13+ Exciting Things to Do in Napa Besides Wine Tasting!
Take the road less traveled on your California adventure with the best things to do in Napa besides wine tasting!
Napa County is a Northern California dream with world-famous wine vineyards, stunning countryside views, and year-round sun.
And while the Napa Valley wine country is the region’s most popular attraction, there’s so much more to Napa than just wine!
Whether you’re traveling with kids, aren’t big drinkers, or are just looking for some variety in your vacation, I have found 13 fun things to do in Napa besides wine tasting.
To get the most out of your Napa vacation, use this guide to learn the best activities in the town of Napa, as well as some nearby locations.
Here are the BEST things to do in Napa (besides wine tastings!).
This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.
1. Take a bike tour
Napa is the perfect place to explore by bike because of its sunny, pleasant weather, and ample natural beauty.
Biking is a family-friendly activity perfect for expelling some excess energy while enjoying the great outdoors.
And while you could absolutely rent bikes and tour the city alone, I recommend signing up for a guided tour in order to get the insider scoop on Napa’s best-kept secrets.
Napa Valley Bike Tours offers tours are led by expert guides on either full-day or half-day experiences.
Depending on your choice, you’ll bike between 12 and 20 miles!
Prefer a self-guided tour?
They also offer bike rentals so that you can cycle your chosen route.
Oh…and psst! We do love to visit wineries too! Here’s a list of our epic guides to visiting some of our favorite wineries!
- Minnesota Wineries: 15 Must-Try Locations!
- The Best Wineries in Scottsdale, Arizona You Need To Try
- Our 9 Favorite Wineries in Nashville, TN
2. View the local art
One of the best ways to experience a new city is to immerse yourself in the local art scene as it says a lot about the culture of a location.
I recommend seeking out some Napa art, whether that be in a museum, art gallery, or on the streets.
The Napa Art Walk offers a self-guided walking tour of art installations around the city.
A fun fact is that the theme changes every few years for new art and artists to be recognized.
For gallery viewing, di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is home to 1600 works made by local artists, with rotating exhibitions and guided tours available.
(Entry to di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is free for children under the age of 17.)
For more art viewings, visit the Napa Valley Museum where you’ll learn more about the history and culture of the county.
3. Immerse yourself in nature
California is no stranger to unreal natural beauty and Napa follows suit with incredible parks, lookouts, and rolling hills.
One of the best places to experience nature in Napa is Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.
Here, they offer camping, picnicking, swimming, and over 10 miles of hiking trails.
They also offer overnight accommodations in fully-restored historic cabins and awesome yurts!!
Additional planning tip: The park offers a swimming pool open seasonally that is a great spot to cool off on those hot summer days.
4. Take a cooking class
Looking for things to do in Napa besides wine tasting and up trying something completely new?
Consider take a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America!
Located in the heart of Napa, this world-class culinary school offers classes and boot camps that you can take, regardless of your skill level.
Choose between hands-on cooking classes or wine and beverage classes.
They also offer family-friendly classes designed for parents, kids, and teens.
This is such a great option when looking for fun and unique things to do in Napa!
5. Shop and eat at Oxbow Public Market
Home to over 20 different vendors, the Oxbow Public Market is a local gathering place offering artisan cafes, coffee shopes, and organic produce from local farms
They offer products like fresh-made sandwiches, olive oil tastings, artisanal chocolate, and more.
Grab a coffee and stroll around the market for tasty samples, eats, and souvenir options.
And don’t forget to take advantage of the harvest season by picking up farm-fresh produce, as well as relax on the scenic outdoor deck that sits along the Napa River
6. Relax at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
If you’re looking for the ultimate day of relaxation, take a trip to Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.
Located an hour out of Napa, a visit to this luxurious resort & spa is well worth the drive whether you’re staying in their overnight accommodations, or just booking a service.
Here, you can enjoy top-of-the-line spa treatments as well as relax in mineral pools, hot springs, and mud baths with locally sourced volcanic ash mud.
This activity is perfect for special occasions, an anniversary celebration, or when you’re in dire need of some TLC.
7. View the vineyards from a hot air balloon
One of the best things to do in Napa besides wine is, without a doubt, a hot air balloon ride with Napa Valley Balloons.
This unique 45 minute – 1 hour experience takes you way up in the sky for incredible views of wine country whether it be on an early morning excursion or on a sunset float.
Napa Valley Balloons offers several guest package options that include classic balloon rides, both private and group rides, as well as wine tour and balloon flight packages.
This is a Napa experience you won’t forget!
