Located in California, United States, Napa Valley is definitely a haven for wine-lovers. Reputed to be one of the premier wine regions in the world, its long history with wine dates back to the nineteenth century. Flanked by the Mayacamas Mountain Range and the Vaca Mountains, good wine is not hard to find in the county, especially with the endless vineyards and flourishing wineries.
Forget the artisan cheese and gourmet dishes to complement your wine, the real deal has got to be Napa’s marvellous blend of wine with art and nature – just like how it’s supposed to be. Here’s a list of the top 15 things to do in Napa Valley to kick off your sensational journey:
1. Cruise through Napa Valley in a limousine
Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service will be a relief for those who aren’t so lucky as to be driving through the county in the comforts of their own car. Providing private chauffeured service in Napa Valley, get ready to be delighted travelling through a tapestry of endless vineyards and rolling hills to a range of intimate and exclusive winery estates. From tasting rare vintages to making your own blend of wine, the tour is customised to your own individual taste and wine preferences.
On top of the congenial wine-tasting tour, chauffeur services are also provided for your hotel, airport and attraction transfers. Talk about well-rounded service!
Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service
Address: 1754 Second Street, Suite B, Napa, CA 94559
Price: from 125 USD
Opening Hours: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Contact: (707) 257-0887
2. Hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Trolley for a 6-hour wine-tasting tour
Seeking to taste the county’s wine with a local flavour? Napa Valley Wine Trolley will gladden you with just that. Hop on board the motorized, authentic replica of a late 1890s San Francisco cable car that is a hit with nostalgic locals and curious travellers. Taking pride in showing you the best regions of Napa Valley, the tour is wonderfully paced and shows you every detail from the appearances of the grapes to the aromas of the wine.
The tour ends at Oxbow Market or V-Marketplace so feel free to enjoy a little bit of souvenir shopping before heading back.
Napa Valley Wine Trolley
Address: 1754 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Price: from 99 USD
Contact: +1 707-252-6100
3. Cycle through the wine county with Napa Valley Bike Tours & Rentals
Featuring routes suitable for every cyclist and budget, Napa Valley Bike Tours offers you an adventurous hands-on experience of travel and wine. Choose to join one of their guided bike tours accompanied by a knowledgeable and informative tour guide for access to the county’s unrivalled best views and wineries. Alternatively, there are self-guided tours available if you prefer to set your own pace in the journey.
Considering that it might be hassle to transport your bottle of wine back on a bike, the staff members are ever ready to make plans to have your wine purchases picked up for you and they even deliver a thoughtful boxed picnic lunch to a winery for your convenience. Additionally, do not hesitate to pick up a custom route map and some helpful expert advice when you rent the bikes from the store.
Napa Valley Bike Tours & Rentals
Address: 6500 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, United States
Price: 45 USD for full-day rental (prices vary for different types of bike)
Opening Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
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4. Take an aerial tram up to Sterling Vineyards
Nestled 300 feet (91 metres) above the town of Calistoga, embark on an aerial tram ride up the hill and into the winery. The only winery to offer this experience, Sterling Vineyards sure takes pleasure in making wine more romantic. Take in the beautiful landscapes of Napa Valley and the adjacent majestic Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges while you have a glass in hand. Offering a remarkable collection including the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot, a trip to Sterling Vineyards is sure to satisfy your cravings for great wine and scenery.
Address: 1111 Dunaweal Ln, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10:30 am to 5:00 pm / Saturday - Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm / Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day
Contact: +1 800-726-6136
5. Picnic with pizza and wine on the lawn
Here’s one for the wine enthusiast ready to ditch the fancy (and expensive) options for one that is unpretentious but equally fulfilling. It’s hard to go wrong with a pizza in one hand and wine in another! Charles Krug Winery certainly does not disappoint.
Serving freshly-made pizzas along with gourmet cheeses, the oldest winery in Napa Valley and a National Historic Monument sure knows what food is best for their own brand of wine. Unwind for the day as you picnic on the lawn with laid-back chatter and pleasures.
