A favorite weekend getaway for Northern California Bay Area residents, the town of Mendocino is located on the coast of Mendocino County. The town has long been a haven for artists, and is famous for its art galleries as well as its restaurants and trendy shops. It is smaller and more "refined" than its blue collar neighbor to the North, Fort Bragg.
The city is sometimes called Mendocino Village to differentiate it from Mendocino County.
The closest international airports are in San Francisco, Oakland, and now Santa Rosa.
From the Bay Area, the most scenic drive to Mendocino is on coastal Highway 1, winding through western Marin County and Sonoma County. A faster but less impressive alternative is to take highway 101 to the junction with tiny state Highway 128 just north of Cloverdale, then 128 to 1, about 2 miles south of the town proper. This route takes you through the Anderson Valley, which is one of Mendocino County's main wine-growing regions. Mendocino is about 165 miles north of San Francisco.
From the north, it's easiest to take Highway 1 south from highway 101 at near Garberville, through Fort Bragg. An alternate is taking state highway 20 west from Willits to Fort Bragg, then south to Mendocino.
The town is easily walkable, but you will want a car for visiting nearby beaches and sights. The Headlands, the bluffs on the west end of town, are only a half-mile from the eastern part of town, which is only several blocks from north to south. Mountain bikes are another fun option.
- A favorite pastime from February-April is whale-watching. Pods of Grey Whales are visible off the coast, migrating to and from their winter home in Mexico.
The Mendocino Botanical Gardens at 18220 North Highway One is a seaside garden on 47 acres. It is open daily and admission is $14.00.
The Skunk Train  is a train that goes into the redwood forest. It is a fun family trip.
Since 1962 Gallery Bookshop (& Bookwinkle's Children's Books, added in 1988) has been one of the main attractions of this town for visitors and locals alike. The bookstore has earned its reputation for great service and selection -- something for everyone. Under new ownership from September, 2006, the store continues to prosper and serve as a meeting place. There are children who found their first books here now bringing in their own children to enjoy the space. There is a fantastic view of Mendocino Bay from the front windows, and Mendocino Headlands State Park (complete with picnic benches for reading and eating) is only steps away.
- 955 Ukiah, +1 707 937-1955. Mendocino chic, next door to Cafe Beaujolais and equally good
- Albion River Inn, +1 707 937-1919. Ocean views, piano music
- Café Beaujolais, +1 707 937-5614. International reputation, Italian-leaning menu in an intimate setting
- Ledford House, +1 707 937-0282. Sunset dining, mellow jazz
- Little River Inn Restaurant, +1 707 937-5942. Ocean view bar, fine dining
- MacCallum House Restaurant, +1 707 937-5763. Café, bar & fine dining set in an old in with lots of atmosphere
- Mendo Bistro, +1 707 964-4974. Eclectic menu, reasonable $
- Moosse Cafe, +1 707 937-4323. Great soups & salads, with a full dinner menu
- Ravens, +1 707 937-5615. Vegetarian
- Rendezvous Inn, +1 707 964-8142. Intimate, attention to detail (www.rendezvousinn.com)
- Restaurant at Stevenswood Lodge, +1 707 937-2810. Exceptional cuisine
- Sharon’s by the Sea, +1 707 962-0680. A harbor-side dining treat
- Victorian Gardens, +1 707 882-3606. Worth the drive
- Mendocino Film Festival, ☎ +1 707 937-0171, . The Mendocino Film Festival takes place every spring in the town of Mendocino and showcases independent films by the sea. Filmmakers often attend to talk about the journey of creating the idea for a film through to you, the viewer. There is so much variety in the choices of independent films that it won't be hard to find many that appeal to you. NEW venues have been added in addition to historic Crown Hall. Now film goers in Point Arena will see films at the also historic and very cool Arena Theater and the Fort Bragg community will view films at Coast Cinema.
- Mendocino Music Festival (Two Weeks Every July), Mendocino Headlands State Park, ☎ +1 707 937-4041, . Evenings 8pm, Days 3pm. In the iconic 16,000 square foot Performance Hall Tent overlooking the Pacific Ocean you'll enjoy classical music from The Festival Orchestra conducted by Maestro Allan Pollack - many of the professional musicians come from the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, every year music and dance offerings include Celtic music, Big Band music with a jazz flavor, Bluegrass, World music, Chamber music, jazz, and the Emerging Artists Concert. You'll also love The Piano Series, JazzSeries, and intimate village concerts at various venues in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. It's an eclectic festival that also offers picnic tables outside the tent for you to partake of delicious Mendocino County wines and dinner before your concert. Various Prices.
- Glendeven Inn's Wine Bar[n], 8205 North Highway One, ☎ 800-822-4536, . Full tasting menu and light fare on the grounds of Glendeven Inn. The bar has a contemporary lounge feel, with a fine art gallery and huge windows facing the gardens and water tower. Anderson Valley wines are highlighted.