Additional planning tip: Reservations are required, so make sure you book ahead of time.
8. Plan a lake day
What better way to experience sunshiney weather than with a day at the lake?
Lake Berryessa is a great place to unwind and get in your daily dose of fresh air!
Located 45 minutes outside of Napa, this lake is well known for its spillway – a dramatic hole-like opening in the middle of the lake.
While you can’t swim anywhere near this natural phenomenon, there are plenty of safe swimming spots located at the lake.
There are also several hiking trails, biking opportunities, and picnic areas to enjoy a packed lunch.
9. Plan a day trip (or weekend getaway)
If you want to explore a little more of what Northern California has to offer, there are several other nearby cities and counties to visit.
If you’re looking for things to do around Napa besides wine, consider a day trip to:
- The San Francisco Bay Area
- Sonoma County
- Bodega Bay
- Santa Rosa
10. Visit Skyline Wilderness Park
Located in the foothills of Napa Valley, Skyline Wilderness Park offers 9 different hiking trails with various distances and difficulty levels.
Within the park, there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities, including archery, disc golf, camping, biking, fishing, and horseback riding.
They’re also home to the Martha Walker Garden, a habitat garden filled with beautiful flora from around the state.
11. Explore St. Helena
Beyond its countryside charm, Napa has tons to offer in its downtown area.
St. Helena is often referred to as the heart of Napa, acting as Napa Valley’s main street.
Here, you’ll find amazing dining, boutique shops, and galleries.
Explore downtown, attend a seasonal music festival, or take advantage of one of their many annual events.
Off main street, you’ll find Beringer and Charles Krug, two landmark wineries that call St. Helena home.
12. Enjoy fine dining at The French Laundry
If you’re a big foodie, you’ll need to try one of Napa’s award-winning restaurants.
One of the area’s most celebrated spots is The French Laundry – a 3 Michelin star restaurant serving fine french cuisine.
The menu changes daily with tasting menus, wine selections, and locally farmed and foraged ingredients.
While this experience is certainly not a budget-friendly food option, it is a great way to celebrate special occasions with an impeccably curated meal.
Additional planning tip: You’ll need to plan ahead and snag reservations for this experience.
They can be hard to come by due to the restaurant’s immense popularity.
If you need a plan B, give Ad Hoc a try.
This eaterie is created by the same chef, Thomas Keller, and is a more informal dining experience.
13. Tour Napa Valley’s historic buildings
Napa Valley has a long history, with many historic buildings to explore. If you’re interested in history or architecture, a visit to some of these spots is definitely worth the effort!
Enjoy tours as well as great photo opportunities.
Some of the most well-known historic buildings in Napa County include:
Napa Valley Opera House
Dating back to the 1880s, the Napa Valley Opera House is one of Napa’s longest-standing historic buildings.
Today, it acts as a non-profit organization located in downtown Napa; after a 2002 revival, this theater continues to support the performing arts with shows in theater, dance, comedy, and music.
This historic house museum, located in St. Helena, was built by pioneers in 1885; you can visit this stunning Victorian architecture with year-round tours.
Napa County Courthouse Plaza
Consisting of the Hall of Records and the Napa County Courthouse, this plaza features Victorian Italianate architecture dating back to 1878.
First Presbyterian Church
This Neo-Gothic church was built in 1874, and visitors are always welcome.
Bonus Napa Valley Winery Options
Okay, we couldn’t have a Napa guide without some mention of wine.
If you’re interested in sampling some of the amazing wines produced in Napa Valley, there are endless options for you to choose from.
Wine lovers can enjoy tasting rooms along the Napa Valley Vine Trail and learn about wine production at award-winning wineries.
If you want a taste of it all, you can also tour the area with the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Some Napa wineries to explore on your travels include:
- Various Duckhorn Vineyards
- Round Pond Estate
- Castello di Amorosa
- V. Sattui Winery
- Robert Biale Vineyards
- Hendry Winery
- Ashes & Diamonds Winery
- MONTICELLO Napa Winery
- Andretti Winery
This is only a small sampling of the wineries that Napa has to offer.
Learn more about Napa Valley wineries here.
Conclusion: Things to Do in Napa Besides Wine Tasting
I hope you’ve found this guide useful in planning your Napa getaway!
Though it can be tempting to spend your entire Napa vacation luxuriating in wine country, you’d be missing out on so many more incredible experiences that the area has to offer.
So, make sure to fit in some scenic outdoor activities, local art viewings, and community-favorite events.
Have fun and happy planning!
*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to help with your travel planning. Find exclusive travel discounts, and book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*