“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
This Gold Rush boomtown is a survivor with a colorful past, with reformed Victorian bordellos along Clinton Street, an incongruously Parisian riverbank defying historic floods, and a farmers market in the parking lot of the defunct $80 million Copia culinary center. But Napa's wildest schemes are often truly inspired, from Senegalese banjo performances at the recently restored 1879 Napa Valley Opera House to samplers of local oysters, Venezuelan arepas (corn-bread tacos), and organic strawberry-balsamic ice cream at artisan food center Oxbow Public Market. Napa Valley's most affordable B&Bs and adventurous new restaurants are in downtown Napa, alongside the obligatory tasting rooms and kitchen supply stores. Stick around for antique shopping, day spas, and Saturday late-night salsa sessions at the downtown tasting room of Ceja (purveyors of wine to French Laundry).