Things to do in Napa Valley, CA

Get Your Bearings in Napa Valley

See & Do
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Avoid:

Small highways during construction.

Hot Tips:

The first-ever Bottle Rock Festival in 2013 was a huge success.

Caution:

Mixing too much wine and too much mineral springs can lead to dehydration.

Avoid:

Long waits for wine tasting - there are too many excellent wineries to have to wait.

Avoid:

Snooty service - if servers feel the need to be rude, they're wine country posers.

Hot Tips:

California chantrelle mushrooms are a tasty bite of land and sea.

Be Sure to Sample:

Niman Ranch beef

Avoid:

Excessive cover charges at night clubs.

Hot Tips:

Some wine merchants offer great deals on bulk shipping.

Best Local Souvenir:

Still has to be wine, but the locally made hand soaps are delightful, too.

 

 

Napa Valley Neighborhoods

Things to do in Napa Valley


Napa Valley is known for...

Five of Napa Valley's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Wine:

It's no secret that Napa is the center of wine production in the United States. With plenty of daytime sunshine and cool nights, it's the perfect terroir for growing perfectly quaffable wines. With over six-hundred wineries and vineyards in Napa Valley (and that doesn't even include any in neighboring Sonoma!) they run the spectrum from small and family-owned (like Neyers Winery) to massive (think Mondavi). Unlike some of the older wine-making regions in France and Italy, Napa has nearly every kind of varietal, making it the perfect place to taste and learn.

2. Michelin Stars:

The same climate that allows Napa to grow excellent grapes makes it possible for the region to grow nearly anything, all year round. This good fortune has drawn many notable chefs to the valley (along with the Culinary Institute of America) to make it one of the best places in the world to eat, period. Two restaurants, Thomas Keller's The French Laundry and the restaurant at Meadowood have both been awarded three Michelin stars, while eight other restaurants in Napa have one star. Whether you prefer to call it 'farm to table,' or 'field to fork,' the great ingredients mean that even the simplest food is top notch.

3. Outdoors:

Rolling hills and acres of picturesque vineyards make Napa Valley a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It's common to see cyclists clad in bright spandex zipping through the serene stretches of green, and less intense peddlers ambling their way from one winery to the next. Surrounded by the Mayacama Mountains to the west and north and the Vaca mountains to the south, there's no shortage of hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails that afford great views of the Valley. For the more adventurous, hot air balloons regularly take to the skies. 

4. Relaxation:

The combination of Napa's Mediterranean climate, the easy-going pace of wine tasting days and decadent, leisurely meals and many, many outdoor fire places already makes it the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city. Add in quietly luxurious hotels with Frette-sheeted beds and award-winning spas featuring wine-inspired treatments and mud body masque bars and it's the perfect place to turn off the phone, forget about the internet and simply unwind for a few days. 

5. Art:

Drawn to the area by the beautiful scenery and peace and quiet, Napa Valley is home to numerous artists, many of whom draw inspiration from the landscape and light. Local galleries (there seem to be more and more of them popping up all the time), wineries and vineyards in each one of Napa's towns feature the paintings, sculpture and handcrafted furniture of these neighboring artists and artisans as well as others. Additionally, the former di Rosa estate, now turned museum, has arguably the world's most important collection of Northern Californian artists throughout the twentieth century.