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What Not to Do in Napa Valley

by Christina Henry

Don't…
Get lost in the country

There's a reason that the word most associated with Napa is bucolic. There are tens of thousands of acres of rolling valleys green with grape vines, countless quaint inns, and no shortage of restaurants serving multiple courses of fresh-from-the-farm ingredients. But don't get blinded by all that chintz and forget there are actual towns here, too.

Instead…
Explore the new Napa

Long derided (or at least ignored) as the ugly stepchild of the region, downtown Napa has had a makeover and is finally worthy of the valley that carries its name. Part of a new breed of upscale food courts, Oxbow Market (pictured) is the town's gourmet centerpiece: Standouts among the 21 vendors include Heritage Culinary Artifacts, which sells vintage wares like copper pots; Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, for its carefully curated wine and cheese selection; Ritual Coffee Roasters; and the Hog Island Oyster Company. Turn left down Main Street to explore the gleaming Riverfront development (a mixed-use complex that opened in 2009) and its high-profile restaurants (Morimoto, Tyler Florence–owned Rotisserie & Wine, and Celadon). You'll find notable options further up Main Street, too, including the Vintner's Collective and vegetarian utopia Ubuntu.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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