Hi guys! So I’ll start by saying this–if you ever get a chance to visit Napa or the area, highly recommend! This was our first time going and it was so much fun; we went with another couples we’re friends with (I met Laura originally through nursing). We were there for a total of 6 days (including travel days) and it was the perfect amount of time to see San Francisco and spend at the wineries. Even though two of the days were travel days, we ended up flying into San Francisco early Thursday morning (like 9am) so we had the entire day. On our way out, we took a red eye at 11pm so we had that entire day to explore as well. Our group felt like this was the perfect length for this kind of trip!
Since we took the red eye out on our last day, we only stayed overnight in San Francisco one night when we arrived. We stayed at the Fairmont San Francisco which is such a gorgeous hotel. It’s seriously so grand! The location was also close to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and the Ferry Building and Farmers Market, which are all great spots to visit and check out. They also have a great gym which we definitely took advantage of our first day.
Our first day we grabbed tacos and burritos at the infamous La Taqueria. My sister recommended we go here and they are known for having the best burritos in America! I will say though, the tacos were my favorite 😉 Later on in the day we went to Lombard Steet (the world’s most crooked street), then down to Ghirardelli Square (where the original factory is) and then walked around there and Fisherman’s Wharf. We ended up stumbling upon a wine bar called Winery Collective and we met Mark! He was the wine tasting host (bartender? Not sure what the right term is here lol) and knew so much about wine, and gave us the best tastings (and food recommendations). Meeting him and doing the wine tasting there was one of the best parts the trip! Lol. He just had a great personality and was super knowledgable. It was really cool that we just stumbled upon that wine bar and him.
For dinner we went to a restaurant that Mark recommended called Blue Plate. SO GOOD! We ordered the mac n cheese, tuna deviled eggs, meatloaf, and fried chicken. Everything was amazing, and we all said it was the best fried chicken we’ve ever had. That says a lot coming from the South!
The next day we headed to Napa but first walked to Mymy for brunch which was delicious!! I highly recommend the ricotta parmesan pancakes and crab eggs Benedict. We also stopped at Blue Bottle Coffee before hitting the road.
On our last day in San Fransico before we left/took the red eye home, we hit up all the spots that we didn’t have time to on our first day! We went to Buena Vista Cafe for their famous Irish coffees (on average they sell 1500 a day!) and then we went to Pizzeria Delfina (another recommendation from Mark–they have several locations). The pizza here was delicious (highly recommend the Crema). Afterwards we walked to Bi-Rite Creamery for ice cream. I went here for the first time a few years ago when my sister was living in SF and had to go back. If you’re an ice cream fan, this is a must try!
So I say Napa, but we technically stayed at an Airbnb in Calistoga which is a smaller town located between Napa and Sonoma. We went back and forth on where to book our Airbnb but there are wineries everywhere in between the two locations and Calistoga was much cheaper. Overall we were really happy with this decision but service from our Airbnb was kind of tricky since we weren’t staying “in town.'” This made is really difficult to request Ubers/Lyft since the car requests kept dropping. When we did have service (ie. running to the grocery store) we couldn’t request an Uber ahead of time (wasn’t a feature allowed in our area) and taxi services didn’t want to come to Calistoga because it too far. On top of that, car rental services are an option to take you from winery to winery but the ones that were recommended to us were $80 AN HOUR for a minimum of 7 hours plus gas and tip. No thank you. LUCKILY, we finally got enough service to request an Uber driver the first morning we were in Calistoga, and the one we requested actually did wine tours for an hourly price of only $35 an hour! So needless to say, we snagged up Mary Beth and used her for the rest of the trip. If you’re going to be in this area for a trip, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will gladly pass along her number!
Okay, sorry for the lengthy car situation LOL but if any of y’all are planning on going, that is something I wanted to mention ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. Moving on..
On our way to the Airbnb we stopped in the town Sausalito and grabbed a casual bite at Napa Valley Burger Co. I will say the fish tacos and margaritas were great! That night for dinner we ate at the Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery which was less than 10 min from our Airbnb. Great outdoor area with a fire pit, and a cute/cozy indoor area. We ate inside–highly recommend the pizzas and gnocchi!
The next 3 days were mostly spent at the wineries. Something to keep in mind. They have what is called the “Calistoga Wines Passport” that you can buy for $60 and it gets you a bunch of free tastings at other wineries. This is a STEAL! Considering some wine tastings are $40+, the $60 for multiple tastings is insane. We bought ours at Sterling Vineyards and between that day and leaving, we used it at like 5 other wineries. Totally worth it. One other thing to note, if you want to try the same wine again, just ask the wine taster if you can “revisit” and they will pour your more. Feel like this is crucial to pass on!
-Breakfast at Airbnb
-Chateau Montelena Winery (recommend going here if you like Chardonnary as they are known for it. Otherwise would probably skip. Really pretty but don’t give you really any re-pours LOL and was like $45 for a tasting).
-Sterling Vineyards (where we bought the wine passport). I personally really liked this vineyard. Definitely bigger and not as “boutique” but you get so many tastings and you take a gondola up to the top of the mountain where the end view is so gorgeous!
-Castello Di Amorosa A huge castle basically! If you go here, ask for Mike! He was awesome.
-Dinner at Farmstead Can’t recommend this enough. Everything we ordered was insanely good. Definitely get the burrata and deviled eggs for an app! Also we sat outside so didn’t need a reservation, but if you want to sit inside I’d recommend the patio. They also uncork your wine for $5 or $10 a bottle (can’t remember) if you want to bring what you bought at the vineyard.
*All of these were included in the passport except we paid full price at Chateau Montelena because they didn’t tell us about the passport 🙁
-Breakfast at Airbnb
-V. Sattui Winery Can get charcuterie here which is nice because not every winery has food. They also have a ton of picnic tables so if the weather is nice you can enjoy your wine and food outside.
-Gotts Roadside for lunch. We went here twice it was that good. I got the impossible burger one day and the California burger the next. Definitely order the onion rings and garlic fries too. Apparently there is usually a line wrapped around the building but since we went during the off season we got lucky and skipped the crowds.
-Del Dotto Caves This winery was so pretty! Their pours were also like quarter/half glasses LOL. They hooked us up!
-Napa Oxbow Market This is a cute indoor market with little shops and restaurants. Was nice to go here and break up -the wineries!
-Dinner at Airbnb
*V. Sattui was included in the passport, Del Dotto was not
-Breakfast at Airbnb
-Massages at Solage. Definitely a splurge (hour massage $200pp), but we spent a couple hours before and after using their saunas, pools, etc. so we made the most of the money we spent here! And honestly the massage was definitely the best I’ve had!
-Tank Garage. Cute little wine bar with less expensive wine options!
-T-Vine. Right next to Tank Garage. Have cheese with tastings and had some really good reds.
*Both these spots were included in the passport.
-Breakast at Airbnb
-Gotts Roadside for lunch (again)
-Stopped at Muir Woods on way back to San Francisco
I hope this breakdown is helpful! Let me know if you have any questions if you are planning a trip! Happy to help 🙂