Napa Valley welcomes you with hills draped in vineyards, creating endless emerald carpets in nature adorned with luscious grapes that gleam in the sun. It’s a Northern California destination where exclusivity and the finer things in life are not just concepts but a way of living. Romance is always in the air, accompanied by the aroma of mouthwatering plates served in Michelin-starred eateries.
Bottom line? There’s no shortage of luxurious things to do in Napa Valley.
Visitors to this Northern California wine enclave seek out famed restaurants, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and small-batch vintages presented in posh tasting rooms.
While Napa Valley is far from uncharted, its 500 wineries span across five distinct towns in its 30-mile expanse. Visiting them all on a single getaway would be impossible. So, how do you pick which wineries and other attractions to see?
As custodians of exceptional experiences and Napa Valley veterans, our team at Chateau De Vie is ready to host you as you check off these eight quintessential things to do in Napa Valley.
1. Tour Grand Napa Valley Wineries
There’s a reason Napa’s known as America’s wine country, and there is no better day trip into the countryside than one that includes the region’s finest homegrown grapes. Explore Napa Valley’s storied winemaking legacy with guided tours and tasting experiences at prestigious estates. Accompanied by expert guides, gain insights into the intricate winemaking processes and the remarkable stories woven into each vineyard’s history. Wine tasting, anyone?
In a destination where wine takes center stage, your experience is bound to be delightful, no matter which wineries you choose to tour. Amidst the stellar options, a few exceptional ones stand out:
Napa Valley’s coveted winery, celebrated for sparkling wines, features a fabulous chateau set against breath-stealing hills. A visit promises a regal time as you savor a delectable glass of wine in an ambiance teeming with elegance and historic charm.
Technology and innovation meet traditional winemaking at Palmaz Vineyards. Sweeping gardens on a sunlit terrace with scattered flowers warmly welcome you inside.
St. Helena also hosts three noteworthy spots for unparalleled winery tours. Inglenook, a legendary establishment covered in creeping vines, boasts over a century of history. For a bite after exploring the grounds, they have an on-site bistro serving satisfying plates.
A brief 15-minute drive from Inglenook brings you to Beringer Vineyards, housed in a Victorian mansion, adding a touch of history to tastings via their wine tours. Further north, the reservation-only Castello di Amorosa crafts outstanding Italian-inspired wines for more discerning palates.
2. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Take off on an exhilarating hot air balloon ride at sunrise and see unparalleled sights of Napa Valley from the sky’s perspective.
Hot air ballooning thrives with Napa Valley’s Mediterranean climate and spectacular scenery, remaining a popular activity for high-class vacationers for decades.
Ascend to nearly 3,000 feet, with rolling vineyards beneath you. Snap envy-worthy photos of the enchanting landscapes as the sun bathes the terrain in its early morning glow.
Several companies run tours, each with a unique offering. We highly recommend Napa Valley Aloft’s Hot Air Balloon Flight for 2. While the ride itself lasts about one hour, the entire tour takes almost 4 hours, beginning with a delicious pastry and coffee. Opt for the add-on breakfast spread at Estate Yountville for a full day of enjoyment.
3. Stroll The Farmers Market
Every Saturday and Tuesday from April to October, the Napa Farmers Market transforms the parking lot at 1100 West Street in Downtown Napa into a bustling center of community connection.
The Napa Farmers Market showcases a bountiful array of locally sourced, high-quality vegetables and fruits. With gourmet snack options like pastries, artisanal cheese, nuts, pupusas, and granola, it’s easy to eat a walking breakfast while roaming through the stalls. For a heartier meal, food trucks serve up hot crepes alongside piping hot coffee.
What’s more, beautiful handicrafts are available for purchase—they make perfect souvenirs for friends and family back home. Engage with local farmers and artisans, witness chef demonstrations, and, for a moment, participate in the everyday life of Napa Valley locals.
Don’t have time but still want to glimpse the local markets? The Calistoga Farmers’ Market is just a 5-minute drive from Chateau de Vie. It’s smaller than Napa Farmers’ Market but equally charming and opens year-round every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.
4. Hop Aboard The Napa Valley Train
Ride the Napa Valley Wine Train for an unforgettable expedition through ultra scenic views. This 36-mile journey takes place in beautifully restored vintage railcars, traversing towns and vineyard-laden terrain.
Beginning at Napa, the romantic round trip goes to the town of St Helena, with several stops along the way at iconic wineries.
So, how can you get on board? Book the Legacy Experience for a day of blissful indulgence. We’re talking delicious drinks, a gourmet 4-course meal, and wine tasting at Charles Krug and V. Sattui. And if you’re visiting Napa with your sweetheart? It doesn’t get more romantic than a dinner inside a lavish booth of the Vista Dome. Taste seasonal California fare during a two-hour adventure, and in summer, the golden light of the setting seeps through the windows.
5. Unwind At A Luxury Spa
Napa Valley takes relaxation seriously, with world-class luxury spas offering abundant services, from half-day massages to an entire day of pampering.
One standout option is Spa Terra, situated beneath The Meritage Resort, where earthy tranquility meets innovative therapies. Another notable choice is the eco-conscious b Spa at Bardessono, recognized for its sustainable practices and personalized treatments. From therapeutic massages to vinotherapy sessions, these spas deliver an unmatched luxury.
