Napa Valley, California located in the cleavage between Vaca and Mayacama mountains, was a humble city until, in the first half of 19th century, gold and silver rushes attracted settlers and entrepreneurs to it and then on it grew to be the larger city we know today.
10 Best Places To Visit In Napa – Free Things To Do In Valley
Reputed to be an extravagant wine destination, its temperate climate makes it a favorite amongst vacationers. Here I’ve listed ten best places to visit in Napa for the sommelier at heart or for the teetotaler!
1. Platypus Wine Tours
Best known for its wine and wineries, no visit to Napa can end without a riveting wine tour all through the city. At Platypus, you can choose a tour to the smaller and informal wineries or the regular tour to the big names in the business, or chalk out your own route with the help of their proficiency and hire a limousine bus. They also offer Sonoma tours for a different experience than that of sampling the valley. This is one of the best places to visit in Napa. They bill you $110 per person, excluding the tasting charges.
2. Fly Fishing – Places to Visit in Napa
If you harbor some liking for fishing then Off The Hook Fly Fishing Travel, LLC is the best place to head! They organize half or full day guided ventures starting at $375 (one or two people) for a half day. The guides donate 2% of the expenditure on each charter to conserve the species and keep the sport alive. You will mostly get lucky with stripped bass which can weigh up to 10 to 15 pounds, at times.
3. Cooking with Julie
Cooking with Julie offers classes, under Julie Logue-Riordan, which gives the participant a wholesome culinary experience starting with shopping at the local farmer’s markets and boutiques and ending with preparing your own meal in her kitchen along with the perfect pairing of the correct wine. What else? You get to carve out a niche recipe for yourself. Classes lead up to 6 hours, starting at $225 and you are free to choose one amongst the many available, exploring the different course of vendors and supply.
4. Napa River History Tour
This is an amazing way to fulfill the adventure as well as the history lover in you! The junketeers are geared up, each, with a kayak, life vest and paddle for the almost two hour’s journey through the tortuous river that cuts through the valley. This guided tour, charging $49 per person, provides historical insights about the uprising of the town along with a peek into the aquatic wildlife of the area consisting of egrets, turtles, beavers and more.
5. Napa Smith Brewery
Apart from wine, a variety of state-of-the-art house beers are available in the valley. Napa Smith Brewery, America’s first microbrewery since Prohibition, churns out 12 such type’s beverage on-site. Open every day of the week from 11 am to 8 pm, it offers jaunts at 4 pm through the secrets behind the best available local ale, along with a brewmaster.
6. di Rosa
Of the many things to do in Napa, a visit to the contemporary art museum, di Rosa stretching over 217 acres of Californian vastness, can prove to be your one of your best experience. Though most of their exhibited items are displayed within the walls, the large fields exhibit the larger works, sculptures, and installations. Main gallery entry is free ($5 donation is suggested) but a fuller experience comes at the cost of $12-$15 with guides at the tow with informative commentary. Shoes you wear would be your best friends, so make a clever pick!
7. Skyline Wilderness Park
You can walk off the wine in Skyline Wilderness Park, which has two main trails to explore. Situated a couple of miles away from downtown, this twenty-five miles of trails is just perfect for hiking, biking and horse-riding where one of them would lead you to Lake Marie and another more exhaustive one would surprise you with amazing sights of the San Francisco Bay and the surrounding mountains, not to forget water as it may get really hot traversing on the undulating surface. You may encounter a variety of birds; deer and a cave as well. $5 is charged per vehicle at the entrance of the park, which closes on Sundown.
8. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Balloons Above The Valley has the best hot air balloon trips to offer for $199 per person. A windy ride through the clouds over the magnificent valley and its wineries has become one of the best tourist attractions in Napa in the recent decades, ever since their first flight in 1783. This company takes you on a ride during the best four hours of the day, with a hearty brunch and exclusive tranquility of the heavens above, which is hard to go unnoticed.
9. Board the Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train clubs the best combination of a visual plus culinary treat in bona fide carriages from the early twentieth century. Travelers can board the car of one’s choice, each having its niche verisimilitude. Tickets beginning at $124 offer a three-course multi-cuisine meal with the option of lunch or dinner on a three-hour, 24-mile carousel, through the vivacious city. Sunset trains, Murder Mysteries, and more are also available taking the commuter back to an era of classics.
10. Epicurean Excursions
Andrew Wolfe, self-proclaimed ‘food-obsessed local’, conducts a taste bud tingling food tour called Epicurean Excursions through delectable bakeries, restaurants, and farms. Being famous for its wine, Napa has amazing food to offer as well. Andrew takes a group of eight people to the best-localized destination through the heart of the valley giving an edge to this journey of sumptuousness. Tuesdays to Saturdays, the trips charge a person $190.
Travel Tip: this exotic destination is not more than an hour away from the bustling town of San Francisco. Reputed as the “Disneyland for alcoholics” (Bill Maher) it is also legendary when it comes to culinary delights. One can never run out of places to visit in Napa, whatever is the cause of the journey to this idyllic town.