Welcome to my ultimate Napa Valley travel guide, finally here by popular demand! If you’re planning a trip to Napa, make sure to check out my list of places to visit before you go! I’m sharing all my favorite wineries, restaurants, hotels and more.
If you follow me on social media (Facebook or Instagram), you’ve probably seen us out in Napa many times. We are so spoiled to live just 1 1/2 hours away from one of the best wine growing regions in the world! In my opinion, Napa Valley wine is the best! This idyllic valley is packed with hundreds of different wineries, restaurants and hotels, making it the ultimate weekend getaway for wine lovers and foodies alike! We love exploring new wineries and trying new food. For this travel guide, I’m all the places we love and a few more that come highly recommended. Let’s dive right in!
With hundreds of restaurants to chose from, it can be overwhelming to make a decision! Napa Valley has some amazing restaurants and even a few Michelin-star rated and recommended spots! Weekends in Napa Valley can be quite busy so I highly, highly recommend calling ahead of time to book reservations to these places!
- Bottega Napa Valley (Yountville) (lunch/dinner)– one of my favorite Italian restaurants! This Michelin-rated indoor-outdoor restaurant serves rustic Italian fare, with classics like egg yolk ravioli, braised short ribs, burrata and so much more. I love the ambience outside for lunch and inside for dinner!
- RH Yountville (breakfast/lunch/dinner)- this place is just WOW!! Definitely call ahead to get reservations to this stunning restaurant! Styled in the classical, rustic Restoration Hardware style, the ambience and the food here are amazing! Come here for brunch, lunch or dinner!
- Piazza del Dotto – one of our favorite wineries also has a great restaurant which offers an impressive wine and food pairing options. It’s more of an actual meal than a tasting so come hungry!
- Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead (St. Helena) (brunch/lunch/dinner)- this local and laidback spot is always lively and packed! The menu includes items like oysters, lobster rolls, crab, steak tartar, seasonal salads and even beignets for dessert. Their menu does change seasonal so check it out online!
The steak tartare with toasted bread and all the fixings is fantastic at Farmstead!
- Mustards Grill (St. Helena) (lunch/dinner)– if you’re craving for some delicious grilled items, this is your place! Grilled ribs, chops, burgers, sandwiches and slow-smoked BBQ pork! This restaurant has been around for 36 years and it’s a favorite for many!
- Oenotri (Downtown Napa) (brunch/dinner) – located in downtown Napa, this restaurant serves classical Italian cuisine, with freshly-made pasta and wood-fired oven pizzas. Plus, locally-sourced, seasonal chicken, pork, salmon and beef entrees!
- Angele Restaurant & Bar (Downtown Napa) (lunch/dinner)- located on the Napa River with outdoor, waterfront dining! This Michelin-recommended place serves rustic French cuisine with locally sourced and foraged ingredients. You’ll find delicious classics like escargot, duck confit and roasted chicken on the menu!
- TORC (Downtown Napa) (lunch/dinner)- a relaxed, sophisticated dining experience with incredible drinks! TORC served locally sourced and foraged menu items that also look like art work! You’ll love the vibe and the food at this restaurant!
- Brix (St. Helena) (lunch/dinner)- this local restaurant is conveniently located on the main road (Highway 29) and has outdoor patio seating with amazing views! They also have a large open-air seating area where you can sip away on your wine. Their farm-to-table menu includes super seasonal and fresh foods like gnocchi, burrata, burgers, pasta and so much more!
- Kitchen Door (Downtown Napa) – reopening in 2021
- The Culinary Institute of America – one of the top-rated culinary schools in the world also offers a dining experience on site!
- The French Laundry (Michelin-Star) (dinner)- I haven’t been lucky enough to score a hard-to-get reservation to this iconic restaurant, but one of these days for sure! The crown jewel of Napa Valley! This Michelin-star restaurant run by Thomas Keller serves multi-course meals that are culinary masterpieces! This is THE place to go to for a special evening!
- The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil (lunch/dinner) – another Michelin-starred restaurant on my list! This place also happens to have amazing views from their outdoor patio! Since 1981, this location has been defining fine-dining in Napa Valley, with prix-fix menus for lunch and dinner!
- Bistro Don Giovannia
- Charlie Palmer Steak House (Michelin-recommended)
- La Toque (Michelin-star) (French Fine Dining)
- Ca’Momi Osteria (Michelin-recommended)
- Bouchon Bakery (Yountville) – be prepared for the always-present line at this famous bakery! They sell the best caramel macarons and freshly baked bread!
- The Model Bakery (St. Helena)
- Woodhouse Chocolate (St. Helena) – I love this small chocolate shop in the heart of St. Helena! It’s filled with delicious handmade chocolates that also make great gifts!
- Kollar Chocolates (Yountville) – another fantastic chocolate shop, this one featuring award-winning artisian chocolates! You can even watch them being made here!
- Gary’s Wine & Marketplace (St. Helena) – the ultimate foodie supermarket! This gourmet grocery store is filled with cheeses, salamis, chocolates, treats, spices, and even cookware! They also have a great deli bar and make amazing sandwiches for picnics!
Along the Way:
- Napa Downtown – this bustling little town is packed with wine tasting rooms, restaurants, cafes and cute little shops! A must if you’re in the Valley for the first time!
