Just an hour outside San Francisco, Napa is arguably North America’s most popular wine region. A world-famous destination for wine enthusiasts, the town caters to those who love good wine and good food.

The city of Napa is located in the Napa Valley, a 30-mile-long region that’s considered one of the premier wine destinations. The valley is centered between two mountain ranges, with the more laid-back wine region of Sonoma to the west. It has five distinct towns: Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Napa City, and American Canyon. Explore one or enjoy them all on your visit to Northern California.

While Napa may be synonymous with exceptional wine tasting, there is so much more to do there than wine tasting. With rolling hills and stunning landscapes, it’s also a must-visit location for outdoor enthusiasts —  or those who prefer to soak up the scenery from a four-star hotel.

Whether you’re a passionate oenophile looking to indulge in the finest vintages or looking for adventure, a trip to Napa Valley promises an unforgettable experience.

These are ten must-do things in Napa.

1. Visit a Winery

No trip to Napa, California, is complete without tasting wine. Even if you don’t think you like wine, visiting a winery (or several) is a must-do item. Almost 500 different wineries are in Napa, producing 1,000 wine brands. There is a winery that fits every preference and personality.

Located in downtown Napa, Acumen‘s tasting room has its own contemporary art gallery. The chic tasting room offers an immersive experience where visitors can sip their organically farmed Atlas Peak vineyards while perusing a rotating art gallery.

Sequoia Grove Winery is known for its elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and other single-vineyard red wines. It was voted “The Best Estate Winery Tasting Room” in 2020, 2021, 2023, and 2024. Relax on one of its patios, surrounded by majestic coastal redwoods. Or, reserve a spot at its Wine and Food experience for limited-production wines paired with a creative menu by Chef Britny Maureze.

As someone who has been to Napa a few dozen times, my go-to winey is Artesa. Grab a glass of these Spanish-influenced wines (try the Albarino) and enjoy the incredible view from the terrace. Built into the top of a hill in the Los Carneros region, the panoramic vistas are stunning and worth a visit if you are in the area.

For champagne lovers, head to Domaine Carneros, known for its exceptional sparkling wines and breathtaking chateau perched high above Highway 12. Established in 1987 by the Taittinger family of Champagne fame, it is one of only four primary sparkling wineries in all of Napa.

Located only 15 minutes from downtown Napa, Domaine Carneros is a great first or last stop on your way back from a day of wine tasting.

2. Experience Farm-to-Table Dining

If Napa is known first for its wine, the culinary scene is a close second. With several Michelin-starred restaurants in and around Napa Valley, you may come to Northern California for the wine, but you will stay for the food.

Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry is perhaps the most legendary destination for Classic French cuisine paired with local ingredients. Try the signature dish, oysters and pearls, which consists of oysters with white sturgeon caviar studded with tapioca pearls. End the meal with coffee, donuts, and a box of handmade chocolates.

For a more budget-friendly meal, head to Small World restaurant, a casual spot that offers crave-worthy Mediterranean fare, including the must-order falafel platter.

Close by, Oxbow Public Market is a 40,000-square-foot food marketplace featuring the best of Napa Valley — stalls offering fresh meat, fish, cheese, charcuterie, fresh-baked bread, olive oil, produce, and more.

3. See Napa by Bike

One of the best ways to see wine country is by bicycle, touring the valley on the Napa Valley Vine Trail. The 12.5-mile, dog-friendly trail for walking and biking runs from South Napa to Yountville, with several wineries along the way.

After a hearty breakfast at La Cheve Bakery and Brews for coffee and chiliquiles, rent a bike from Napa Vallery Bike Shop on Pearl Street. Head out on the Vine Trail, which parallels Highway 29, to the charming town of Yountville.

Take your time and stop by wineries along Oak Knoll Avenue, like Trefethen, Materra, Monticello, James Cole, and Backstage Wines. You can also visit Laird Family or Silenus, which is accessible right off the Vine Trail. From here, you can either park your bike in Yountville and catch a ride back to Napa or grab lunch and enjoy the views on your ride back.

4. Relax at the Spa

Enjoy the slower pace of Northern California with a trip to one of the many local spas. The Spa at Silverado is a must — this Roman-inspired spa is the largest private resort in the area and offers massages, body scrubs, facials, and more.

