At the northern end of Napa Valley, Calistoga is a low-key place. It's a little wilder and more laid back than the towns closer to San Francisco, as often people go for the (undeniably good) low-hanghing fruit farther south. However, Calistoga is well worth the extra few minutes on Route 29.
See & Do
Calistoga has long been touted as a place for rest and relaxation, with visitors coming in search of rejuvenation and mud baths at its natural hot springs. Other attractions include its "Little Old Faithful" geyser as well as northern California's Petrified Forest. For those looking for hiking, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park has beautiful views and good hiking trails.
Solbar, the restaurant at the Solage Calistoga, is the name of the game in this town. Chef Sharp turns out delicious "California soul food" using highly local (the menu names the farms and ranches where each ingredient is sourced) and seasonal produce. Other favorites include the Calistoga Roastery and JoLe.
While Napa may be a place for wine, the best night spots in Calistoga are all about their beer. The Calistoga Inn and Brewery has live music on the patio every evening during the high season and DJs in the brewery on Friday and Saturday nights. Susie's Bar is another local favorite dive.
Calistoga has an enviable selection of casually luxurious hotels that somehow maintain the town's laid back feel while offering top notch design, service and amenities. Solage Calistoga is kind of simultaneously sexy and sunny, offering a world-renowned spa, one of the best pools in the valley and free bicycles. Calistoga Ranch embraces a more rustic attitude, while the Indian Springs Resort has sort of a retro-luxurious camp feel.
You won't find many chain stores on Lincoln Street, Calistoga's main drag. Instead, there are delightful, creative boutiques, showcasing everything from pottery made by husband and wife team Jeff and Sally Manfredi to Hurd's beeswax candles. Also lining the street are Coppoerfield's Books, an independent bookstore, the American Indian Trading Company and the Calistoga Bike Shop.