While we think the world class wine and food is more than enough of a reason to visit Napa Valley, the Holidays make it extra special. Many wineries don bright, twinkly lights, and dozens of local events—for all ages—spread holiday cheer.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best ways to celebrate this joyful season in Napa Valley, including run ins with Santa, how to check everyone off your gift list and where to ring in 2018.
November 20-December 31 in Yountville
Cost: Varies per event
Yountville has always held the title of the brightest town in Napa Valley, decorated head-to-toe in twinkling lights every year. But for 2017, they’re taking things up a few notches and putting on a six-week celebration full of holiday events and activities. No matter when you visit, there will be something for everyone to enjoy, like carriage rides, a holiday movie series (showing The Polar Express, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Elf), classic performances of The Nutcracker, wreath and cocktail making classes, SantaCon, ugly sweater parties and more.
Yountville, CA, 94599
November 18-December 29 at the Napa Valley Wine Train, daily shows at 5pm through Dec. 29, additional 6:45pm show December 18-29
Cost: From $39
Kids can jump aboard the wine country Polar Express (AKA the Napa Valley Wine Train) and take a 1.5-hour musical journey to Santa’s Workshop—which has magically been transported to Yountville—with Santa, Jolly the Bear and friends. Each kiddo gets a toy bear from Santa’s elves, hot chocolate and treats, and is encouraged to bring both a letter to Santa and an unwrapped gift for Foster Kids of Napa.
1275 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559, Tel (800) 427-4124
November 17-January 7 at the Napa Expo (check website calendar for hours)
Cost: $13 includes free skate rental, $15 VIP admission includes in-and-out privileges
Get pumped for the upcoming Winter Olympics at Napa on Ice’s 6,300 sq. ft. outdoor ice rink, the perfect place to practice your triple axel or work off all those holiday cookies. This is a fun and affordable family outing (that could double as a chance to keep the kids occupied while you finish up holiday shopping). Napa on Ice is also hosting two free Community Skate Days on November 29 and December 13.
575 3rd Street, Napa, CA 94559
Saturday, December 2, 7-8pm in Calistoga
This is the ultimate small town tradition that you won’t find anywhere else nearby. Bundle up, grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch the parade of lighted tractors, antique trucks and construction equipment roll through the charming town of Calistoga (it’s a unique nod to the town’s agricultural roots). Most importantly, Santa will be there, trading in his sleigh for a tractor, as least for one night. Why not make a getaway out of it? Check out our Calistoga Weekend Guide.
Calistoga, CA 94515
Friday, November 24-26, 11am-4pm at the CIA at Copia
This Black Friday, skip the mall (and the crowds) and shop local. Throughout the entire weekend after Thanksgiving, you can stop by the brand new CIA at Copia campus to shop for seasonal and handcrafted gifts, plus culinary treats from local Bay Area vendors. And since you’ll already be there, you may as well also sign up for one of their fun, holiday-themed cooking classes, like Holiday Sweets on Friday, Fall Strudels and Turnovers on Saturday, or the Family Funday Lunchbox Magic class on Sunday, which will focus on tasty Thanksgiving leftovers.
500 First Street, Napa, CA 94559
Saturday, December 2, 9am-4pm at the Napa County Fairgrounds
If you’re already planning on attending Calistoga’s Lighted Tractor Parade (see above), you might as well drive into town early, snag a parking spot and get some holiday shopping done at the Calistoga Christmas Faire. While you check everyone off your list, the kids can keep busy, enjoying breakfast with Santa, decorating cookies and participating in an old fashioned cake walk (which is basically musical chairs, with cake for the winner).
1435 N. Oak Street, Calistoga, CA 94515
December 9-10, 11am-4pm at the Napa Valley Expo
More than 90 elves—er, vendors—set up shop at this annual holiday market. Sip apple cider and peruse unique gifts handcrafted by local artisans, like jewelry, holiday ornaments, home decor, antiques and tasty treats, all perfect for mom, or that person who has everything. Grab a few things for yourself too (we’ll never tell) and don’t leave without a slice of Christy’s Banana Cream Pie. Then head outside for some family ice skating at Napa on Ice.
573 3rd Street, Napa, CA 94559
Saturday, December 2, 3-5pm at Robert Mondavi Winery
Cost: $25, free 13 and under or with food bank donation
Swing by Napa Valley’s (arguably) most-famed winery, Robert Mondavi, for a wine-fueled holiday celebration, featuring romantic buggy rides in the vineyards, hot cider, holiday cookies and appetizers and their tree lighting tradition. This event is family friendly, and they’ll even waive the $25 admission fee if you bring a donation to the Napa Valley Food Bank. Sounds like a no brainer to us.
7801 Saint Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562
Sunday, December 10, 12-2:30pm at Judd’s Hill Winery
Cost: $55, free for wine club members and $25 for member guests
Judd Hill’s annual Hanukkah celebration pairs current and library vintages with the holiday’s best eats: brisket sliders, a latke bar and traditional jelly donuts for dessert. Since nobody actually needs a full eight nights of gifts, give back to those less fortunate by bringing an unwrapped new toy and canned non perishable food items for donation to local Napa charities. This event always sells out fast, so don’t wait until the last of the oil burns out (get it?).
2332 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
Saturday, December 31, 7pm-1am at Castello di Amorosa
Cost: $305 wine club member, $355 guest
Break out your fanciest 1920s garb—think fringed and elaborately beaded flapper frocks for ladies and a dapper three-piece suit with pocket watch and fedora for the men—and send off 2017 at Napa Valley’s iconic castle winery, Castello di Amorosa. The celebratory evening will feature wine, a three-course dinner in the Grand Barrel Room, and dancing to live band The Speakeasies. Cap the night off with a champagne toast, and if you’re lucky, a New Year’s kiss.
4045 Saint Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515