Napa & Calistoga: Where Beauty & Relaxation Unite

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Advisor - Laura Vaughn
Curated By

Laura Vaughn

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • California

  • Napa Valley

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Entertainment

A tractor at a vineyard.
Curator’s statement

Napa and Calistoga, nestled within California's famed Napa Valley, offer a seamless blend of nature's beauty, exquisite flavors and relaxation. Napa entices with its lush vineyards, charming towns and renowned winemaking legacy, while Calistoga captivates with its natural hot springs, rejuvenating spas and serene landscapes. Together, they create a rich experience that embody the essence of California's wine country, inviting visitors to explore the art of winemaking, indulge in culinary delights and find solace amidst breathtaking scenery. Let's take a journey through Napa to a beautiful spa in Calistoga.

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Where to stay in Napa and Calistoga

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Things to do in Napa and Calistoga

A vineyard in Calistoga.

Napa Town: A Blend of Charm and Elegance

Nestled at the heart of Napa Valley, the town of Napa embodies the quintessential blend of historical charm and modern sophistication. Renowned for its picturesque landscapes and world-class wineries, Napa offers a delightful blend of cultural experiences, artisanal cuisine and a vibrant arts scene. The town's riverfront promenade is a hub of activity, offering scenic views of the Napa River, boutique shops and a plethora of dining options ranging from farm-to-table eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants. The historic Napa Mill, now a charming shopping and dining complex, stands as a testament to the town's rich past. Wine enthusiasts will find themselves immersed in a world of tasting rooms and wine bars, showcasing the region's finest vintages. With its relaxed atmosphere and an array of cultural and culinary delights, Napa town provides an inviting gateway to the Napa Valley experience.

Things to Do in Napa

Napa Valley Wine Train

Embark on a nostalgic journey aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, offering a unique way to experience the region's scenic beauty while indulging in gourmet meals and local wines.

Oxbow Public Market

Discover a vibrant culinary scene at Oxbow Public Market, a haven for foodies featuring artisanal food vendors, wine tasting rooms and local produce markets.

Uptown Theatre

Immerse yourself in culture at the Uptown Theatre, an elegant venue that hosts a variety of live performances, from concerts to comedy shows.

Riverfront Promenade

Stroll along the Napa Riverfront Promenade, lined with boutique shops, art installations and outdoor dining options, offering a relaxing atmosphere with stunning river views.

Napa Art Walk

Experience outdoor artistry with the Napa Art Walk, a rotating collection of sculptures by local and international artists displayed throughout downtown Napa.

Napa Valley Distillery

Expand your palate at the Napa Valley Distillery, offering guided tastings of craft spirits and artisanal cocktails created with a commitment to quality and innovation.

Napa Valley Opera House

Enjoy a touch of history and culture at the Napa Valley Opera House, hosting a range of performances including concerts, theater productions and more.

Wineries

Del Dotto Historic Wine & Caves

Where a rich history meets modern winemaking expertise. Founded by the Del Dotto family, this winery offers an extraordinary experience by showcasing the elegance of both their wines and their meticulously crafted underground wine caves. The caves not only provide an ideal environment for aging wines but also serve as an atmospheric backdrop for tours and tastings. Del Dotto is renowned for its handcrafted wines, with a special focus on red varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Their innovative barrel tastings allow you to sample wines directly from the source, offering a unique insight into the aging process.

Opus One

Opus One stands as a symbol of collaboration between two legendary wine families, the Rothschilds of Bordeaux and the Mondavis of Napa Valley. This iconic winery represents the epitome of luxury winemaking, crafting Bordeaux-style blends that seamlessly blend Old World traditions with New World innovation. The Opus One facility itself is an architectural marvel, designed to harmonize with the landscape and complement the elegance of their wines. Guided tours offer an intimate look into the vine-to-bottle journey, emphasizing their meticulous attention to detail and commitment to producing wines of exceptional quality and distinction.

Cakebread Cellars

Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, Cakebread Cellars is a testament to the Cakebread family's unwavering dedication to sustainable farming and winemaking. Their estate vineyards are nurtured using organic and sustainable practices, resulting in wines that beautifully reflect their terroir. Renowned for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon offerings, which embody the essence of Napa Valley's renowned varietals. A visit to Cakebread Cellars not only offers the opportunity to taste exquisite wines but also allows you to explore their commitment to organic farming and sample culinary delights that perfectly complement their wines.

V. Sattui Winery

V. Sattui captures the essence of Napa Valley's diversity with a portfolio that caters to every palate. Founded in 1885, this family-owned winery is a treasure trove of flavors, offering an array of varietals and blends. The winery experience at V. Sattui is a delightful blend of wine tasting and picnicking. After sampling their wines, you can select your favorites and enjoy them amidst their lush gardens. The winery's focus on providing an inviting and social environment makes it a popular choice for those seeking both exceptional wines and a relaxed atmosphere.

