Branded “the Brightest Town in Napa Valley,” Yountville offers plenty of festive activities this holiday season. Colorful lights and abundant public art on pedestrian-friendly streets combine with award-winning restaurants, wine tasting rooms and original gift boutiques to create the ultimate California Wine Country experience.
With four restaurants from chef Thomas Keller, including the Michelin-starred The French Laundry (6640 Washington St., 707.944.2380) and Bouchon (6534 Washington St., 707.944.8037), plus quite a few farm-to-table restaurants, it’s no wonder Yountville is considered the culinary capital of Napa Valley. The newly opened RH Yountville (6725 Washington St., 707.339.4654) shows off a harmonious combination of food, wine, art and design in its inventive space, featuring crystal chandeliers under a soaring glass roof and a grove of 100-year-old heritage olive trees.
The historic Ma(i)sonry building has been turned into a two-story wine vault complete with an outdoor wine and barista bar serving espresso, teas, cold-pressed juices and wines by the glass.
Lounge by a fireplace at the lavish Villagio Bar & Lounge (6481 Washington St., 707.944.8877) in the Hotel Villagio while you enjoy craft cocktails, such as the tequila-based Hibiscus Paloma or the Second Spring with acorn squash puree. For a taste of world-famous local wines visit Hill Family Estate (6512 Washington St., 707.944.9580) or Hope & Grace Wines (6540 Washington St., 707.944.2500), and don’t miss Jessup Cellars’ Tasting Gallery (6740 Washington St., 707.944.8523) for a pairing of wine and artisan cheese from Atelier by JCB. For a strong cup of Stumptown Coffee and fresh-baked pastries in the morning, stop by Mini Model Bakery (6523 Washington St., 707.415.5045).
From boutiques and art galleries to home and garden stores, Yountville has a bountiful list of shops filled with unique holiday gifts. You’ll find the best of both worlds at the tasting rooms that also include retail components, such as Ralph Lauren Home Decor at Silver Trident Winery (6495 Washington St., 707.945.0311) or premium kitchen appliances at Hestan Vineyards (6548 Washington St., 707.945.1002). If you wish to accomplish all your shopping in one place, then V Marketplace (6525 Washington St., 707.944.2451), with specialty shops, galleries and tasting rooms all under one roof, should be your first stop.
Don’t let the winter chill prevent you from exploring all that Yountville has to offer. The Yountville Trolley (707.312.1509) is a free, on-demand, door-to-door transportation service that runs through the town limits. Use it to visit The Napa Valley Museum (55 Presidents Circle, 707.944.0500)—a heritage museum featuring regional art, science and history exhibitions, educational programs and events. See “Walt Disney’s Trains” while you’re there to learn about the effects railroads had on Walt Disney’s life and work.
For a chance to ride a real train, hope on Napa Valley Wine Train’s Santa Train (1275 Mckinstry St., 800.427.4124) and ride to Yountville’s “North Pole.” For a more traditional holiday celebration, catch “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Napa Regional Dance Company, at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater (100 California Drive, 707.944.9900), and for something less traditional, Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides (6525 Washington St., 707.944.4400) offers hot air balloon trips over the Napa Valley wine growing region with spectacular panoramas of the mountainous terrain. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of San Francisco’s skyline or the Sierras.
Conclude your holiday celebrations with the annual 5k/10k Revolution Run in downtown Yountville on New Year’s Day.