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Where to Stay in Napa Valley | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Napa Valley | Best Areas & Hotels

Figuring out where to stay in Napa Valley will depend on a few things, but mostly it’ll depend on what sort of wine you like to drink. “The heart of Wine Country” is definitely befitting of the name, and there are plenty of vineyards that you can visit.

However, aside from that, there are also many other interesting attractions that you explore. Read on to learn where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and much more.

Where to Stay in Napa Valley

Napa Valley has some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes as well as quite a few museums, art galleries, and theaters. Restaurants, bars where you can enjoy a drink and a performance, and even hiking trails where you can get some exercise and fresh air all abound in Napa Valley.

However, as we said, the main reason why Napa Valley is so well-known and the main reason why most people visit it is because of the many vineyards and distilleries.

Either way, we’ll take you through it all, and by the end of the article, you should have a very clear picture of where to go in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley’s 5 Best Areas

Map of the best places to stay in Napa Valley as seen topographically

Sky Sajjaphot/Shutterstock

Napa Valley honestly doesn’t have too many cities that we need to cover, but it’s still a pretty big area where you can waste your vacation or weekend if you don’t know all the right places.

The following are the best areas in Napa Valley that you can visit:

  1. St. Helena: Wine aficionado’s paradise
  2. Calistoga: Spas and hot springs as well as wine
  3. Downtown Napa: The nightlife hub in Napa Valley
  4. North Napa: A little bit of everything for everyone
  5. South Napa: Plenty of entertainment venues and hiking trails you can try out

Napa Valley’s Best Areas and Hotels

The region that’s known as Napa Valley is actually mostly grasslands and open fields with very few areas that are actually inhabited. The population is pretty low, but luckily, the number of hotels and attractions is through the roof.

You’re likely going to be able to find a vacancy regardless of where you’re staying, but the room that you get might not exactly fit your budget or your standards. This is exactly why we’ve compiled a list of the best hotels that you can find while taking everyone’s budget into account.

1. St. Helena

St. Helena, one of our top picks for where to stay in Napa Valley, pictured overlooking the Alexander Valley

Gibson Outdoor Photo/Shutterstock

There’s a reason why Napa Valley is also referred to as the heart of Wine Country, California. There are dozens of prominent vineyards and at least twice as many smaller vineyards that still produce great bottles of wine that you can try out.

Coming to Napa Valley and not visiting at least ten or so distilleries should be considered a crime, so don’t make that mistake. Okay, we might be slightly exaggerating, but going on a distillery run is honestly one of the main reasons why people come to St. Helena and the Valley in general.

The small city is quite literally surrounded by vineyards, so picking just one to visit would be almost impossible. What you should do instead is try to test your palate and go on an actual wine tasting spree in several of these distilleries.

You won’t be able to become a professional sommelier overnight, but you’d be surprised how much you can learn about wines on these tours. You’ll be able to enjoy a drink while also broadening your horizons and well of knowledge — what’s not to love?

St. Helena is a small city out in the country, so there’s plenty of fresh air and a chill atmosphere of peace and quiet.

Unfortunately, there’s not much else to do around these parts. There are a few activities here and there, but apart from the wine-tasting tours you can take part in, the city is too small for other attractions.

Things to Do

  • Markham Vineyards, Titus Vineyards, and Joseph Phelps Vineyards are just some of the distilleries that you can visit that are located close to the city.
  • One of the best things that you can do in this area is to find a hot air balloon rental and get the best view of the valley from way up above the ground.
  • The countryside is beautiful here, so it’s a great opportunity for you to get your sneakers on and do a bit of hiking.

Where to Eat

Helena Budget Hotels

  • Spanish Villa Inn comes with an AC unit and free WIFI in every room, as well as a rose garden where you can sit down and enjoy a drink in the evening.
  • Vineyard Country Inn comes with a swimming pool and spa that guests can use, as well as a cable TV and an AC unit in every room.

Helena Mid-Range Hotels

  • Napa Farmhouse Inn comes with a free breakfast each morning, a garden that guests can enjoy, and some rooms even come with a fireplace and a balcony.
  • Wine Country Inn Napa Valley comes with a flat-screen cable TV in every room, as well as a complimentary breakfast each morning and free WIFI throughout the property.

