Just a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining the Napa Downtown Association for a tour of Downtown Napa over the course of a few days and I took full advantage of it since my exploration was limited due to the Napa Valley Film Festival last fall.
There are so many ways to explore the world-famous wine region, but it’s such a special experience when you spend time in Downtown Napa. Just an hour’s drive away from Sacramento, it’s the perfect getaway for couples or for your girls trip! I am so excited to share some of the best places to eat and drink (and play, too) in Downtown Napa!
We kicked off our trip at Compline, a new restaurant and wine bar in the near the town center. What I loved about Compline was the how the natural light filled the space. The food is all seasonal and prepared with care. They are one of the only places in Downtown Napa that offer an upscale late night eat option, staying open until midnight. Another eatery we enjoyed was Gran Electrica, which originally opened in Brooklyn. While people may go for the tacos, they should go for the entrees (chile verde, oh my)… and the cocktails! Looking for the best view of the valley with a killer sunset and libation to boot? Head to Sky & Vine on the roof of the Archer Hotel.
Other Downtown Napa Dining Recommendations:
- Napkins on 2nd + Main
- Basalt at Napa Riverfront
- Celadon at the Napa Mill
- ZuZu Tapas and Paella on Main Street
- Napa General Store at the Napa Mill
- The Restaurant at CIA Copia
Hit up Oxbow Public Market
Oxbow Public Market is Napa’s public marketplace, home to many vendors and artisans. We’re so lucky that it’s located right in Downtown Napa! If you’ve ever been to the Ferry Building in San Francisco, then you’ll fit right in at Oxbow (and if you’re a newbie, you’ll be right there, too). It’s best enjoyed when you have a little time to stop at all of the eateries for a taste. My favorites are:
- The “Original” Breakfast Sandwich at Model Bakery
- The Margherita pizza at Live Fire Pizza
- Any of the salads at C Casa
- Bacon Cheeseburger at Gott’s
- Wine tasting at Cru @ the Annex
- Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company
Downtown Napa is home to 25 tasting rooms, so you can enjoy the best of the valley right in the district! The area is very walkable, so you don’t need to worry about your car. Some of my fav tasting rooms:
The best part about tasting in Downtown Napa is the Napa Wine Tasting Card, which allows you to visit 10 of those tasting rooms and receive half-priced tastings. The card is $15 and is valid for an entire calendar year. You can pick one up at the visitor’s center or order online.
*These tasting rooms are part of the Downtown Napa tasting program
Now, you don’t have to experience blind taste testing if you don’t want to. I can’t lie, this was fun. On the second round, I guessed pinot gris and it was chardonnay!
The back bar tasting at Brown Estate is very exclusive, as it’s only available on weekdays and comes at a premium. All tastings must be reserved online.
Ready to go to Downtown Napa?
The Downtown Napa Association’s website is your one-stop shop for finding all of the information on the businesses in the downtown district. You’ll also find an events calendar and guides to help you plan your perfect visit. You can also pop into the visitor center down at the riverfront (across from the Napa River Inn entrance) if you have any questions, need recommendations, or just want to say hi!
Many thanks to the Napa Downtown Association for allowing me to explore this spring!