Napa Travel Guide

[y] Napa Visitors Guide

Located in the Napa Valley, the city of Napa lies roughly 30 miles north of San Francisco. The city was originally established in 1848 and grew dramatically with the gold rush in the 1850s. Today, Napa offers a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and shops for visitors to take advantage of while they explore the scenic surroundings. Napa boasts a number of parks and green spaces and has several biking trails that provide a unique way for visitors to experience the charm of this California city. Agriculture is a major aspect of life in Napa, and the area is known for its grape and wine production. The annual Napa Wine and Crafts Faire highlights this agricultural heritage, showcasing local produce growers and artists, as well as providing visitors with a variety of live entertainment. The Napa Valley Expo in downtown Napa also hosts a number of community celebrations each year, including the Napa Town & Country Fair.

The city of Napa lies at the Southern end of the Napa Valley. It is the county seat and the largest city in the Valley. It was founded by Nathan Coombs (one of the members of the Bear Flag Rebellion) and the first building went up in 1848. Napa has been associated with the wine business since it’s founding and it has controlled trade and tourism since the late nineteenth century. Napa’s tree-lined streets are full of restored Victorian and Edwardian homes. The Napa River runs through the heart of town and is undergoing redevelopment.

City of Napa Attractions

The origins of the City of Napa as a busy wharf city and silver lode in the 1850s are being rediscovered today among the historic treasures of Old Town. The dominating spire of the Presbyterian Church, the County Court House, and the Napa Valley Opera House have been lovingly resorted for residents and visitors to embrace the city’s 150-year role as the capital of Northern California’s Wine Country. Today there are many attractions and activities for you to enjoy, the Wine Train will take you through the valley, small cruise ships will sail you around San Francisco Bay in the heart of California’s Wine Country, Napa Valley Marina for all the water sports and activities you could want, shopping, dining, art, and historic sites all await your arrival.

Napa Valley Wine Train
From the moment you enter the Wine Train’s Station, you begin a threefold adventure, a return to the gracious era of elegant rail travel with distinguished service. A deliciously crafted culinary and compete wine experience – champagne brunch, gourmet lunch or exquisite full-course dinner… offer an enjoyable and relaxing journey through the heart of Napa Valley’s picturesque vineyards past world-renowned wineries. Guests spend time prior to boarding leisurely shopping and wine tasting.

Napa Valley attractions

The McKinstry Street Station provides a perfect opportunity for purchasing gifts for loved ones … or yourself! The Wine Emporium features almost 200 kinds of wine and related gifts, while Baubles & Beads offers an elegant variety of jewelry and other personal items, as well as luxurious gifts for the home in the Unique Gift Express.

The 1915-1917 Pullman Lounge and Wine Tasting Cars surround guests with imported hand-rubbed Honduran Mahogany, polished brass, and grape-motif etched glass while they savor hors d’oeuvres chosen to enhance the Wine Train’s selection of the finest Napa Valley Wines or cocktails. The meticulously restored 1917 Pullman Dining Car replete with etched glass, polished brass, fine fabrics, and rich mahogany, where you will be pampered with superb meals served with all the detail elements of fine dining… damask linens, fine china, silver flatware, and crystalware. All guests are proudly invited to observe our award-winning Executive Chef Patrick Finney and his Culinary Staff through the glass while they freshly prepare menu selections in our onboard professional restaurant kitchen while utilizing regional ingredients of the highest quality.

Every Brunch, Lunch and Dinner excursion approximately a scenic 3-hour adventure through the heart of the Napa Valley Wine Country. 1275 McKinstry Street, | Napa, CA | 94559.  Telephone: 1 707 253-2111

Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park
This is one of the largest pet cemeteries in the United States. Overlooking the Napa Valley, this memorial site is the final resting place of over 10,000 pets from all over the U.S. Located on Atlas Peak Road in Napa, CA. Address: 2462 Atlas Peak Road | Napa, CA | 94558

Carolyn Parr Nature Center
The Carolyn Parr Nature Center offers tours and interpretive programs aimed at demonstrating the impact that humans have on the natural world. Located on Browns Valley Road in Napa, CA. Address: 3107 Browns Valley Road | Napa, CA | 94558

di Rosa Preserve
The di Rosa Preserve sits on 53 acres, and features almost 2,000 pieces of art by nearly 800 California Bay artists, making this one of the largest collections of regional art in the country. Located on Carneros Highway in Napa, CA. Address: 5200 Carneros Highway | Napa, CA | 94559

Napa Skateboard Park
The Napa Skateboard Park can be found on the corner of Pearl and Yajome Streets in Napa, CA. Address: Pearl and Yajome Street | Napa, CA | 94559

Napa Town & Country Fair
The Napa Town & Country Fair celebrates the Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage with a livestock auction, wine tastings, crafts, midway rides and more. It is held each August at the Napa Valley Expo grounds in downtown Napa.

