This article is about various fun things to do in Napa Valley. The beautiful Napa Valley is a little region 90-minute drive north from San Francisco. It is surely a well-sought grape-growing region. It is well-known for the world-class vineyards and wine production. The pensive landscape of rolling hills, pleasant inns, stellar climate, famous food, and legendary wine make Napa valley an unbeatable destination. The first wineries in Napa valley were established in the late 1800’s. There were around 150 wineries by the time the 20th century arrived. The wine region got its worldwide reputation in the 70s when it beat French at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. At present here are more than 450 wineries which attract around 4.5 million visitors yearly. Though the wine is the top attraction, it’s not the only thing on offer for tourists. There are a flourishing restaurant scene and chefs presenting recipes ranging from California to International, to their signature cuisine. For outdoors enthusiasts, there’s cycling, kayaking and horseback riding. Also, there’s a rich arts and culture scene which includes music, fine arts, and theater. So, instead of just hopping from winery to winery, explore various fun things to do in Napa Valley. We’ve made a compilation of different surprises from distinctive attractions like a hilltop, wellness activities, hands-on classes, and foggy forest views. Here are some of the top things to do in Napa Valley.
Top things to do in Napa Valley
1.) Tour a Vineyard
Touring a vineyard is one of the top things to do in Napa Valley. Everyone who tours Napa Valley visits a couple of wineries. That’s nice and even useful. But do not miss which makes Napa Valley so unique – its vineyards. The ideal way is a tour from a viticulturist or winemaker. But any wine educators can be good, too. You’ll know and learn a great deal about the process and will analyze better the next time you taste.
2.) Visit a Gallery or Museum
Napa Valley is known for encouraging the arts. The valley hosts an excellent art assortment and galleries, public art, and rotating collections at various wineries and restaurants. A must visit includes the Mumm photography gallery, the Hess Collection, and the art walks in Napa and Yountville. Visiting such museums and galleries is one of the best things to do in Napa Valley.
3.) Ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train
There is no hop-on, hop-off bus service in Napa Valley for sightseeing. Instead, you can explore the beauty of this place by boarding the Napa Valley Wine Train. Touring on this train is among the best things to do in Napa Valley. During the ride, guests can enjoy delightful lunches or dinners (prepared on the train in the kitchen car). Capture the glimpses of town centers and wineries in Napa, Oakville, Yountville, Rutherford and St. Helena through big sized picture windows.
4.) Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
This area was settled by the Wappo Indians. It was declared a state park in 1964 and is now a popular spot for camping, hiking, picnicking, and horseback riding. The 25 miles of trails goes through a diverse range of trees and wildflowers. Raccoons, Foxes, and deer can be seen in the park, especially around Sonoma Creek. You can make bookings for camping and horseback riding.
5.) Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
This Grist Mill was the center of social activity in Napa Valley from the 1840s to the early 20th century. Settlers in the area would gather to discuss important events and supervise the grinding of wheat and corn. The mill’s foundation was built entirely of native stone. Strong Douglas firs and redwoods were used in the ceilings and walls of both the mill and granary. At present, the mill and its 30-foot-plus waterwheel are maintained by the state, also, the nearby pioneer cemetery and church (first church of Napa Valley) are worth a visit.
6.) Valley of the Moon
The astonishing Valley of the Moon is situated off Highway 12 one mile east of Santa Rosa. It is bordered by the Mayacamas Mountains on the north and to the south by Sonoma Mountain. Visiting here is the best things to do in Napa Valley. It presents some of the Wine Country’s most amazing scenery. Also, it gives access to Sugar Loaf Ridge, Hood Regional Park, and Jack London State Historic Park. Among the valley’s more noteworthy sites include Robert Ferguson Observatory, nestled in Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park.
7.) Culinary Institute of America
If you are visiting Napa Valley for the first time, remember to visit the CIA’s California campus. Do not imagine it as a “James Bond” sort of CIA. A totally different thing, as people attending the institute’s cooking demonstrations, would indicate. For a real pleasure, make a reservation at the Wine Spectator Restaurant, whose roofed gardens, imposing wine list, and excellent Californian cuisine make for memorable dining.
8.) Safari West
Discover the wilds of Africa right in the center of California’s Wine Country. When you tour this open-air zoo, you can see over 400 exotic species live, roaming freely in natural habitats. Here, animals aren’t kept behind bars. Visitors have the opportunity to get close and personal with elands, gazelles, camels, elands, zebras, and wildebeests.
9.) Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross State Historic Park is located on a bluff overlooking the Sonoma coast. This park includes a vast area of meadows, tidal regions, and submerged land. The fort was built by the Russians in 1812. Originally it served as an outpost for sea otter hunters and was acquired by John Sutter. John Sutter owned the Sierra Nevada sawmill where gold was found in the 1840s. The fort no longer has any original buildings. Its restorations are near-matches, as the conventional chapel and commons buildings prove.
10.) Take a Walk Through St. Helena
The charming main street of St. Helena is packed with expensive restaurants, café, shops, boutiques and galleries located in old buildings. If you are fond of architecture, just look up. Three blocks of the region have been elected as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. If you have a desire for modern Mexican food, visit La Condesa for tacos and margaritas. Chocolate-lovers must have handmade sweets at Woodhouse Chocolate. Even if you are diet conscious, check out the window exhibits.