10Best Romantic Things to Do in Napa Valley



Napa Valley knows how to turn on the charm. Its more than 400 wineries provide the ideal setting for romance. Scenarios of sipping wine and dining on gourmet food are easy to come by among its acres of vines and award winning restaurants. Savor the view and dinner from vintage Pullman rail cars as you roll through Napa Valley on the Wine Train, or soak the day away in thermal hot springs. The options for wine country date nights are endless.

But there’s more for lovebirds in Napa Valley than just drinking and eating. Feel invigorated after a mud bath and couples massage at Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, or a hike through Skyline Wilderness Park. If you don't mind getting up early, you can soar sky high with Napa Valley Balloons. If you like to stay up late, get tickets for a live show at Uptown Theatre in downtown Napa. Whatever your heart desires, you don’t have to look hard to discover romantic things to do in Napa Valley.



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Downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann

 

Wine tasting and Downtown Napa go hand in hand. With tasting rooms scattered throughout town, you can park the car and wander from one sipping spot to the next. Think of all the exercise you can get. Old favorites, hard-to-find varietals and new finds are waiting just around the corner. At $15, the Downtown Napa Wine tasting Card gets you half-price tastings at nine downtown tasting rooms. You don't have to visit all of them on the stay day, or even the same month. The card is good for the year. Participating tasting rooms change every year, so there's always a new spot to discover and sip.


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Napa Art Walk
Photo courtesy of Israel Valencia - Infinity Visuals

 

Get to know the nooks and crannies of Napa's downtown area, and stretch your legs, on the self-guided Napa Art Walk. The program began in 2009 and the fifth exhibition,'Shifting Perspective,' is currently on display. It features 10 artists from four Western states and runs through 2019. Just wander through town and you'll come across many of the sculptures. Maybe even put your Downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card to good use as you go? If you want to be organized, free, printed maps are available at the Napa Valley Welcome Center at 600 Main Street. All of the sculptures are for sale, in case you come across something you want to take home. Ten percent of sales made during the exhibition support future Napa Art Walk displays.


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Skyline Wilderness Park is popular with local hikers and visitors, but it isn't uncommon to go for stretches without seeing another person. (But keep your eyes open for critters like deer, geese and wild turkeys.) The park has almost a dozen trails to choose from, so you can opt a leisurely stroll, or break a sweat. Parking and admission costs $5 per car. Walk-ins are $2.00 per person. Don't be shy and ask questions when you arrive. Park staff are happy to suggest a trail depending on how much time you have to spend, and how much you want to elevate your heart rate. Be sure to bring plenty of water.


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The Uptown Theatre is a downtown Napa landmark. Ask any local and they'll have a story to share about an outing to the theatre. Opened in the summer of 1937, it has seen everything from vaudeville to movie screens. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard used to frequent the theater on trips north from Hollywood. In 2000, a local resident and businessman George Altamura, bought the old movie house. Along with restoring the theatre's glory and grandeur, with the help of friends like Francis Ford Coppola, he invested in a state of the art sound system, and the Uptown Theatre opened its stage to live performances. The distance from the last row to the stage is less than 100 feet, so there isn't a bad seat in the house.


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Blue Note Napa
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann


 

Blue Note Napa is located in the heart of downtown Napa, on the first floor of the historic 19th century Napa Valley Opera House. Seating less than 150 folks, there isn't a bad seat in the house. There's live entertainment numerous nights a week provided by world-renown artists from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. It can vary from show to show, but seating at booths, tables, and the bar is typically sold on a general admission first come, first seated basis. (Depending on the size of your group, you may be seated at a communal table with other patrons.) Along with a full bar, Blue Note Napa offers a tasty dinner and bites menu.


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Napa Valley Wine Train Excursions


 

Getting a meal on the go is a romantic experience when you are dining on the Napa Valley Wine Train. When you first board, it's the restored Pullman rail cars that will wow you. The train looks and feels like something out of an old movie. Decorated with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass and plush armchairs, don't be surprised if you just seem to gravitate to a window seat. Sip wine and enjoy lunch or dinner while rolling through some of Napa Valley's most scenic stretches. All meals are prepared on the train. Along with two engines, the Napa Valley Wine Train has three kitchens.


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Photo courtesy of Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort


 

A visit to Calistoga isn't complete without getting dirty. The mud bath is a tradition of sorts at Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort. It's a secret family recipe, mixed with Calistoga's famous warm mineral water. Don't worry - when you're finished, you'll feel energized and be squeaky clean. Add in a couples massage and you'll be ready to take on all the wine Napa Valley has to pour. Dr. Wilkinson's has been owned and run by the same family since it was founded in 1952. The resort offers an assortment of lodging options, if you decide to spend the night.


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Book a couples massage, and maybe even a mud bath, but don't forget your swimsuit. Indian Springs Calistoga has two swimming pools. More for soaking than swimming, the Main Pool is an Olympic-sized mineral pool. The newer pool is smaller, intimate, and for adults only. Both pools, fed with thermal water from the property's geysers, run from 82–102 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the season. The pools are complimentary for guests staying at the resort. Pool passes are $25 Monday through Friday for all spa day guests who book a 50 minute service. On Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, a daily pool pass for spa guests costs $50.


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Bubbles and romance go hand in hand at Schramsberg Vineyards. The second oldest winery in Napa Valley, tastings and tours of the historic caves are by appointment only and are limited to groups of eight. The cave tunnels are dimly lit with numerous well placed candles and can hold up to three million bottles of wine and bubbles. Tastings include generous pours - allow 90 minutes for the tour and tasting. Founded in 1862, the winery is a state historical landmark. The Blanc de Blancs was served for President Nixon's 1972 "Toast to Peace" with China's Premier Zhou Enlai, and has been served at official State functions by every U.S. President since.


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Napa Valley Balloons
Photo courtesy of Dana Rebmann


 

You have to get up long before the crack of dawn, but watching wine country wake up from the basket of a hot air balloon is worth getting out of bed early. Coffee and pastries are waiting when you check in for your flight at Domaine Chandon Winery in Yountville. It's just a couple minutes shuttle ride to the balloon launch site. Seeing the balloon inflated is exciting, but the real fun starts at liftoff. Scenic flights last about an hour. After touchdown, passengers head back to Domaine Chandon Winery for breakfast and mimosas. No bags of any kind are allowed on balloon rides, but don't forget your camera.


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Meet Dana Rebmann

Dana Rebmann moved from San Francisco to Wine Country in search of sunshine. Amazing wine and food was a delightful bonus.

A former television producer for NBC News, Dana is a regular...  More About Dana

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