Sonoma, California

Valley of the Moon

Looklyloo Score: 85

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Young Professionals/Empty Nesters/Retirees/WFH’ers

Downtown Sonoma is of course most notable for the Plaza but it is also the neighborhood with many of the largest most historic homes in the area. If you can afford and can buy one of these beauties then more power to you. Living near the Plaza means glasses of wine on front porches and leisurely strolls to dinners and trips to the farmer’s market. Living in Downtown Sonoma feels most like the “urban” wine country life many imagine when they seek out homes in the area.

Also, if you are a young professional or couple working in the wine or hospitality industries then the apartments and condos in the Plaza area are choice ones to snag. There aren’t as many as you’d expect for a “downtown” but those on the Plaza or within walking distance provide a pretty cool and chill lifestyle.

Boyes Hot Springs


Boyes Hot Springs is well known as the site of the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. It is also though a suburban neighborhood where families live and enjoy being a couple miles from the city center and getting a breather from some of that traffic and tourist madness.

The neighborhood is smack dab in the middle of some of the best parks in the area with Maxell Farms and Ernie Smith Parks, and the Montini Open Preserve just to the south. So, if you’re a family that enjoys spending time outside playing, running, biking and hiking this could be your spot. You’re also just a long iron from the Sonoma Golf Club if that’s your thing. It’s an iconic private club with golf, tennis, swimming, spa services and excellent dining available to members.


55+ Empty Nesters/Retirees

Temelec is an unincorporated area just outside of town that has four major communities of single family homes, each with their own Home Owners’ Association - Temelec, Creekside, Chanterelle and Seven Flags. The namesake community, Temelec is a 55+ neighborhood with beautiful homes, common grounds and common facilities including the historic Temelec Hall for events, a pool, picnic area, pond and community gardens. The Hall is the center of community events and also has kitchens for communal cooking, a library and fitness center. The other communities in Temelec also primarily serve 55+ communities and each has their own distinct characteristics but expect beautiful landscaping, wonderful paths and shared community amenities in each.

One of the secrets to buying real estate in Sonoma Valley for empty nesters and retirees is to look at the 55+ communities. Even if you never considered yourself a likely candidate for a planned community the housing prices are typically much better than the general market rates and you get to enjoy the city you are near as much or as little as you like.