Enjoy The Napa Valley Wine Train
For non wine activity, try the Napa Valley Wine Train. Departing from Napa city and slowly rambling through the major vineyards along Hwy 29 and passing through idyllic vineyards, cool towns and beautiful landscape. You are served a delicious lunch or dinner options in these antique refurbished railway cars. A fun thing to do in Napa Valley and slow way to explore wine country in the authentic wine train is a real treat and unique experience in the valley.
Check Out Oxbow Public Market
Recommended by Wendy from Empty Nesters Hit the Road
While visiting colleges in Northern California with my underage daughter, Jessica, I knew we would not be wine tasting, and as a result, I needed to find some other interesting places to see in Napa. In my research, I discovered Oxbow Public Market and was not disappointed! This riverside market opened about ten years ago and offers a combination of small shops and food stalls. They offer a lovely outdoor seating space, but on the day we visited the heat was oppressive, so we headed inside.
What I always appreciate about food halls is the opportunity for everyone to order what they want. You dont have to all agree on one restaurant location.
Oxbow MarketPhoto courtesy of the Oxbow Public Market
During our recent visit, I ordered a few varieties of delicious tacos at C Casa while Jessica selected the Margherita pie from Live Fire Pizza. Then, of course, we needed dessert and enjoyed the ice cream from Three Twins. If youre in Napa and need a break from wine tasting, or seriously expensive restaurants, then I encourage you to check out Oxbow.
Oxbow Public Market is located at 610 1st Street in Napa.
Visit Wineries For Art And Architecture
Some Napa Valley wineries boast amazing art and architecture and others have gorgeous grounds and gardens. While a few require a tour or wine tasting even to enter, others are free to stroll outside. Touring some of the best Napa Valley wineries is a must when you visit!
Walking the bridges over Jade Lake at Chateau Montelena
The gorgeous Rhine House at Beringer Vineyards is a Victorian mansion built in 1884. Darioush makes you feel like you are visiting Persia. Castello di Amorosa takes you to Tuscany. Hall St. Helena showcases sculptures on its grounds.
The grounds of Chateau Montelena in Calistoga are made for strolling, with a Chinese garden complete with lake and red bridges.
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Best Things To Do In Napa Valley
Situated on agricultural land that is perfectly suited for vineyards, Napa Valley is famous for its beautiful nature in wine making. Ride the famous Napa Valley Wine Train, stroll through Downtown St Helena, see a performance at the theater and go on a fun tour that will let you get to know this beautiful Northern California destination. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
Best Things To Do With Family In Napa Valley
Napa Valley is kid-friendly, even with its wine-heavy reputation. If youre bringing the family out to California for a visit, there are dozens of different places in the valley you can take them for a good time, including:
- Sonoma TrainTown Railroad
- Napa Valley Balloons
- Old Faithful Geyser
These spots will keep your kids entertained while also allowing you more time to bond as a family.
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What To Do In Napa Besides Wine Tours/tastings
My wife, myself and our 8 month infant will be traveling to San Francisco in May and were planning to spend two night and one day in the Napa Valley. We are not big wine drinkers and with the baby are wondering what else is tehre to do in the area? We wouldn’t mind going on one tour of a vineyard but hope that Napa has more to offer.
The Napa Valley is famous for its wine and its cuisine and its spectacular scenery. It also has a vibrant art scene with studios and several galleries and museums. It also has some very nice upscale resorts.
It’s primarily an adult destination but many families travel here and enjoy exploring the area. Usually people come here if they are interested in wine but many also come to just enjoy the natural environment and the laid-back lifestyle.
Tell us what activities you are interested in and maybe we can help you with suggestions. Many wineries welcome young children to visit their grounds but others require that they be 21 or older. Here’s a good source of info about family friendly Napa Valley wineries.
Just to add to what was said before, one of the great things about the Napa valley is its relatively easy pace of life We go there to drink wine and eat at some of the best restaurants in the country but also relax and soak in the atmosphere, have a spa treatment and did I mention eat.
With a baby, perhaps it is a great place to rejuvenate.
There are so many other destinations which havefarmer’s markets, etc. and more than visiting vineyards.
Walk The Napa Riverfront
The Napa Riverfront is a new addition to the city, making Napa that much more fun to explore. The waterfront promenade is the perfect place to take a late afternoon or post-dinner stroll. And not only can you stroll. but you can also eat and shop! The building hosts an eclectic mix of cafes, boutique shops, and restaurants including Napa General Store , Morimoto Napa , and Angele Restaurant & Bar .
If you visit Napa Valley with kids, they can run freely here without worrying about cars or oncoming traffic!
Local Tip: During the summer on Fridays, Napa City Nights features live entertainment at the Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater, overlooking the Napa River. Entertainment runs from 6:30 10:00 pm.