- Mendocino Wine Co., +1 800 860-3347. 45070 Main St. Pleasant tasting room right in town, featuring the various wines of the Parducci Winery.
- Mendocino Music Festival, Mendocino Headlands State Park (Main St. Mendocino), ☎ +1 937-4041, . Evening 8pm, Days 3pm. In the iconic 16,000 square foot Performance Hall Tent overlooking the Pacific Ocean you'll enjoy classical music from The Festival Orchestra conducted by Maestro Allan Pollack - many of the professional musicians come from the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, every year music and dance offerings include Celtic music, Big Band music with a jazz flavor, Bluegrass, World music, Chamber music, and jazz. You'll also love The Piano Series, JazzSeries, intimate village concerts at various venues in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. It's an eclectic festival that also offers picnic tables outside the tent for you to partake of delicious Mendocino County wines and dinner before your concert. Various Prices.
There are several inns in the Mendocino Village.
- Glendeven Inn & Wine Bar[n], 8205 N Highway 1, ☎ +1-800-822-4536 ([email protected]), . An eight acre luxury farmstead with ocean views, wood-burning fireplaces, forest, headland, and beach trails with 10 rooms and 2 vacation rental homes. Gourmet three course breakfast brought to your room. Llamas, fresh chicken eggs, free WiFi, and a Wine Bar[n] serving and selling local Anderson Valley wines on-site. $150-575/night.
- Abigail's Bed and Breakfast, 499 Howard Street, ☎ +1-800-531-7282 ([email protected], fax: +1-707-937-1131), . Oceanfront home offers seven rooms or suites with private baths and gourmet full breakfast. Sister to Whitegate Inn Bed and Breakfast, nearby, but Abigail's has rooms with kitchens and is more kid- and pet-friendly. Address is for Whitegate Inn, ask innkeeper for directions to Abigail's. $99-289/night.
- Sweetwater Spa and Inn, 44840 Main Street, ☎ +1-800-300-4140 ([email protected]), . Unique ocean view rooms and suites with full spa ammenities — the quintessential Mendo experience. Onsite spa offers various massage packages. Little River Lodging, under same owners but 3-4 miles south, has 7 rooms, some pet-friendly. $110-295/night.
- Auberge Mendocino, 8200 North Highway One, ☎ +1-800-347-9252 ([email protected]), . Seaside Inn and four private cottages. Located 1.7 miles south of Mendocino village. Formerly "Rachel's Inn". Free wireless internet access. Check web site for last-minute specials and internet deals. $179-355/night.
- Coast Getaways, 10501 Ford Street, ☎ +1-800-525-0049 ([email protected], fax: +1-707-937-1080), . Offers some 25 oceanfront and oceanview vacation homes, each with 1-5 bedrooms. $445-1380/2-night stay.
- The Headlands Inn, Corner of Howard and Albion Streets, ☎ +1-800-354-4431 ([email protected], fax: +1-707-937-0421), . Located in the historic village close to shopping, art galleries and the Pacific ocean beaches. Free wireless internet. Breakfast is very nicely presented and served in the room. Some of the rooms have a fireplace and ocean view. Ask about last-minute specials as low as $99/night. $129-229/night, most about $179.
- Joshua Grindle Inn, . Bed and Breakfast with American Automobile Association (AAA) 4 diamond rating.
- Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites, +1 707 937-0511, Toll Free: +1 800 548-0513,. Located in the heart of the historic village, this California hotel overlooks the Mendocino Headlands and the Pacific Ocean beyond.
- Dennen's Victorian Farmhouse, . Historic Mendocino bed and breakfast offers romantic accommodations along the Northern California Coast. Dennen’s Victorian Farmhouse features in-room breakfast, luxurious amenities and excellent service.
- Whitegate Inn Bed and Breakfast, 499 Howard Street, ☎ +1-800-531-7282 ([email protected], fax: +1-707-937-1131), . Small, six-room oceanview bed and breakfast with gourmet breakfasts and wine & cheese hour. Sister to Abigail's Bed and Breakfast, nearby, but Whitegate Inn is more luxurious and romantic. Wireless internet access. $179-289/night.
- Lighthouse Inn at Point Cabrillo, 45300 Litehouse Rd, ☎ +1-866-937-6124 ([email protected]), . Oceanfront and cliff-view bed and breakfast on the headlands at Point Cabrillo State Park. Stay in the main house, or the more private guest cottages. Just steps from the inn, visit the famous Lighthouse, the nearby Lightkeeper's Museum, tidal aquarium, and miles of scenic hiking trails. $177-275/night.
In addition to the many Bed and Breakfasts in town, there are a number of rental properties in the area. These tend to be booked on holiday and summer weekends, but many bargains are available off season.
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