15 Best Things to Do in Napa, CA

Napa, CA
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Known as the Golden State, California is among the world's spectacular destinations for all travelers due to its natural wonders, rich culture, incredible food scene, and various entertainment attractions.

If you wish to visit the state, check out the city of Napa, which has wonders in every direction for your well-deserved vacation.

Founded in 1847, Napa is the seat of Napa County and the largest city in the famous wine-making region of the Napa Valley.

You will spend your days sipping the finest wines, engaging in retail therapy, feasting delicious food, and enjoying the magnificent vistas this city offers.

Here are the best things to do in Napa, California:

Appreciate Napa Valley's Natural Beauty with Napa Valley Balloons, Inc.

Three Napa Valley Balloons over Napa
cheng cheng / Shutterstock.com

Gaze at the awe-inspiring landscapes of Napa Valley during a tour in the sky aboard a hot air balloon.

Make reservations with tour agencies in Napa to learn more about the wine-growing region while taking in picturesque vistas.

Aerial view of a Napa Valley Balloon
ingenieurin / Shutterstock.com

Napa Valley Balloons, Inc. along Byway East has state-of-the-art hot air balloons and experienced pilots to guarantee comfortable, safe, and unforgettable sunrise flights for its guests.

Enjoy the view of the valley with Napa Valley Balloons, Inc.

Daytime view of ascending Napa Valley Balloons
Patrick Civello / Shutterstock.com

Level up Your Wine Experience at Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar

Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar is Napa Valley's favorite rooftop bar atop downtown Napa's unique boutique Archer Hotel on First Street Napa.

Catch panoramic valley vistas while tasting the bar's curated selection of craft cocktails, spirits, private barrel flights, draft beers, and wines.

Pair your drinks with mouth-watering dishes and desserts served at Napa Valley's premier rooftop oasis.

There is a reservation-only whiskey bar offering unique and rare whiskeys for whiskey enthusiasts and novices.

Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar has a slight vintage collection, approachable selections, and a list of specialty cocktails based on private barrel selections.

Down a Pint of Beer at Downtown Joe's Brewery and Restaurant

Another great place to raise glasses is Downtown Joe's Brewery and Restaurant on Main Street, serving since 1994 and boasting a rich brewing history.

The Oberon Saloon, built in 1893, has been the home of Downtown Joe's, which features an American-style pub and grill with other menu items inspired by international flavors.

Grab a beer brewed by their passionate brew masters while savoring their tasty meals sourced locally, like steaks, burgers, pasta, seafood dishes, and more.

Aside from their hand-crafted beers, you can enjoy a glass of wine or cocktails from their menu.

Dine indoors or on their spacious patio with views of the river and park.

Experience Napa nightlife at Downtown Joe's, which hosts live music, sports viewing, and other special events.

Take a Tour of First Street Napa

The road of First Street Napa
AlessandraRC / Shutterstock.com

First Street Napa is where you will find several retail shops, excellent restaurants, and fine wines in downtown Napa.

This place guarantees a gratifying shopping experience.

Go around different boutiques to find clothing or jewelry pieces you love, artisanal products, or unique furnishings for your home.

Gordon building at First Street Napa
Sanfranman59, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unwind by enjoying a sip of excellent wine in one of the tasting rooms.

Satisfy your cravings by trying some of the famous culinary options in the area.

First Street Napa also has spaces perfect for bonding, and there are on-site events to watch out for.

Take a Retreat at the Meritage Resort and Spa

For a relaxing getaway, visit the Meritage Resort and Spa on Bordeaux Way, with acres of hillside vineyards, luxury accommodations, and calming spa treatments.

Indulge in gourmet food and great wine with a private picnic in the resort's nine acres of vineyards, where you can stroll along the winding trails.

Otherwise, embark on a unique wine-tasting experience at the Village, with a lush, expansive lawn surrounded by tasting rooms from craft winemakers and breweries.

For entertainment and relaxation, head to the Crush Lounge with six bowling lanes and Spa Terra, located in an underground Estate Cave.

The Vista Collina is part of the Meritage Resort and Spa, with exclusive events and chic luxury suites.

Listen to Live Music at Blue Note Napa

Lift your mood by enjoying live music performances of world-renowned and local artists at Blue Note Napa on Main Street.

Blue Note is a unique music destination due to its intimate atmosphere where you sit near the stage, combined with the wine country ambiance and the site's historic architecture.

The live music jazz club and gourmet restaurant venues are on the 1st floor of the Historic Napa Valley Opera House.

While listening to good music, sip the club's selection of cocktails and wine.

Blue Note Napa also serves meals for sharing, small bites, and desserts.

See a Show at Uptown Theatre Napa

Exterior of Uptown Theatre Napa
lynn friedman / Shutterstock.com

Another must-see destination for live entertainment is Uptown Theatre Napa on 3rd Street.

The venue is a restored art deco masterpiece from 1937 located in the West End district.

Uptown Theatre prides itself on giving intimate live show experiences for its patrons and visitors who can immerse in world-class sound and good sight lines.

A music show in Uptown Theatre Napa
Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

Every seat in the theater makes a great seat since the last row is only 98 feet from the stage.

Several prominent figures in the entertainment industry have graced the hall, so look out for the upcoming shows at Uptown Theatre Napa.

A band in Uptown Theatre Napa
Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

Go on a Culinary Adventure at CIA at Copia

Are you passionate about food and cooking?

Embark on a one-of-a-kind food adventure at CIA at Copia, the food and beverage hub of the Culinary Institute of America on 1st Street.

You can try various activities here, from dining experiences and hands-on classes to shopping and exploring different sites in this paradise for food enthusiasts.

Step into the Marketplace at Copia, where you can buy cookware and culinary antiques for your dream kitchen space.

