Donapa Itineraries

An Outdoorsy Guide to Downtown Napa

Napa Valley is more than just wine country. The region encompasses picturesque peaks, sweeping vineyards, hidden trails and more. Although Downtown Napa is a thriving center of the city, boasting wine tasting, food and shopping galore, nature lovers and outdoorsy types will be pleasantly surprised to find a host of outdoor activities to enjoy here any time of the year.



A great way to start your morning

Experience a magical morning in napa

Because Downtown Napa enjoys temperate weather and sunny skies most of the year, mornings are a truly magical time. A simple stroll along the Napa River is enough to get your blood flowing and to feel the sunshine on your face. Before you head out on a casual walk, pop by a bakery for a coffee and a bite to eat. You can’t go wrong with Model Bakery, a favorite of locals and travelers (such as Oprah Winfrey) alike. Or, if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, head to Sweetie Pies Bakery for a delectable breakfast pastry.

There are also a few hiking trails in and around Downtown Napa that are perfect for starting the day. Set out on the St. George Waterfall Hike and marvel at the wildflowers lining the trail as you hike to the top, where you will be rewarded with stunning waterfall views. Just outside of Downtown is Skyline Wilderness Park, which features 25 miles of multi-use fireroad and singletrack trails, with difficulties ranging from beginner to advanced.

If you’re cut from a slightly more adventurous cloth, Downtown Napa offers an experience you are unlikely to forget. What better way to experience Napa Valley for the first time than flying high above it, the scenery unfolding beneath you as you look out from a hot air balloon basket? Book a hot air balloon ride with one of Downtown Napa’s balloon companies for a one-of-a-kind Napa Valley morning excursion. Because the sun won’t have yet had time to heat the earth — which can cause unfavorably erratic wind patterns — just before sunrise is the ideal time to soar. The early wake-up call is well worth it: Trust us, it’s the best way to watch a Napa sunrise.

There are a few different options for your sunrise flight. Napa Valley Drifters, Napa Valley Balloons and Balloons Above the Valley all offer hot air balloon packages, with varying upgrades and prices to best suit your trip needs — and of course, wine! Napa Valley Balloons, in partnership with Chandon, features a wine and breakfast package to follow your flight above the valley. Once you land, you’ll be treated to a tasting of some of Chandon’s best wines and breakfast fare.


Afternoon Adventures

Explore the outdoors

As the morning melts away and the sun climbs higher in the sky, it is the perfect time to head to the Napa River. There, you can embark on a kayak tour, and learn a little about the history of the area, or rent a kayak and explore the river on your own terms. Napa Valley Paddle also offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals and lessons for all ages and skill levels. If you have a furry companion, you can even bring them with you on the river, and Napa Valley Paddle will outfit them with their own doggy life vest. If you prefer to stay on dry land, try exploring Downtown on wheels. Fat Tire Bike Rentals can deliver their e-bikes right to your hotel, making it easy to fly through the streets of Downtown.

To see the full scope of Downtown Napa’s incredible surrounding scenery and learn a new skill while you’re at it, Art & Clarity Photography offers a customized three or six-hour guided photography adventure. Learn to shoot like a pro as you explore serene river views, historic neighborhoods and the valley as a whole. Fancy camera equipment isn’t necessary — you can even participate with just your phone camera. Every photography adventure is unique and tailored to your tastes, so you can enjoy a personalized tour of Downtown Napa and capture the memories every step of the way.


Nighttime Wanderings

Sunsets, Dinners, and More

Downtown Napa boasts some absolutely breathtaking sunsets, and a great way to watch one is aboard a private gondola cruise right on the Napa River. While a gondola ride is the perfect choice for couples, the boats accommodate up to six people, so you can take a whole host of friends with you. A tour guide and boat captain will steer you along the water, so no worries about paddling yourself. You can also add a wine tasting to your cruise, allowing you to sip, relax and enjoy the beautiful early evening views of Downtown Napa.

For dinner, there are innumerable fantastic options that feature an outdoor patio, so you can enjoy the evening weather as you dine. Try Oenotri, a traditional Italian restaurant serving up fresh pasta, housemade salumi, Napa-sourced olive oil and more, all within a rustic, intimate setting, and offering an extensive wine list. Or, relax on Angèle’s terrace, which overlooks the Napa River, and enjoy classic French cooking with a California twist.

Before the night is over, enjoy a nightcap at Sky & Vine, a rooftop bar situated atop the Archer Hotel. From there, the whole of Downtown Napa can be seen below you — a stunning view any time of the day. The Haven Cocktail Lounge at the CIA at Copia is another fantastic stop for a late-night drink. Located on the garden terrace, you can enjoy cocktails that feature ingredients sourced directly from their gardens, which are spread out directly below the terrace.

Explore the Heart of Wine Country

In addition to a wide variety of outdoor activities and valley views, Downtown Napa offers unique experiences for every kind of traveler, suitable for any length of stay. Stay for a long weekend or more and customize your experience to be a completely original Downtown Napa adventure. Need some inspiration? Check out one of our other trip itineraries to plan the rest of your trip.