Charles Krug Winery
Address: 2800 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, United States
Opening Hours: Weekends 11 am - 4 pm (for Pizza On The Lawn)
Contact: +1 707-967-2229
6. Catch a show at Uptown Theatre Napa
Eye catching with its Art Deco style building, Uptown Theater Napa is a haven for show junkies. First opened to the public in 1937, the theatre has since become one of the most popular concert and entertainment venues.
Reputed to not have a single bad seat in the house, the very last row of seats are only 98 feet (29.9 metres) away from the stage. Housing an eccentric ambience and absolute comfort, Uptown Theatre Napa also boasts a top-notch sound system and an intimate setting. With a bar in the lobby and a restaurant attached, this is the perfect place to bring your date!
Address: 1350 3rd St, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 12 noon - 5 pm / Saturday 12 noon - 4 pm / Night Show: 6 pm - 9 pm / Closed: Sundays & most holidays.
Contact: (707) 259-0123
7. Revisit the county's history at Napa Valley Museum
Well worth the admission fee, the local museum delights you with three galleries dedicated to local history, world-class art exhibitions, and a showcase space for local artists.
Make time for the Recology exhibition featuring art originating from Napa Valley’s garbage dumps, including dresses made out of Styrofoam and black trash bags and even a unique umbrella comprising parts of a meat grinder. The museum’s permanent exhibition, “The Land and People of Napa Valley”, is also a must-see. It’s a nostalgic telling of the county’s history.
Napa Valley Museum
Address: 55 Presidents Cir, Yountville, CA 94599, United States
Opening Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11 am - 4 pm. / Closed Monday & Tuesday
Contact: +1 707-944-0500
8. Jam to live music at Silo's Napa
Looking for something to do at night? Silo’s Music Room will be your best pick without a doubt! This up-close and personal entertainment carries an intimate and relaxed atmosphere where you’ll find yourself digging in to the food and music. The light-up menus add fun to the task of choosing from the delectable small plates, inspired cocktails, craft beers and your favourite Napa Valley wine.
But leave it to the live music to bring out the energy of the venue. From groovy jazz to soulful acoustic, the medley of local singers and tribute bands will win you over with the elemental charm of music.
Address: 530 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Opening Hours: Open at 5:00 pm on event nights
Contact: +1 707-251-5833
9. Seek contemporary art in di Rosa
Including three separate galleries, a sculpture park, a 35-acre (14-hectare) lake and a wildlife preserve, di Rosa offers visitors an experience of viewing Northern California contemporary art in an idyllic recluse. Among the museum’s resplendent flora and fauna, you can even spot some of di Rosa’s own peacocks roaming the open space if you are lucky.
Housing approximately 2,000 works of art by 800 artists, di Rosa is revered as the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world. The delightful collection comprises of modern and contemporary paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs by well-known Bay Area artists, a 1/3-mile (536-metre) trail of large-scale outdoor sculptures, and a 125-year-old winery-turned-residence that features more works of art. Visitors can look forward to an art feast complete with views of the Winery Lake and Napa Valley’s rolling vineyards.
Address: 5200 Carneros Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Price: Suggested donation of 5 USD
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10 am - 4 pm / Closed on Monday, Tuesday and some holidays
Contact: +1 707-226-5991
10. Dine on the Napa Valley Wine Train
Running 25 miles (40 kilometres) between Napa and St Helena, California, hop aboard the reclaimed early 20th century Pullman cars faithfully restored to their past glory complete with classic mahogany panelling, brass accents, glass partitions, and plush armchairs. Transport back to the time of luxury rail travel as you bask in the carriages’ comfort and opulence while travelling through the scenic Napa Valley with its endless wineries and vineyards.
No less a dining establishment, expect the Californian menu to be freshly prepared and served in one of the three on board dining areas with amicable service and sparkling wine to boot. Depart in the ripe evening and witness the setting sun for the ultimate experience.
Napa Valley Wine Train
Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Price: from 141 USD (for Sunset Trains)
Contact: +1 707-253-2111
11. Visit Artesa Vineyards & Winery, a winery like an art museum
Easily thought to be an art museum with its sleek, elegant decor, Artesa Vineyards and Winery is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for a stopover between Sonoma and Napa. Built on top of a hill, the winery seamlessly blends architecture, artistry, and wine into an all-encompassing experience for visitors. You don’t have to be a lover of wine to enjoy the state-of-the art winery and its panorama of Napa Valley and San Francisco Bay.