Helena Luxury Hotels

  • Harvest Inn has an outdoor swimming pool that all of the guests can use, a cable TV and free WIFI in every room, and a full-service spa that’ll allow you to unwind and relax at the end of the day.
  • Alila Napa Valley comes with a free parking spot for all of the guests, an outdoor swimming pool, and an in-house restaurant, as well as a fully-equipped fitness center and an American breakfast each morning.

2. Calistoga

Entrance sign to Calistoga Valley for a piece titled where to stay in napa valley

Allard One/Shutterstock

Like most cities in Napa Valley, Calistoga isn’t exactly large, but it has a few interesting attractions that draw people in. For example, the city is surrounded by natural hot springs and mud baths.

This makes this small settlement an excellent place to visit if you’re looking to relax a bit and maybe try out a spa treatment or two. However, while the spa sessions are great, the most famous attraction in the city would definitely have to be Castello di Amorosa.

This is a 13th-century-style castle that offers both guided tours of the property and a wine-tasting tour of the specific bottles produced by the vineyard that surrounds the castle.

The castle itself doesn’t have any history like most of the constructions found in Europe and was only commissioned in 1995, making it newer than most houses.

Regardless, the castle itself looks amazing, and it’s definitely worth checking out and basking in the atmosphere resembling a slice of Italy. As with the previous city that we mentioned, Calistoga is a great destination if you want to visit the castle and the hot springs.

But it has very little else going for it. There’s a lot of greenery and beautiful scenery, but if you’re someone that’s in nightlife apart from the daily activities, then this isn’t the right place for you.

Things to Do

  • Visit the Castello di Amorosa to take a tour of the relatively newly constructed castle and try out some of the local wines at the end of the tour.
  • Try out a few of the many spas and hot springs that are scattered all around the city and just sit back and relax for a while.
  • Go to the Mount St. Helena Golf Course and play a few holes, or at least go to the driving range and get a few swings in.

Where to Eat

  • House of Better offers both dine-in and take-out options.
  • Local Q 707 is just a small eatery, but it’s a great place to get some breakfast.
  • Sam’s Social Club is a great bar where you can get a bite to eat and a stiff drink.

Calistoga Budget Hotels

  • The Bergson provides all of the guests with concierge services, homemade granola, pastries, and fruit in the lobby every morning, and rooms with cable TV.
  • Aurora Park Cottages comes with a free continental breakfast each morning, a flat-screen TV in every room, and a balcony with a view for every room.

Calistoga Mid-Range Hotels

  • Dr. Wilkinsons Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs provides all of the guests with an à la carte breakfast each morning, as well as both an outdoor and an indoor swimming pool and free WIFI throughout the property. 
  • Golden Haven Hot Springs comes with a hot spring and an indoor pool that all of the guests can take advantage of, a business center, and a rec room equipped with billiards and a pingpong table.

Calistoga Luxury Hotels

  • Solage, Auberge Resorts Collection comes with an in-house restaurant with a pretty chic menu, a fully-equipped fitness center and a swimming pool that guests can take advantage of, and even a CD and DVD player in all of the rooms.
  • Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley comes with a front desk that’s always available, an outdoor pool and a fitness center, and a full spa and wellness center that comes with various treatments.

3. Downtown Napa

Scenery of downtown Napa pictured on a cloudy day for a piece on Where to Stay in Napa Valley

mTaira/Shutterstock

Downtown Napa is a pretty small section of the city that’s comprised of just a few streets. Despite the diminutive size, there’s quite a lot to see in this small area of the town. This is, without a doubt, the spot to visit if you’re interested in the nightlife in Napa Valley.

There are plenty of bars that you can visit where you can grab a craft beer, restaurants where you can enjoy a bite to eat, and plenty of entertainment venues.

As is the running theme in Napa Valley, there are also plenty of wine bars where you can try a few interesting vintages, but that should hardly be a surprise by now. If you’re tired of wine at this point, you can always visit one of the many cocktail bars and try out something a bit more interesting.

