With its riverfront promenade, charming Victorian architecture and lively food, drink and music scene, Downtown Napa is more than the gateway to wine country—it’s a fun and flavourful destination all its own.
Go wine tasting at Vintner’s Collective Napa Valley
Sample wines by some of Napa’s smaller producers at Vintner’s Collective Napa Valley. The city’s original tasting room, housed in a stone heritage building built in 1875 (it was originally a brewery), is one of around 20 places downtown to sniff, swirl, sip and spit (if you must).
Shop at Napa Valley Traditions
At gift shop Napa Valley Traditions, you might just discover that funky find you didn’t know you needed: table linens, handbags, candles, stationery, jams and other pretty things, like hot-air balloon reusable wine stoppers.
Listen to jazz at Blue Note Napa
Enjoy hot jazz in a cool building. Regional, national and international artists perform nightly at the intimate Blue Note Napa jazz club in the grand, Italianate-style Napa Valley Opera House. This National Historic Landmark, originally built in 1879, also hosts live music, theatrical and dance performances.
Sign up for a Walking Tour of Napa
On a gentle two-hour stroll with Walking Tour of Napa, you’ll discover the ornate Victorian homes of the Abajo district, as well as the art deco Uptown Theatre, and learn about fascinating personalities such as Napa’s founder, Nathan Coombs.
Eat and drink at Oxbow Public Market
Oxbow Public Market is Downtown Napa’s favourite gathering spot. This indoor market is a stylish spot to drink and dine. Try the crispy beef wrap made with sustainable beef and cilantro-lime coleslaw at Five Dot Ranch and Cookhouse.
Take a cooking class at The Culinary Institute of America
Hone your cooking skills at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia with 60- to 90-minute demonstration classes (brunch, chocolate, wine-pairing basics) or two-and-a-half-hour, hands-on sessions (such as cooking with wine). Also visit the CIA at Copia’s tasting room, restaurant and gift shop.
Getting there: WestJet flies to San Francisco 20 times a week from Vancouver and Calgary.
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Embracing the Unconventional in Oakland
Over the past 10 years, Oakland has emerged from San Francisco’s shadow. Artists, foodies, even nature-lovers now gravitate here, forming a vibrant collaborative aesthetic that is much more than the sum of its parts. Visit an art gallery, get authentic cheap eats from around the world and spend time on Lake Merritt downtown.