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You can almost smell the grapes every time someone says “Napa.” Oftentimes, traveling to the Napa Valley is centered on the idea of sampling wines and doing vino-related activities. After all, the region is home to over 400 wineries—some of which are among the best in the world. But you shouldn’t hesitate to visit Napa if you don’t drink.
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of things to do in Napa that don’t involve any alcohol at all. So, don’t hesitate to take a rejuvenating day trip from Sacramento (or elsewhere) to Wine Country. Whatever your reasons may be to go sans-vino, this jam-packed itinerary of things to do in Napa this weekend will make sure you have the time of your life.
Things to do in Wine Country
1. Bike the Napa Valley Vine Trail
A great way to discover Wine Country is on two wheels. Bike the Napa Valley Vine Trail, which stretches 12.5 miles, all the way from Kennedy Park to Yountville. Eventually, the trail will extend a total of 47 miles and lead cyclists through Calistoga, St. Helena, Oakville, Napa, Vista Carneros, American Canyon, Vallejo, and more—mapping out the entire expanse of the Napa Valley.
2. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
Wine Country boasts world-class spa facilities that’ll make you forget all of your worries. The stunning, state-of-the-art Spa Terra spans 22,000 square feet and features 12 treatment spaces, whirlpools, steam grottos, soothing water walls, and so much more. Hidden away at the upscale Meritage Resort, the spa is one of Wine Country’s most popular destinations for good reason—it boasts a unique location inside the Estate Cave. Book a spot before you hit the road, and you’ll be glad you found this relaxing thing to do in Wine Country sooner rather than later.
Things to do in Napa with kids
3. Take a Balloon Ride over the Valley
One of the best ways to see the stunning Napa landscape is from above. Those looking for something to do in Napa with kids will hit the jackpot with this activity; it’ll keep little ones entertained for a long time (and tire them enough to nap later in the day). You have plenty of companies to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with Napa Valley Aloft. As one of the top-rated hot-air balloon companies, Napa Valley Aloft has been taking visitors up into the clouds since 1978. This is a safe and fun activity for every Wine Country visitor.
4. Explore Wine Country on a Train
Despite its name, you’ll definitely enjoy taking a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train without having to sip wine. Travel back in time as you hop aboard the elegant antique railway cars and savor a fine-dining meal while you take in the striking scenery. The three-hour ride takes you past the most renowned agricultural area of the valley and through the charming towns of Oak Knoll, Yountville, and Oakville before turning to Napa. If your kids haven’t been aboard a train before, this fun thing to do in Napa will also allow you to experience “a first” together.
Fun things to do in Napa with friends
5. Dine at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to fine dining in the Napa Valley, as several restaurants here have earned Michelin stars. Offering various cuisines—ranging from French and Italian to Japanese and even Brazilian—Napa is the place to go if you’re looking for a foodie-centric getaway within three hours of the Bay Area. Whenever you get the chance, don’t miss out on making a reservation at one of the best restaurants in the world; you know one of the best things to do in Napa would be to eat the meal of your dreams.
6. Visit Skyline Wilderness Park
Camping, biking, hiking, fishing, and practicing archery are a few of the many activities to enjoy at Skyline Wilderness Park, nestled in the foothills of the Napa Valley. If you and your friends are an active bunch, then spending a day exploring this scenic park might be one of the most adventurous and fun things to do in Napa for you.
7. Treat your Taste Buds to an Olive Oil Tasting
If you love carbs as much as we do, you’ll easily gain back the calories you burnt hiking earlier by going olive oil tasting. Some of the best olive oil in the Bay Area and beyond is found right here in the Napa Valley—and you can taste it with your friends. The rich Napa Valley soil makes it possible to grow everything from Zinfandel grapes to zucchini. The Mediterranean climate also plays a role in growing tasty olives, which then turn into delectable olive oil that’s perfect for dipping a fresh baguette into. Our mouths are already watering.
Things to do in Downtown Napa
8. Take a Self-Guided Public Art Tour
With such a world-class wine and culinary scene, is it really surprising that the area has attracted great artists, too? The Napa Art Walk is a biannual, rotating exhibition of different types of artworks created by innovative minds on the West Coast and showcased in downtown Napa. The public art installations celebrate Napa’s historical, socio-cultural, and aesthetic values, so exploring the exhibitions is a fantastic way to get to know the region through its art. As one of the best things to do in downtown Napa, doing the Napa Art Walk allows you to expand your horizons and feast your eyes on brilliant artworks.
9. Shop ‘til you drop
Not only is downtown Napa a very walkable destination, but it’s also full of charming and quirky shopping destinations that’ll delight your inner shop-a-holic and deplete your wallet. Several bookstores, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, art galleries, and other cool spots can be found in and around downtown Napa. So, if retail therapy is your vice, then downtown is just the place to visit in Napa. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you if you end up splurging beyond your budget.)
Beautiful places to visit in Napa
10. Travel Back in Time at Castello di Amorosa
Fourth-generation winemaker Dario Sattui built this authentic 13th-century Tuscan castle in Calistoga to turn it into a winery. By doing this, he honored his Italian heritage and deep love for medieval architecture. The large and intriguing castle, known as Castello di Amorosa, is truly a sight to see. Admiring it from afar is still a fun and unique thing to do in Napa, even if you have no interest in grabbing a glass of vino afterward.
11. Tour the Stunning Art Galleries
Not only does Napa Valley’s beauty lie in its panoramic hills, but also inside its eclectic art galleries. Art aficionados looking for things to do in Napa this weekend can make an itinerary filled with the top galleries scattered across the valley. Enjoy a day exploring the impressive range of local and international creations from contemporary artists. Jessel Gallery, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, and di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art are a few that definitely belong on your list.
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