Yes, there is a downtown Napa, and it’s bustling with shops

BySophia Markoulakis

Shopping downtown Napa can be a bit of an adventure for the uninitiated. Three micro districts — Oxbow, Riverfront and West End — make up the historic commercial corridor, and newer developments, such as the Shops at Napa Center, are in the works.

As scattered as that seems, the shopping districts are still within close proximity to one another and are easily walkable, and businesses are working together to function as a unified downtown. This dedication was evident when the Aug. 24 earthquake hit and those with the most damage received an immediate response from others.

“We’re all in touch with each other, helping each other out. There is a community spirit of rebuilding that’s come from the earthquake,” says Indra Fortney, owner of Boho Lifestyle, one of the shops that has been temporarily displaced.

Leading the effort to help visitors navigate downtown Napa is Kristina Young, manager of the Grand Hand Gallery. Last year, she and Fortney created a shopping guide for visitors, paid for by merchants from all three districts (

“Customers kept asking me the same questions: 'Where is downtown? Am I in downtown?’ So I decided if no one was going to create a shopping guide and map, I might as well,” says Young.

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