Best Wineries
Napa Valley Guide

Napa County Guide

By Published On: April 14th, 2022

These Are Some of Our Favorite Things 

One of the most bountiful and beautiful wine regions in the world, the Napa Valley welcomes millions of visitors every year.

While wine culture is the nominal draw for those 4 million thirsty visitors, the reality is, they come for incredible array of food, culture and style that comes along with it. 

At just 30 miles in length and five miles across at its widest point, the Napa Valley is famous as for having more than 400 wineries open for visitors and upwards of 90 urban tasting rooms. While fine wine stars in Napa’s story, its art, culture, recreation, shopping and destination-level cuisine deserve equal billing. 

Today, in addition to seeking the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in the world, visitors arrive here eager experience a wine country lifestyle defined by understated elegance and the captivating end-product of the humble grape’s magical transformation from fruit to quaffable poetry.

Read on for the best places to experience everything (else) Napa has on tap. 

Music

The Napa Valley boasts nearly a dozen music festivals annually.

Each May, downtown Napa hosts BottleRock, a three-day music, food, and craft brew festival featuring the hottest acts in pop music. In June, jazz great Brian Culbertson hosts the genre’s biggest names at the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway. And each July, some of the world’s most in-demand artists travel the globe to take part in Festival Napa Valley, a celebration of the arts, and of the beauty and bounty of the region. 

“The Festival was a natural step in Napa Valley’s evolution from a center of wine and food, to a cultural destination,” says Festival Napa Valley co-founder Rick Walker. “We bring together fantastic artists who perform in beautiful settings. Napa Valley is our stage.”

Part of the iconic Blue Note Entertainment Group network, Blue Note Napa takes its cues from its Greenwich Village counterpart.

National and international artists, along with Bay Area and regional favorites, play in an intimate 100-seat setting. At the historic Uptown Theater, catch some of the biggest names in blues, rock, jazz, folk, and country within the stunningly restored art-deco masterpiece.

Art

The line between art and wine is often blurred in Napa, in the most beautiful way. 

Several wineries boast museum-level collections, with some of the most iconic modern works in the world on display in the vineyards, and in galleries that visitors can access.

At Hess Persson Estates founder Donald Hess displays works by icons such as Robert Motherwell, Francis Bacon, and Gerhard Richter within a three-story modern-art gallery. Hall Napa Valley’s proprietors Craig and Kathryn Hall, meanwhile showcase their eclectic collection of modern art, both in and outside of their Rutherford winery. 

Cliff Lede’s Backstage Tasting Lounge features rotating exhibits by some of music’s biggest names. Part tasting room, part rock ‘n’ roll art gallery, the walls are lined with artwork available for purchase by artists such as John Lennon, Grace Slick, and Jerry Garcia. “There’s no other experience like it in Napa,” says Jason Lede, the winery’s director of communications. “This is where our greatest loves converge: wine, art, and music.”  

For “art in the wild,” hit Yountville’s famed Art Walk to spot nearly 40 sculptural pieces by a variety of local artists. Use the self-guided audio tour, or schedule a docent to lead the way. And if you see something you like, you may be in luck. Several of the pieces are available for purchase; grab an art walk brochure from the visitor’s center to find out which ones are in need of a forever home.

Recreation

Touring the Valley on foot or wheels is one thing, but if you really want to get a lay of the land, there’s no better way to “tour” the Valley than from above in a hot air balloon. Napa Valley Aloft lift-off takes place at sunrise, but anyone who has ever experienced the bird’s eye views agrees that the early morning wake-up is worth it. 

For those who prefer to stay grounded, rent a bicycle (or borrow one from your hotel’s often complimentary fleet) and pedal the vineyards-adjacent, safe and flat 12.5 mile Napa Valley Vine Trail from South Napa to Yountville, or vice versa.

Napa is an Eden for walkers and hikers. Parks such as Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and Skyline Wilderness Parkfeature miles of trails leading to breathtaking vistas. Pup in tow? Head to dog friendly Alston Park where half the park is off-leash and the other is on-leash.   

If golf is your game, a variety of verdant courses await, with some of the best putting opps in the country. Silverado Resort offers two Johnny Miller-designed championship courses with annual PGA Tour events. The course at Chardonnay Golf Club meanders through 150 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot vineyards.

And the Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park offers practice facilities consisting of an 8,500 square foot putting green, a chipping green, and 22 individual driving range stalls.

Shopping

Napa boasts an incredible array of unusual and luxurious shopping opportunities, with each town serving up their own distinct flavor. 

Delivering the best in wine country lifestyle, St. Helena and its quaint Main St. feature a plethora of unique boutiques. From clothing to footwear, and gourmet chocolates to housewares, this two block cornucopia captivates any shopper.

Don’t miss Napa Valley Vintage Home, Laura Rombauer’s collection of gift items and decorative home goods. Rombauer personally curates the inventory of unusual and mostly European-inspired items. Discover fabulous finds for your furry friend at Fideaux, outfitters for cats and dogs.

Home chefs will appreciate New West KnifeWorks, with their heirloom-worthy, artisanal knives with colorful handles and etched details. Each pairs the ultra-sharp sleekness of Eastern style chef’s knives with western edginess and toughness.

