My Day in Downtown Napa

Guest post by Jaime Brochu, author of Sunscreen Required

I live in Houston, so I routinely find myself craving the crisp, blue mornings in Napa. The mountains, fresh air, and golden sunshine as it rises high into the sky bring a sense of relaxation like nowhere else.

Downtown Napa is the perfect place to stay when visiting the Northern California wine country. Situated in the midst of some of the world’s finest vineyards, Napa provides a picturesque and energetic atmosphere.  On my most recent visit I stayed at the Avia Hotel on First Street for an eclectic and convenient experience.

The Avia is part of Hyatt’s boutique hotel chain and provides exceptional service, luxury accommodations and the special “little” details that truly make for an enjoyable stay. You can expect to find a perfectly appointed doorman awaiting your arrival, fresh cucumber water available in the lobby, day and night, and true Northern California décor, with rustic and modern accents.

A perfect day in Napa starts with a from-scratch breakfast at Alexis Baking Company. An easy walk from The Avia, you’ll find yourself in a shop filled with the aromas of fresh baked goodies. Alexis Baking Companies’ casual atmosphere and stellar breakfast selections really encompass all that is Napa. Make sure you try their delicious and affordable breakfast sandwiches and decadent pastries.

Once you’ve had your fill at Alexis Baking Company, head on over to Oxbow Public Market. The half-mile stroll will take you past many shops, art galleries and tasting bars, perfect for any special treats for yourself or souvenirs to take home.

At Oxbow, plan on visiting their notable farmers market located outside the main corridor. Local farmers, crafters, and florists alike showcase their organic items available for purchase. The market inside and out is a treat to the senses, as you view the range of colors found in the naturally grown heirloom tomatoes, taste local cheeses, and smell inventive concoctions from Kara’s Cupcakes.

Of course, you can’t forget the wine in Napa, so make sure you get your hands on your favorite bottle at one of the local tasting rooms/restaurants. My favorite is the diner-esque establishment, Gott’s Roadside located at Oxbow. Not only do they have a killer menu showcasing items like the Ahi Poke Tacos, Gott’s also has a considerable wine and micro-brew list. Their outdoor picnic-style setup allows you to truly enjoy what California is known for: the weather!

Make sure to schedule one of the many activities in the area, including golf, hot air ballooning, vineyard experiences, spa services, and the Napa Valley Wine Train.

My favorite nightcap on a fabulous day has to be the rooftop veranda at The Avia. Decorated with wooden swings, a fire pit and Moroccan lanterns, the veranda is the ideal place to swing your cares away with a unique cocktail that would make any foodie swoon.

All in all, you can’t go wrong staying in Downtown Napa. The wide variety of restaurants, activities and shopping make Napa the ideal location to relax and enjoy the wine country!