The Napa Valley is hiding its best-kept secret in plain view. While most people who visit Napa have their sights set on the smaller towns and in-between countryside of the 30-mile-long valley, surprisingly few realize that the valley’s namesake city has come into its own in recent years.
A decade ago, the city of Napa was best known for its ailing downtown and lack of visitor appeal. But a major revitalization has transformed the river-front district, putting it on the map of savvy wine-country visitors.
With a walkable downtown core that mixes cafes, wine bars, restaurants, shops, and green spaces, it’s a nice change of pace from long drives between wineries in the valley. Best of all, you can park once and settle in: Small inns—including the White House Inn, where I was recently a guest—are tucked into the tree-lined residential streets that border downtown, offering a quiet respite within easy walking distance of all the action.
Here are some great places to linger a while in the city of Napa.