The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa is an indulgent oasis for rejuvenation. For the ultimate pampering experience, try the Wine Country Wind-Down, which begins with a cabernet body scrub and is followed by a warm oil massage.

Or, head north to Spa Solage, part of the Solage Calistoga resort, for an eco-conscious twist on traditional treatments. Try the Mudslide, a three-part treatment that includes a mineral-enriched clay and volcanic ash body mask, a soak in the geothermal water from Solage’s own spring, and a finish in a zero-gravity reclining vibration chair.

After your day at the spa, head to the Michelin-recommended Solbar for inventive, border-crossing cuisine from chef Gustavo Rios.

Or, for a more casual dining experience, head to the poolside Picobar to try modern Mexican cuisine. Enjoy a menu of creative tacos with their homemade pico de gallo or the creamy queso dip made with local Cowgirl Creamery crescenza and camembert cheeses.

5. Take a Trip on the Wine Train

All aboard! For a unique experience in Napa, check out the Napa Valley Wine Train, a restored vintage train that winds its way through the heart of wine country.

Inspired by the golden age of luxury train travel, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers several tour options, from a daytime ride with a multi-course gourmet meal to afternoon tea with Chandon’s spritz cocktails to themed murder mystery dinners.

Two options, the Legacy Experience and the Grgich Hills Estate Tasting, also allow passengers to disembark the train for more wine tasting and tours.

6. Hop on the Trolley

For those who want to maximize their winery visits, consider the Napa Valley Wine Trolley over the train. The open-air trolley is more affordable than the previous option and allows visitors to visit three preselected wineries or tasting rooms.

One of the many fun things to do in Napa is to take the Napa Valley Wine Trolley, which includes commentary from your guide, scenic views from the trolley, and lunch.

7. Take a Hike

Located just west of Napa, Alston Park features 157 acres and is a favorite for casual hikers. In the spring, enjoy the wildflowers in bloom as you loop around the park for a 2.7-mile, easy loop.

If you plan on spending time in the northern part of the valley, consider Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, located north of Calistoga. From the summit of Mount St. Helena, you can see Napa and Sonoma. You can see the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mount Shasta, and the Pacific Ocean on clear days. This 10-mile out-and-back hike is challenging but worth it for adventure seekers. Consider the 4.4-mile out-and-back hike to Table Rock from the same park for a shorter hike.

8. View Wine Country by Air

For a one-of-a-kind experience in Napa, try a hot air balloon over the picturesque rolling hills of Napa Valley. Watch the morning sun cast its golden glow on the early morning flight from Napa Valley Balloons. Balloons fly best in cool air, which means the best rides happen just after sunrise.

Fodor’s Travel voted it one of the best hot air balloon rides. A comfortable balloon ride is a unique way to view Napa.

9. Golf Courses

For golf enthusiasts, Napa Valley boasts several prestigious golf courses for players of all skill levels. Tee off at the iconic Silverado Resort and Spa, where you can enjoy views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains while honing your swing.

If visiting in September, check out the PGA’s season-opening event, the Safeway Open, hosted yearly at the resort. Voted the most fan-friendly PGA event, the tournament brings the world’s top golfers to Napa for golf, delicious food, music, and, of course, wine.

Alternatively, you can play through the Chardonnay Golf Club, which features 18 holes of championship golf set in 150 acres of Chardonnay vineyards.

10. Walk Through Art

The Rails Arts District, RAD, is a free outdoor contemporary art museum that follows the Napa Valley Vine Trail. It begins in the Oxbow District of downtown Napa and continues north for two miles along the bike and walking vine trail.

See murals, sculptures, and more in the RAD installations by local and international artists. Enjoy the free trek by foot or bike, or hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train for a more luxurious way to enjoy the art district.

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Alexandra Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, syndicated food and travel writer, and founder of Delish Knowledge and Plant-Based Juniors. She focuses on making whole-food, predominantly plant-based eating deliciously simple. Her nutrition expertise and must-make recipes have been featured in Forbes, Today, The Washington Post, Parents, Vogue, Food Network, and more.

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