Napa Valley Travel Guide: Things to Do, Places to Eat, and More

things to do in napa valley

Embark on a luxurious journey through Napa Valley with our comprehensive travel guide. Whether you are seeking insider insights into must-visit wineries, dining recommendations, or hidden gems, our guide covers all aspects of exploring this picturesque wine country.

From the best accommodations to unique activities and dining experiences, our Napa Valley travel guide is your ultimate resource for planning an unforgettable trip. Keep reading to discover the secrets of wine country and make the most of your Napa Valley experience.

The Best Accommodations Napa Has To Offer

Auberge du Soleil

Auberge du Soleil

Nestled in the hills of Rutherford, Auberge du Soleil is a luxurious resort in Napa Valley that offers unparalleled views of the vineyards. The resort features elegant guest rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant with locally-sourced ingredients, and a spa offering various treatments to promote serenity and balance.

Auberge du Soleil sets the standard for a memorable experience in wine country.

Archer Hotel Napa

Archer Hotel Napa

Archer Hotel Napa is a modern and luxurious hotel located in downtown Napa. It offers exceptional accommodations, ranging from cozy Deluxe Rooms to spacious Suites with separate living areas.

Their on-site restaurant serves locally-inspired dishes made from seasonal ingredients. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop bar, state-of-the-art fitness center, and spa services.

Bardessono Hotel And Spa

Bardessono Hotel and Spa

Bardessono Hotel and Spa is a luxurious and eco-friendly retreat in Yountville, providing unparalleled comfort and serenity for travelers seeking a rejuvenating Napa Valley experience.

The hotel features 62 suites, each designed with sustainable materials and modern amenities. The suites provide guests with stunning views of the surrounding landscape and offer ultimate luxury and comfort.

Bardessono’s spa offers a variety of holistic treatments inspired by nature, promoting relaxation and rejuvenation. The hotel’s on-site restaurant sources fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms and purveyors to create innovative dishes that celebrate the region’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Sit & Sit In Napa’s Finest Restaurants

Mustards Grill

Mustards Grill

Mustards Grill is an iconic Napa Valley restaurant known for its farm-to-table ethos and innovative American cuisine. The cozy ambiance and outdoor patio provide a charming setting for dining while the menu features tantalizing dishes made with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

The extensive wine list features local wines from Napa Valley’s top wineries. Mustards Grill is committed to sustainability and supporting local farmers. It is a must-visit destination for food lovers seeking an unforgettable dining adventure in wine country.

The French Laundry

The French Laundry

The French Laundry in Yountville, Napa Valley, is a renowned fine-dining restaurant led by acclaimed chef Thomas Keller. The menu features meticulously crafted dishes with local ingredients.

The restaurant also boasts an impressive wine list curated by knowledgeable sommeliers. Dining at The French Laundry is an unforgettable culinary journey that celebrates the art of fine dining.

Angèle Restaurant & Bar

Angèle Restaurant & Bar

Angèle Restaurant & Bar in downtown Napa offers classic French cuisine with a modern twist in a charming bistro ambiance. Try their signature French onion soup or iconic Coq au Vin, paired with a selection from their extensive wine list featuring Napa Valley wines.

End your meal with their decadent chocolate mousse or classic tarte Tatin.

Hog Island Oyster Co

Hog Island Oyster Co

Hog Island Oyster Co is a renowned restaurant in Napa Valley, offering a unique dining experience that showcases a commitment to sustainable aquaculture practices. They source oysters directly from their own farms along the California coast and serve them in a variety of preparations that highlight their natural brininess and sweetness.

The menu also includes seafood dishes, such as local Dungeness crab and grilled fish, and wine pairings are available. Whether you’re an oyster lover or new to this culinary delight, Hog Island Oyster Co promises an immersive journey into sustainable seafood and artisanal cuisine.

Experiencing Napa Valley’s Wineries

Black Stallion Winery

Black Stallion Winery

Black Stallion Winery is an elegant and excellent winery located in Napa Valley. The winery’s stunning architecture is inspired by an equestrian center and captivates guests upon arrival.

Black Stallion Winery offers a diverse range of varietals and various tasting experiences, including guided tastings, private tours, and picnicking on the winery’s grounds. The winery frequently hosts special events and educational programs for wine enthusiasts.

Peju Winery

Peju Winery

Peju Winery is an iconic destination in Napa Valley. Visitors can indulge in a variety of tastings that showcase the winery’s diverse selection of wines, guided by knowledgeable staff who provide insights into the winemaking process.

The winery offers guided tours of their vineyards and production facilities, where guests can learn about the unique terroir of Napa Valley. The tour culminates in a private tasting session where guests can savor exclusive vintages.

Peju Winery also boasts an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards and a boutique gift shop. Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or a casual wine lover, Peju Winery offers an immersive experience that captures the essence of Napa Valley’s renowned wine culture.

V. Sattui Artisan Deli & Picnic Grounds

V. Sattui Artisan Deli & Picnic Grounds

V. Sattui Artisan Deli & Picnic Grounds is a delightful destination amidst Napa Valley’s vineyards. The deli offers gourmet sandwiches, salads, artisanal cheeses, and charcuterie.

The picnic grounds are serene and inviting, with picnic tables and cozy spots under trees. V. Sattui also has a well-curated selection of wines. Visitors can sample award-winning wines at the tasting room.

A visit to V. Sattui promises a multisensory journey through flavors, aromas, and landscapes that define Napa Valley’s culinary and viticultural excellence.