In terms of entertainment venues, there are a lot of interesting art exhibits that you can check out, like the Napa Art Walk, for instance. This is essentially an open-air art exhibit that takes you past some incredible murals and paintings.

This is also where you’ll find the Blue Note Napa, which doubles as both a jazz music club and a gourmet restaurant. You can listen to some groovy music while enjoying your meal.

But you can also come back at night and have a drink in the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant. Aside from the open-air art exhibit that we mentioned, most of the attractions in this area of the city can be pretty pricey.

You won’t go bankrupt, but if you want to enjoy the more glamorous restaurants and bars, then you’ll need to be prepared to spend a bit more than you would in other areas.

Things to Do

  • Check out the murals on the Napa Art Walk, as well as other attractions like the many unique sculptures that are littered all over the place in this area.
  • Try to catch a gig at the Blue Note and spend an evening just enjoying the music, the food, and the drinks.
  • Visit the Oxbow Public Market and check out all of the different sorts of produce that they have in stock, as well as local wines that you won’t be able to try anywhere else.

Where to Eat

  • Downtown Joe’s is the best place to go if you want to try some home-brewed beers.
  • Stefano’s pizza is the best place in the area if you’re in the mood for a slice.
  • Celadon is an upscale restaurant that serves great comfort food.

Downtown Napa Budget Hotels

  • Napa Valley Hotel & Suites comes with a cable TV and free WIFI in every room, an outdoor pool that you can use, and even a coffee machine for your morning cup of wakeup juice.

Downtown Napa Mid-Range Hotels

  • R Inn Napa comes with a free parking spot for aloof the guests, an AC unit and a cable TV in every room, and free WIFI throughout the property.
  • Napa River Inn comes with a flat-screen cable TV and free WIFI in every room, as well as coffee and tea-making facilities that all of the guests can take advantage of.

Downtown Napa Luxury Hotels

  • Archer Hotel Napa comes with an American breakfast that’s served in the lobby every morning, a flat-screen TV and a mini-bar in every room, as well as an on-site restaurant with a pretty decent menu.
  • The Westin Verasa Napa provides all of the guests with access to an outdoor pool that they can use, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV in every room, room service, and a coffee and tea maker that all of the guests can use.

4. North Napa

Napa Valley Wine Train pictured going through North Napa, one of the best places to stay in Napa Valley

Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a 36-mile ride that lasts for three hours and takes you from Napa to St. Helena and back again. During this trip, you’ll see some of the biggest vineyards in the area, get a chance to tour all of them, and see the sights.

The train itself also has quite a large selection of wines from these same vineyards that guests can try out while they travel. North Napa also serves as the “greatest hits” of all of the attractions we’ve covered so far.

There are plenty of vineyards that you can visit, a lot of fancy restaurants where you can eat, great bars where you can get a drink, and spas where you can relax.

You also have entertainment venues like the Jarvis Conservatory and the Uptown Theater, where you might be able to catch a play. There’s also the Gordon Huether Studio & Gallery, where you’ll be able to see some interesting paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art.

North Napa really does have a little bit of everything for everyone, but the main problem is that it doesn’t really have anything specific going for it. Downtown has better bars, St. Helena has more vineyards, and South Napa has a few museums and theaters as well.

This is a great place to stay for a few days, but you might get bored. However, if you only have a few days and want a taste of everything Napa Valley offers, this is your top choice.

Things to Do

  • The Napa Valley Wine Train is a definite must for anyone that’s staying in this part of the city and wants to get the full wine country experience in one three-hour round trip.
  • Visit the Gordon Huether Studio & Gallery if you’re interested in checking out all of the different paintings that they have on display.
  • Check out the program on the front of the many theaters that can be found in this area of the city and try to catch a play.

Where to Eat

  • North Napa BBQ is the best place to go if you want to get some ribs.
  • Dutch Bros Coffee is where you go in the morning when you need a cup a’ joe.
  • Golden Bagel Cafe offers quite a wide selection of different breakfast foods.

North Napa Budget Hotels

  • Chablis Inn is a pretty small inn, but it comes with a hot tub that guests can use, as well as a cable TV and a coffee maker in every room.
  • Chardonnay Lodge provides all of the guests with a free parking spot and free WIFI in every room, as well as a cable TV and a microwave in every room.

