If you follow me on social media, then you know that Jay and I took a recent trip to Napa for my birthday. And let me just say, it was an absolute blast! And today I’m sharing our Napa city guide giving you all the details!
Side note: We’re originally from Dallas and moved to SoCal a little over a year ago, so living here is like a constant adventure. We’ve totally dominated the city of Dallas (you can check out my Dallas City Guide here), so it’s super refreshing to be in a new state with tons to explore. And with California, there’s so much to see – from mountains, to the beach, to skiing, to big cities… California has it all!
And when it came time to choose my birthday trip destination, I chose Napa. Why? Well, it’s pretty, it has fall weather (which SoCal is lacking right now!), and there’s wine. Need I say more? We’re totally not wine snobs or anything (in fact, we don’t know the difference between Trader Joe’s 2 buck chuck and a super fancy bottle), but we thought it would be a blast to check out some wineries and actually taste some great wines!
So I’ve compiled all of the details of our trip in this Napa city guide. Are there like 198379483 other places to stay and wineries to go to? Yep. But we spent lots of time planning the trip and checking out the online reviews, and we had an absolute blast together! We made memories that will last forever, so I wanted to share all the fun things we did so that maybe it will help you in your future trip-planning to Napa!
||Napa City Guide ||
|| STAY ||
- The Meritage Resort – This was such a gorgeous hotel! We actually just stayed-in on our first night in Napa and ate at the bar because it was such a great quality (and I had a grilled cheese and tomato soup, so what more could I ask for?). Every night, we wandered down to the lobby and cozied up next to the fire to wind down and read our books because it was so peaceful. They had an on-sight cafe that was perfect for grabbing some coffee on our way to wine tasting, and the best part… they had a bar with a bowling alley! What? Yes! We absolutely loved our room overlooking the vineyards and our stay was incredible!
- *If you’re at all interested in staying here, you can check out the rates on Priceline, Expedia, or Orbitz!
|| EAT ||
- Gott’s Roadside – Such a fun outdoor atmosphere with some darn good burgers! I actually got a hot dog because I’m like a 5 year old, but everything was so good!
- Bounty Hunter – Some of the best BBQ we’ve had! Who would’ve thought Napa would have good barbecue? They’ve got some pretty tasty ribs along with a beer can chicken (can included on your plate!). This was the perfect hearty meal after a full day of wine tasting.
- The Boon Fly Cafe – This was the cutest little lunch spot in such a neat building. Chicken & waffles, yummy salads, and the best little donuts you’ll ever have!
- Ristorante Allegria – Another delicious dinner spot and very highly rated on Yelp (that’s how we find everything!). Italian food is my favorite, and this restaurant didn’t disappoint! Not to mention, all the bread and pasta was the perfect meal for soaking up all the wine in our stomachs!
- Bouchon Bakery – We didn’t have a full meal here (although they do have little sandwiches), but we grabbed some scrumptious coffee cake and macaroons. You can tell by the constant line out the door that this place has got it goin’ on!
- Redd Wood – A more upscale, trendy pizza joint. Jay has a delicious-looking pizza for lunch and I seriously had the best chopped salad of my life! Highly recommended!
- Ad Hoc – *Honorable mention – We actually didn’t make it out to this restaurant on our trip, but if we had stayed one more night, we definitely would’ve gone! They have a super fun environment and they’re unique because they have a nightly set menu. So I guess if you’re super picky eaters, this wouldn’t be the best place for you. But with food as good as theirs, I bet you’d love it all!
|| WINERIES ||
- Robert Sinskey Vineyards – This was our first stop on our trip. We literally drove 7 hours from Orange County to this parking lot, so needless to say, we were super excited about this tasting! When researching, we heard that it had a gorgeous tasting room and delicious whites (which are my fav!). First of all, they recently renovated their space and the outdoor area and view was incredible! We did a tasting paired with some yummy small plates, and it was all delicious. Our wine specialist was kind enough to even walk us around the caves where the wine barrels are. It was so gorgeous there that we hung out even after our tasting was finished because the views were so pretty!
- Frog’s Leap Winery – On our way to this winery, it started to sprinkle just a bit and I got a little worried about how the tasting and tour would go. But once we got there and sat by the fire for a few minutes waiting for our group, it cleared up a bit and the rain had cooled everything off so that it actually felt like fall. This was the only place where we were able to walk down to the vineyards (which I’m obsessed with – that’s how I’ve always pictured my Napa trip!). We also toured where the wine barrels were kept and sat in a cozy tasting room to finish our tasting. Our wine specialist was super knowledgeable and friendly, and we really enjoyed this tour!
- Pride Mountain Vineyards – Another gorgeous vineyard because we actually had to drive up a mountain (which means gorgeous views when you get there!). This one was slightly farther from where we were staying in Napa because it sits partly in Napa county and partly in Sonoma county, which we learned is pretty rare for vineyards – they’re usually one or the other. We enjoyed this tour because we spent the majority of our time in the caves. As we walked and sipped, we learned more about the process and we were so surprised at how big the caves were! Around each corner, we would stop and try a new wine, and when we exited the cave, everyone stopped and took pictures together because the views were stunning!
- Artesa Winery – I know I keep saying how beautiful all these places were (I mean, c’mon, it’s Napa!), but Artesa takes the cake for architecture and views. Nothing beats stunning panoramic views! The staff here was incredibly friendly, and we toured the facility and got a closer look at how their wine is made. A fun fact about this place: In the room where the wine is stored for fermenting, they play this old monk chanting because it’s believed to help with the fermentation process. It sounds weird, but it was actually kinda neat to be in this huge room full of barrels listening to the chanting echo throughout. After our tour and tasting, Jay and I enjoyed some champagne and a charcuterie board on the outdoor patio. We stayed longer than anticipated sipping and eating because it was, again, simply spectacular!
- Ma(i)sonry – This place wasn’t actually a winery or vineyard, it’s called a “wine tasting collective and art gallery”. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but the reviews online were so great that I just had to see for myself! We arrived around 11:00 (a little on the early side), which worked to our advantage because we had our choice of where to sit and got to look around the place without disturbing anyone. And wow! This place was neat. Jay said that he wished we could design a backyard that looked similar because it was so great with the string lights, rustic tables, fire pit, ivory-covered walls, and fun art pieces. Our wine specialist was super friendly and curated individual flights for Jay and I because we both prefer different things… and all the wine was fantastic! I think Jay literally had to drag me away from the cozy outdoor fire pit and breadsticks.
|| DO ||
- Balloons Above the Valley – So Jay set up this hot air balloon ride for me as a surprise because he’s super sweet. When he told me what he was up to, I’m not going to lie, there was a little more fear in me than excitement. But once I realized what an unforgettable experience this was going to be for the two of us, I was able to get over that fear-of-heights thing a little faster. We got up pretty early (they wanted us to meet before sunset), met at a local hotel, and were bused over to the balloons. I really can’t explain how incredible it was to be lifted up into the air in a basket and to see all of Napa as the sun was rising. Seriously, so amazing! Our balloon pilot was friendly and funny, and he made the experience even better! Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel where we met and had a breakfast buffet prepared for us. I would say this is a must-do if visiting Napa!
In other news, check out our Napa Vlog recapping our amazingly fun trip!
Have you guys been to Napa? What are some of your favorite places? Let me know in the comments!