Napa Valley is not only a haven for wine enthusiasts but also a paradise for holiday seekers. The enchanting landscapes, mild climate, rich history, and festive spirit make it a perfect destination for the winter holidays, offering a unique blend of luxury, relaxation, and an abundance of merriment.
Along with its mild climate, the valley’s beauty is a major attraction as the autumn foliage gives way to a captivating winter landscape, and the vineyards and wineries take on a whole new charm. The holiday spirit permeates every corner of Napa Valley, making it a magical destination during the festive season. The main cities, such as downtown Napa, Yountville, and Calistoga come alive with twinkling lights and decorative displays, and the wineries and restaurants display their festive best, providing a sense of warmth and holiday cheer.
Apart from the visual delights, Napa Valley is renowned for its hospitality. The wineries, hotels, restaurants, and small businesses offer exceptional experiences, pampering visitors with a great selection of wine-country gifts, warm hospitality, gourmet cuisine, and world-class wines. From a cozy fireside wine tasting to savoring farm-to-table delicacies, the valley’s culinary offerings are a treat for food and wine enthusiasts, adding another layer of indulgence to the Christmas holidays.
Each town in Napa hosts unique holiday programming. From local parades, visits with Santa, tree lighting ceremonies, special performances, Holiday craft fairs, and festive Christmas decorations, it is worth making the rounds to add a twinkle to your itinerary.
To take in the ultimate wine country Holiday experience in Napa, consider booking an excursion on the Napa Valley Wine Train or the Napa Valley Wine Trolley. Along with their regular schedules, both companies showcase some of Napa’s most popular locales in their tour programs, each with a festive twist.
Hop aboard the Original Napa Valley Wine Trolley for their Holiday Lights Tour, a joyful tour through historic downtown Napa, Browns Valley, and North Napa. The popular San Francisco vintage cable car (festively decorated for the Holidays) takes visitors and locals on a fun ride filled with classic holiday songs and lots of holiday spirit. The 90-minute tour departs from the Studio at Feast it Forward, a great place to stop before or after for refreshments and local entertainment. // www.napavalleywinetrolley.com/holiday-wine-trolley-tours/
Napa Trolley HOP-ON/HOP-OFF HOLIDAY LOOP: For those who wish to curate their own itinerary, The Downtown Association provides free holiday trolley rides in downtown Napa starting the first weekend in December. The Christmas-decorated trolley will be playing music of the season as it travels between four regular stops — at the Oxbow Public Market, Historic Napa Mill, First & School Streets near the Andaz Hotel, and at Main & Pearl Streets between 3 and 6pm. // www.donapa.com
The Napa Valley Wine Train is one of the few active historic passenger railroads in the United States. With its restored, antique vintage Pullman cars and exemplary dining service, its engaging and memorable experiences echo the glory days of train travel, each offering guests a rolling, luxury excursion through the valley, with stops at famous wineries and points of interest along the way.
This year marks the Napa Valley Santa Train’s 30th Anniversary, offering fun and festive activities, many of which have become a beloved holiday tradition. Dressed in full holiday décor, guests may choose from several distinct experiences over the Holiday season: Santa’s Cookie Car, the Gourmet Holiday Express, Jingle on the Rails, and Very Merry Vista Dome. All Santa Train tickets include a welcome cup of hot cider or cocoa, cheerful carolers at the station, the “North Pole” destination at the Yountville Fire Station, Merry Mailing Center for postcards to Santa, and festive pajamas and gifts for purchase in the Wine Shop. This year, a portion of all the Santa Train ticket sales will be donated to Expressions of Hope and the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation (NCFF). // www.winetrain.com
For the kiddos, check out Silverado Hotel & Resort’s complimentary Santa Train Rides. Gather with family and friends for an enchanting festive journey around the beautifully decorated Mansion Circle. What a perfect way to spark joy and create holiday memories to cherish forever. // www.silveradoresort.com/calendar/event/santa-train/
The Yountville Chamber of Commerce program, Holidays In Yountville, returns for its 7th year, running November 19 – January 1. Holidays in Yountville features over 100 events, programs, and activities by businesses throughout Yountville and the Napa Valley. It also includes Yountville Chamber’s Holiday Gift Guide and spotlight on local Napa Valley Non-Profits for those wanting to give back this holiday season. Some fun events include wreath making, holiday movie night, holiday trivia, the third annual Latke Throwdown, Ice Skating, and much more. // www.yountville.com
Downtown Napa hosts a variety of events, from tree lighting ceremonies to parades, visits with Santa, and a myriad of special programs and offers from local businesses, restaurants, and tasting rooms. The best places to research the most current schedule of events are www.donapa.com and www.visitnapavalley.com.
Don’t miss out on Calistoga’s classic, small-town charm. The streets are festively decorated, and there are many local events, such as wreath-making and cookie-decorating classes and one of the region’s favorites, the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade. The Four Seasons award-winning on-property restaurants offer luscious Christmas and New Year dinner events. // www.visitcalistoga.com // www.calistogachamber.com
In South Napa, The Meritage Resort and Spa also offers a great selection of Holiday programming. Dash away to a winter wonderland and ice skate with family and friends at their holiday ice skating rink, open through January 7. Beer and wine can be purchased from one of their on-site tasting rooms to enjoy rink side or reserve an Igloo or Fire Pit. // www.meritage.com