There are also rare and aesthetic household items, like hand-stitched linens and locally made pottery, to build the perfect home.

Revisit history in Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum featuring the great chefs of Europe and more than 4,000 artifacts in culinary history.

Likewise, check out what's growing in Culinary Garden at Copia.

For the ultimate culinary experience, sign up for classes and events led by chefs and experts, which include wine-tasting and beverage explorations, chef demonstrations, and more.

The CIA at Copia will satisfy your passion for cooking and then some!

Test Your Skills at the Grape Escape

Are you looking for an exciting indoor activity?

Include the Grape Escape in your itinerary, where you can show off your problem-solving skills and play a game with your friends, family, or workmates.

Each escape room offers a different interactive and challenging adventure where you will face a series of puzzles and mysteries.

Find clues, crack the codes, and complete missions to escape the room within the time limit.

Don't miss the fun and thrill at the Grape Escape on West Imola Avenue.

Enjoy Shopping at Oxbow Public Market

Exterior of Oxbow Public Market
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Discover unique products, delectable food and wine, and local ingredients at Oxbow Public Market, located in Oxbow District's heart.

You will find several artisan foods and wine vendors, restaurants and cafes, an organic produce outlet, and more shops in the 40,000 square foot marketplace along Napa River and trail.

Visit Napa Valley Distillery for its rare and unique artisan spirits, bottled cocktails, and other items perfect for gifts.

You could also check out their Tasting Salon and Vintage Bar Shop to try their seasonal and limited-release craft spirits.

Interior of Oxbow Public Market
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Shop local, artisan ingredients for making gourmet food in stores like The Olive Press and Whole Spice.

There is also a place for bookworms at Napa Bookmine that sells books, magazines, games, and more.

After hours of strolling, take a breather at the market's scenic outdoor deck with seating along the river.

Fresh produce in Oxbow Public Market
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Learn about Farm Life at Connolly Ranch Education Center

Deepen your knowledge and appreciation for nature by visiting Connolly Ranch Education Center on Browns Valley Road.

The ranch, which dates back to 1915, has become a great place to bring children closer to nature and cultivate their respect for the environment.

You will find several farm animals at Connolly Ranch Education Center, including miniature horses and donkeys.

Know more about farming, nutrition, and more by spending time in the garden, where you may spot tiny creatures like worms.

Various outdoor activities await you in their "wild spaces," from navigating their hiking trails and observing micro ecosystems to sharing a basket of picnic food with the family and learning some woodcraft skills.

Unleash Your Creativity at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

Found along Sonoma Highway, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is an art park and nature preserve encompassing 217 scenic acres.

Take time to tour its galleries that showcase the notable works of Northern California artists.

At Gallery 1, you can set a picnic on its patio while catching views of Winery Lake.

More picnicking sites are available at the shady Olive Grove.

Marvel at the dozens of outdoor sculptures as you stroll the trail twisting through the Sculpture Meadow.

Remember to watch your surroundings since di Rosa is home to several wild animals.

Step Closer to Wildlife and Nature at Skyline Wilderness Park

View of napa valley from Skyline Wilderness Park
AlessandraRC / Shutterstock.com

At the southeast corner of Napa along Imola Avenue, you will see Skyline Wilderness Park, a scenic spot for camping, biking, horseback riding, hiking, and more.

You will discover over 25 miles of hiking trails twisting through the park, which range from very sunny to wooded and shaded.

At Sugarloaf, the park's highest point, bask in the majestic views of the valley and its lush vineyards, as well as the San Francisco Bay, Mt. Diablo, and Mt. Tamalpais on a clear day.

Lake Marie is also for fishing activities, an 18-hole disc golf course, and archery ranges.

Stone bench at Skyline Wilderness Park
AlessandraRC / Shutterstock.com

If you plan to stay overnight, RV and tenting camping sites are available at Skyline Wilderness Park.

You may spot different native plants and wildlife species throughout the park, such as deer, foxes, and flying creatures.

Don't forget to visit Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden to view a unique presentation of flora from different parts of the state.

Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden at Skyline Wilderness Park
AlessandraRC / Shutterstock.com

Take a Hike at Alston Park

Napa is not only known for its wine-tasting activities, but it is also a place for outdoor recreation with its numerous parks and nature trails.

Alston Park, off Dry Creek Road, is recognized as one of the best places to hike in Napa Valley.

This open-space park spans 157 acres and became public in 1991.

Explore its three miles of hiking, horseback riding, and dog walking trails.

Bicycles are allowed on paved trails.

Other amenities in Alston Park include picnic areas, restrooms, and an off-leash dog area.

Get Wet on the Napa River

The waters of Napa River
Ruben Martinez Barricarte / Shutterstock.com

Of course, a Napa adventure won't be complete without experiencing some beautiful activities on the Napa River.

You can go kayaking or paddleboarding along the river, which spans over 50 miles and is one of the largest rivers in the Central Coast Range.

Otherwise, you can embark on a daytime scenic tour, sunset cruises, and cruises of the beautiful vistas around you.

Riverside trail of Napa River
Alexey Ulashchick / Shutterstock.com

There are companies offering tours, equipment, and boat and gondola rides so you can create unforgettable memories on the Napa River.

You can check Enjoy Napa Valley and Napa Valley Paddle for water adventures or Wombat Charters and Napa Valley Gondola for river tours.

View of Napa River at night
Rosangela Perry / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Napa has a variety of sites and attractions every traveler and tourist can wish for.

It is more than an incredible wine destination.

You can also embark on a culinary adventure, soak in culture and arts, and have an enjoyable shopping experience.

It is a great place to immerse in nature, observe wildlife, and breathe life in bustling cities.

Bookmark this list of the best things to do in Napa, California, for an unforgettable adventure!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.