Wanted: Napa Valley Recommendations

I’ve gotten amazing recommendations in the past from you guys for great restaurants and things to do in both Venice and in Paris – and now I’m hoping to get some fabulous suggestions for an upcoming trip to Napa, California later this month. There’s just one hitch… my oldest daughter is heading out to this area for school, we’ll be bringing along all three of our kids. Having been to Napa years ago with my husband, I know the main focus here is on wine – with wine tasting and vineyard tours as the big attraction. I’m hoping we can come up with some interesting family friendly alternatives…looking for some museums, hikes, parks, galleries up for any and all ideas!

I’m also hoping to get some restaurant suggestions. I’ve looked into the famous French Laundry, and it turns out they will be closed for renovations this month…grrrr! But, I’ve heard both Auberge Du Soleil and Bouchon (both pictured below) are outstanding as well! We’ll also be spending a little bit of time in San Francisco…so any tips for this city will be much appreciated as well! Shoot me an email  or leave a comment below. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Sara wrote:

    So fun! We love Napa and in fact are headed there with friends for my 40th in February. Some of our favorites: Farmstead, Archatype (Howard Backen), Redd Wood, Bottega, Bouchon, and Press (also Backen). You really can't go wrong! You should definitley hit the Model Bakery for English muffins in St. Helena and jump across the street to Erin Martin's funky design showroom while you're there. Auberge has fab views – good for lunch with the family and you should request to see the suites that Suzanne Tucker recently designed. If you do get to hit up a winery, you might enjoy Swanson vineyards…so chic and fun!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  2. A year ago, Sue, we stayed at the Vintage/VillagioHotel..on the main street in Yountville for a wedding. We loved the hotel. It was comfy, cozy, very nice but unassuming. I requested a room with more private outdoor space, and got it. Very accommodating. Their Complimentary breakfast buffet includes pastries from the Bouchon Bakery..where everyone else in town waits in line for! They also create chocolate waffles, chicken and waffles , and eggs outdoors..oh and the champagne flows freely along with make your own Bloody's bar. The kids and you, too, will love Redd Wood for fabulous California Pizza. You can walk to most restaurants including French Laundry. Excited for you!!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  3. Heather wrote:

    Farmstead, Bottega in the Napa area are both places we return to every year. In SF, Seven Hills (you have to make a reservation a month in advance). Go to Muir Woods a beautiful place to spend time with family. In the city we go to Golden Gate Park, every time we visit find something new to see and do in the park.

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  4. Lucky you….we have stayed at Auberge and Bardessono, and honestly loved both. Your kids would probably like Bardessono way better for the "cool factor", rooftop pool and proximity to the town, with Bouchon Bakery almost across the street how can you complain!
    We love Bistro Jeanty (lunch or casual dinner, best quiche I have ever had), Bottega, French Laundry (not for kids though), Redd…and am sure there are many others that are new since we have been there. We are hoping to go in June, so I may be asking you for recommendations:) Have fun, good luck to your daughter and hope your new year is off to a great start!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  5. San Francisco: go to the Ferry Building, it's tourist-filled but who cares as there is a great variety of food deliciousness!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  6. Just got back from Napa three weeks ago. LOVED our dinner at Press in St. Helena!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    You must stay at Hotel Yountville! It's a gorgeous property that's walking distance to all of Yountville's great restaurants and shops (Bouchon, etc). They property is comfortable and easy for a family, plus they have bikes you can take out to ride around town in, so much fun! Favorite eateries of mine include those mentioned in other comments, as well as Redd's, Ad Hoc and R + D. Auberge du Soleil is a must for it's gorgeous views. You can also set up a private hike of Mount Veeder, which is a great activity for the family, and also an awesome learning experience, as it's a guided hike and they explain so much about the grapes and wine growing during the hike…not boring, I promise! The views are stunning and I think it's interesting enough that the kids will enjoy it.

    In terms of SF, so many great spots to dine and see! The Ritz has absolutely unparalleled views of the city and bridges/water and really is a must stay (one of the higher floors). Activities that would be fun include visiting Lombard St, Chinatown, Lands End, Ghiradelli Square, Crissy Field (Full House St/Park), Alcatraz, SF Palace of Fine Arts (gorgeous park!).

    Enjoy! Can't wait for the recap!

    Published on 1.4.17 · Reply
  8. I second the Hotel Yountville recommendation! Also Redd, Ad Hoc…and my favorite winery=Cliff Lede. Enjoy!

    Published on 1.5.17 · Reply
  9. I LOVE Bottega, Archetype and Redd!!! Can't wait to hear more!!

    Published on 1.5.17 · Reply
  10. Emily wrote:

    Well, The French Laundry is iconic. And I really loved Mustards Grill. And please do yourself a big favor and visit Pride Mountain. Hands down, our most favorite vineyard. 20-25 min drive up a winding tall road, but it's worth it! And go do olive oil tasting as well. Round Pond was my favorite! Yummy and educational. Get reservations. Have a blast!

    Published on 1.10.17 · Reply
  11. Tracey wrote:

    Hi Sue!
    I love Napa so much! I would second the recommendation for Mustards in St Helena. I would also recommend taking the kids to The Culinary Institute and to http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/. It is a winery that is a castle. They might enjoy it. Have a wonderful time there!

    Published on 1.14.17 · Reply