Artesa Vineyards & Winery
Address: 1345 Henry Rd, Napa, CA 94559, United States
Opening Hours: Open Daily 10 am - 5 pm
Contact: +1 707-224-1668
12. Move on to olive oil and vinegar tastings at Round Pond Estate
So you’ve done your fair share of wine tastings but what about olive oil and vinegar?
Serving as a good break from all the wine-tasting, Round Pond Estate delights visitors with a special guided tour to sample some of their best olive oil and gourmet red wine vinegar. Go behind the scenes of the meticulous process as you witness the careful selection of hand-harvested olives to the processing of olives using the Pieralisi machines. The family-owned and operated estate also offers tastings of their own gourmet red wine vinegar made with Round Pond Estate’s home-grown grapes. Save on lunch as you feast on the salad, tomatoes, fruit, bread, and cheese all drizzled with delicious olive oil and vinegar sauces.
Round Pond Estate
Address: 875 Rutherford Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, United States
Contact: +1 707-302-2575
13. Marvel at the winery and castle - Castello di Amorosa
Both a winery and castle, Castello di Amoroso delights you with its extensive collection of wine in the splendour of the 13th-century inspired Tuscan castle. While it boasts a wide selection of hand-crafted white, rosé, red, and sweet wines, it is not surprising that the real deal-maker is the glorious castle itself.
Borrowing architectural influences from the 12th and 13th centuries, the 8-storey castle features a moat, a drawbridge, defensive towers, an interior courtyard, a torture chamber, a chapel, and a knights’ chamber. Additionally, the great hall is complete with a 22-foot-high (6.7-metre-high) coffered ceiling featuring frescoes, which took about a year and half to paint, and a 500-year-old fireplace. You’ll be marvelling at more than just the wines here.
For parents travelling with children, the kid-friendly winery provides grape juice tastings and ample space for your little ones to run around.
Castello di Amorosa
Address: 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States
Opening Hours: March - October 9:30 am to 6 pm / November - February 9:30 am to 5 pm
Contact: +1 707-967-6272
14. Go on an adventure at Lake Berryessa
The largest lake in Napa Valley, Lake Berryessa is a paradise for adventurers. Nestled in the Vaca Mountains, it offers popular activities from water-skiing to wildlife observation, and it is as scenic as it is exciting.
A popular swimming and water-skiing site, the narrow portion of the reservoir is also filled with enthusiastic boaters during the weekend, so be prepared for quite a crowd during the peak seasons. You can also engage in the simple joys of exploring the area with Oak Shores and Smittle Creek offering plenty to see. Several resorts with marinas at the lake are also available if you are looking for a comfortable abode to stay the night.
Address: Lake Berryessa, California 94558, USA
15. Check off "take a glider ride" from your bucket list
After rounds of wine-tasting, you’ll probably be itching to do something new … So why not take your trip to the next level with a glider ride? The family-owned Crazy Creek Air Adventures provides glider rides ranging from mild to wild.
Choose to take the serene glider ride and fawn over scenic volcanoes, geysers, lakes, and, of course, the Napa Valley vineyards. Alternatively, get your heart racing with a rollercoaster-esque ride. It’s a great way to celebrate a birthday or a special occasion; engage in the ride of your life!
The experienced pilots will be sure to calm your pre-flight nerves with their friendliness and years of flying experience under their belt. Additionally, the helpful staff members are more than willing to take photographs for you at no extra cost, and they will email them to you immediately after the ride has ended.
Crazy Creek Air Adventures
Address: 18896 Grange Rd, Middletown, CA 95461, United States
Price: from 199 USD
Opening Hours: Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Contact: +1 707-987-9293
Wine never felt so good
It’s one thing to be drinking wine but another to taste every sip in Napa Valley’s elegance. Brimming with great moments for wine-tasting, art visits, and nature discovery, a trip to Napa Valley will surely thrill your senses.
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