Napa Wineries are amazing, but sometimes you just need a break from wine tasting. Here are 15 things to do in Napa Valley that aren’t wineries.
*This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Napa Valley has some of the most notable restaurants in the entire country. There are 10 restaurants alone that are Michelin Star Rated! Not to mention there are so many that are well established favorites and many that are up and coming. Plan ahead and try to snag a table; some restaurants like The French Laundry book up months in advance. We have heard nothing but rave reviews of The French Laundry, Auberge du Soleil, Ad Hoc (apparently the fried chicken is legendary), and Bouchon. These restaurants will definitely break the bank (some you will be required to pay a fee to book), but we’ve always heard they are worth the experience!
Not interested in the steep price tag or waited too long to book? Never fear! Napa is a foodie town, you can almost pick a restaurant out of a hat and it will be exceptional. Some of our favorites that are more reasonably priced and are easier to grab a table at are Press, Bistro Jeanty, Rutherford Grill, and Bistro don Giovanni,
Beer & Cocktails
Sometimes you just need a palette cleanser and even though Napa is known for it’s wine, it also has some amazing beer and cocktail options. For cocktails head to Goose and Gander or Sky & Vine. Sky & Vine has an amazing rooftop view of Downtown Napa and was one of our favorite stops in Downtown Napa.
Cocktails not your thing? Napa also has some great beer options. Stone Brewing not only has amazing beer, but it has an amazing outdoor patio with a view of the Napa River. They also have corn hole, so add another free activity to the list.
We love a good market (how can we not living right by Pike Place Market in Seattle) and Napa has so many markets with their own selections and vibes you will want to hit them all!
Oxbow Public Market has some amazing restaurant options and wonderful vendors. It is definitely your one stop shop for food, snacks, souvenirs, and gifts to take home, so treat yo self!
Oakville Grocery definitely has a huge selection of wine, but they also have amazing regional snacks and gifts. Not to mention a wonderful outdoor area to enjoy your purchases!
While we didn’t have time to make it to V. Sattui, it is definitely on our list to come back to because we’ve heard nothing but good things.
Napa has some amazing downtown areas that are definitely worth your time to stop and check out. They each offer a different vibe and selection, so try to hit them all! Our three favorite are Downtown Napa, Yountville, and Saint Helena. All of these you can park the car or Uber to and walk around for an evening. There is a lot to do all within walking distance from shopping to dinning, all with amazing views.
There is no shortage of amazing bakeries in Napa Valley. Bouchon Bakery is a must do if you can only do one. Their cream cheese danish with raspberries is TO DIE FOR! Also their macarons are literally life changing. If you want to avoid a very long line, go early in the morning and you will beat a large majority of the crowd.
We’ve also heard amazing things about The Model Bakery, and it is definitely on our list to stop at on our next Napa trip.
Butter Cream Bakery is also a great stop, they literally have almost everything your sweet tooth desires from donuts to pastries, pies, and more. They also have an old fashioned counter service diner that makes for an amazing breakfast spot.
If you are in Napa on a weekend, brunch is EVERYTHING! Almost every restaurant will have an amazing brunch menu, so go early or make reservations because it will be busy.
If I can ever get over my fear of heights, a balloon ride is definitely on my bucket list! Imagine soaring through the sky looking down at the beautiful rolling hills full of vineyards. Sounds perfect!
You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards and go down the beautiful Napa River. Definitely a great way to burn off those amazing food and wine calories you will definitely earn.
Did you know there are other ways to visit vineyards besides by car? You can rent bikes and bike through certain vineyards or bike on the streets. Many of the streets are very bike friendly.
You can also see the vineyards by train on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Vineyards visited change depending on the date, so make sure to pick a ride to vineyards you want to see.
Go for a Drive
Napa makes for the perfect place to go for a drive, every winery has their own identity which is so fun to just drive by and see. There are so many beautiful vineyards each with their own amazing estates and art, you can’t go wrong!
Looking for a picturesque drive in the hills? Highway 128 is for you. It is an absolutely beautiful drive and stops through the fun small town of Winters. Just make sure to take Dramamine or Ginger Chews if you are prone to motion sickness, it is a very windy road.
Take a Day Trip to San Francisco
San Francisco is just a short one hour drive depending on traffic. We took advantage of this the first time we we went to Napa Valley and had an absolutely amazing day trip. Check out our San Francisco Day Trip Itinerary!
Check out the Welcome Sign
You have to stop and get a picture at the Welcome to Napa sign. If you don’t have a picture to post on social media, it didn’t happen right? Also Oakville Grocery & Rutherford Grill are right by here, which are two of our favorite places to stop for a bite.
Water, Water, Water
Love a little rest and relaxation? Napa has multiple hot springs and spas to get your pamper on.
Old Faithful Geyser of California is conveniently located near some beautiful wineries. There are picnic areas with a view of the geyser, so grab some lunch and watch a fun natural phenomenon.
Take a Factory Tour
Want to taste something that isn’t wine? Napa is home to many olive oil producers. You will find a variety of tastings from stand alone manufacturers to ones made by notable vineyards.
A short hour drive away to the town of Fairfield is the Anheiser Busch and Jelly Belly Factories, where you can take a tour and get some tasty samples!
There is so many options for shopping at every price range and every need. Make sure to stop by the small towns of Downtown Napa, Calistoga, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Yountville. Each have their own vibe and gorgeous downtowns full of local stores.
If you haven’t hit up the different markets, this would be the time to do it. They all have exceptional local selections that you will find something for everyone on your shopping list.
Napa Premium Outlets also make a great stop for some great clothing deals. Also if you forgot anything, his makes an easy stop to get anything that didn’t make it into the suitcase.
Wineries that have more than Wine
Many of the wineries and tours have more than just wine. Most will have gorgeous gardens that can be enjoyed without everyone in your party having a tasting. Love art? Head to Hall Winery which contains a one of a kind art exhibit. Love wine caves? Head to Far Neinte, Del Dotto, and Nickel & Nickel. Frog’s Leap offers a blind flavored soda tasting for those not participating in the wine tasting. We thought this was really fun!
Learn the History
The Napa Historical Society offers many programs throughout the year including history exhibits and a history walk downtown.
Attend a Concert
Many of the wineries put on concerts and events in the evening at their locations. Make sure to check a local events calendar to find out what events are happening while you are in Napa. Every winery also has a wine club that offers exclusive events for members, so make sure to look into wine clubs of your favorite wineries!
Need some more ideas on what to do in Napa? See our 3 Day Napa Itinerary and check out our Tips & Tricks when visiting Napa. Looking for some gorgeous places for your Instagram feed? Check out our favorite Instagram Spots in Napa.
*This post contains affiliate links, I only recommend products that I truly believe in and would purchase myself.