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.
“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
Things to Do in Napa
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.
“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.
Del Dotto: Del Dotto Family Wineries & Caves sits on one of the most beautiful views in Napa. They focus on small production, premium wines and offer tours daily in the oldest cave in Napa Valley. As well, book one of many of their wine and food pairings at Piazza Del Dotto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 Deli: This Italian grocery and deli has been around since 1970, serving proper deli sandwiches filled with meat and doused with the house vinaigrette.
Gott’s Roadside: This classic burger joint serves 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 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.
Things to Do in Napa: 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. It delivers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It’s a three-four hour hike and worth it.
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. 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 and enjoy the park’s geyser-side cabanas while you wait for the next eruption.
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. The air is cool and calm. Th rides last for an hour or so.
Biking through the vineyards: Rent a bike and explore the scenic back roads of Napa. Take 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.
Things to Do in Napa: Relax and Rejuvenate
Napa is a great place to unwind and recharge. You can take a relaxing massage or spend 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.
Mount View Hotel & Spa: This historic hotel offers a range of spa treatments, including massages and facials.
The Estate Yountville: This unique property offers two distinct hotel experiences — the lively Hotel Villagio and the tranquil Vintage House. The Spa serves hotels, offering therapeutic massages, facials, and rituals.
The Wrap Up
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.
“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
This article first appeared on Food Drink Life.