need to go to the ocean for this as the trees get in the way!)

Warm & friendly locals. All ready to make your visit to our part of Sonoma County memorable (in a good way).

Hope to see you at the River soon!


Sonoma County's Gay Playground

The Russian River is the West Coast's favorite LGBT playground. Situated in the heart of Western Sonoma County, this string of offbeat river villages attracts thousands of LGBT visitors every year for a wide range of activities and fun.

Enjoy new experiences every time you visit. Gorgeous dry, sunny days dominate May - September, perfect for sunning by a pool with your friends or canoeing down the River. You can go biking, hiking and wine-tasting during the day, and every evening there is something happening at the bars & clubs.

Or you can decide to do nothing at all and relax after dinner to the sound of the wind in the redwoods.

Boasting over 250 of the world's most award-winning wineries, 76 miles of scenic coastline, pristine beaches, the mystical Russian River and majestic redwoods, Sonoma County is uniquely experienced with the Russian River as your home base.

The River offers all types of gay and gay-friendly accommodations from resorts and inns to camping under a canopy of brilliant stars. Local restaurants range from simple taquerias and burger joints to four star restaurants. Special weekends feature jazz, wine, women, leather and bears.

Guerneville is the focus of the area's gay nightlife - one of the few resort towns in the country where you can proudly walk down Main Street day or night.

Whether visiting for a weekend, a week or longer, you won't find any other getaway that matches the Russian River's unique and spectacular natural beauty, combined with friendly businesses and residents who genuinely appreciate diversity.

Come out to the River and see why so many people return year after year.