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Things To Do In Napa And Sonoma Besides Drinking Wine
Napa and Sonoma are known as some of the most popular wine-growing regions in the world, but Californias most famous regions have so much more to offer than just wine tasting. The areas are also known for their breweries and distilleries, hiking trails, arts, music, and shopping.
One of the best ways to experience the northern California regions of Napa and Sonoma is by getting outside of the tasting rooms. While it is true that a majority of tourists come to the area primarily to enjoy the wine, many are pleasantly surprised to discover just how beautiful the environment is outside of the tasting rooms once the merlot has stopped flowing.
Dine On The Napa Valley Wine Train
The Napa Valley Wine Train is an extremely popular way to relax and enjoy some of Napa Valleys finest foods! The Wine Train is such a unique experiencewhere else do you get to eat while enjoying the scenery from restored antique train cars? Admission to the Wine Train means youll get to hop aboard the antique railway cars and enjoy a three-hour fine dining meal while you take in the Napa Valley views. Some noteworthy sights along the way include St. Helena, Oakville, Yountville, Rutherford, and Napa.
The Napa Valley Wine Train has both dinner and lunch options and is a truly unforgettable experience in Napa Valley. Its not exactly cheap, but so luxurious and so worth it! And just so you know, ironically, wine is actually not included unless you opt for a special package.
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Napa Valley Is One Of The Most Beauty
Explore our wide open outdoor spaces in almost perfect weather, shop charming local boutiques, soak up arts and culture, and find walking tours and activities to create your perfect wine country escape at any price point.
Take a look at the directory below to start planning your visit to Napa Valley.
Things To Do Other Than Wine Tasting In Napa Valley
You may have gone to Napa Valley for a wine tasting vacation, but did you know that there are things to do other than wine tasting experiences in Napa Valley?
It can be fun to mix up your experience in wine country. You can taste olive oil, ride on the Napa Valley wine train, take a cooking class, or even just relax by a roaring fireplace and read a good book. Escape from your average day. Turn off the phone and enjoy the stunning beauty of Napa Valley on your vacation.
Olive oil and vinegar tastings at Round Pond Estate are one of our favorite recommendations for non-wine experiences . They offer beautiful Napa Valley wines, but they also have delicious and educational olive oil tastings. You can also book a luxurious lunch before or after your tasting.
Shop at the Oxbow Market. Youll find local restaurants, like our favorite oyster bar, Hog Island, and numerous shops offering specialty food products and housewares. You can find Napa spices, oils, bitters, produce, cheese, wine, and more.
Have cocktails with friends at one of the Valleys many bars and restaurants or take a distillery tour to learn more abou Napa Valleys craft spirits.
Start your morning off with a view from high above the Valley in a hot air balloon. Float over the vineyards in style.
Relax by booking a spa day at one of the many luxury spas in Napa Valley.
Napa Valley has many opportunities for outdoor activities like biking, kayaking, and running.
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Carneros Resort & Spa
Carneros Resort & Spais a quintessential romantic Napa experience served up in the most intimate and luxurious setting. The resort offers private cottages featuring outdoor showers, a spacious garden backyard and sundeck, front porch, fire pit, and chaise lounge. During your stay be sure to take time to sunbathe by their picturesque adults-only hilltop pool.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Viewing Napa Valley from the sky can be a breathtaking experience. A number of companies offer hot air balloon rides to give tourists a whole new perspective on Wine Country. Tucked safely inside the balloon baskets, visitors can enjoy flying high above vineyards, mountains, valleys and more. Many balloon rides include refreshments, and the balloons pilot often narrates the flight to educate passengers about the area.
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Go Ballooning Over Napa Valley
Recommended by Sarah from ASocialNomad
Its an early start, but an amazing way to see more of Napa than anyone else. Sunrise balloon rides over Napa Valley give you unbeatable views and a stunning way to experience this beautiful area.
Balloons over Napa launch just after dawn, when the winds are at their calmest. You and up to 20 others, although you can splurge and go for a private flight, will rise gently into the air and spend around an hour drifting and enjoying the sunrise over the valley.
A sunrise balloon ride over Napa is definitely worth the splurge!
Most companies you go with will offer a breakfast option and champagne too, so you can truly celebrate your experience. Its not a budget endeavor, your ride will cost you $200 and up, but its a truly memorable experience. We loved seeing the sun come up and the mist clear over the valleys, it was a spectacular way to start a day in Napa and wed really recommend it.
Recommended by Susan from This Big Wild World
Biking can be a fun way to see Napa Valley!
During my visit, I rented from Calistoga Bikeshop. Everything I needed was provided with the rental, including helmet and bike lock. After two days of non-stop wine tasting, biking through the vineyards at my own pace was a refreshing break!
