Things to do in Downtown Napa: Traveler’s Guide

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  • by WC STAFF
  • on NOVEMBER 12, 2015
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Napa Valley boasts numerous charming spots to call home during your wine country visit, but one of its best-kept secrets might be downtown Napa itself. Wine tasting is a given, but gourmet food, shopping, and even nightlife is all within walking distance. So park the car, forget about traffic, and make the most of your Napa weekend.

Where to Stay

Image Source: Napa River Inn

Napa River Inn
500 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 251-8500
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 992 reviews
Check availability

Location, location, location. Perched on the banks of the Napa River, in the heart of downtown, the Napa River Inn is steps from wine tasting rooms, shopping, and some of the best restaurants in the neighborhood. Set in the historic Napa Mill, colorful, modern décor mixes seamlessly with a history that dates back to the 1880s.

Insider tip: Don’t hesitate to bring your pampered pooch. Along with gourmet bones and custom amenities, The Spa at Napa River Inn offers doggie massage.

Image Source: Embassy Suites Napa Valley

Embassy Suites Napa Valley
1075 California Blvd
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 253-9540
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 1,376 reviews
Check availability

Spread out across seven landscaped acres, the Embassy Suites Napa Valley has a welcoming Mediterranean feel. An all-suite hotel, all rooms are centered around a stunning garden courtyard complete with lakes, fountains, swans, and ducks. Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast includes options like pancakes and omelets with custom add-in ingredients.

Insider tip: The Embassy Suites Napa Valley offers a Manager’s Reception nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Snacks are served along with complimentary beer, wine, mixed, and specialty drinks.

Image Source: Yelp

Cedar Gables Inn
486 Coombs Street
Napa, Ca 94559
(707) 224-7969
TripAdvisor, 5 stars, 309 reviews
Check availability

Located just steps from downtown Napa, you’ll feel like you’re in England at Cedar Gables Inn. The décor will make you smile and the smell of gourmet breakfasts and warm chocolate chip cookies will make you hungry.

Insider tip: If innkeeper Susie is making glazed apple fritters for breakfast, indulge.

Eat Well

Image Source: Yelp

JAX White Mule Diner
Kohl’s Plaza, 1122A First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 812-6853
TripAdvisor, 3.5 stars, 38 reviews

Breakfast is served until 3 p.m. daily at JAX White Mule Diner. This old school diner serves up comfort classics like biscuits smothered in gravy and chicken and waffles.

Insider tip: JAX Signature beignets, served steaming hot, deliver a sweet, start of a busy day, sugar rush.

Image Source: Yelp

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ
975 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 226-3976
TripAdvisor, 4.5 stars, 655 reviews

The smell of barbeque will lead the way to Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ. As if you need more incentive to dig in, there are 40 wines available by the glass. All the BBQ rubs are made from scratch. Meats don’t come sauced, you do it yourself.

Insider tip: If you want something a little lighter to balance out the BBQ fixings, the tasty Market Salad is available with artisanal cheese.

Image Source: Yelp

Carpe Diem Wine Bar
1001 Second Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-0800
TripAdvisor, 4.5 stars, 419 reviews

For a sophisticated diner who doesn’t have to worry about dressing up. Sink your teeth into an ostrich burger and truffle fries at Carpe Diem Wine Bar, or try the constantly changing chef’s selection of tacos.

Insider tip: Save room for dessert. The homemade Twix Bar with salted caramel ice cream is worth an extra trip to the gym when you get home.

Sip & Swirl

There are close to three dozen tasting rooms in Downtown Napa and they’re all within walking distance.

Image Source: Yelp

Trahan Tasting Room
974 Franklin Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 257-7477
TripAdvisor, 5 stars, 7 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Taste great wine with great company at the Trahan Tasting Room. Folks behind the bar are very knowledgeable about wine and don’t be surprised if owner and winemaker Chuck Custodio is doing the pouring. The tasting room is small, but inviting.

Insider tip: Folks here love dogs, so don’t hesitate to bring Fido along.

Image Source: Yelp

Vintner’s Collective
1245 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 255-7150
TripAdvisor, 4.5 stars, 46 reviews

Find a new favorite at Vintner’s Collective. Specializing in small-production labels, you’ll most likely taste more than one wine you’ve never heard of.

Insider tip: The tasting room is located in the oldest stone building in Napa and was the first tasting room to open in the city.

If you’re on a mission to specifically sip and swirl, check out the Downtown Napa Wine Tasting Card. It covers tastings at a dozen spots for $30. The card is good through the end of the year and it’s transferrable.

Things to Do

Image Source: Yelp

Uptown Theatre Napa
1350 3rd Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 259-0123
TripAdvisor, 4.5 stars, 107 reviews

It began as a vaudeville theater in the 1930s, now you can enjoy names like Boz Scaggs, Lyle Lovett, and Adam Carolla at Uptown Theatre.

Insider tip: You can buy tickets at the box office and avoid Ticketmaster fees. Sometimes they’ll even take you inside the theatre to see the seats.

Image Source: Yelp

Oxbow Public Market
610 & 644 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 226-6529
TripAdvisor, 4.5 stars, 492 reviews

Oxbow Public Market is a smorgasbord of culinary delights ranging from pizza, to seafood and artisan chocolate.

Insider tip: Oxbow is a great place to grab goodies for a picnic lunch along the Napa River.

Image Source: Napa ARTWalk

Napa ARTwalk
Throughout downtown

Wander around downtown and you can’t help but discover theNapa ARTwalk. More than a dozen sculptures are scattered throughout the city. The works and arts change every couple years, so there’s always something new to see.

Insider tip: You can download Otocast, a free smartphone app for walking tours at iTunes or Google Play. Many of the artists are featured on the recording.

Image Source: Facebook & Yelp

Cadet Wine and Beer Bar
930 Franklin Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-4400
TripAdvisor, 5 stars, 8 reviews

Tucked away in an alley, you might think it’d be easy to miss, but just listen for the crowd. This popular night spot serves wine, beer, and small plates.

Insider tip: Cadet has an old school record player and a nice collection of vinyl. If you buy a bottle of wine, you get to pick the tunes.