Conveniently located just an hour north of San Francisco, Napa Valley continues to be hailed as one of the most prestigious wine destinations in the world. With over 500 wineries stretching across Napa and its neighboring cities of Yountville, Oakville, St. Helena, Rutherford and Calistoga – you’ll need an itinerary that is packed to the brim with what to do, see and most importantly drink!
Where to Stay:
Downtown Napa continues its renaissance with its newest boutique hotel, Archer Hotel Napa. With 183 rooms, Archer Napa offers a modern aesthetic with exclusive bragging rights as the only wine country hotel with a rooftop bar, Sky & Vine. Just a stone’s throw away, The Andaz Napa Valley, continues to prove its presence with a new focus on live music programming featuring local artists on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Where to Eat:
Oxbow Public Market features local vendors and offers an opportunity to support smaller businesses including Kara’s Cupcakes and C Casa, an up-and-coming taqueria. For your morning coffee fix, Napa Valley Coffee Roasting company has been curing cravings since 1985. Boon Fly Café is most famous for the breakfast and brunch offerings that include delicious egg platters and homemade donuts. The cure to any weekend morning in Napa is an order of the Spicy Bacon Bloody Mary. Some of the buzziest restaurants in Napa include Bouchon, a classic French bistro by Thomas Keller, which rarely disappoints with their steak frites and fresh oysters, while the hand painted murals and antique lighting offers an authentic pièce de ré·sis·tance. Both Napa Valley locals and visitors flock to The Charter for an award-winning family style experience featuring menus focused on simple and approachable ingredients.
What to Do:
For a unique and experiential way to see Napa, book your tickets to The Napa Valley Wine Train as soon as you have your flights. Operating since 1843, a number of tour options ranging from half-day to full-day can be reserved in advance. You cover up to 36 miles of prime Napa wine country in just three hours with stops from Downtown Napa to St. Helena. An opulent onboard dining experience has been curated by Chef Donald Young and is included in the package.
Even early risers (yes, all you night owls will want to set multiple alarms) are blown away by the sunrise hot air balloon rides that stretch over the valley from Mt. St. Helena to the Mayacamas. Napa Valley Aloft offers a shuttle service that can be booked at an additional cost to make sure you get to their launch sites on time. Tours on average range from 3-4 hours depending on weather at times.
What to Visit:
An undiscovered gem, Newton Napa Valley dates back to 1977 and has long been considered a pioneer in Napa winemaking history. The winery, which many know for the intricate French-inspired garden, spreads across 500 acres across Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain and Yountville. Tours and tastings are available and if you’re looking for jaw-dropping views from 1600 feet above the valley floor, this is the place to go. Their range of award-winning Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and winery exclusives can be purchased on-site or shipped to your home directly.
For those looking for a bit more “sparkle” in their day, head to the neighboring Chandon California, the first French-owned sparkling wine estate in Napa Valley. Celebrating over 45 years of history, Chandon offers tastings with and without appointment and can be reserved in their tasting room lounge, terrace or patio ranging with an additional light bites menu.
Napa is not just about wine. You’ll be surprised to hear that the breweries are popping up around town as well due to the demand for small batch and craft beers from visitors and locals like. Stone Brewing opened up their Napa outpost this past summer to much delight to join the ranks of Trade Brewing and Tannery Bend Beerworks.