Exploring Beyond Wine: Activities in Napa Valley

Hot Air Balloon Rides

NVAloft Blog

Hot air balloon rides offer a unique and mesmerizing perspective of the region’s stunning landscapes, rolling hills, and vineyards. You can witness breathtaking panoramic views as you soar high above the valley during sunrise or sunset.

Numerous companies in Napa Valley provide hot air balloon rides, with various options available based on personal preferences. Passengers are often greeted with a glass of champagne before takeoff to add sophistication to the experience.

During the ride, you may spot iconic landmarks such as Castello di Amorosa, a medieval-inspired winery known for its impressive architecture and award-winning wines. The pilot will provide insightful commentary about the region’s history, winemaking culture, and points of interest visible from above. Don’t forget to capture these magical moments with your camera.

Napa Valley Wine Train

napa valley wine train

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a luxurious way to discover the beauty of Napa Valley while enjoying gourmet dining and fine wines. The train offers different journeys, including themed rides and special holiday excursions.

The vintage rail cars have been beautifully restored and exude elegance and charm. One of the highlights of the Napa Valley Wine Train experience is the exquisite culinary offerings onboard. Passengers are treated to a multi-course gourmet meal prepared by an executive chef onboard using locally sourced ingredients.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or seeking a memorable dining experience, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers an unforgettable adventure through one of California’s most beloved destinations.

Olive Oil Tasting

Grove 45 - Olive Oil Tasting

Napa Valley is a top destination for both wine and olive oil enthusiasts. Olive oil tasting experiences in Napa offer unique opportunities to explore the flavors and nuances of high-quality olive oils.

Visitors can participate in guided tastings that showcase an array of olive oils, varying in flavor profiles from delicate and fruity to robust and peppery. By engaging in an olive oil tasting experience in Napa Valley, guests can expand their palate and gain a deeper appreciation for this ancient culinary staple and its place within the region’s rich agricultural tapestry.

Napa Valley Vine Trail

Napa Valley Vine Trail

The Napa Valley Vine Trail is a 47-mile multi-use trail surrounded by vineyards and scenic views. It offers a unique way to explore the beauty of Napa Valley, with various entry points throughout the valley.

Along the trail, visitors will encounter an array of attractions showcasing the region’s natural beauty and cultural richness, providing an intimate glimpse into the heart of wine country. The trail is perfect for those seeking a leisurely outing filled with scenic beauty and cultural insights, and offers something for everyone while showcasing the diverse charm that makes Napa Valley a premier destination for travelers worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Napa Valley Expensive?

Napa Valley is a prestigious wine region with luxurious vineyards, upscale accommodations, and gourmet dining options. However, it’s generally considered an expensive travel destination, with high prices for accommodations, dining, and wine tastings.

Visitors should budget accordingly and plan carefully to manage costs. Despite the expense, Napa Valley’s culinary excellence and world-class wines make it a memorable destination worth the price tag.

Is It Better to Go to Sonoma or Napa?

Choosing between Sonoma and Napa Valley for a wine country retreat depends on your preferences. Sonoma offers a laid-back and rustic experience with diverse wineries, while Napa is renowned for prestigious wineries, luxurious accommodations, and high-end dining.

If you value a casual atmosphere and scenic beauty, Sonoma is ideal. Napa might be the perfect destination if you prefer upscale amenities and indulging in luxurious experiences. Both regions have their unique charms, making either choice excellent for a wine country getaway.

What Is the Best Month to Visit Napa Valley?

Napa Valley offers different experiences throughout the year:

  • Spring (March to May) is ideal for viewing the lush green vineyards and vibrant blooms.
  • Summer (June to August) is perfect for warm weather and longer daylight hours, but it’s peak tourist season.
  • Fall (September to November) is the best time to visit and witness the magic of harvest season, with fewer crowds and picturesque vineyards.
  • Winter (December to February) has fewer tourists, cooler temperatures, and offers a quieter experience exploring tasting rooms or indulging in cozy fireside wine tastings.

Can You Wear Jeans to a Winery?

To dress appropriately for a winery visit in Napa Valley, choose clean, well-fitted dark-wash or black jeans with a nice blouse or shirt. Closed-toe shoes like flats, sneakers, or boots are recommended.

Avoid sandals or flip-flops. Add classic accessories like statement earrings, a chic scarf, or a trendy belt. Avoid excessive jewelry and opt for a stylish handbag or tote for practical storage.

Dress for comfort and style while respecting the environment of the wineries you plan to visit. Check for any specific dress code guidelines in advance.

Can You Just Walk into Wineries in Napa?

When visiting Napa Valley, some wineries require reservations for tastings and tours. Check the winery’s website or contact them directly to inquire about their visitation policies. Booking a reservation guarantees availability and provides a personalized experience.

Some prestigious wineries operate exclusively by appointment, offering private tastings and tours. By respecting each winery’s policies and guidelines, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable tasting experience while fostering positive relationships with the local wine community.

Conclusion: Maximizing Your Napa Valley Experience

Discover the best of Napa Valley with our travel guide. Enjoy top wineries like Black Stallion and Peju, farm-to-table cuisine at Mustards Grill and The French Laundry, and outdoor adventures along the Napa Valley Vine Trail. Our guide provides all the insights and recommendations for an unforgettable journey.

Stay at luxury hotels like Auberge du Soleil or Bardessono for the ultimate Napa Valley experience. Embark on this opulent escapade and create memories to cherish.

Enhance your Napa Valley experience by taking a hot air balloon ride that provides an unparalleled view of the breathtaking landscapes and vineyards in the region. Soar above the valley, and capture the magic of the sunrise or sunset. This will add an unforgettable dimension to your visit.