I’m sure we could’ve spent an entire year in Napa but if you didn’t know, this is Part Two of our trip to California. Click Here for Part One if you haven’t seen it – we visited San Francisco before this part of the trip.
That said, Napa was a totally different level!
All the stories you hear about this place, is 100% true. I don’t care what anyone says, Napa wine is better than what you’re getting from different states. Of course overseas (Spain, Europe, etc) has incredible wine too but for the price and experience, Napa gives those beautiful spots a run for their money.
This is blog is simple one about our trip to Napa Valley where I’ll give you a detailed schedule of the places we visited, food we ate at and of course the wine we drank. There’s tons of great wineries in Northern California but as we were doing our research and have never been,
I recommend if you’re visiting the Valley for first time, try to stick with this itinerary below, we picked some good spots for sure.
Let me first get starting by staying if you’re not going with a big group or rental a shuttle try to Uber. Keep in mind though, if you’re not staying at an AirBnB (not a lot of nice hotels around Napa) then it’s going to be expensive to Uber everywhere – like $100/day at least. We learned that the hard way as we did that on day one but we grabbed a rental car the rest of the trip.
There’s just so many great places to go and sites to see, you want to have the freedom to pull over and check it out. Of course, renting a car means you can’t (shouldn’t) be getting sh!t faced all day but believe me it’s better to go solo than Uber or group rentals, in my opinion.
Here’s a snapshot of our “schedule” I put together before we left. Just a little plan of attack so to speak, that way we knew where to go so we’re not wasting time or money on places that weren’t worth it.
One thing to remember about Napa is when you do tours, sometimes you’re forced to only go to certain places but I encourage you to reserve spots, especially if you go during peak season. FYI, harvest time for the vineyards and the busiest time of year is between August and October, so be prepared for crowds but it’s a good time to go.
- Went to the hotel, then took an Uber to dinner at Basalt, which was a great restaurant in downtown Napa.
- Walked around downtown to find some hidden rooftop bars and restaurants, really cool spot (pics below).
- Stayed at a Marriott hotel about 30 min south of the vineyards, then we took an Uber to Castello Di Amorosa (photos below)
- After that we walked to Twomey & Sterling, which are within 2 miles of each other. Don’t recommend that lol.
- Then we ended the night by going back to downtown Napa at a great restaurant, Celadon for our dinner.
- This is when we rented a car and took a drive to Del Dotto Vineyards, which was one of our favorites!
- Took a short drive to a town called Yountville which has great shops and restaurants (photos below)
- visited a great Coffee shop in Yountville, called Ottimo
- Ended our day with Prisoner Winery and Mustard Grill
- Breakfast at Auberge Du Soleil, which we recommend to reserve in advance and get the outside view (below)
- Took a quick drive to see Lake Berryessa for a little scenic view of the water and some cool parks around the area.
- Visited Cakebread & Robert Mondavi Winery which are amazing with some great outdoor seating areas.
- Francis Ford Cappola Winery, which was the northernness spot we visited. We ended the day there at their beautiful restaurant Rustics (see images below).
- Left Napa Valley to visit Oakland for our last day.
- Caught some food and a drink at the CommonHouse Pub Cafe
- Drove up and down Piedmont Ave for some food and drinks.
Overall, I would say this is one of our most wonderful trips ever! There’s so much to do I think if we went every year for the rest of our lives we wouldn’t experience it all.
So if you plan to go to Napa Valley and/or visit some Vineyards, here’s some advice and big take aways I recommend:
- Plan ahead, the stops and your budget.
- Be spontaneous while you’re out there, so much to do!
- Research each vineyard (some may have hidden costs).
- Try the wine you CAN’T get at home or at a liquor store, no fun in that.
- Spend at least a week, there’s too much to experience.
- Go with at least one other person and look into group rates.
- I don’t recommend a bus or tour, they’re too strict on policies and where to go, you’re smart enough to do it yourself.
- Lastly, space yourself out. It’s hard to drink a bunch but the sights are so beautiful you’ll regret it if you end up blacking out the entire time.
Travel safe and enjoy Napa!