North Napa Mid-Range Hotels

  • SENZA Hotel comes with an outside pool, a room that has a cable TV with a CD player, and a free continental breakfast each morning.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Napa provides you with a free parking spot, an AC unit, and a cable TV in every room, as well as a fitness center that all of the guests can use.

North Napa Luxury Hotels

  • Hotel Indigo Napa Valley comes with an outdoor pool that all of the guests can use, a refrigerator and microwave in every room, as well as a fitness center, and a hot tub.
  • Milliken Creek Inn provides you with a complimentary American breakfast each morning, a flat-screen cable TV and an iPod docking station in every room, and a complimentary wine and cheese reception that’s available on a daily basis.

5. South Napa

South Napa Valley, one of the best places to stay in Napa, pictured on a sunny day

AlessandraRC/Shutterstock

If you’re tired of wine tasting, then you might be interested to find out that this area of the city has quite a few places where you can try some craft beer. These are bars where you can just walk in and try the many exotic flavors.

It’s a great way to spend a night and a fun way to find a new favorite drink. If you go a little bit out of the city, you’ll be able to find the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

This is an excellent destination for a day trip, and you can spend hours just walking around and taking in all of the exhibits that are on display here. South Napa has quite a lot of parks and hiking trails that you can try out as well.

It’s a great place to go if you like to take walks or want to spend your vacations surrounded by nature. You might also be interested in trying out the kayak rentals that allow you to paddle down the Napa River and take in the beautiful surroundings that you’ll see along the way.

South Napa has pretty much the same issue as the north side of the city.

There are cafes, bars, and different attractions that you can visit, but none of them really stand out as a vacation-maker. This is a spot where you’d have fun if you visited, but there’s nothing here that would draw people in.

Things to Do

  • Renting a gondola and going for a moonlit ride on the Napa River is a great way to spend a romantic evening or just see the city lights.
  • Take a walk through this section of the city if you want to check out the many bars that specialize in craft beers and get yourself a nice cold drink.
  • The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art and all of the interesting paintings and sculptures that are displayed inside are a must-see attraction.

Where to Eat

  • Emmy Lou’s Diner is an old-school diner with a great selection of dishes on the menu.
  • Black Bear Diner Napa is where you go if you’re in the mood for some comfort food and some dessert.
  • La Cheve Bakery and Brews has quite a large selection of pastries to choose from. 

South Napa Budget Hotels

  • Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham has a reception desk that’s always available, free parking for all of the guests, and free WIFI throughout the property.
  • Cedar Gables Inn provides all of the guests with a spa bath in all of their rooms, as well as free toiletries and free WIFI.

South Napa Mid-Range Hotels

  • Napa Discovery Inn comes with a flat-screen satellite TV in every room, free WIFI throughout the property, and a free continental breakfast each morning.
  • Best Western Plus Inn at the Vines has a satellite TV in every room, a decently-sized outdoor pool that guests can use, and even a hot tub.

South Napa Luxury Hotels

  • Hampton Inn & Suites comes with a fully-equipped fitness center where guests can go if they want to work out, a hot tub and an outdoor swimming pool that they can take advantage of, and a coffee machine in every room.
  • Elm House Inn comes with a free breakfast each morning, as well as complimentary homemade chocolate chip biscuits that are served every evening, and even a tea and coffee maker in every room.

So, Where Should You Stay in Napa Valley?

As we’ve already mentioned before, Napa Valley isn’t all that big if you know where you’re going and what attractions you want to visit, so as a bit of a refresher, here’s everything that you actually need to know about navigating the area.

The south and north sides of Napa have a few differences, but you’ll be able to find all sorts of interesting attractions regardless of which area you pick.

The downtown area of the City of Napa is a lot more packed with bars and restaurants, and it’s the place you’ll want to go if you feel like partying.

St. Helena is the best place for wine enthusiasts who want to try as many vintages as possible, and Calistoga is a great retreat that’s full of hot springs and resorts.

However, any area you choose has something unique, so you really can’t go wrong picking any of the part of town we’ve listed above. Happy travels!