Top 10 things to do in downtown Napa: Part 1 (Numbers 7 to 10)

I have compiled a list of the top ten things you should do while visiting downtown Napa, starting at number 10 and work up to reveal number 1. Here are numbers 7-10. Photo: Napa Wine Train, Photo S. Perkovich

SAN FRANCISCO, June 5, 2012When one thinks of Napa, one thinks of rolling vineyards, award-winning wines and restaurants, and some of the best hotels and spas in the country.  What one might not think about is the city of Napa itself, which has existed for 165 years.  Originally the city was small, consisting only of a general store, saloon, church, school, train station and a few stores for trading, and inns for travelers and gold miners taking a break from the call of gold.

Today, the city of Napa has itself grown into an urban destination.  It is filled with bustling high-end restaurants, hotels, boutique wine tasting rooms, wine bars, chocolate makers, art, shopping, entertainment and nightlife.  Napa has embraced its long history and its proximity to award-winning wines, and has totally revived its downtown area. 

I have compiled a list of the top ten things you should do while visiting downtown Napa, starting at number 10 and work up to reveal the number 1 thing to do while in downtown Napa.  In part one of this article, numbers 7 to 10 are featured.

10. Walking Art

Napa Valley is home to amazing art, inspiring music, and architecture, from the outdoor renovations along the river, to intimate art showings at wineries throughout the valley.  A wonderful way to explore renovated downtown while taking in some art is with the Napa ARTwalk.  Stroll at your leisure, appreciating the 14 different pieces of art that are spread around the downtown area.  Enjoy last year’s People’s Choice Winner, “Fish On” by Terrence Martin,  “Freewheelin’” by James Haire, and the Van Gogh-inspired “Napa Sunflower” by Patricia Vader. Check the Legendary Napa Valley visitor center and website for more information on art displays in the Valley. 

Napa ARTwalk, Freewheelin’ by James Haire

9. Relaxing & Delicious Wine Train

If you find yourself in Napa for a few days and want one day to relax but still want to taste wine, then the Wine Train is for you.  Enjoy rolling through Napa Valley while on a piece of moving history.  The super-posh, vintage rail cars take you on a three-hour laid-back journey through wine country.  Sip wines from all over Napa, eat food prepared exquisitely by Chef Kelly Macdonald, and soak in the peaceful Napa views as you roll through the countryside.  There’s no hustling and bustling from winery to winery on the wine train.  The wineries are brought to you, or more to the point, to your glass, and all you have to do is kick back and enjoy! For an extra treat, check out one of their Murder Mystery events. 

Napa Uptown Theatre

8. Fun Filled Concerts & Entertainment:

You might be thinking to yourself: “concerts in Napa?”  The answer to that question is: “Heck yes!”  Between the Napa Opera House, Uptown Theatre and Silo’s, you will have your pick of concerts, comedians and other entertaining performances.  These aren’t unknown bands playing here, either.  These are big names like Indigo Girls, Lyle Lovett, Ray Davies, Willie Nelson and Chris Isaak. 

There is also entertainment like the Napa Valley Ballet, Jazz Getaway, Cabaret and Classic Film Series at the Opera House.  Silo’s is known for their jazz and comedians.  So after a day of wine tasting, your day doesn’t need to end.  Make one of these venues a reason for your trip, and the wine will be a nice bonus.  

 7. Serenity Spa Days

If you are anything like me, you relish in a relaxing day spent at the spa.  In San Francisco, most spas are places you go in for a treatment and go home, so the idea of spending a day or half a day wrapped up in lavish body treatments, cleansing facials and detoxifying massages is high on my list.  Calistoga often gets the love and attention for being a spa destination, but here are a few great reasons to come to downtown Napa instead.

Spa Terra, Meritage Resort. Image: Rex Gelert

Spa Terra at the Meritage Resort: this is exactly what I have in mind when I want to spend the day at a spa.  Terra is located at the back of the Meritage Resort property and is in the wine caves they share with Trinitas Cellars.  You are immediately intoxicated by the smell of lavender and cucumber, while being surrounded by the tranquility and vastness of the caves.  There are 12 treatment rooms, a large relaxation lounge, whirlpools, steam grottos and soothing waterfalls.   At Terra they want to relax all your senses, not just your body.  They offer facial treatments, massages, body treatments and options for “love for two.”

La Pelle Skin Spa & Boutique: located at the Historic Napa Mill, this full service, Italian-inspired day spa offers pampering meant for royalty.  Customize your own day here with facials, massage, body treatments, waxing services, spray tanning, lash and brow enhancement and chemical peels and other more advanced treatments.  The only challenge you will face is choosing what services to use.

The Spa at Napa Valley Marriott: conveniently located for those staying at the Marriott Napa, this spa might not be as aesthetically pleasing as Spa Terra, but they don’t lack for services or accommodating their guests’ every desire.  Services offered include: 10 different massage choices with various add-ons, like aromatherapy scalp, neck and hand/foot massage, 8 different facials, advanced skin care treatments like 24-hour face lift, and peels, body scrubs and cleanses.  You can even get your hair cut and a mani/pedi here.   

Additional spas can be found on the website.

Numbers 6 all the way through to number one on this top ten list are yet to come.  What will be number one?

Stay tuned!

Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between. 

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.  

Read more of Sherrie’s work at Out And About San Francisco in the Communities at the Washington Times.  Follow Out and About on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop.  Follow her on Pinterest to follow the visual story.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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