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Napa Valley, CA

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About Napa Valley, CA

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Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

One of the Napa Valley's recent success stories is the transformation of Napa, its largest and oldest city (population 78,000), into a spry, hip destination with cool nightspots and affordable lodgings. Although it's definitely a work in progress—you'll still find empty storefronts amid the wine bars, bookstores, and restaurants—Napa attracts more visitors every year.Napa was founded in 1848 in a strategic location on the Napa River, where the Sonoma-Benicia Road (Highways 12 and 29) crossed at a ford. The first wood-frame building was a saloon, and the downtown area still projects an old-river-town vibe. Many Victorian houses have survived, and in the original business district a few older buildings have been preserved, including the turn-of-the-20th-century courthouse and several riverfront warehouses. A walkway follows the river through town, making it more pedestrian-friendly, and new restaurants and hotels keep popping up. If you base yourself here, you'll undoubtedly want to spend some time exploring the beautiful countryside, but don't miss seeing what the Napa Valley's least pretentious town has to offer.

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Things You Can't Miss

Place
Ride the Wine Train
Ride the Wine Train

Take in the valley as you sit back for three hours, rolling past vineyards, drinking wine and eating fine food in a restored Pullman dining car.

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Image Credit

Hoberman Collection/Alamy

Place
A Tip-Top View at Sterling Vineyards
A Tip-Top View at Sterling Vineyards

The visit begins with an aerial tram offering views of Napa Valley on the way to a tasting room. Then sip as you stroll on a self-guided winery tour.

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Image Credit

Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Place
Napa Valley Balloons
Napa Valley Balloons

Revel in gorgeous views as you drift peacefully over the valley. Then tuck into a post-flight breakfast. You won’t regret the early wakeup call.

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Image Credit

Andrea Pistolesi/Getty Images

Place
Shop Oxbow Public Market
Shop Oxbow Public Market

Here’s the place to pick up the local wine, cheese and produce that make this valley famous. You’re just a basket away from a scrumptious picnic.

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Image Credit

Premshree Pillai/Flickr

Place
Hollywood and a Winery in One
Hollywood and a Winery in One

The Francis Coppola winery offers what the others do, but also has a gallery featuring Godfather memorabilia, bocce courts and a pool to lounge by.

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Image Credit

Courtesy Coppola Winery

Place
In the Bread-Baking Biz for Nearly a Century
Samantha's Pick In the Bread-Baking Biz for Nearly a Century

You can’t go wrong at the Model Bakery in Napa — from a satisfying loaf of one their artisanal breads to a dozen decadent Chocolate Rad cookies.

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Image Credit

Zuma Press/Alamy

Place
Best Camp Ever
Samantha's Pick Best Camp Ever

At the Judd’s Hill Winery Bottle Blending Day Camp you’ll taste, learn and blend — and leave with a bottled and labeled wine of your very own.

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Image Credit

Devin Joshua

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Must Reads Before You Go

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Napa Valley Travel Guide

Napa Valley vacation travel guide and tour information and highlights such as the Hess Collection, Oxbow Public Market, Napa Valley Wine Train.

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