Downtown Napa is the gateway to the world-famous Napa Valley wine region. Downtown Napa, which was formerly a peaceful hamlet that tourists passed through on their way to the Napa Valley, is suddenly getting attention. It’s not hard to understand why that is the case.
Efforts to revitalize the city were initiated more than ten years ago and have since met with great success. As a result of its revival, Downtown Napa is now home to luxurious hotels, trendy wine bars, restaurants with chefs trained by Napa’s Culinary Institute of America (CIA), wine-tasting rooms, and an attractive riverfront promenade.
Best Places to Visit in Napa
Downtown Napa is home to more than forty tasting rooms, making it a convenient location to sample wines regarded as among the best in the world.
1. Walkable Outdoor Art Collection
Downtown Napa has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most walkable places in all of California’s wine country, but there is much more to the area than just wine. An open-air art museum may be found in the heart of Downtown Napa, and there are several outdoor art shows that can be seen on foot.
In addition, the Napa Art Walk, which has a rotating sculpture display every two years and is held around the streets of downtown Napa, is an invigorating experience for people who appreciate art. First Street Napa’s Artist Alley is home to a number of murals and art pieces, as well as hidden corners to explore.
2. Take a Walk Along the Waterfront
It is not possible to say that you have experienced Downtown Napa unless you have visited the riverside and Veteran’s Park, which are situated on Main Street between Second and Third Streets.
At this point, the placid Napa River smoothly curves through the middle of town, providing picturesque vistas of ducks and kayakers paddling together in the water. However, things weren’t always like this.
A tidal river splits the town in half, and over the years, it has frequently flooded, causing significant property loss and necessitating ongoing revitalization efforts in the community.
3. On the Napa River, there are Gondolas
The Napa Valley Gondola will transport you along the Napa River in a genuine Venetian gondola, allowing you to experience more of this scenic river. This trip is ideal for a small group of friends (up to six people) or a romantic evening spent by a couple.
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The Napa Downtown Dock, which is located directly below the Riverfront Promenade, is where departures are made.
4. Paddling Down the Napa River in a Kayak
Do you have a little more of a daring spirit? To get a more intimate experience of the Napa River’s natural splendor, consider renting a kayak. This is a stress-free way to appreciate one of Downtown Napa’s shining gems because there are no crowds, the water is tranquil, and the views are breathtaking.
In addition to this, it is ideal for people of any fitness or experience level. Have a swim or a picnic meal at this rest stop. You have a good chance of spotting a river otter, a great blue heron, or one of the other native birds that call this riparian corridor their home as you travel along it.
5. Cycling Through the Heart of Downtown Napa
Downtown Napa may be navigated with relative ease because of the presence of self-service bike rental kiosks. Choose from two handy stations: the Oxbow Public Market or the Napa River Inn at the Historic Napa Mill.
Both are located in the same building. Getting out and enjoying the fresh air, getting some exercise, and covering more ground while sightseeing are all possible when you ride a bicycle.
Within the Napa Valley wine region, Yountville can be found smack dab in the heart of a cluster of other towns.
Those who are taking road trips through Napa Valley place the town high on their list of Napa’s top wine and dining experiences because it is best recognized for having a high concentration of restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars.
Yountville is home to an impressive array of restaurants serving up innovative cuisine. The French Laundry is known for its excellent contemporary cuisine, while Bouchon is known for its traditional French cuisine.
On the way between Rutherford and Yountville, Oakville is a small town that the vast majority of visitors to Napa Valley will most likely drive right by without giving it a second thought.
In spite of this, it is well worth your time to make a pit stop along Highway 29, where you will find a number of tiny boutique wineries, some of which produce some of the finest Cabernet that Napa Valley has to offer.
8. Nicola Rutherford
Rutherford, one of the most notable towns in all of Napa Valley, is home to a number of the most prestigious wineries in the area and is recognized as an American Viticultural Area all on its own.
On their road trip itineraries, oenologists and wine aficionados in general would be sure to include a stop there as a must-see destination.
9. Sacred Helena
The downtown area of the quaint town of St. Helena features a main street that is lined with lovely boutiques, art galleries, and cafes housed in ancient buildings.
Some of the most historically significant vineyards in Napa Valley are located only a short drive outside of town. Among these is the Beringer Vineyard, which is widely regarded as the Valley’s oldest winery that is still in operation.
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A visit to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in St. Helena is not only entertaining but also thought-provoking for older children and their parents while they are on a road trip together.
10. The Town of Calistoga
The town of Calistoga is located in the upper part of Napa Valley, and it is a terrific place to visit for a variety of reasons, including its natural beauty, rich history, and, of course, excellent wine.
Old Faithful, a geyser in California, is located about to the north-northwest of the town, and it has both hot springs and mud baths nearby. The geyser blows off steam at regular intervals.
By imaginatively reinventing itself, Downtown Napa now features a thriving art scene with an urban exhibition of public artworks, boutique shopping, new hotels, and a dynamic public market. Some of the Victorian mansions have been renovated into modest inns, retaining the architecture from the late 1800s and early 1900s when they were built.
A journey through Napa Valley entails more than just a picturesque drive through the mountains. It offers breathtaking scenery, copious amounts of wine, delicious food, fascinating history, and a dash of excitement.