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  • Writer's pictureTara Wilson

5 Reasons to Make Downtown Napa Your Next Winter Getaway

Our trip to Downtown Napa became one of my favorite winter getaways ever, and I can't wait to show you why!

For my boyfriend and me, Napa was always high on our California Bucket List - so when my boyfriend surprised me for my birthday with a trip to Downtown Napa, I got so excited and immediately started researching everything I could for our trip!

I had always equated Napa with Napa Valley and its vineyards, so I honestly didn't know too much about Downtown Napa before I started researching for our visit. I had also always assumed if we went to Napa, it wouldn't be during the winter; I imagined warm, sunny weather while strolling through the vineyards. However, I was not only pleasantly surprised at just how much we were able to see and do in just a day and a half, but how magical Downtown Napa could be in the winter!

1. Baby It's Cold Outside

Maybe it was the crisp, cool weather, or the fog drifting in over the rolling hills, or the light patches of rainfall, but Downtown Napa in the winter was reminiscent of my days in the Pacific Northwest in the best way. It's a bustling downtown area with all of the warmth and charm of a small town.

Though we went during the first week of January, there were still Christmas decorations everywhere, which made it feel even more like a cozy holiday vacation. And the best part? Cozying up inside a warm tasting room and drinking fantastic wine - while getting to listen to and watch the rain fall outside. Bonus if you snag a seat by a roaring fireplace! Honestly, does it get any better than that?

The weather also never got too cold - it fluctuated between the 40s-50s while we were there - so it was perfect weather to bundle up in my cute winter clothes that never get much use in Southern California.

2. Off-Season: Less Crowds

Another bonus for going in the winter is that it wasn't crowded at all! We didn't have to wait in line anywhere, which was pretty awesome! While researching, I kept seeing a lot of people advising to make reservations ahead of time at both tasting rooms and restaurants, and while this may be the case for the other seasons, this was not the case for the week we went.

We were sat right away everywhere we went, and we didn't need to make any reservations or wait in line - that included walking into restaurants, tasting rooms, bars, coffee shops, bakeries, you name it! Since our trip was a quick one, this was definitely a great bonus.

3. Better Deals on Hotels

With less crowds during off-season also comes better hotel deals! Most hotels in the area will offer lower rates when it's not peak tourist season - which is another reason we were able to afford this trip! My boyfriend kept an eye on prices and was able to get us a great deal at the historic Napa River Inn, right on Downtown Napa's waterfront. To read about our stay at the Napa River Inn, click here!

4. Walkability

We were so blown away by how amazing the walkability of Downtown Napa was! Once we parked at the hotel, we didn't need to drive or Uber anywhere during our trip. Everywhere we wanted to go was within walking distance from each other, which allowed us to do and see so much on our short getaway.

When you're exploring somewhere new, it's such a relief to not have to worry about what the parking situation is going to be like at every stop, how much the parking or ride share will be, or what the drive to each spot will be like. And if you're visiting the cultural heart of wine country, it's also nice not having to take turns being a designated driver.

If you do happen to want to explore some of the vineyards on your trip to Downtown Napa, a really cool experience to check out is the Napa Valley Wine Train! They offer several different types of trips to Napa Valley, and the pickup point is conveniently located downtown. Just be sure to check their site for reservations - I noticed the train didn't operate on some days in January. Next time we visit Napa, I definitely want to experience this!

See, you can even visit some of the vineyards from Downtown without having to drive!

5. Igloos at the Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar

Sky & Vine is located on the rooftop of the Archer Hotel, and during the holiday season they set up igloos for guests to enjoy their food & cocktails in! The igloos are decorated with Christmas pillows, trees, and twinkling lights, which definitely makes this unique experience more festive!

Since we were going in January, I didn't know if the igloos would still be up - but lucky for us, they weren't taking the igloos down until that Friday (January 6), so we got to enjoy them!

They only take walk-ins (no reservations) and it was their last week up, so we weren't sure if there'd be a wait for one of the four igloos. We figured earlier in the afternoon would be a slow time and headed over then. Once we got there though, several were still open, so we got sat right away!

I had hoped we'd be able to stay long enough for it to get dark and for the twinkling lights to come on. However, there was a 2-hr max for every party in an igloo, and it had started to rain towards the end of our two hours. They're not waterproof, so if it happens to rain, the igloos may not be available for seating.

Be sure to check their site to see if they'll be up during your visit!

Downtown Napa is filled with more incredible restaurants, bars and tasting rooms like this! Everywhere we went was beautiful and uniquely decorated, had fun and interesting cocktail & food menus, and to put it simply: everywhere we went had personality. There wasn't one un-photogenic place!

We absolutely loved our first trip to Downtown Napa, and now having gone in the winter...I can't imagine a better season to go.

Ready to head to Napa? Fill out the form below to compare rates on hotels!

For a quick video recap of our time in Downtown Napa, click here!

For more of my recommendations on where to eat, drink, or taste wine, check out this post!

For tips on whether or not you should get the Priority Wine Pass before your visit, check out this post!

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