Grgich Hills Estate

Holding a special place in Napa's history as the winery responsible for producing the Chardonnay that triumphed in the 1976 Paris Tasting. Founded by Miljenko "Mike" Grgich, a winemaking legend, this estate embodies a commitment to biodynamic and organic practices. Their wines are a true reflection of their terroir, with a focus on sustainable farming and minimal intervention in the winemaking process. Grgich Hills Estate is celebrated for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, showcasing the true potential of Napa Valley's vineyards.

Castello di Amorosa

Transport yourself to a Tuscan castle nestled in the heart of Napa Valley at Castello di Amorosa. This one-of-a-kind winery captures the spirit of medieval Europe, complete with a drawbridge, moat and authentic architecture. The castle houses a treasure trove of Italian-style wines that reflect the region's rich winemaking heritage. Guided tours take you through underground cellars where you can explore the aging process and indulge in tastings that transport your senses to the hills of Tuscany. Castello di Amorosa is a testament to the magic of wine and its ability to transport us through time and place.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Owned by acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, this winery offers a cinematic journey into the world of wine. The estate boasts stunning vineyard views, a pool and even a museum dedicated to filmmaking. The wines produced here, including the Director's Cut series, are a testament to Coppola's creativity and passion for both wine and film. The winery's ambiance and aesthetics are carefully curated to provide a unique and immersive experience. A visit to Francis Ford Coppola Winery promises a blend of art, wine and entertainment that resonates with the senses and leaves a lasting impression.

Calistoga: Quaint Charm and Relaxing Retreats

Nestled at the northern end of Napa Valley, Calistoga is a serene oasis known for its laid-back atmosphere, natural hot springs and rejuvenating experiences. This picturesque town exudes a small-town charm, offering a slower pace of life amidst breathtaking landscapes. Calistoga's unique geothermal features make it a sought-after destination for wellness seekers, with an array of spas and resorts that capitalize on the healing properties of its mineral-rich waters. Here, visitors can unwind in luxurious accommodations, explore boutiques and savor farm-to-table cuisine in a setting that seamlessly blends relaxation and refinement.

Things to Do in Calistoga

Sharpsteen Museum

Delve into Calistoga's history at the Sharpsteen Museum, which showcases the town's past through exhibits that encompass Native American heritage, the California Gold Rush and more.

Petrified Forest

Discover ancient history at the Petrified Forest, a unique natural landmark featuring well-preserved petrified wood and informative trails that take you through the geological wonders of the past.

Outdoor Activities

Engage in outdoor pursuits like biking, hiking and hot air ballooning to fully appreciate Calistoga's natural beauty and serene surroundings.

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Relax and enjoy yourself at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, where you can unwind in geothermal pools, partake in therapeutic treatments and experience the ultimate in relaxation.

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort

Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs

This resort has been a staple in the Calistoga area since the 1950s, offering a variety of spa treatments and services centered around the healing properties of mineral-rich geothermal waters. The resort is famous for its mud baths, mineral baths and spa treatments that utilize the natural thermal springs found in the region. Dr. Wilkinson's provides a relaxed and inviting atmosphere where visitors can unwind, rejuvenate and enjoy a range of therapeutic experiences. The resort often blends modern spa practices with the traditional healing techniques that have made Calistoga a popular wellness destination.

Places to eat & drink in Napa and Calistoga

A pub filled with people.

Kenzo: A culinary jewel where Japanese precision meets Napa's terroir. The restaurant's exquisite kaiseki-style dining experience celebrates the purity of ingredients and the art of omotenashi hospitality. With a commitment to authentic flavors, Kenzo offers an elegant journey that marries traditional Japanese techniques with the bounty of Napa Valley's produce.

La Toque: A Michelin-starred haven for culinary innovation, known for its ever-evolving tasting menus that highlight seasonal ingredients. Chef Ken Frank's meticulous attention to detail is evident in every dish, showcasing his passion for both French and Californian cuisines. The restaurant's elegant ambiance and diverse wine offerings make for a truly immersive gastronomic adventure.

Goose & Gander: Nestled in a historic bungalow, providing a rustic yet refined dining experience. Chef Nic Jones crafts inventive American dishes that pay homage to local ingredients, all served in a cozy and inviting setting. The restaurant's commitment to farm-to-table cuisine and a thoughtfully curated wine list enhances the flavors of the region.

Angèle Restaurant & Bar: Offering a charming waterfront setting where classic French cuisine meets Californian influences. With its Michelin Bib Gourmand designation, the restaurant delivers a memorable dining experience through its seasonal dishes, warm ambiance and impeccable service.

Solbar: Presents Michelin-starred cuisine in a relaxed and stylish atmosphere. Chef Gustavo Rios focuses on locally sourced ingredients to create dishes that are both inventive and comforting. The restaurant's dedication to sustainable practices and a diverse wine list add to the appeal of this culinary gem.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Lisbon: Where Past and Present Embrace.

Advisor - Laura Vaughn

Travel Advisor

Laura Vaughn

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Napa Valley.