My college roommates and I get together every year for a girls weekend to escape the kids and responsibilities. After years of talking about it, we finally went on a girls trip to Napa and San Francisco this past April. Planning a weekend in Napa is a little more involved, and it can be hard to know where to start. From which wineries to visit in Napa, to logistics and other things to do, we have you covered with this Napa itinerary.
While this trip was a girls weekend in Napa, the itinerary is perfect for a Napa getaway with couples or friends as well.
San Francisco & Napa 3 Day Itinerary
We had 3 days in Napa Valley during our Napa and San Francisco girls weekend. While we would have loved more time visiting wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma, adding some time in San Francisco at the end of our itinerary made the most sense logistically. Below are the highlights of our Napa Valley 3 day itinerary. Keep reading for the details on each stop!
- Fly into San Francisco International Airport
- Drive to Muir Woods
- Dinner at RH Yountville
- Napa Farmers Market
- Meet Driver for Napa Wineries
- Castello di Amorosa- Winery/ cave tour and tasting
- Lunch at Brasswood
- Frog’s Leap Wine Tasting
- Domaine Canero’s- Sparkling Wine Tasting
- Downtown Napa
- Oxford Market
- Long Meadow Ranch
- Explore San Francisco- Golden Gate State Park, Palace of Fine Arts & Marina District
- Head to SFO Airport Hotel for early departure the next day
Getting to Napa
While Napa County has a small airport, the closest international airports to Napa Valley are Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. With friends flying from different parts of Pennsylvania, New York and Idaho, San Francisco was the easiest airport to coordinate with everyone. SFO is about 65 miles to Napa, but keep in mind that traffic is pretty common from San Francisco to Napa on a weekend and it can take a while to get there.
The two most common options for getting from the airport to Napa or Sonoma are to rent a car or get a private transfer. You can also take public transportation to Napa with a combination of the BART system and The Vine transit. With our Napa itinerary, it made the most sense to rent a car to take us to and from the airport and make our other stops.
While you’re in Napa, the Napa Wine Train is another option for seeing wineries in a fun and scenic way. You can find more info and tickets for the Napa Wine Train here.
Uber and Lyft can be a little unreliable in the area, so I don’t recommend them unless you’re visiting wineries that are very close to each other. Hiring a driver in Napa is ideal if you want to visit wineries with a group.
If you’re just looking for a Sonoma or Napa Valley day trip from San Francisco, you can find some great options here.
Where to Stay in Napa
When searching for hotels in Napa, we knew we wanted to stay downtown for easy access to everything in the area. We usually aim for larger hotel rooms and suites that are still affordable, and the Embassy Suites Napa Valley was perfect for our group. The rooms are spacious with a separate bedroom and living area, and there are pictures and other touches throughout that remind you that you’re in wine country.
One of the best parts about staying at Embassy Suites is that breakfast is included, and it includes things like made to order omelets and pancakes. They also have a nightly manager reception with local wines, beer and other complimentary drinks and snacks. The resort itself has a beautiful lobby as well as an indoor atrium and outdoor pond. There’s also an indoor and outdoor pool, and I’d love to go back and visit when it’s warm out.
You can book the Embassy Suites Napa Valley here.
If you’re looking for more hotels and resorts in Napa, the following properties were recommended to us:
- Carneros Resort and Spa for a luxury resort in Napa with the coziest cottages.
- The Inn on First for a cute bed & breakfast in Napa downtown.
- The Meritage or Grand Reserve for a full service resort and spa in Napa.
- Wine Country Home for an Airbnb in downtown Napa with a pool that’s great for a family or a group.
The only thing our girls weekend in Napa was missing was some time at the spa, and I would definitely consider one of the Napa spa resorts for the future!
Day 1: Fly into San Francisco, Muir Woods & Yountville
Our first day in San Francisco and Napa started as a travel day since we were flying in from all over the country. The last person arrived around noon, and we grabbed our rental car at the airport. The car rental facility center at SFO is easy to get to via the Air Tran.
Muir Woods National Monument
With a long morning of travel, we wanted something outdoors to start our San Francisco girls weekend. Muir Woods was the perfect choice, and I highly recommend stopping before or after Napa. It’s such a great way to see the redwoods near San Francisco without going all the way to Redwoods National Park. Muir Woods is located about 20 miles from SFO and it took us about 45 minutes to get there. The trail at Muir Woods is an easy 2 mile loop, and there are bits of history captured throughout the park. It’s also flat, accessible and easy for all ages.
To visit Muir Woods, a parking reservation and entrance fee are required to be paid in advance. You can book Muir Woods online here. Muir Woods hours are from 8am- 5pm daily, and it’s accessible via a windy road off 101. (Just be prepared if you’re not used to driving steep and windy roads!) If you’re not up for the 2 mile loop, or just don’t have time, you can also loop around one of the closer bridges for a 1.5 mile or less loop.
From Muir Woods, we drove to downtown Napa. There was quite a bit of traffic, which seems to be common for a Friday afternoon. It took us about 2 hours to drive from Muir Woods to Napa, where we checked into the Embassy Suites Napa Valley.
