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9 Exciting Things to Do in Downtown Napa
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9 Exciting Things to Do in Downtown Napa

Everyone knows about Napa Valley but you’ll be surprised to discover the exciting things to do in Downtown Napa.

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5 min read

February 15, 2022

Wine Country offers plenty of beautiful spots to explore during a visit. But, if you’re short on time and looking for a wide variety of things to do in one convenient location, Downtown Napa is where you need to be. Having undergone a major renaissance in recent years, this once-sleepy downtown is now home to an impressive collection of attractions and activities to check out.

Park the car, forget about traffic, and get ready to check out all the best things to do in Downtown Napa, from luxury lodging and world-renowned restaurants to live music venues and beautiful river walks. Downtown Napa Valley is the perfect place to spend a day on foot in Wine Country—it’s one of the most charming downtowns in California.

What To Do in Downtown Napa on a Getaway

Step outside and do the great outdoors amidst Downtown Napa’s picture-perfect scenery; you'll absolutely love it.

1. Stroll along the Waterfront Walkway

Downtown Napa occupies a beautiful riverfront setting. Enjoy watching the Napa River flow as you dine outdoors at one of the beautiful restaurants along the water. However, we suggest strolling along the walkway, either on foot or by bike. Grab a delicious ice cream cone or a hot cup of fresh coffee, look out for ducks and kayakers paddling in the waters, and follow the tranquil Downtown Napa River bending gracefully through midtown.

2. Glide on the Napa River in an Authentic Gondola

Visiting Downtown Napa with your boo? Wow them with a romantic float down the Napa River in an authentic Venetian gondola. Napa Valley Gondola offers unique sightseeing cruises which are perfect for couples as well as groups of up to six passengers. Departing from the Downtown Napa Dock just below the Riverfront Promenade, this adventure offers you and your partner a unique way to see the charming City of Napa. What’s more? The gondolier provides a musical serenade, making your experience all the more atmospheric. You’ll feel like you’ve teleported to Venice from the center of Downtown Napa.

For art lovers there are special places in Napa. The Downtown area is rich with rotating collections.

3. Check out the Outdoor Public Art 

Napa is rich with a rotating collection of public art displays, many of which are located in the Downtown Napa area. To see impressive, colorful, large-scale murals, head over to either First Street Napa (which is also known as Artist Alley) or the Rail Arts District. You’ll be hit with a strong dose of inspiration as you walk along these larger-than-life murals in Downtown Napa. In addition to that, a biennial, rotating sculpture exhibit called Napa Art Walk also takes place along the streets of downtown. Follow the online map to find the sculptures currently on display and learn all about what makes them special. If you’re an art-lover looking for fun things to do in Napa, the downtown will definitely impress you.

Every stay in Downtown Napa will leave you feeling like a new you, ready to experience this wonderful world-class destination again and again.

4. Explore the Ins and Outs of Downtown Napa on a Bike

Biking is a great way to get some fresh air and do a little sightseeing. Well, Downtown Napa just so happens to be one of the most bikeable areas in Wine Country. Hit up a self-service bike rental kiosk and start pedaling across one of the urban trails. By the waterfront, through the Rail Arts District, down the Napa Vine Trail, and along the restored Victorian mansions in the area—cycling might just be one of the best things to do in Downtown Napa on a sunny day.

5. Catch a Live Show at the Napa Valley Opera House 

The Napa Valley Opera House is a national historic landmark that opened in Downtown Napa back in 1880 when the city had a population of a mere 5,000. Today, this non-profit performing arts organization continues to inspire and offers a variety of programs and educational opportunities. 

Next time you plan to drive up to Downtown Napa, check to see if you’ll catch a fun show. Upstairs, the versatile Ballroom accommodates a variety of concerts and performances. And downstairs, the Blue Note Napa Jazz Club offers nightly performances in an intimate setting that’ll make you feel like you’re dining in Greenwich Village.

This public market is a must-see when you visit Napa. You can find organically produced food, local vendors, coffee houses and, many more.

6. Explore the Famous Oxbow Public Market

Downtown Napa’s well-known Oxbow Public Market is one of the city’s most loved local landmarks. As a vibrant local gathering place featuring great casual and specialty foods, this market creates a community of local food vendors, produce stands, and coffee houses to explore.

The Oxbow Public Market also actively supports sustainable farming practices and locally owned businesses. The diverse mixture of tenants at this Downtown Napa hotspot reflects the agricultural community and vast richness of the Napa Valley. Go hungry and enjoy embarking on a culinary adventure of treats and bites from incredible local vendors—bon appetit.  

7. Sign up for a Cooking Class at the C.I.A. at Copia

Has all the eating in Downtown Napa Valley inspired you to cook for yourself? Sign up for a class at the Culinary Institute of America and learn from the best in the business. Offering multi-day culinary boot camps, single-day hands-on cooking classes, chef demonstrations, and more, the C.I.A. at Copia is the place to take your cooking curiosity to the next level. Don’t forget to check out the Marketplace at Copia later to take home a beautiful household good as a souvenir from your cooking adventures in Downtown Napa.

Whether you’re looking for a dining hotspot or a hidden bistro to chill, you’ll find a world of tastes that will have you coming back to Napa.

8. Treat Yourself to Dinner at a Bucket List Restaurant

What’s a visit to a culinary hotspot like Downtown Napa without a delicious dinner at a bucket list-worthy restaurant? From fine dining to farm-to-table restaurants, there are many options to choose from when having dinner in Downtown Napa. For delicious and fresh Japanese fare, you can’t go wrong with the popular Morimoto. Feeling French? Angèle will take you right to the countryside with its authentic dishes, whereas Celadon is great for elevated global comfort food. On the other hand, Ristorante Allegria offers the perfect amalgamation of Italian dishes influenced by local Californian tastes.

9. Shop for Unique Souvenirs

Lastly, you’re going to want to take home a memento from your adventures in Downtown Napa Valley. Stroll along the downtown streets and pop into the shops and boutiques that catch your eye—the locals will be happy to assist you! If you’re looking for specifics, Jessel Gallery has the coolest art-related gifts, Milo and Friends Pet Boutique has great finds for your pooch, while Anette’s Chocolates offers delicious sweet treats we can’t get enough of.

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