Gay-Friendly Guide to Napa Valley

By Jimmy Im

Napa Valley is undeniably one of the world's most renowned regions for wine. The climate, the landscape, the food, and (obviously) the vino make for a destination that's unbeatable in Northern California, so it's no surprise the gay community comes in droves. LGBT travelers have been vacationing in the region for decades (thanks mostly to its easy access from San Francisco), and their presence has never been stronger. Gay-owned hotels like Inn on First in Downtown Napa, restaurants like Barolo in Calistoga, and even gay-themed activities ensure Napa Valley will always be welcome to “friends of the family.” We compiled a first-timers mini-guide to Napa for gay travelers… and pretty much anyone who wants to tag along, really.

Downtown Napa:

(Photo Credit: Fodor's)

The Inn on First: Downtown Napa Valley is chockfull of charming B&Bs but this gay-owned boutique B&B is far from the norm. Housed in a 1905 building, The Inn on First is owned by a gay couple (Jamie and Jim) with an eye for design. The ten rooms are colorful with contemporary furnishings, spacious bathrooms, and corner Jacuzzi tubs. Most of the rooms get tons of sunlight, even in the garden and dining area. The couple really puts the “breakfast” in B&B, thanks to Jim's culinary background.

Insider Tip: Snacks are served throughout the day; prepare yourself for some addictive chocolate chip cookies.

Napa Valley Wine Train:

(Photo Credit: Fodor's)

There's no better way to see the sprawling vineyards of Napa while wining and dining. One of the country's only active, historic passenger railroads, Napa Valley Wine Train provides a scenic ride through Napa Valley for lunch or dinner. The Big Gay Wine Train event hosted by Out in the Vineyard takes place March 16. The package includes train fare, a four-course meal, and four pre-selected wines for $160.

Insider Tip: We prefer the lunchtime departures for the gorgeous views through the duration of the trip.

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