Dinner at RH Yountville
Yountville is one of several cute towns in the Napa Valley, and RH Yountville was a great spot to start the trip and celebrate our April birthdays. It’s a beautiful restaurant that’s part of the Restoration Hardware brand, and it’s connected to the beautiful Restoration Hardware store in Yountville. One of the best parts about the RH Yountville restaurant is the beautiful chandeliers throughout and the fountain centerpiece. Definitely book a reservation inside for the indoor/ outdoor feel. Our reservation was at 7:15pm, and it was perfect to see the restaurant both in the daylight and when the chandeliers were lit up at night.
The wine and food at RH Yountville were equally as good. We love sharing food on our girls trips, and we split the artichokes, Brie, fusilli pasta, salmon and broccolini. We also shared a celebration champagne from Domaine Carneros as well as a red blend.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Yountville while you’re there, Jessup Cellars tasting gallery is right across the street and there are several other wineries in Yountville nearby.
Day 2: Napa Farmers Market, Wineries and Downtown Napa
With the logistics of coordinating flights and driving to Napa, we only had 1 full day to visit the wineries in Napa. We planned our stops from north to south, and this worked out well since we were essentially going against traffic. We were also able to avoid some of the higher temps since it’s hotter as you go further north into Napa Valley and Sonoma.
Napa Farmers Market
The Napa Farmers Market quickly became one of our favorite things to do in downtown Napa, and it’s a great way to get a taste of the different local bakeries, farms and other vendors. With some time prior to our Saturday morning wine tour pickup, we were able to explore the farmer’s market first. There are almost 90 vendors at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and it’s the perfect spot to get breakfast in Napa. We grabbed a cinnamon roll from Rolls Baking Co, D.R.E.A.M. Donuts and Naysayer Coffee. I also got some yummy jam from JamAlula as well as Madeline’s Macarons to take home for the family. The Napa Farmers Market runs on Saturdays and Tuesday mornings, but the Saturday market has many more vendors.
The Napa Farmers Market is also right by the Napa Wine Train if you want to stop before getting the train for the day.
1 Day Napa Wine Tasting Itinerary
We used Troy’s Trips, Travels and Tastings for our Napa Valley driver and it worked out great. He had mimosas, fresh strawberries, smoked salmon dip and tons of other snacks in the car. The commentary about Napa and its wineries as we drove was also super interesting.
If you’re wondering how many wineries to visit for a day trip to Napa Valley, 3 seemed to be the perfect number. There’s enough time for tastings and lunch without rushing too much. (Even then, I feel like we could have used more time!) We started in the north and worked our way south toward downtown Napa where we were staying. We left downtown Napa at 10:15am and returned back to our hotel at 6:15pm.
Winery 1: Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa is located in St. Helena, which is in the northern part of Napa Valley. It’s known as the castle winery in Napa, and it’s built to look like an authentic 13th century castle in Tuscany. (It looks almost exactly like the one I visited at San Gimignano!) We booked the Diamond Estate Tour & Reserve Wine Tasting for 11:10am, and it gives you a great feel for the winery and how it operates.
One of the most unique things about Castello di Amorosa is that it has a torture chamber in the caves with some pieces directly from that time period. (So crazy!) We did our wine tasting in one of the private cellars, and the Cabernet and red blends at Castello di Amorosa were my favorite. Wine Tastings and tours must be pre-booked.
Lunch at Brasswood Bar + Kitchen
Brasswood is located near several wineries in St. Helena, and it’s a great stop for lunch on a beautiful day. There’s tons of seating indoors and out, and we opted for the shaded patio. The menu changes seasonally and has a lot to choose from. (In addition to a large wine menu, of course.) I shared the Buttermilk Flounder Sandwich and Flat Iron Nicoise Salad, and both were so good.
While you’re at Brasswood, there’s also a cute boutique clothing shop as well as a bakery with a little gift area. You can also place a to-go order if you don’t have a lot of time and want to grab a quick lunch in between wine tastings in Napa Valley.
Winery 2: Frog’s Leap Winery
Frog’s Leap Winery is located in Rutherford, and our tasting here was booked for 2:45pm after lunch. It’s a family-owned winery on a farm setting and it has a quieter, more laid back vibe than the other wineries we visited. The wines are sustainably produced and vary from Chardonnay to Cabernet. We did a wine tasting on the patio and it was perfect for the beautiful weather we had. My favorite wine here was the Sauvignon Blanc. While we just did a tasting, you can also do a wine tour of the property if that interests you. It’s highly recommended that you pre-book your wine tasting at Frog’s Leap.
Winery 3: Domaine Carneros
Domaine Carneros in Napa is one of the most popular places for sparkling wine in Napa Valley, and we actually had their champagne at dinner at RH Yountville on our first night. It’s housed in a beautiful estate, and we had a tasting on the patio overlooking the vineyards. A reservation is required in advance, and we booked ours for 4:30pm as our last tasting of the day. You can choose your wine tasting/ flight when you arrive, and I went with the Sparkling Chateau Tasting that had some of the more dry champagnes. Definitely spend some time walking around while you’re there as well!