Skyline Park
The Skyline Park is a wilderness park in Napa that offers bird watching, camping and picnicking. Located on Imola Avenue. Address: 2201 Imola Avenue | Napa, CA | 94559

Getting to Napa

Napa Valley is North and East of San Francisco, about 50 miles, little more than an hour away from the City. Its southern end lies at the northern tip of San Francisco Bay and its head is at Mount St. Helena. The valley lies between the coastal ranges that are at the Western edge of California. Napa’s natural beauty and famous wines have made it a popular getaway for San Franciscans for over a century.

While Napa County itself is full of country roads and free of superhighways, it is convenient to both Highway 101 (North-South) and Highway 80 (East-West). The exits for Napa are clearly marked on both freeways.

Balloons over Napa Valley

Hot air balloons rising over misty vineyards in the still air. Looking Upvalley in the morning, and seeing a dozen or so balloons rising almost silently over the vineyards. The Annual Blessing of the Balloons during the Mustard Festival. All of these are familiar with anyone who comes to Napa Valley. Almost every day, as long as it isn’t raining or too foggy, the balloons go up, taking advantage of Napa’s protected location and freedom from commercial air traffic.

Hot Air Balloon Rides in Napa
Hot Air Balloon Rides in Napa Valley. CA

Parks in the City of Napa

  • Kennedy Park – 340 Acres, including a 160-acre 18 hole golf course, and four softball fields, off Soscol south of Napa Valley College. Park includes picnic areas and some riverfront land.
  • Alston Park – 157 Acres of undeveloped parkland on Dry Creek Road
  • Westwood Hills Park – 110 acres, known for hiking, in Browns Valley
  • Fuller Park – 10 acres, downtown park. This park on Jefferson Street between Laurel and Oak features some magnificent old trees. Some historians believe this park is on the site of the first winery in Napa County.

Neighborhood Parks

The remaining parks in the City are small neighborhood parks and tot lots, many with playground equipment and/or basketball courts.

  • Beckworth
  • Buhman
  • Cammile
  • Century Oaks
  • Dry Creek Near Alston Park
  • Evans
  • Fairview
  • Garfield
  • Harkness
  • Kensington
  • Kiwanis Has a baseball diamond
  • Klamath
  • Knolls
  • Lake
  • Las Flores
  • Laurel Street
  • Monarch
  • Montclair
  • Norfolk
  • O’Brien
  • Parkway Plaza
  • Riverside
  • Sequoia
  • Shurtleff

Leash Laws

Dogs on a leash are allowed on Alston Park and on portions of the public trails along the Napa River. Please contact the Community Resources Dept. (707-257-9529) for more information. Free-running dogs are allowed in Shurtleff Park, the undeveloped areas of Kennedy Park, and Alston Park (lower areas off Dry Creek Road).

Canine training is allowed in Sirtleff Park and in the southern section of Century Oaks Park.

  • Do license your pet and make sure metal tags are attached to its collar.
  • Do control your canine so it does not disturb other park patrons or animals.
  • Do remove droppings and dispose of them properly.
  • Don’t use leashes longer than 6 feet.

Bird-Watching

At many times of the year, the roadsides and hills can be great locations for bird-watching. During the rainy season, Egrets can be seen along with many creeks and overflow areas. In the summer, our wind drifts often have Vultures or other raptors gliding in the thermal currents. Sometimes on foggy mornings, you can see Red-Tailed Hawks, perching on telephone wires or traffic signs. These suggestions of great bird-watching sites come from the Napa-Solano Chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Golden Eagles - bird watching
Golden Eagle sighting, Napa, CA

American Canyon
Go east (uphill) on American Canyon Road to the entrance to the quarry. Park at the entrance and walk west until you can look back into the quarry and hillside areas for soaring Golden Eagles.

Kennedy Park
The riverside sections of the park are mixed wetlands, the upland habitat where many birds come at different times of the year. An easy place to see many common species.

Skyline Park
This is an excellent place for birding, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are also in bloom.

Henry Road
Henry Road in the Carneros is an excellent place for watching water birds. Because much of the land is private, this is a place to bird-watch by car.

Gordon Valley
Every season has wonderful birds here from owls to flycatchers.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
During the breeding season (April – July) take the Spring Trail to the redwood flat about 300 yards beyond the Upper Ritchie Canyon Trail for great bird-watching.