Recently, we had a chance to explore California’s Napa Valley in partnership with Visit Napa. While we were there, we teamed up with our favorite local influencers for sun-drenched photoshoots at some of the region’s seriously stunning wedding venues—like Calistoga Ranch, Long Meadow Ranch, and Charles Krug Winery. Napa is a gorgeous place to get married, but this West Coast wonderland is equally perfect for anyone who loves great food, laidback vibes, and (of course) amazing wine. Read on for our favorite eateries, sips, sights, and places to stay.
Home to more than 150 restaurants—including six with Michelin stars!—Napa has a well-earned reputation as a food paradise. It would take far more than a single vacation to eat your way through the region, but here are a few of the best bites:
Start your day with something sweet at Bouchon Bakery (featuring French pastries from Chef Thomas Keller), try Oprah’s favorite English muffin at The Model Bakery, or settle in for a splurge-worthy brunch at Auberge du Soleil. If you’re seeking something fast and casual before the first wine tasting of the day, pop into Alexis Baking Company for breakfast classics like omelets and pancakes (we’re partial to the challah French toast!).
At lunchtime, grab a quick yet indulgent bite at Gott’s Roadside; this iconic burger stand pairs a retro-cool aesthetic with top quality ingredients from local purveyors like Niman Ranch and Panorama Bakery. For a more leisurely approach, order a spread of sandwiches, salads, and sushi on the expansive patio at R+D Kitchen. Bring along your favorite bottle for lunch at Rutherford Grill, where there’s no corkage fee on Napa Valley wines.
When it comes to dinner, you have a lot of options. To keep things casual, wrap up your day with tacos at Gran Electrica, wood-fired pizza at Redd Wood, or farm-to-table fare served family-style at Charter Oak.
For a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, book a table at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, which earned chef Christopher Kostow three coveted Michelin stars in 2019. Expect an elegant tasting menu with bites like sunchoke beignets made using ingredients grown at the on-site Culinary Farm.
For phenomenal seafood, head to Kenzo for a traditional Japanese kaiseki experience featuring fresh fish that’s flown in daily from Tokyo.
No trip to Napa is complete without visiting the region’s famous vineyards! Drop in for a tasting at Charles Krug (the valley’s oldest winery), or pair a glass of bubbly with a tour of the historic caves at Schramsberg Vineyards.
If you’d like to save some time during a day of wine tasting, consider a food and wine pairing for lunch. Long Meadow Ranch offers the perfect combination of farm-to-table cuisine and highly-rated wines. B Cellars, Round Pond Estate, and Cakebread Cellars are known for their perfect pairings, too. Wine lovers should also make time for a meal at Press, the St. Helena steakhouse with a cellar that holds more than 10,000 bottles, some dating back to the 1950s.
Not a wine drinker? We’ve got you covered! Grab a beer with the cool kids at Cadet, order a margarita at Gran Electrica, or visit Sky & Vine on the roof of the Archer Hotel, which is perfect for late-night cocktails thanks to its reverse happy hour.
To remember all of those incredible meals, take home a taste of Napa with a few food-centric souvenirs from Oxbow Public Market, The CIA at Copia, or Oakville Grocery, the oldest running grocery store in California. For more shopping, downtown St. Helena is home to an incredibly cute collection of local boutiques.
Feeling outdoorsy? Plan a hike at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park (home to stands of towering coastal redwoods) or the Calistoga Petrified Forest. Afterward, swing by one of the region’s natural hot springs for a restorative mud bath. For a unique view of Napa’s striking scenery, soar above the vineyards on a hot air balloon ride.
If you happen to be in town over Memorial Day, snag tickets to BottleRock, an annual music festival that welcomes headliners like Mumford & Sons, The Killers, and Bruno Mars.
Napa is known for its abundance of luxe accommodations, so you’ll have no shortage of options if you’re looking for a spectacular stay. For the perfect combination of serenity and impeccable service, book a room at one of the region’s acclaimed Auberge resorts: Calistoga Ranch, Auberge du Soleil, or Solage.
Carneros Resort and Spa is our pick for a romantic getaway, thanks to its charming private cottages (complete with cozy fireplaces and secluded patios) and a super-luxe spa, which just reopened after a total renovation.