Grape fields of Napa & Sonoma, USA

Things to do in  Napa & Sonoma

It gets better with age

Just 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of San Francisco, California's premier wine country beckons, inviting travelers to slow down and savor the good life. Together, the Napa and Sonoma valleys offer many miles of rolling vineyards, biking (and tasting) trails, and an extravagance of eateries—from gourmet pop-ups at local wineries to multi-course, Michelin-starred dining experiences. European settlers planted Napa Valley's first grapes in the 1800s, and today, its wines compete with the best in the world. The once-sleepy city of Napa has been transformed into a hub of high-end shopping, cafes, and fine restaurants. Though proud of its equally long winemaking history, Sonoma is better known as a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, which elevated farming to a craft and fresh, local food to an art form. From the leafy, central plaza of ""Slow-noma"" town to trendy Healdsburg, you'll sample some of the county's best food and wine on a tasting tour. Between the two neighboring valleys, there are far more wineries than even the most dedicated oenophile can take in (more than 800), and nearly as many options for exploring the countryside: Ride the historical Napa Valley Wine Train; cruise the Silverado Trail in the back of a chauffeured, air-conditioned limo, bike through Yountville or Dry Creek Valley; canoe down the Russian River; or float above it all in a hot-air balloon. If you somehow overdo it, head to the spa town of Calistoga for a well-deserved break.

Top 15 attractions in Napa & Sonoma

Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market—with dozens of restaurants, food stalls, and shops—brings the bounty of Napa’s famed wine, food, and organic produce under a single roof. Open all day, it’s a one-stop shop for great food, to quickly experience the best of Napa Valley, or relax for a moment at this local gathering place before exploring the region.More

Madonna Estate Winery

Located in the world-renowned Carneros wine region, which straddles the Napa Valley, the Madonna Estate is a unique winery utilizing dry-farming production and organic grapes. The vineyard is family-owned and operated by the Bartoluccis, who use a combination of traditional and modern winemaking techniques to produce handcrafted wines.More

Castello di Amorosa

Fashioned after a 13th-century Tuscan castle, Castello di Amorosa looks like it belongs on an Italian postcard instead of in the heart of California wine country. The vineyard produces several varieties of red and white wines, but many visitors are drawn by the eight-level structure itself, which includes five defensive towers, a drawbridge, and a moat.More


Located at the base of Mount Saint Helena in Napa Valley, Calistoga is known for its laid-back charm, natural hot springs, and volcanic-ash mud baths. In addition to numerous spa resorts, Calistoga also offers proximity to world-class wineries and plentiful restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.More

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Among the rolling golden hills of Sonoma County lies the picturesque Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The tasting room and winery are set in a stunning Italian villa-style building complete with a stone facade, inner courtyard, and sweeping views of the vine-strewn landscape. Coupled with a glass of an Italian varietal, you might just forget that you’re in California wine country.More

V. Sattui Winery

Located in St. Helena, V. Sattui Winery dates back to 1885 and produces small-batch wines with a focus on organic and sustainable farming practices. Learn more about about how its wines are made on a tour of the Italian-style property, or stop by for a tasting.More

Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards

Situated among rolling hills in the Carneros region of Sonoma, Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house to plant roots in the area back in the early 1980s. Today, visitors can sip flights of bubbly on a spacious patio overlooking the vineyards, or head underground on guided tours of the estate’s expansive wine cellars.More

Sutter Home Family Vineyards

Set in the legendary Napa Valley, Sutter Home Family Vineyards has grown from a small business established in 1948 to the second-largest independent, family-run winery in the US. Now producing more than 20 varietals, they were the first winery ever to make white zinfandel. Sutter Home wines are known for quality at an affordable price point.More

Viansa Sonoma Winery

Sample and enjoy wines with a view at Viansa Sonoma Winery. Located at the summit of Sonoma Valley, the winery offers panoramic views over its property, which includes 33 acres (13 hectares) of estate vineyards and 97 acres (39 hectares) of natural wetlands, home to a number of indigenous waterfowl.More

