With over 500 wineries, 150+ restaurants, and numerous other tours and attractions, getting bored in Napa Valley isn’t an issue. However, planning a Napa weekend getaway without getting overwhelmed can be. And that’s where we want to help. In this Napa weekend guide, get local tips on where to go and what to do for an easy and memorable weekend in Napa Valley.
Whether you are a regular or first timer, this guide will help you create a Napa weekend getaway that will leave you feeling relaxed, entertained, and informed. From beginning to end, get local tips to maximize your weekend and minimize your time waiting in lines or sitting in traffic.
Start Your Napa Weekend Sooner
If you want to start your weekend earlier, then Napa is a great place to stay. First, driving up Highway 29 on a Friday afternoon can be arduous. Therefore, staying on the southern end of the valley will get you settled sooner with less hassle. Also, as the urban center of Napa Valley, the city provides plenty to see and do once you arrive.
Although Napa is the urban center of the valley, it still has that small town charm. And there are plenty of places to stay in the city that make you feel away from it all, but still close to the action.
For a charming B&B experience in the city, check out the Inn on Randolph or Blackbird Inn. If you are looking for a boutique hotel, the new R Inn Napa is a great option. And if you are looking for affordable accommodation, the RiverPointe Napa Valley Resort is a lot of bang for your buck.
Those are just a few options for accommodation in Napa. For our full list of recommendations you can check out our article “You two, get a room….in Napa”.
Hit the Town Running
Once you’re settled in, it’s time to get your Napa weekend started. If you want to get straight to the wine, there are 40+ tasting rooms within the city. From large estate wineries, to small batch production wine makers, the city features a variety of options all within walking distance. For a full list of our tasting room recommendations, check out the article “California Wine meets California Cool”.
If you’re not ready to jump right into the wine, there are plenty of options to enjoy a variety of libations around town. First you can enjoy a delicious craft beer at one of the Napa breweries or hit the rooftop/patio happy hour scene. If you are looking for an amazing view with a craft cocktail, the new AVOW has you covered. If a margarita on a outdoor patio is more your thing, Gran Electrica is an awesome choice.
After you quench your thirst, then it’s time to hit the Napa restaurant scene. And there is a wide variety to satisfy all tastes. For a local gem with fresh farm to table dishes and energetic vibe, we highly recommend TORC. If you are into Spanish Tapas, then ZuZu is a delicious option. And if you can’t pass up the smell of smoked meat, Bounty Hunter is the place for you.
Once you fill your belly, then it’s time to check out the downtown music scene. If a highbrow jazz club in an historic venue sounds intriguing, then Bluenote Napa is a great place to enjoy the Napa nightlife. If you are looking for something with an eclectic and comfortable vibe, then JaM Cellars is a great place to hang.
A nice way to bring it to an end is with a night cap at Vermeil Wines and then call it a night.
Stroll Through Saturday Morning
After enjoying a good night’s sleep, it’s great to get out and explore the city. If you like to start the day with a hardy breakfast there are great options that locals enjoy. If you want a mimosa with your meal, check out the adorable Alexis Baking Company. For a truly local experience, hit up Butter Cream Bakery & Diner and see what Napans have enjoyed since 1948.
If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of boutique shops around town for you to peruse. First Street Napa is the heart of shopping in downtown Napa with a unique selection of Napa Valley’s best fashion, home décor, and gifts. Napa’s Riverfront also provides world-class shopping, restaurants and hospitality right in downtown. There are plenty of options to satisfy those that love a good find.
If you are more of a hiker, there are plenty of trails around the city to take in amazing valley views. Westwood Hills is a great option close to downtown with rewarding panoramic views at the top of your climb. If you are a dog lover, Altston Park has a great off the leash area for you to hike and the doggies to play. Skyline Wilderness Park is another great option to hike and take in amazing views of the Coombsville AVA.
Experience a Napa Weekend like a local
After shopping or hiking, you probably want to grab a quick bite to refuel for the rest of the day. If you really want to experience a local gem with a lot of character (and maybe a margarita or two) Las Palmas is the place for you. If food trucks are your thing, head on over to Soscol Ave. and choose from a variety of trucks and take your food over for a picnic on the Oxbow Commons.
After you refuel, a great way to spend your Saturday afternoon is on a RAD Napa Walkabout. The Walkabout is a 3-hour walking tour around the semi-industrial Rail Arts District. During your tour, you will get insights about the unique street art of RAD Napa, indulge in world-class wine at urban boutique wineries, and enjoy Napa craft beer and light bites of California cuisine. The experience will have you feeling like an honorary Napan by the end of the day.
The RAD Napa Walkabout will land you near the Oxbow Market. This sprawling marketplace features a riverside deck, food vendors, local produce & more. It’s a great place to grab a bite and hang out.
To wrap up your local experience, we highly recommend heading over to Trancas Steakhouse. Here you will find where Napans like to hang out and let loose. And if Karaoke’s your thing, this place is where you can shine. Many great nights are had at this local gem.
Head up valley for Sunday Funday
After you experience a day in the city, it is great to take a day to head up valley. Even if grandiose wineries aren’t your thing, the scenery is breathtaking and shouldn’t be missed. And while there are plenty of options for traditional winery tours, we’re here to give you the alternative options.
A great option is to rent a bicycle and take a ride up the Napa Valley Vine Trail. Eventually this walking & biking trail system will connect the entire Napa Valley, but for now you can go from South Napa all the way up to Yountville. This easy/flat ride will take you through the city then up along Highway 29 through some of the most renowned vineyards in the world.
After a little exercise and some amazing views, the bike path will put you right in the heart of Yountville, the culinary capital of Napa Valley. Here you can enjoy amazing food and indulge in great wine. If your looking for a super chic dining experience, the newly renovated Restoration Hardware will not disappoint. For a more casual dining experience, check out Southside Café for awesome food and a laid back vibe.
In addition to the food scene, there are dozens of tasting rooms to experience. The newest one that recently opened is Handwritten Winery. Their SOYO House, as dubbed by locals, is designed to showcase Handwritten’s small-lot wines and to deliver an amazing experience in an unforgettable setting.
After your bellies and heart are full of Yountville charm, the bike ride back down the legendary Napa Valley will feel magical.
Start Planning your Next Napa Weekend
Although you can experience a lot of Napa in a short amount of time, there will always be more that you’ll want to see and do. Talk to as many locals as you can during your Napa weekend getaway, and make sure you keep notes. The insider tips Napans love to give will make each trip exciting and unique.
Look forward to seeing you around town soon….cheers!