Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 195

16 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.CITIES Surprising Cities Urban delights flourish in pioneer towns, wine country redoubts and desert oases BY DAVID ARMSTRONG NAPA Known primarily for its wine, Napa is a city, too, straddling the Napa River at the foot of the world famous Napa Valley. Its downtown streets, above, are home to appealing restaurants and shops. The city was founded in 1847; the first business establishment was a saloon; by the 1850s, gambling halls and saloons were numerous; the first commercial winery was established in 1859. VISITNAPAPVALLEY.COM. OPPOSITE: ERIC WAGNER/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR ; YOU TOUCH PIX OF EUTOCH/SHUTTERSTOCK ; SUSAN SCHMITZ/SHUTTERSTOCK California's golden cities—Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego—are celebrated around the world, and rightly so. But the Golden State has an engaging range of things to see and do in less-well-known locales, as well. In cities ranging in size from barely 3,000 inhabitants to more than 300,000, a surprising, eclectic menu of food and drink, art and architecture, his- tory and sports is available to visitors. NAPA: More Than Wine Napa is three places: city, valley and county. Time was, Napa city was a place visitors stopped only for gasoline. No longer. The city is brimming with fine- dining, new hotels, happening bars, a handsome promenade downtown along the Napa River and foodie favorite Oxbow Public Market, with its locally sourced, seasonal bounty. The Napa Valley Wine Train rumbles north and south on three- hour excursions, offering full meals on wheels and, of course, California wines. Michelin-starred La Toque in the Westin Verasa Hotel highlights refined in-city dining. First Street showcases a still-devel- oping cluster of art galleries and eye-catching public art pieces. Napa's ren- ovated Uptown Theatre presents pop, folk and blues music and pours premium wines, while the spruced-up 1880 Napa Valley Opera House is a jewelbox venue for music, stand-up comedy and theater. Moreover, center-city Napa is speckled with lovely bed and breakfast places in art- fully restored Victorian fantasias of turrets, stained-glass and burnished wood.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Travel Guide to California - 2015 Travel Guide to California