The Northern California city of Napa is famous the world over for its tasty wines, but this scenic valley has plenty to offer visitors of all types, ranging from outdoor lovers to art enthusiasts. Napa’s food and art scene has thrived over the last few years, and many of its non-wine-related activities remain relatively undiscovered by tourists.
If you have already booked a day tour through the famous Napa wineries, don’t just turn around and go home right away. Spend a full day exploring the wonderful trails, markets, restaurants, and art that Napa has to offer, and you will see a beautiful, lesser-known side of this stunning California city.
Drive the Scenic Silverado Trail 7:00 a.m.
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Most visitors to Napa take the busy and congested Highway 29 to explore the valley and its wineries, but a better option is to drive the back-door Silverado Trail. Start your day with a scenic morning country drive to see the valley in all its splendor before the roads become packed with locals and visitors. If you are feeling a bit more active and adventurous, rent a bike and follow the Silverado Trail bike path to explore the region at a slower pace and discover even more of the area’s nature. The trail also has plenty of smaller wineries that have retained some family-owned and -operated charm.
Eat a Hearty Breakfast at Alexis Baking Company 9:00 a.m.
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Prepare for a long day of exploring and sight-seeing by indulging in French toast, pancakes, and baked goods at the Alexis Baking Company. In addition to breakfast and lunch, the bakery and café offers a huge choice of scones, muffins, and cookies made fresh on site. It’s the perfect place to interact with Napa locals and take a bite out of the area’s rich cuisine.
Get in Touch With Your Artistic Side at the Napa Art Walk 11:00 a.m.
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Take a stroll through downtown Napa on the Napa Art Walk route, and you will find plenty of intriguing and modern sculptures to admire on your way. All of the artists featured are from the Western U.S., as part of the art walk’s purpose is to promote regional artists and the Western aesthetic. The exhibits change every 18 months, so if you haven’t visited Napa in a while you will always have something new to see.
Take a Winery Tour at Artesa Vineyards & Winery 2:00 p.m.
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For an alternative winery experience, take a wine-tasting break at Artesa Vineyards & Winery. A Spanish wine-making family built this off-the-beaten-path winery, and their influence is felt in the name itself (Artesa is Catalan for handcrafted). In addition to delicious wines, Artesa Vineyards offers a stunning hilltop view and incredible modern architecture throughout the property, which guests can explore for hours. Get there 10 to 15 minutes early for the 2 p.m. public tour and stay for a tasting with a view.
Shop and Eat at Oxbow Public Market 5:00 p.m.
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After a day of walking and wine tasting, stop by Oxbow Public Market to get a bite to eat and pick up some artisanal products. Try the delicious pizza at Ca’ Momi and grab some chocolates from Anette’s. All the food at the market, from the oyster bar to the gourmet cupcakes, features options for vegetarians or those following a gluten-free diet. Find your favorite foods and sit at the community-style tables in the center of the market to mingle with the rest of the crowd.
Must Eat: Savor Local BBQ Specials at Bounty Hunter
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If you’re still hungry for a late dinner, head to local favorite Bounty Hunter, which serves mouth-watering BBQ specials ranging from pulled pork to smoked brisket. The restaurant’s warm, friendly atmosphere will make you feel right at home, and you can also pair your dinner with any of a number of rare local wines offered on the menu.
Find a Charming Napa Hotel
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The California capital of winemaking has plenty of cozy, inviting hotels for guests ranging from budget travelers to luxury-seekers. With a little searching and pre-planning, you can find Napa hotels from $92 a night. If you want to combine your Napa sightseeing with plenty of pampering and relaxation back at your hotel, book a few nights at The Meritage Resort & Spa from $279 a night, or try a more budget-friendly option at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Napa Valley from $132 a night.
Even if you’re only in Napa for a day, the above itinerary will provide you with a well-rounded appreciation for the local attractions.