The Napa Valley Guide
As total winos, we’re always taking notes on the best spots in Napa (cue Escapes for Foodies and Winos). The region’s old greats, like The French Laundry, Opus One, and Auberge du Soleil, will always rank high in our hearts for continuing to set crazy-high standards for food, wine, and luxury. That said, we’ve also discovered some pretty awesome off-the-beaten path wineries and restaurants in Calistoga and Napa’s less-touristy neighbor, Sonoma Valley, that are worth checking out too.
Napa Valley Wine Train1275 McKinstry St., Napa | 800.427.4124
Although it's unabashedly touristy, the wine train is an easy, laid-back way to experience the geography of the region, and a great way to do it with kids. You can sign up for a winery tour or a lunch, but we like it best at dinner, when you can watch the sun set over the hills as you chug along.
Napa Valley Balloons4086 Byway E., Napa | 707.944.0228
There's almost no better way to experience the rolling hills of the landscape here than to see them from above—between the views and the close quarters, a balloon ride is surprisingly romantic, too. The folks at Napa Valley Balloons have been in the business forever—and since these trips typically start at ungodly early hours, they're considerate enough to arrive with plenty of coffee in hand.
The Cameo Cinema1340 Main St., St. Helena | 707.963.9779
Nothing says small town like a local movie theater, and this spot—one of the last single screen theaters in the country—is truly a neighborhood treasure. It's incredibly well maintained, and since they typically have a good selection of kids movies in the afternoon, it's a great rainy day activity to keep in your back pocket.