Small Group Sonoma Walking Food Tour
Take a quick break from all of your vino-filled adventuring to treat your favorite foodie fiend to a Small Group Sonoma Walking Food Tour.
Put on those walking shoes, and stroll through Sonoma with your professional foodie guide sampling the very best of locally made wines, artisanal cheeses, fine chocolates, and olive oil.
Your culinary adventure will take you to 6 aggressively chic boutiques located in Sonomas historic downtown.
Get an insiders look at Sonomas gourmet scene. Meanwhile, learn the intriguing history behind this area’s rise to acclaimed culinary fame and artisanal renaissance.
This tantalizingly tasty tour provides:
- Stops at such local treasures as Vella Cheese Company, Figone Olive Oil Company, and Wine Country Chocolates.
- A visit to the Sonoma Plaza & Mission San Francisco Solano.
- Stops at Depot Park Museum & the famous Bear Flag Monument.
- Sufficient food samples to equal a full lunch.
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Admire The Winery Grounds
The wineries are just downright spectacular, and not just because they boast some of the finest wines in the world. Each winery and its grounds have distinctive personalities and flair, some with sparkling statues, water fountains, and fresh, modern art.
And many provide the best views of the valley < my favorites right here have I mentioned that before? Most wineries dont mind if you have a look around and relax for a bit, even if your not ordering a flight or doing a tasting.
Cheers To Nature At The Land Trust Of Napa
Founded in 1976, the Land Trust of Napa, protecting close to 55,000 acres, is an ideal spot for nature lovers and hiking, biking, and kayaking enthusiasts. Depending on the season, guided tours range from a 15-mile hike across the magnificent Dunn-Wildlake and Dunn Ranches with excellent birds-eye views of both Calistoga and St. Helena to an easy 3-mile trip to a waterfall near Conn Creek. Bicycle enthusiasts can chose eight local routes including the moderate 12-mile Lake Hennessey ride, passing through grape vines and rural roads, while more leisurely riders will enjoy pedaling around Calistoga along the scenic 11-mile Old Toll Road. Pack good footwear and athletic gear.
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Free Things To Do In Napa Valley
A trip to Napa Valley doesnt have to break the bank. There are plenty of places to visit in Napa Valley that are free to enter, including:
- Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
- Skyline Wilderness Park
- Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
- The Preserved Forest
Note, too, that its free to walk around shopping centers like Oxbow Public Market, although the urge to spend might be a little tempting.
If youre heading out to Napa Valley for your next vacation, dont let the areas wine-oriented reputation fool you. The valley is full of exciting attractions for everyone. All you have to do is look for them.
Looking for more awesome things to do in this wonderful state? Make sure you check out this post about the 19 best cities to visit in California. Not far from Napa, just to the south of the Bay Area, I highly recommend working the Monterey Bay area into your itinerary too, as well as Big Sur. Here are a few posts that will get you started with your research on these areas
Stomp Grapes At Sterling
Just because you dont wanna sip some wine, doesnt mean you cant stomp on the grapes! This is by far one of the messiest things to do in Napa besides wine tasting, so prepare to get a tad dirty!
Sterling is one of my favorite wineries, and not just because you get to take a cable car to the top of the hill. You can stomp a barrel full of grapes! And that, my friend, is something youll never forget.
The grapes feel all smooshy between your toes and your feet turn a distinct shade of purple afterwards, but what says Napa better than stomping your own grapes? Plus, youll get a t-shirt with all your grapey goodness imprinted on it!
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What To Do In Napa Valley Besides Wine Tasting
As so many of you know, those to follow on , I had an amazing solo road trip. In the middle of my adventure, I met up with a friend to celebrate her birthday and also explore the beautiful wine country of California. Since we were there during quarantine, I thought it would be helpful to write a post and share: What to do in Napa Valley besides Wine Tasting .
Here were our goals:
The key to getting through Napa is actually in the planning. Especially during the current Covid Pandemic. I cant express enough how wonderful it was to make a reservation, show up/masked up and do our tasting at an exact time. I also love how there was no rush on anything.
Okay, lets get into What to do in Napa Valleybesides Wine Tasting!
Everyone loves great wine and thats not hard to find in Napa Valley, California. Theres also something truly beautiful and, honestly, breath taking about the views there. The rolling hills lined with rows and rows of grapes is such a sight! Which is why Im recommending 5 experiences you have to try during your stay:
Sterling Vineyards Areal Tram
The views from your private pod, while scaling up the hillside of Sterling Winery, is unimaginable. Each pod is sterilized before entering and immediately after, per CDC standards. The Areal Tram is completely worth it though.
All this, while going through 4 wine tastings.
Explore two castles