Domaine Chandon

Napa Valley’s Domaine Chandon, which is most famous for producing a French-style sparkling wine, dates back to 1973. Come to celebrate a special occasion or just because you love an excuse to drink bubbly. The winery also makes pinot noir, rosé, and other varietals of still wine.More

V Marketplace

Whether it’s food, art, shopping, or wine you’re after, it can be found at this specialty marketplace in the Town of Yountville. Formerly one of the wine country’s first estates— Groezinger Winery—this boutique shopping complex is now a Napa Valley landmark. It was first restored and converted to stores, galleries, and restaurants in 1968.More

Benziger Family Winery

Known for growing organic grapes and using sustainable farming practices, Benziger Family Winery attracts visitors with its open-air tram tours that show off the beautiful property spread across the hills of Sonoma County. The winery is set in the town of Glen Ellen, making it easy to visit from both San Francisco and Napa.More

Raymond Vineyards

If you’re looking to shake up your wine tasting experience then Raymond Vineyards may be the place for you. With a variety of tasting rooms—including a colorful cellar and luxurious red room—plus tours and experiences to choose from, the winery offers a unique glimpse into their biodynamic practices that’s perfect for any wine lover.More

Russian River

California's Russian River is one of the longest rivers in the San Francisco Bay Area, beginning in Mendocino County and cutting through Sonoma County on its way to the ocean. The area is famous for its wine and farm-to-table cuisine, and in warm weather the river is a hotspot for outdoor adventures like canoeing, swimming, and fishing.More

Safari West

Safari West is a 400-acre (162-hectare) private wildlife preserve located in Santa Rosa, California. The park focuses on species native to Africa and is home to more than 800 wild animals, including cheetahs, Cape buffalo, zebras, rhinos, and giraffe.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Napa & Sonoma

Wine Country Join-in Flight

Wine Country Join-in Flight

Half-Day Napa Valley E-Bike Tour

Half-Day Napa Valley E-Bike Tour

Napa and Sonoma Wine and Food Experience (Napa pickup)
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#1 Sonoma Walking Food, Wine & History Tour (Small Groups)
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#1 Sonoma Walking Food, Wine & History Tour (Small Groups)

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6 Hours Wine Tour in Napa & Sonoma with Pick up from Napa
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Napa Wine Tasting Tour

Napa Wine Tasting Tour

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People Also Ask

Is Napa or Sonoma better?

Napa and Sonoma both provide picturesque landscapes, top-notch wine tasting experiences, and incredible culinary finds. Napa Valley offers rolling hills from Alexander Valley to Rutherford and contains many notable varietals, including cabernet sauvignon. Sonoma County has a unique coastal influence with its sauvignon blancs and smaller private vineyards where you can truly interact with winemakers.

Is it cheaper to stay in Napa or Sonoma?

Napa Valley tends to be pricier, but it does offer higher-end winery experiences and quieter lodging options like boutique spas and luxury resorts. On the other hand, Sonoma typically has more budget-friendly options with smaller, family-run wineries and more outdoor activities such as biking trails and farmers markets.

How many days do you need in Napa and Sonoma?

Without rushing your adventure through wine country, four or five days will provide a balance of learning, relaxation, and tasting. This allows ample time to fully soak up the stunning scenery, explore different wineries, try delicious local dishes, and venture outside with a variety of activities such as cycling.

What is the best month to visit Napa?

May and September are the two most popular months for visiting Napa Valley—and for good reason. The weather is ideal in both months—sunny but not uncomfortably hot, so perfect for being outdoors. There are also plenty of festivals happening in May, while September kicks off the wine harvest.

How many wineries in a day is best in Napa and Sonoma?

To fully appreciate the beauty of each estate, it’s best to keep it to two to three wineries per day of touring. Whether you’re exploring on your own or as part of a winery tour, quality over quantity is the best strategy to keep in mind when planning your tastings.

What do you wear to Sonoma or Napa winery?

While the dress codes vary from winery to winery, comfort is key for this type of adventure. Breathable clothing that won’t restrict your movement, paired with comfortable sneakers for walking is ideal. As for color palettes and patterns, lighter colors are recommended to help beat any potential heat during the warmer months.

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