But for an authentically Napa-centric spa experience? Your itinerary needs a mud bath session in Calistoga. The town was once home to the Wappo Native American Tribe, and they considered the hot springs to be revered for their healing and rejuvenating properties.
Today, Napa Valley continues to attract visitors seeking the restorative benefits of its special mud baths, shaped by volcanic ash and geothermal hot springs.
6. Hike Through Redwood Trees
Fancy some outdoor activities? Take a break from winery hopping and spend a morning burning off calories by taking a hike in Napa Valley. Chop-chop; you have state parks to explore, dense redwood forests to uncover, and glute muscles to build!
Explore the natural beauty of Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, a beloved nature retreat well-known for its Ritchey Canyon Trails. Roam through redwood groves and sunlit meadows, selecting from brief trails to more extensive treks, covering distances from 2 to 10 miles. And if you crave some time on the water, make sure you take a paddle boarding tour or sway at your own pace via kayak.
Escape the crowds and head to Skyline Wilderness Park for a moment of peace in 850 acres of nature. Hikers can choose from a network of 25 miles of trail. Bike or hike through various routes like the moderately difficult 3.3-mile Skyline Trail or the 2.3-mile Lake Marie Loop, each providing unique perspectives of the valley.
For a more challenging course, consider trekking the 10.5-mile-long Skyline Park Perimeter Loop. It combines the best of other trails and has unreal views throughout. The journey culminates with a climb to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, boasting unmatched vistas.
Looking for a challenging trek? Head to Calisotga’s Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, where hiking can be enjoyed year-round. Summer is popular among hikers, but winter transforms the scenery with a blanket of snow. The 14.1-mile Oat Hill Mine Trail reveals sweeping panoramas of vineyards and rugged terrain. Alternatively, ascend the Mount St. Helena Trail for a breathtaking perspective from its summit.
7. Catch a Show at Uptown Theatre
Enjoy live entertainment at Napa Valley’s Uptown Theatre, an iconic venue hosting multiple types of performances. From music concerts to comedy shows, this Art Deco marvel presents an intimate setting for an unforgettable evening.
With its vintage ambiance and state-of-the-art sound tech, Uptown Theatre guarantees a fantastic time. Performers like BB King, Ziggy Marley, and Ron White have graced its stage in the past.
8. Dine at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Delicious food with perfect wine pairings makes nightlife in Napa beautiful. In Napa Valley, numerous celebrated restaurants do this balancing act just right. So, picking a high-class spot for a meal in Napa Valley among its many world-class eateries is incredibly hard, but these three spots are unmissable.
Chef Thomas Keller’s fans make the pilgrimage from around the nation to Napa Valley just to feast on the wonders of French Laundry.
A meticulously presented fixed menu paired with wine is French Laundry’s forte. Aim to secure a reservation in the stone farmhouse-style eatery at least 2-3 months in advance because a meal at the French Laundry is the pinnacle of luxurious self-indulgence.
At Kenzo, taste Japanese fare that instantly evokes the essence of the land of the rising sun. This upscale eatery’s kaiseki menu is worth the applause, with food complimented by a curated selection of the best wines and sake.
Reserve a coveted seat at the counter and observe master chefs skillfully prepare one of the most memorable meals of your life.
Experience mind-blowing dining at Christopher Kostow’s The Charter Oak. Flavors dance in harmony on your palate, from sweet roasted figs and decadent aged beef to creamy polenta and buttery Komachi rice.
9. Peruse Art Gallery & Boutiques
Saunter through art galleries and boutique stores to find knick-knacks that take your fancy.
For shopping, there are plenty of outlet malls in Napa, but true gems scour small boutique stores run by residents. Acquire oil paintings created by local artists at First Street Napa in the Downtown Napa area. Retro goodies, clothes, and lovely plants can be bought on this thoroughfare. But for souvenirs like handmade soap, artisanal chocolate, and jewelry, spend a sunny afternoon on Main Street St Helena.
10. Spend A Morning Golfing
For golf enthusiasts, each day in Napa Valley can be a day on the greens. The region hosts luxuriant courses and picture-perfect terrains, creating an idyllic setting for a round of golf.
Tee off at the Golf Course at Silverado Resort, where golfers can enjoy a championship experience amidst vineyard views. Alternatively, for a more laid-back option, the Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park features well-maintained greens set amidst rolling hills.
In Yountville, the Vintners Golf Club lures golfers with its 9-hole course enveloped by vineyards, providing stunning views that make a round of golf a sheer pleasure. After a match, treat yourself to a meal at their on-site restaurant featuring fantastic American plates.
Indulge in Napa Valley with Chateau De Vie!
Since Chateau De Vie’s inception, we’ve committed to ensuring your Napa Valley getaway transcends the ordinary. We invite you to stay in our bed & breakfast in the beautiful town of Calistoga. Blending comfort with refined elegance, a stay with Chateau De Vie mirrors the inherent beauty and tranquility of Napa Valley.
Sink into the blissful comfort of our rooms, where the silence and luxurious amenities create a haven for restful sleep. Each night is a rejuvenating slumber, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready for all the things to do in Napa Valley.
Have any questions? We’d be delighted to answer them. Book your Napa Valley vacation today!