Enjoying visual art needn't be a stuffy affair. Imagine yourself strolling from one gallery to the next, stopping for food and drink whenever you like.

Many towns offer a monthly "art walk," some on the first Friday of the month and others on the second Saturday, when galleries and merchants stay open a bit later than usual.

Walkers can take their time and take a good look at what local artists have to offer. Here's a sample of art walks coming up this month in Sonoma County:

Santa Rosa

SOFA," South A Street Arts District in Santa Rosa, will hold its first art walk, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and Aug. 7. The event will showcase work by 28 artists in galleries and studios in the A Street neighborhood near Juilliard Park. 695-1011, christie.marks@sbcglobal.net.

You can also stop by Santa Rosa's Railroad Square district on lower Fourth Street for "Summer Nights," a summer-long, monthly first Friday event featuring food, live music and art. It runs 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5, and returns to close its season on Sept. 2. snrrs.com.

Healdsburg

More than 20 downtown Healdsburg art galleries open their doors from 5 to 8 p.m. the second Saturday of the month. Your stroll around the town plaza also takes you past restaurants, bars and tasting rooms. The next date is Saturday, Aug. 13. The program runs through Dec. 10. healdsburg.com, 473-9600.

Petaluma

Downtown Petaluma galleries and merchants welcome art lovers from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13 for their Second Saturday Art Walk. 762-5600, petalumaartscenter.org.

Windsor

Look for the balloons that mark participating galleries and merchants at downtown Windsor's Second Saturday Art Walk, running from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13. windsorartscouncil.com, 483-4927.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. See his ARTS blog at http://arts.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.