14 of the Best Wedding Venues Northern California Has to Offer
Whether you're looking to say "I do" in the heart of wine county, overlooking downtown San Francisco or amidst California redwoods, prepare to be amazed by the wedding venues Northern California has to offer you. The Northern part of The Golden State is full of amazing wedding venue options. You may be familiar with some of the region's populous areas, including the East Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area, but we also love some of the state's hidden gems, including Benicia and Calistoga. Many of the best wedding venues in Northern California are located on vineyards, as the region is known for its famous California grapes. Some venues offer all-inclusive wedding packages, from the caterers to the entertainment, to help take the stress out of wedding planning. Plus, with tons of major cities, from Oakland and San Francisco to Santa Cruz and Sacramento, your guests will have no trouble booking a flight for your wedding celebration. You can check out all of the fantastic venues Northern California has to offer on The Knot Vendor Marketplace. But, for ease, we've gathered some of the very best wedding venues in Northern California below.
Exploratorium in San Francisco, California
If you're looking for a venue with gorgeous views of San Francisco, consider the Exploratorium, a public learning laboratory. With multiple exhibits centered around science and art, you won't have to stress about the decorations for this exquisite venue. The venue's staff are available to conduct live demonstrations throughout your wedding celebration. (Read: bang-for-your-buck entertainment.) The venue offers multiple locations for your wedding ceremony and reception, including the Outdoor Galley, which has stunning views of the city skyline. Plus, you and your partner get a free Dual Explorers Membership for a year with the purchase of a wedding package.
Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, California
You don't have to travel internationally to exchange vows on the top of a beautiful mountain. Mammoth Mountain is a scenic spot for your Northern California wedding. Located less than an hour from Yosemite National Park, we love snowy winter weddings at this mountain resort. Pro-tip for ski-enthusiasts: You and your partner can elect to ski down the mountain after saying "I do" at the top. Whether you choose to host a winter or a summer wedding, this venue offers an array of reception spaces, including a cozy ski lodge-inspired space and an outdoor rooftop deck on the mountain's summit. Plus, the venue has tons of outdoor activities for your guests to enjoy, from nordic skiing and snowshoeing to mountain biking and hiking.
Hans Fahden Vineyards in Calistoga, California
If you're a lover of wine and California's Napa Valley, Hans Fahden Vineyards may be the perfect spot for your big day. Say "I do" at the venue's beautiful outdoor ceremony space, nestled next to the Mayacamas Mountains. We also love the venue's romantic (and chilled) wine caves for an intimate dinner reception, where you and your guests can sip on the venue's delicious California wine. This venue is ideal for those hosting a smaller affair, as it can accommodate up to 110 guests. Pro tip: Take gorgeous sunset photos at the top of the venue's vineyard. The venue offers the chance to ride ATVs to the top.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square in San Francisco, California
Whether you're looking for a historical gem in the heart of downtown San Francisco or a wedding venue with over 30 different event rooms, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square is the spot for you. You and your guests will have plenty of room to celebrate in the venue's 10,000-square-foot ballroom with 16-foot ceilings. Decorated with opulent chandeliers and a stage, the ballroom can accommodate up to 980 guests. We also love the venue's Mission Bay room as a ceremony space. The room's floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views of downtown San Francisco.
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco, California
If you're looking for a space that combines historic features with modern luxury, consider the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. Located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this venue offers stunning views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Say "I do" overlooking the bay on the lawn of the General's Residence, the venue's historic building. For those looking for more of an industrial vibe, the recently renovated Gallery 308 is a bright space with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus, you and your partner will be able to take beautiful waterfront wedding photos.
Sacramento Zoo in Sacramento, California
If you love animals and the outdoors, consider hosting your wedding day at the Sacramento Zoo. Located in picturesque William Land Park, this event venue offers a range of different ceremony sites. We love the Rare Feline Courtyard for an outdoor ceremony. Exchange vows next to the lions and jaguars in this canyon-like ceremony space. The venue's reception area, Flamingo Lake Patio, is a gorgeous waterside spot for your wedding celebration. And it's located right next to the zoo's adorable pink flamingos. Plus, the venue offers the opportunity to add on private animal encounters to your wedding package.
