Just 55 miles north of San Francisco, 35-mile-long Napa Valley comprises a string of small towns surrounded by vineyards, all of which rely on tourism for the majority of their livelihoods. At its southern end, the town of Napa is the most cosmopolitan. With no vineyards in sight, a walkable downtown that’s currently undergoing major renovations, and a continually growing number of restaurants and hotels, the once lesser-than urban area has become hotbed for wine country fun. To the north, off thoroughfare Highway 29, the tiny town of Yountville is home to one of the most well-traveled foodie strips in the country (thanks to restaurants by Thomas Keller, Michael Chiarello, and more). Oakville and Rutherford are primarily known for the wineries that reside there, while St. Helena has charming shopping and dining along its tiny Main Street. Further north still is Calistoga, where a cluster of hot springs, motels, B&Bs, shops, and a very relaxed vibe draw laid-back tourists. No matter where you stay, you’ll be minutes from dozens of wineries worth a visit.
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