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7 Things You Have To Do In Sonora

By | 11/09/2020 | Eat & Drink, Exploring Tuolumne County, Hiking, Shopping, Sights

While Sonora is one of the closest cities to Yosemite National Park, it's also a popular attraction in its own right. This historic Gold Rush town is filled with character and characters, and plenty to see and do. Here are 7 things that must be experienced on any visit to Sonora. 

Sonora was first founded way back in 1850 by miners from Mexico, who named the city after the Mexican state of the same name. Like many other communities of the time, it rose and fell with the Gold Rush. Once a bustling city of many thousands, today it's a small community comprised of residents who treasure the rich history of their town. 

One of the best ways to experience that history is strolling through the downtown region and exploring the many shops that line the street. You can either browse the many art galleries, boutiques and amazing restaurants at your own pace, or embark on the Downtown Sonora Walking Tour which will ensure you don't miss a single highlight. 

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2. Experience 2nd Saturday Art Night

Try to time your visit to include the second Saturday of the month - any month - throughout the year. The merchants in Sonora's historic downtown open their doors to local musicians and artists for all to enjoy for 2nd Saturday Art Night. The festivities start at 5 pm and run until 8 pm. It's a fantastic display including art, performing artists and music, in the historic setting of downtown Sonora. 

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As one would expect of a city with so much history, Sonora has amazing museums that keep the stories from the town alive. The Tuolumne County Museum & History Center was created more than 60 years ago to protect and preserve the history of the region. Overseen by the Tuolumne County Historical Society, the museum features exhibits about the Gold Rush, pioneer guns, law and justice and other ways of life in the 1800's. 

For a unique take on a specific aspect of the region's history, visit the Sonora Fire Museum & Senior Lounge. While one thing that hasn't changed is fire being a big concern, what is different is the gear and methodology used to combat it. The museum showcases a wide array of equipment and apparatus that crews used to protect Sonora and its residents for the past century. 

Another museum honoring residents who protected the community is the Veterans Memorial Military Museum. You'll find uniforms, equipment, medals and even weaponry used by the the men and women of Sonora who served the armed forces.

Tuolumne County Museum and Historic Center

4. Sample hard cider at Indigeny Reserve

Indigeny Reserve is a labor of love with a dedication to sustainability. The ranch has been turned into a 160-acre nature retreat with hiking trails, picnic areas and park-like settings. The family has earned an organic certification for the business. They also started making hard cider so no apples would go to waste. They then realized they still had enough to start making the brandy and vodka, to ensure everything is used, and used quite effectively as well. 

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You know you're going to get hungry on your trip, might as well make dining part of the experience, right?


This is one of the most popular spots in all of the region. With a nod to the history of Sonora, they take classic dishes and drinks and put a new twist on them. The result is amazing burgers, pizzas…

Diamondback Grill

Located in a historic, Gold-Rush era building, the Diamondback Grill is a family-owned restaurant. They focus on hand-crafted dishes and fine wines from throughout the region. The historic setting of downtown adds to the ambiance, and the experience.

Salt of the Earth Personal Chef

If you're staying in a vacation rental with it's own kitchen, you could always go the fancy route and bring in a chef. The Salt of the Earth Personal Chef brings all the amazing skill and culinary talent of…

6. Catch a show at the Sierra Repertory Theatre

The Sierra Repertory Theatre brings together local talent with actors from throughout the country in one of the best regional theater programs around. You can take in classic shows, musicals, and dance performances that will have you thinking you were transported to the big city. 

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7. Explore the Dragoon Gulch Trail

The Dragoon Gulch Trail winds through Mother Lode oak woodlands and offers more than three miles of trails of varying difficulty. There's options for someone looking for a peaceful morning stroll on up to the serious hiker looking to challenge themselves. The views of Sonora and surrounding countryside are worth the effort of those difficult choices. 

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Peaceful Valley Farmers Market
Groveland Pop-Up Market
Sonora Certified Farmers' Market
The History Train
Car Show and Memorial Day BBQ
Twain Harte Memorial Day Parade
Tuolumne Concerts in the Park and Outdoor Market
Disney's The Little Mermaid Play
Twain Harte Mountain Air Market
2nd Saturday Art Night
Coffill Park Summer Concert Series
Farms of Tuolumne County Farm and Ranch Tour
Gold Rush Days at Columbia State Historic Park
Sierra No. 28 Photo Special
Movies in the Park
Concerts in the Pines
Father's Day Fly-In at Columbia Airport
Annual Tuolumne Lumber Jubilee
Columbia Ghost Tours
Mother Lode Fair
Columbia's Glorious 4th of July Celebration
Park Anniversary and Big Band Street Dance in Columbia
Sierra Repertory Theatre: Sh-Boom! Life Could Be A Dream
Harte Rod Car Show
California Statehood Day Parade at Columbia State Historic Park
Sierra Quilt Guild 2022 QUILT SHOW
49er Festival, Parade and Chili/Salsa Cook-off
Annual Columbia Art Show
Back to School 1861 in Columbia State Historic Park
Poison Oak Show
Stories in Stone
Boo Boulevard - Halloween in Columbia
Sierra Repertory Theatre: Elf the Musical
Veterans Day Remembrance at Columbia State Historic Park
Sierra Repertory Theatre: The Christmas Foundling
Sonora Christmas Parade
Lamplight Tours in Columbia State Historic Park
Miners Christmas at Columbia State Historic Park
Annual Las Posadas Nativity Procession
Columbia All-Equestrian Christmas Parade
Fiddle & Bango Contest
Harvest Festifall in Columbia State Historic Park
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Sonora, CA 95370

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