Jefferson Street Mansion in Benicia, California
Celebrate your nuptials at this historic 19th century Bay Area mansion. Designed to reflect an American Colonial estate with the style of Queen Victoria, Jefferson Street Mansion has a stunning veranda with wisteria, picturesque views of the bay and a beautiful manicured garden. The venue also offers a tented pavilion for an outdoor reception space. With multiple wedding package options to choose from, you and your partner will be able to design your big day to meet your specific needs. Plus, the venue is centrally located between Napa, San Francisco and Oakland.
Park Winters in Winters, California
If you're planning a rustic Northern California wedding, Park Winters may be your ideal venue. Located on farmland, this private country estate offers beautiful views of the Blue Hills Mountain Range. With multiple event spaces, including a historic Victorian Inn and a renovated white barn, you will be able to host the rustic wedding of your dreams. Spend the night at the venue's 1865 Victorian farm house, which operates as a quaint bed and breakfast. After spending the night on the dance floor in the venue's renovated barn, you'll be able to relax at the property's pool and hot tub.
Mountain House Estate in Cloverdale, California
Nestled in the heart of wine country, the Mountain House Estate is the perfect place to host the Sonoma County wedding of your dreams. The private estate overlooks 40 acres of lush California rolling hills and gardens, making it the perfect backdrop for your special day. We love the Oak Tree Terrace for an outdoor ceremony. Surrounded by oak trees and classic California redwoods, this terrace includes an intimate ceremony space and an expansive reception area. You and your guests can sip on California wine at the venue's redwood bar top. Plus, this venue allows food trucks. (Read: late-night snacks galore.)
The Highlands Estate in Cloverdale, California
Dreaming of a barn wedding? Host the quintessential rustic California wedding at The Highlands Estate. With over 20 acres of land, this country estate has vineyards, gardens and a temperature-controlled barn. The terrace next to the barn is the perfect place to host cocktail hour or a sit-down dinner. Offering views of the venue's vineyards, this string-lit setting is the perfect spot for gazing up at the Northern California sky. We love the venue's oak tree site for a picturesque first look. Plus, nature lovers will love the prevalence of wildlife throughout the estate. (Read: deer and wild turkey sightings on your special day.)
Villa Montalvo at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California
Host a Mediterranean-inspired wedding in the heart of Northern California. The Villa Montalvo at the Montalvo Arts Center is a 1912 Mediterranean-style villa that will transport you to the Italian countryside. The stone columns, manicured lawn, lush hedges and brick walkways are an idyllic setting for a Northern California wedding in Santa Clara County. Plus, the venue's surroundings, including redwood tree trails and views of downtown San Jose, are sure to impress you and your guests. Tucked away on the edge of Sanborn County Park, this venue feels private and secluded. We love the venue's lush two-acre Great Lawn for stunning wedding photos.
MOHI by Sycamore Creek in Morgan Hill, California
If you're looking for a twist on the traditional Northern California wine country wedding, MOHI by Sycamore Creek has you covered. Host your ceremony at the venue's intimate lawn surrounded by olive trees before heading to the patio for a post-ceremony celebration. Celebrate your nuptials in a relaxed setting. The venue offers tons of seating on its patio, as well as lawn games and a live-action pizza oven. You'll never feel far from the venue's vineyard roots. You and your guests can enjoy a sit-down dinner surrounded by rows of rustic barrels. Plus, we love the venue's massive "LOVE" sign as a unique photo spot.
The Terrace Room at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California
Delight in the views of Lake Merritt and the Oakland hills at The Terrace Room at Lake Merritt. This venue embodies the 1920s Art Deco style, combining historic charm with modern elements throughout the ballroom space. The massive floor-to-ceiling windows will provide you and your guests with a picturesque view of the lake, as you and your partner exchange your vows. We love the versatility of the venue, which can be seamlessly transformed from a wedding ceremony space into a reception area. Pro tip: Host your celebration in the evening, so you can enjoy the Necklace of Lights, a chain of lights encircling the lake.
Monterey Beach House in Monterey, California
The Golden State is famous for its stunning beaches. And while Los Angeles may get most of the attention for its picturesque waves, we think the cliffside beaches of Monterey deserve some attention. The Monterey Beach House is the perfect venue for couples looking to host their special day beachside. We love the opportunity to take beautiful photos gazing into the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Located less than an hour from Santa Cruz, this venue will make your big day feel like a luxurious getaway. Plus, the venue's indoor space can accommodate up to 300 guests, so you can host the big beach wedding of your dreams.
Hannah Nowack contributed to the reporting of this story.