When it comes to a visit to Napa Valley, we’re here for the wine. But there’s much more to the 789 square miles of this NorCal paradise than wineries and vineyards alone. Here’s our list of what to do in-between tastings in the valley:
This local-favorite park includes 10 acres of hiking trails through a forest laden with redwoods, Douglas firs and madrones. Camping, picnicking and swimming are all on offer – an idyllic retreat from the bustling Napa towns, just off Highway 29.
The author behind the most famous quote about Napa Valley (“…and wine is bottled poetry”), Robert Louis Stevenson is much deserving of a state park named after him. While the cabin where he and his wife spent their honeymoon in 1880 no longer exists, there is a marker for it on the trail to the summit. Hike five miles to the top of Mt. St. Helena, and on a clear day you might just see all the way to San Francisco Bay.
Nestled in the foothills of Napa Valley, located just a few minutes’ drive from downtown Napa, Skyline Park is stocked with 25 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along with a beautiful garden showcasing California flora. Horseback riding, fishing, archery and camping and picnicking are all welcome onsite.
The Quick Bite:
Gott’s Roadside Cafe – With a location just off Highway 29 in St. Helena and one in the bustling Oxbow Public Market near downtown Napa, Gott’s is a staple for Napa locals and visitors alike. Their menu includes a wealth of fresh, locally-inspired fare–though we recommend you don’t miss out on the sweet potato fries and milkshakes.
Bouchon Bistro – Located just down the road from The French Laundry, this Thomas Keller restaurant is much easier to land a reservation (and a more accessible price point) than its three Michelin-Starred sister restaurant. The menu is traditional French bistro, and while dishes change seasonally, you can always find their can’t-miss raw bar with oysters and more.
The Local Hot Spot:
Rutherford Grill – A few minutes’ drive from Round Pond Estate, Rutherford Grill is known for its terrific wine list and bustling atmosphere. You’ll often see the who’s who of Napa winemakers sitting at the bar (or even behind the bar). Don’t miss out on the arugula salad and burger, and keep an eye out for the Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc on the wine list.
The “ Something for Everyone”:
Oxbow Public Market – From shopping, to dining, to exploring the history of California food and wine, Oxbow Public Market is home to everything a Napa local or visitor may need. Grab a bagel sando at Loveski Deli, a dozen oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., a bottle of wine at Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant, a green juice a Hudson Greens & Goods or a cupcake (or two) at Kara’s Cupcakes—when we say “something for everyone,” we REALLY aren’t exaggerating.
The Family-Style Fine-Dining:
The Charter Oak – Run by Christopher Kostow of the Michelin three-starred Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak offers family-style dining with ultra-seasonal, local fare grown primarily in their St. Helena culinary garden. An ample wine cellar and inventive cocktail menu make this a can’t-miss spot for fine dining when visiting the valley.
For a Non-Wine Tasting:
Round Pond Estate Olive Mill Experience – One of two working olive mills in the Napa Valley, the Round Pond Olive Mill is a must-see for visiting gourmands. Enjoy a tour of our working mill, sample of our Estate Olive Oils and an Estate Vinegar as our educators lead you through a traditional olive oil tasting.
A Few of Our Favorite Things…
Both downtown St. Helena and downtown Napa are home to a variety of locally-owned stores. Shop the latest in wine country chique fashion, browse curios to take home, or peruse stunning artwork from local artists at myriad galleries around town.
Press pause and spend a day with self care in mind at Solage in Calistoga (and a glass of champagne at Solbar while you’re at it).
Check out Cadet Beer & Wine Bar or Compline Restaurant & Wine Shop in downtown Napa, or stop by Sky and Vine, the rooftop bar atop the Archer Hotel. Further north in St. Helena, Goose & Gander is one of our favorite spots for dinner and drinks, open until 10-11pm.
*Insider tip: Round Pond club members often receive preferred pricing at these local spots – contact us for more information on how to take advantage of these local benefits!