- Yountville – if you didn’t know about this place, you would drive right past it! It’s just one exit off the interstate and you’re in magical little spot. You’ll find Bouchon, French Laundry, RH and other great restaurants here!
- St. Helena – I love driving through and walking through this town! The interstate runs right through the heart of St. Helena so can’t miss it! So many great art galleries, restaurants and high-end shops here!
- Calistoga – this little town is more laid back and quiet compared to other spots in Napa Valley. You take a leisurely stroll or grab some food to eat!
Wineries to Visit
- Castello di Amorosa – it’s the castle of Napa Valley!! This spot is a must, especially if it’s your first time in Napa. This 13-century style castle was actually constructed beginning in 1994 and today you can take tours of this impressive castle and enjoy their wine. It’s a really fun spot for kids, too!
- Frank Family Vineyards – one of the most friendly and approachable wineries in Napa! We absolutely loved this place and their wine is phenomenal! It’s run by a couple who gave up everything to start their business, with a goal to make amazing wine.
- Piazza del Dotto – if you’re looking to explore the BEST wine cave ever, this is the place! The cave is lined with marble imported from Italy, with imported chandeliers, too! Plus, their barrel tastings and food pairing options are amazing! The food pairing wasn’t just one or two bites either but a full meal! One of our favorite spots! You can also stop by for lunch or just to sip on wine. Del Dotto has multiple locations, too so make sure you reserve at the right location if you want to see the cave!
- Darioush – a winery with an incredible story! We had the pleasure of doing a wine and food pairing here and loved everything so much! Their 2018 Cabernet is my favorite wine! The architecture is unique and a great place to snap a few photos, too!
- Ram’s Gate Winery – another favorite of ours! The tasting room is a stunning and expansive building situated on a hillside with stunning views and plenty of space for a relaxing afternoon. I recommend enjoying the Seasonal Food & Wine pairing experience, offering a very nice lunch with the latest wine offerings.
- Rutherford Hill Winery – this winery not only has fantastic wine but also great views of the valley floor. You can look over rolling hills and vineyards right from the parking lot and take a tour of their wine cave, too!
- Domaine Carneros (sparkling wine) – if you love champagne and sparkling wine, this winery is a must! It looks like a gigantic French chateaux from the outside! Plus, they have fantastic views of vineyards from the front patio so you can sip on champagne with a stunning view!
- Peju Winery – you can’t miss this winery when you’re driving along Highway 29 with it’s unique trees! You’ll know it when you see them! They have a small but stunning wine tasting room with a beautifully landscaped garden (great for photos!) and organic wine!
- Beringer Vineyards – another impressive winery! Right when you drive in, you’ll see the beautiful Beringer estate home. Started in 1876, this is the oldest, continuously running winery in Napa Valley. This is a great place to walk around and take photos at!
- Grgich Hills Estate
- Stag’s Leap
- Chateau Montelena – absolutely stunning location
- Sterling Vineyards (view) – temporarily closed as of July 15, 2021
- V. Sattui – I love this place for it’s relaxed atmosphere and living vibe, especially on the weekends! This winery is very laid back and casual and offers outdoor dining options on the weekends. They also have a great shop where they offer wine tastings, lots of wine, and a market shop with cheese, snacks and so much more!
- Rombauer Vineyards (view)
- Chimney Rock Winery
- Opus One Winery – one for wine snobs! This architecturally stunning winery sits on top of a small hill, overlooking rows of manicured grapes. They’re known for their highly-rated and impressive wines (and expensive)!
Places to Stay
- Auberge du Soleil – if you’re planning a romantic and special weekend, this is the crown jewel and the place to stay. The resort looks out over the picturesque Napa Valley, with views of rolling hills and vineyards in the distance. Plus, lots of great wineries nearby, including the Rutherford Hill Winery just steps away.
- Hotel Yountville – located in the heart of charming Yountville, you’ll love this central location.
- Alila Napa Valley – a newer, more contemporary addition to Napa Valley, located on the outskirts of St. Helena. This resort is right in the heart of Napa Valley!
- Solage Calistoga Hotel – set further back into Calistoga, this Auberge Collection hotel with a large outdoor pool and patio seating everywhere is the place to relax and unwind!
- Four Seasons Napa Valley
- Vintage House at The Estate
- Carneros Resort & Spa
- Bardessono Hotel & Spa
- The Westin Verasa (Napa Downtown) – if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly location, this is the place! It’s located right on the Napa River in downtown Napa Valley.
Things to Do (Besides Wine & Food!)
- Calistoga Balloons – A little background story! My husband actually proposed to me on a hot air balloon over Calistoga in August of 2010. It was the most beautiful morning and the entire experience was surreal! You don’t have to propose but it’s definitely worth taking a ride! Once you’re in the sky, the ride is so quiet and smooth, as if you’re floating in the air!
- Spa: There are many different spas in and around Napa Valley. These resorts that I have listed above – Carneros, Bardessono, Four Seasons, Auberge – all have spas that you can enjoy during the day, even if you’re not staying. It’s a great option for a girl’s day trip to Napa!
- Calistoga Hot Springs: As if Napa couldn’t get any better, we even have hot springs! There are a couple different resorts that offer hot spring pools so make sure to check them out, too!
Do visit Napa Valley often and have some great restaurants, wineries or hotels you enjoy? Leave me a comment and share your favorite places with me!