Vineyard with grapes

The Best Things to Do in Napa — And They’re Not All About Wine

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Whether you’re a foodie, a wine connoisseur, a nature lover, or just looking for some hardcore relaxation, there’s something for everyone in Napa Valley. So grab a glass of your favorite Cabernet and discover the 25 Best Things to Do in Napa.

Vineyard with grapes
Wine grapes. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Napa is a picturesque region known for its sprawling vineyards and world-class wines. But the area offers so much more than just viniculture. From outdoor activities to high- or low-end dining to rejuvenating spas, there are plenty of things to do in Napa, even if you don’t drink.

This picturesque region is just a short road trip from San Francisco and the Bay Area, perfect for a weekend jaunt, and it showcases the diversity of California’s attractions.

I highly suggest getting a driver for the day or doing one of the wine tours that stop at boutique wineries. It’s so nice for you and your friends or significant other to not worry about who has to drive and you can all enjoy the wineries.

— Lara Clevenger, Lara Clevenger

Best Napa Wineries To Visit

Of course, no visit to Napa would be complete without a tour of its famous wineries. Napa Valley is home to more than 400 wineries, making deciding which to visit on any given trip challenging. But whether you prefer bold reds, crisp whites, or sparkling wines, you will surely find a bottle — or two — to take home with you. Here are some of the best wineries to explore in Napa Valley:

Beringer Vineyards: Founded in 1876, Beringer is one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley.. The winery is best known for its classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Visitors can enjoy a range of tours and tastings, including a VIP tasting with a selection of the winery’s finest wines.

Domaine Chandon: This iconic winery is a must-visit if you love sparkling wines. You can choose from a range of tasting experiences, including guided tours of the winemaking process, delicious wines, and breathtaking vineyard views.

Domaine Carneros: This elegant winery is famous for its sparkling wines and offers tastings, tours, and a beautiful outdoor patio.

The estate hosts guided tours and Brut and sparkling Rosé tastings that overlook a picturesque scenery. This winery is established by the Taittinger family from France

Opus One Winery: Opus One is a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, and they produce some of Napa Valley’s most sought-after wines. Visitors can enjoy a variety of tastings, including a tour of the winery and vineyards and a tasting of Opus One’s premium wines.

PEJU winery tasting area with umbrellas and vineyard in background.
PEJU Winery

PEJU Winery – Peju Winery is a renowned family-owned winery located in the heart of Napa Valley, California. It was founded in 1983 by Tony and Herta Peju. The winery is known for its commitment to producing high-quality wines while embracing sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

Robert Mondavi Winery: This iconic winery offers tours and tastings in a stunning vineyard setting.

Stag’s Leap Winery: Stag’s Leap is known for its elegant and refined Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery offers a range of tasting experiences, including a guided tour of the vineyards and cellar and private tastings of their limited-production wines.

Sterling Vineyards: Take a scenic tram ride up the hill to this stunning winery, which offers tastings and panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards.

“If you want a quieter time to visit Napa, plan for a visit in cab season (November to February). It is less crowded then, the weather is milder, and the cabernet somehow tastes better next to a fire pit than in the heat of summer.”

— Renee Gardner, Renee Nicole’s Kitchen
wine in a wine glass
Photo credit: Valeria Boltneva, Pexels.

Best Napa Restaurants

Napa is a foodie’s paradise. The region boasts some of the best restaurants in the world, serving delicious cuisine made from fresh, local ingredients. 

When you think of dining in Napa Valley, you might think of Michelin-starred icons like The French Laundry. These spectacular restaurants are sure to blow your mind — and your wallet. But there are plenty of mid-range and inexpensive restaurants to enjoy in Napa, too, from downtown spots with great food and impressive wine lists to deli-style eateries where you can grab a quick lunch or pack up a delightful picnic to enjoy while you taste at one of the local wineries.

Here are a few must-visit spots:

The French Laundry: This iconic restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine in a stunning Victorian-style building. Located in Yountville, this restaurant is famous for offering multi-course seasonal tasting menus with only the best ingredients locally and sustainably sourced. Foodies from all around the world love visiting this restaurant because of its unique culinary services and top-notch customer service.

Bottega: This chic eatery offers rustic Italian cuisine, including handmade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Another gem found in the heart of Yountville, where visitors get to experience their delicious meals served in the indoor-outdoor setting of the restaurant. The menu is inspired by rustic Italian cuisine with a fusion of California identity, spearheaded by celebrity chef Michael Chiarello.

Mustards Grill: Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s 40-year-old Napa Valley restaurant is the place to go for comfort food that perfectly complements the finest wines of Napa. Don’t miss Mustards’ Mighty Meatloaf, Crazy Good Chicken Wings, Famous Mongolian Pork Chop, and Chalkboard Pasta, which features a daily variation.

Press: A mainstay of Napa’s fine dining scene, Press is known for its stellar contemporary American cuisine, emphasizing seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Their perfect cuts of aged beef pair delightfully with big Napa cabs and black truffle hash browns. And don’t miss their inventive dishes like sweet-and-sour pig ears or cod collar croquette. 

Bistro Don Giovanni: If you’re craving traditional Italian food, head straight to this locals’ favorite. Don’t miss the fried olives, veal parmigiana, or the gnochetti with lamb ragu and black truffle pecorino. And save some room for the Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding or Bostini Trifle, a decadent dessert that combines vanilla custard, chocolate cake, whipped cream, caramel, and almonds.

