I love going on day trips! This summer has been a little different because the budget has been a little tighter and my kids have had different activities going on-so I have had to be a little creative because I HATE staying home-mostly because I hate battling my kids away from the TV.
So, I came up with some places we could go for a few hours or the day, and we set our budget and headed out!
One of our favorite places to go is Napa. It is a 1 hour and 10 minute drive from our house, so not too far. We love walking around their downtown area, looking in the shops, trying different foods, taking pictures and just enjoying a change of scenery. I have pictures from our recent and previous trips because each time we go we find a few different finds!
This trip, our first stop was Butter Cream Bakery. One side has a bunch of baked donuts, pastries, cupcakes, cakes etc-and the other side is a little diner area (And the food looked AMAZING!). We got DONUTS. My kids LOVE their maple bars with bacon on top. They say it is the best tasting bacon they have ever had. I admit I did not try it, but they were happy.
Next we headed over to the downtown area. We parked near the 9/11 memorial.
When they were clearing out the Twin Towers destruction, any city that wanted part of it could have it. Napa requested it and made their park. It has a list of names of people who were killed along with actual beams from the Towers.
There is a Starbucks nearby-as well as Napa Valley Coffee Roasters, they are both good, but I just love the outside seating area at the Starbucks. It is located on a corner and it is shaded with a nice breeze-plus i could relax while everyone goes to the bathroom!
As you are walking through downtown there are murals and statues that you can take pictures of/with for memories. My kids enjoy taking goofy pictures or just pictures in general, so this keeps us entertained as we are walking (and it is FREE!)
As you walk you will see lots of restaurants and shops to look in, places to take pictures and more. It is just a really quiet and peaceful area to stroll through.
Next you can head over and walk along the riverfront. There is the famous big Waterfront Chair which I have different pictures from different visits-more shops, restaurants and photo ops!
Throughout our visits I have so many variations of kids in this chair!
My kids love the fountain along the river too! Once again-all FREE!
The Napa General store is on the end. It is a restaurant and there is also a store inside that has some unique Napa style gifts (no pictures were allowed inside!)
On the other side of the Riverwalk you can see the entrance to the Silo’s music venue. The ceiling is covered in records and the walls have the album covers. I remember my mom having some of these albums!
Next to that is Sweetie Pies and Vintage Sweet Shoppe! Both have a great variety of sweets if you are looking for a snack for your walk around town. If you are trying to keep on a tight budget-keep walking. But if you want to try something worth spending a little more-it is worth it!
After that you can head over to the Oxbow Market, which is one large building with all different vendors, stores, restaurants, etc all under one roof.
I could not find all of my pictures from when I was there last-so now I have to go back!
It is very interesting to walk through, but if you are budget conscious, walk fast!
On a trip I took there with my husband he ordered sushi from one of the spots inside and he said it was one of the best he has ever had! I don’t remember the exact price, but I remember for sushi-it was pretty reasonable-PLUS you get to watch them make it right there in front of you which is pretty cool!
Ok-so you have walked around, taken pictures, soaked up the quiet relaxing atmosphere, and now you are hungry right? Well, there is NO shortage of places to eat in Napa. Not only is it known for wine, but for their food also.
I took a Foodie Segway Tour in Napa with my husband a couple years ago for our anniversary and every place we tried food was AMAZING!
We didn’t even have to eat at a ‘fancy’ restaurant to find great food either. And, since we came back with our kids so often, it wasn’t in our budget to sit down and spend $100 + for a meal.
So, here are some recommendations for you.
I am not a big fan of picnics-mostly because I spend m ore money on packing food and drinks to bring with me than I would have if we ate somewhere else. Plus, it is often tempting to buy food when you get somewhere even if you brought it.
BUT- the places to have a picnic in Napa are beautiful. Lots of shade around the parks overlooking the river.
I showed you all the perks of downtown and the Oxbow market, but it is a real city too. We have stopped and ate at In-N-Out and McDonald’s, Taco Bell sometimes too. If you aren’t hungry walking around you don’t have to worry about food.
Most of the time we eat lunch before we leave, have a snack somewhere there, and are back home by dinner, so this saves some money too.
This may seem strange, but there are two of my family’s FAVORITE places to eat in Napa
1531 3rd St, Napa, CA 94559
Clemente’s is actually inside of Val’s liquor store! They built a kitchen into it just for them! They have a dish called Malfatti that is LEGENDARY-really! It is the husband and wife cooking together with their family-and they have been for decades. They will always talk to you, take pictures and just the NICEST people you will meet. They have a whole menu, but the Malfatti is something you can only get there (and a dozen is like $5!) My daughter wanted me to drive her there on her birthday one year just for that dish-of course I did it.. If you try it, you will understand!
My other daughter’s favorite is the Carne Asada tacos at the la Esperanza Taco Truck. The tacos are $2 each, and I still have not found tacos that taste better than this-and yes, we have drove out here just for the tacos before!! In my opinion-they deserve the sign that says Best Tacos!
My husband and son LOVE this place called MELTED. It is downtown as well.
The owner came up with his own waffle kind of bread for the sandwiches (not like a thick waffle, but thin) and he has som many 80’s themed names of his sandwiches. They are DELICIOUS. How he came up with the flavors that just work together-I don’t know, but if you just want a REALLY GOOD sandwich that you will remember long after- GO HERE!
While I am far from having tried everything, one place I have been and can recommend (on pretty much any budget) is Model Bakery. It is near the Oxbow Market, and their English Muffin was very good! We tried this at one of our foodie stops on the Segway Tour and our tour guide gave us some Boysenberry jam to put on it. Absolutely the best English Muffin! They have cakes, breads, pastries and more too! It was very good and on the more affordable side.
Here is one last cheesy picture of my husband and I. This was 2 years ago on our anniversary! We took a Segway Glide and Graze Tour through Napa with Gayle as our tour guide. We learned some of the history of Napa, met business owners, tried food at 10 different places (all without drinking wine!). It was one of our most memorable anniversaries too! It was only like $100 per person too! We have spent around that for a nice dinner-at ONE place on occasion, but this was 3 hours of fun! Definitely out of our box. It may not be a budget-friendly thing to do with your spouse, friends, or kids, but if you have the money and are looking for a fun idea-HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
We have also stayed the night at the Embassy Suites hotel in Napa too.
It is probably one of the nicest Embassy Suites I have stayed at. They have an inside pool and jacuuzi. Which the Jacuzzi is very large.
There is an outside pool as well.
They also have a nice pond in the middle of the rooms with swans swimming in them.
Their breakfast was just absolutely wonderful too.
If you are planning to stay there, make reservations WAY ahead of time for spring and summer.
We stayed there during Christmas time, and the prices were very reasonable-especially for everything they have there.
If you want to drive a little further-
During one trip to Napa when we had a little bit of extra time, we stopped at
Castello di Amorosa.
4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515
This is a winery, but it is also a castle! You can walk all around the outside and a little bit on the inside of it for FREE. You can also pay to take a tour. We chose the FREE option and took TONS of all different kinds of pictures there! There were vineyards, cellars, peacocks-and a variety of things to look at all around, but as a backdrop for pictures-WORTH THE DRIVE! It is about 30 minutes away from Downtown Napa.
Calistoga, Yountville, and St. Helena are all adorable towns surrounding Napa that you can travel through and spend some time there too!
If you have any suggestions or places in Napa you like, or would recommend PLEASE-Leave them in the comments or contact me Diana@PantryOverflow.com!