We had such a hard time choosing wineries for our Napa valley itinerary, since Napa and Sonoma both have many amazing wineries to choose from. Some additional Napa wineries that were recommend to us by friends and family include:
- Del Dotto– Napa or St. Helena cave tour and barrel wine tasting
- Schamsberg– Cave tour in Napa with sparkling wine
- Buena Vista– Cabernet and chocolate tasting in Sonoma
- Frank Family Vineyards– Calistoga winery with a good variety of wines
- Bread & Butter– Newer, more modern vineyard in Napa
- Peju– Pretty Vineyard and estate in Rutherford with a variety of tastings
- Beringer– Great winery for a quick stop that doesn’t require a tasting reservation in advance
- Jordan– Beautiful Sonoma winery with French inspired wines
- Mumm Napa– Patio tastings with an art gallery and sparkling wines
Dinner & Drinks in Downtown Napa, CA
We weren’t sure how the day of visiting wineries would go, so we decided not to book a reservation for dinner that night. We opted for a super casual restaurant in Napa with live music and ended up at Downtown Joe’s. (Definitely not the hottest spot of many downtown Napa restaurants to choose from, but it was great for what we wanted that night!)
There are several fun bars in downtown Napa, and we ended up at Wilfred’s Lounge before calling it a night. It’s a unique tiki bar in Napa, and it’s a fun stop for any Napa Valley girls trip. (I just wish we had warmer weather that night!)
If you’re looking for additional restaurants in the Napa area, the Napa Valley restaurants below were also recommended and are on my list for the future:
- The French Laundry for a Michelin starred restaurant located in Yountville.
- Ad Hoc for the fried chicken
- Mustards Grill for an upscale casual restaurant for lunch and dinner in Napa
- Bounty Hunter wine bar and BBQ in downtown Napa
- Morimoto for sushi in downtown Napa
- Napa Yard for a casual outdoor restaurant and beer garden in downtown Napa
Day 3: Oxbow Public Market, Longmeadow Ranch and San Francisco
On our last morning in Napa, we went to Oxbow Public Market before leaving town. It was recommended by several people when I asked for things to do in downtown Napa. And I can now see why! Oxbow market is full of local artisans, retailers, yummy food and drinks. You could easily spend a few hours just browsing. I always try to grab a book for the kids when traveling, and Book Mine had a ton of options for both kids and adults. We also grabbed coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters. Next time, I would plan to go later in the day and go for oysters at Hog Island Oyster or Mexican food at Casa.
Pro Tip: There’s lots of free parking in downtown Napa, including right by Oxbow Public Market. This makes it super easy to get around if you have a car for your napa girls weekend.
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
For the best brunch in Napa, definitely add Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch to your list. It has indoor and outdoor dining in the cutest tree lined setting. The menu is a little more savory than sweet, and they have great Bloody Marys as well. Between the five of us, we tried the biscuits, deviled eggs and beef tartare for starters. We also had the cheeseburger and arborio rice with an egg for our main dishes. Everything was so flavorful.
There’s also a little market as well as wine tastings at Long Meadow Ranch. Be sure to grab a photo with the old farm trucks while you’re there!
Afternoon in San Francisco
With only a few hours to spend in San Francisco, we didn’t want to over plan. We basically just figured it out on the drive from Napa to San Fran! One of the best parts of coming from Napa is that you get to drive over the Golden Gate bridge. We lucked out with a clear day on the way back (even though it was SO windy.) Here’s what we did with 3 hours in San Francisco:
- Drove down Lombard Street, known as the most crooked street in the world
- Stopped at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for pretty views
- Walked around the Palace of Fine Arts
- Went shopping in the Marina District and walked down to the water. (This is a fun area if you’re looking for shopping and great restaurants for a girls weekend in San Francisco.)
We had all been to SF before and did most of the touristy things, so we kept this visit pretty quick. Here are some additional ideas things to do with one day in San Francisco:
- Fisherman’s Wharf (getting clam chowder in a bread bowl at Boudin Bakery is a must!)
- Pier 39 for the famous sea lions in San Francisco
- Take a tour of Alcatraz. Find tour options here.
- Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum. (Perfect for Disney fans like me!)
- Shopping around Union Square
San Francisco Airport Hotel
After a busy weekend with some of us having very early flights the next day, we opted to stay at a hotel near SFO on our last night. The Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront was easy to get to and is a great option if you’re looking for hotels with free shuttles to SFO. It also has a restaurant onsite as well as a few other options within walking distance.
Those of us who were leaving a little later took a walk around the San Francisco Bay Trail in the morning. (It’s a great spot if you want to watch planes land at SFO!) We also grabbed coffee and breakfast at Equator Coffee, located in the Meta campus in Burlingame.
Have you done a girls trip to Napa or San Francisco weekend trip? I’d love to hear your ideas for restaurants or things to do!