Giugni’s DeliThis Italian grocery and deli has been around since 1970, serving proper deli sandwiches filled with meat and doused with the house vinaigrette. For those seeking comfort in deli food and sandwiches, Giugni’s is the best place to go. From classic Italian subs to specialty creations and custom orders, each sandwich is made with care and expertise, satisfying the cravings of locals and visitors alike.

Gott’s RoadsideThis classic burger jointserves both old-fashioned burgers and modern favorites like turkey burgers, impossible burgers, ahi tuna burgers, fish tacos, hearty meal-size salads, milkshakes, and soft-serve ice cream. They also serve beer on top and wines by the glass.

Oakville Grocery Co: This historic grocery, in operation since 1881, has been beautifully revived. Their scrumptious sandwiches are legendary, and you’ll find all the provisions you need for a perfect wine country picnic.

The grocery is recognized for its organic, gourmet products and curation of artisanal wine and snacks. It is among the oldest operating groceries in the country, turning it into a significant beloved landmark in the area. If you are planning for an intimate picnic, you know where to find the supplies!

La Luna Market & Taqueria: When you need a break from fine wines and fine dining, a trip to this unassuming taqueria will do you right. Fill up on tacos, quesadillas, and burritos to power you through a rigorous wine-tasting agenda.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a popular way to enjoy Napa’s beautiful scenery and delicious wines from the rails. The train offers world-class cuisine and top local wines on board. You can choose a train-only adventure or one that allows you to disembark for winery tastings.

old faithful geyser
Old Faithful Geyser, Calistoga. Photo credit: Robin Donovan.

Outdoor Activities

Napa is also a great place to get outside and enjoy California’s natural beauty. Here are a few must-do activities for outdoor types:

Mount St. Helena: This popular hike affords unparalleled views of the stunning natural beauty of Napa Valley. The walk takes you through dense forest and rocky terrain, and it delivers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It’s a three- to four-hour hike well worth the effort.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park: Robert Louis Stevenson Park offers miles of scenic hiking trails through dense forests, open meadows, and along the banks of the Napa River. You’ll discover panoramic views of the surrounding hills and vineyards and a diverse array of wildlife, including birds, deer, eagles, and even the occasional mountain lion. You’ll also come across several historical sites, like the late-1800s Silverado Mine.

Old Faithful Geyser Calistoga: The Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga is a natural wonder that erupts regularly, shooting water up to 60 feet in the air. Bring a bottle of wine and a picnic, or grab some tacos from the food truck out front and enjoy the park’s geyser-side cabanas while you wait for the next eruption.

petrified wood
Petrified wood. Photo credit: Robin Donovan.

Hot air balloon rides: Take to the skies and see Napa from a new perspective on a breathtaking hot air balloon ride. The rides usually begin early in the morning, just before sunrise, when the air is cool and calm, and last for an hour or so.

The hot air balloon ride is the best way to see Napa’s beautiful vineyards and picturesque rolling hills. Launch pad for the hot air balloon sites are situated in Napa, Yountville, and Calistoga. Take your Napa visit a little higher by opting for a hot air balloon flight!

Biking through the vineyards: Rent a bike and explore the scenic back roads of Napa, taking in the rolling hills, lush vineyards, and picturesque countryside. Cycle through the lush vineyards, enjoy the fresh air, and stop at the wineries along the way to taste some of the region’s best wines. Most wineries offer bike racks, making it easy to hop on and off as you explore.

“Even after traveling the world and moving abroad to the heights of the Andes Mountain Range, some of the most scenic and picturesque views I’ve ever witnessed are in Napa Valley and throughout Sonoma County where I grew up.”

— Jessica Haggard, Primal Edge Health
wine being poured into a wine glass
Wine tasting. Photo credit: Pexels.

Where to Relax and Rejuvenate

Napa is also a great place to unwind and recharge. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing massage, a soak in a hot tub, or a day at the spa, there are plenty of options. Some of the most famous spas in the area include:

Solage Calistoga: This chic, modern spa offers a range of treatments, including mud baths and mineral water soaking pools. The spa is also the home to Michelin-starred dining spot Solbar, a restaurant that offers California classic wines and cuisine. Regulars and locals say that it is ‘wine country personified’—warm atmosphere, sunny days, and a feast of flavors.

Mount View Hotel & Spa: This historic hotel offers a range of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and hydrotherapy. Get charmed by this Victorian-inspired modern luxury destination, which also houses Veraison, a highly acclaimed restaurant that serves farm-to-table dishes that define Napa.

The Estate Yountville: This unique property offers two distinct hotel experiences — the lively Hotel Villagio and the chic and tranquil Vintage House. The Spa serves hotels, offering therapeutic massages, facials, and rituals. Aside from the luxurious suites and fancy amenities, guests and visitors can grab hearty culinary delights at the in-house French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery eateries.

Vineyard
Vineyard. Photo credit: Pixabay.

The Wrap Up

When we hear Napa, it is instantly synonymous with wine. But at a closer view, its charms go beyond its signature artisan product. It is also home to rich cultural heritage and culinary delights. Beyond the grape, you can enroll in watercolor classes, join hikes, and engage in live events. Some wineries offer non-drinking activities like gallery exhibits, olive oil making, and even castle tours for free.

For a perfect countryside vacation experience that brings food and culture together, Napa Valley is the place to go. And your vacation is even sweeter, thanks to the sweetness of their pride, wines.

Napa, California, has become a must-visit location with its scenic vineyards, world-renowned wineries, exceptional dining scene, and natural wonders. You’ll love its range of activities, whether you’re looking to relax or indulge, enjoy a romantic getaway, or a family vacation. Napa truly offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and indulgence.

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