Yountville’s strollable Washington Street features everything from home furnishings to fashionable headwear.

Tour the RH Yountville furniture gallery showrooms for design inspiration. Then, head over to the Hestan Vineyards tasting room where wine is just part of this innovative company’s portfolio; their molecular titanium cookware and stylish outdoor barbecues will motivate any home cook.

In any season, the sun shines brightly in the Napa Valley. Throw some shade with a selection from Montecristi Panama Hats. The family-owned business imports high quality, genuine Panama hats from Ecuador and features the largest inventory of such hats in the United States.

Now, for something sweet: head to Kollar Chocolates and watch the chocolate making process through a large glass show window before heading inside and sampling the delicious wares. 

Downtown Napa is home to a multitude of engaging shops. For women’s fashions, Tay & Grace boutique features the hottest brands and up-to-the-minute items that capture the best of the Napa Valley lifestyle. 

“In wine country, you can never go wrong with a flowing skirt or dress,” says Tay & Grace proprietor Kristin Ruffino. “Add a floppy brimmed hat, and you’ll easily be mistaken for a local.” 

Inti carries a colorful collection of imported scarves, purses, clothing, and decorative items, and is definitely worth a visit.

Oxbow Public Market, beloved by both locals and visitors (always a good sign!), brims with artisanal offerings including charcuterie, gourmet cheeses, chocolates, spirits, and coffee.

Spas

Just as Napa wine is known for its quality, the same is true of the region’s spas. 

These havens of tranquility and well-being are sure to transport and calm.

Follow a rose-lined path to Spa Solage’s geothermal spa pools and then enhance your experience with a Spa Solage signature “Mudslide” treatment—a unique three-part, mud-filled, detoxifying indulgence intended to promote short-term bliss and long-term wellness. 

The spectacularly serene and rustically-modern Meadowood Spa offers customizable holistic treatments within spacious suites, such as the open-air Treehouse featuring a rectangular hammered-copper tub for two, a flickering fireplace, and sky views.

At Meritage Resort’s Spa Terra, locally inspired treatments are rendered in the sanctuary of an underground, beneath-the-vineyards Estate Cave. The unique setting provides a sense of inspiration and mental rejuvenation, in addition to serenity and relaxation. 

At the expansive Spa at Silverado, try the Chardonnay Sugar Scrub with its blend of Shea butter, six natural oils, and the healing power of grape seed. Both your skin and your mind will thank you for the healing re-set. 

Dining

From lauded Michelin-star restaurants to humble roadside burger joints, the Napa Valley offers delicious choices that will satiate every palate (and every pocketbook). 

There is a common theme though: Napa celebrates locally sourced, sustainable, seasonal, and fresh food, at every price point.

This is, after all, the birthplace of the farm-to-table movement, well-illustrated at Chef Thomas Keller’s iconic, Michelin-starred The French Laundry, where menu ingredients are harvested daily from the restaurant’s adjacent multi-acre Yountville garden.

If a French Laundry reservation proves to be elusive, try ad hoc + addendum, Keller’s casual, family-oriented diner known for its buttermilk fried chicken.

In Downtown Napa, Kenzo is another Michelin-starred destination eatery that attracts Kaiseki fans the world over. Come hungry! A Kenzo meal consists of twelve courses, nine savory and three sweet – each stunningly presented in a range of dishware hand selected in Japan to best present each dish.

Or, head up-valley to upscale yet cozy Brasswood Bar + Kitchen where crave-able and delicious Napa style comfort food is served with Italian flair. Menu favorites include the warm egg and Brussels sprouts salad, pork, and beef meatball on three cheese polenta, and the famous house made mozzarella, a must-have, off-menu item. 

“This no longer very secret item has become a favorite and now it is like you are part of a secret club if you have already had it,” says Brasswood co-founder Marcus Marquez. “Keeping it off menu keeps the allure but also allows us to have room for another great item for the menu. Our chef has so many great recipes to share.” 

For something more casual, Gott’s Roadside delivers. No ordinary fast-food joint, the burgers, ahi poke tacos, and fresh salads here are accompanied by wines selected by owner and local vintner Joel Gott. 

Casual is still special, elegant and delicious in Napa.

Related Posts:

Donum Estate in Sonoma

Donum Estate in Sonoma

Winery Interviews
Sip, Savor, and Soak In Stunning Visuals.
Read More
Explore Jean-Charles Boisset’s World of Spirits and Wine

Explore Jean-Charles Boisset’s World of Spirits and Wine

FEATURED - TRIPS AND THINGS Winery Interviews
Featuring Calistoga Depot Distillery, Buena Vista Winery, Raymond Vineyards, DeLoach Vineyards and more.
Read More
Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, Sonoma County

Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, Sonoma County

FEATURED - HOME Hotels
The Perfect Blend of Luxury, History and Serenity
Read More
Martinelli Winery in Windsor, Sonoma County

Martinelli Winery in Windsor, Sonoma County

Winery Interviews
Interview with Winemaker Courtney Robinett Wagoner.
Read More
1 2 3 4 5 54

Related Posts:

Go to Top