Calistoga

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Calistoga

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Calistoga is in the north end of the Napa Valley in the Bay Area region of California. Calistoga was founded as a hot springs resort in the 1860's by Sam Brannan, California's first millionaire, and has long been a destination for its natural hot springs and mineral water and their supposed health benefits. Its position at the north end of the Napa Valley also makes it a gateway to Sonoma County wine country. Calistoga is a visitor destination that celebrates being different … franchise fast food is against the law (really!) and healthy hedonists are celebrated. Go wine tasting, have a fabulous dinner, then take a bike ride and have a mud bath before you leave.

Get in

By air

  • San Francisco International Airport, 650-821-8211, [1]. 90-120 minutes away by car.
  • Sacramento International Airport, [2]. 90-120 minutes away by car.
  • Oakland International Airport, [3]. 80-110 minutes away by car.

By car

From San Francisco:

Highway 101 North over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Highway 37;
Highway 37 East towards Vallejo/Napa, to Highway 121;
Highway 121 North towards Napa to Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

Alternatively,

Highway 101 North over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Mark West Springs Road exit, just north of Santa Rosa;
Mark West Springs Road East becomes Porter Creek Road;
Continue on Porter Creek Road to stop sign;
Left on Petrified Forest Road to Calistoga.
This route avoids the traffic in Napa Valley.

Yet another route from San Francisco goes via the East Bay.

Interstate 80 East across the Bay Bridge;
Follow directions from Oakland, below.

From Oakland:

Interstate 80 East to Highway 37 at Vallejo;
Highway 37 West to Highway 29;
Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

From Sacramento:

Interstate 80 West to Highway 113 at Davis;
Highway 113 North to Covell Road exit in Davis;
Covell Road West to Winters. Covell Road becomes Highway 128;
Highway 128 West to Highway 29 at Rutherford;
Highway 29 North to Calistoga.

Get around

Calistoga is a very small town, with most of the shops and restaurants on two crossing streets, Lincoln Avenue and Washington Street. Walking is the best way to explore the town.

Bicycles are another good option, especially for those wishing to visit the wineries and other attractions a little farther from the center of town. Bicycles can be rented at The Calistoga Bike Shop [5], which also dispenses tips and route advice. The Bike Shop can also arrange "Calistoga Cool Wine" tours, with arrangements for the shop to pick up and deliver any purchased wine, so the bicyclist is not weighted down.

A relatively new bike path connects the eastern end of Washington Street to Dunaweal Lane, providing easy, car-free access from the center of town to several wineries, including Twomey, Clos Pegase, Paoletti and Cuvaison.

See

  • Old Faithful Geyser, 1299 Tubbs Lane, Phone: +1 707 942-6463, [6]. 9AM - 6PM every day of the year. Named after the far larger geyser in Yellowstone National Park, this geyser puts on a good show every hour or so. Bring a lunch and have a picnic while waiting for the show to start. $8 adult, $3 6-12 years old, free for under 6 years old.
  • Petrified Forest, 4100 Petrified Forest Road (off Highway 29 south of Calistoga, then a few miles west along Petrified Forest Road) [7]. 9AM-7PM (9AM-5PM in winter). Big-old honking redwood trees which were petrified after being covered by ash from a nearby volcano. You will never see a bigger petrified tree anywhere. Adults $6, Children 6-11 $3.
  • The Sharpsteen Museum, 1311 Washington St., Phone: +1 707 942-5911, Fax: +1 707 942 6325, [8]. Daily 11AM-4PM. Presents the history of the upper Napa Valley. $3.

Do

  • Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, 3801 St. Helena Highway North, (Highway 29), Phone: +1 707 942-4575, [9]. Hiking or horseback riding (see below) through redwoods on 10 miles of trails in over one hundred acres including Ritchey Canyon. Also ruins of Napa Valley's first church and a pioneer graveyard with the graves of some of the Donner Party. Swimming pool (extra fee). Day use $5/car.
  • Triple Creek Horse Outfit, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, Phone: +1 707 933-1600, [10].
  • Lavender Hill Spa, 1015 Foothill Blvd. (Hwy 29), Phone: +1 707 942-4495, [11]. Garden spa for couples.

Buy

  • Ca'toga Galleria D'Arte, 1206 Cedar Street, Phone: +1 707 942-3900, [12]. Wed-Mon. Tile and stone artwork.
  • Lee Youngman Galleries, 1316 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-0585, [13]. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM.
  • A Man's Store, 1343 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-2280, [14]. W-M. Men's work and leisure clothing and accessories, and cigars.

Eat

Budget

  • Bosko's Trattoria, 1364 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-9088, [15]. Daily 11:30AM-10PM. Fresh made pasta, pizza, sandwiches.
  • FlatIron Grill, 1440 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-1220, [16]. Lunch, dinner.
  • Cal Mart, 1491 Lincoln Avenue, Phone +1 707 942-9686, [17], a grocery store, and
  • Palisades Deli Cafe, 1486 Lincoln Avenue, Phone +1 707 942-0145, both offer take-out sandwiches and prepared food. Palisades also offers the option of eating on-site. Take-out from either place can be taken to any of Calistoga's parks, where consumption of beer and wine is also permitted. Both may be purchased at Cal-Mart, or at any number of wine stores or wineries in and around Calistoga. Note, however, that open containers of alcoholic beverages are not allowed on city streets--only within the parks.
  • Buster's Southern Barbeque and Bakery, 1207 Foothill Boulevard, Phone +1 707 942-5605, [18], offers barbecue, beer and wine. Warning: the hot sauce is extremely hot. Ask for a taste if you are not sure you can handle it.

Moderate

Splurge

  • Brannan's Grill, 1374 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-2233, [19]. Lunch, dinner, brunch. Fine dining, nice facility. $20-$32.

Drink

Wineries

  • Sterling Vineyards, 1111 Dunaweal Lane, Toll free: 1-800-726-6136, [20]. 10:30AM-4:30PM. For $15 an aerial tram takes you to their tasting room with views of Napa Valley, plus tasting of 4-5 wines and a self-guided tour. Great Cabernets, too.
  • Clos Pegase, 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Phone: +1 707 942-4981, [21]. Daily 10:30AM-5PM. Wine, art, architecture, picnic area, it's all here, including great red wines.
  • Vincent Arroyo Winery, 2361 Greenwood Av., Phone: +1 707 942-6995, [22]. Daily 10AM-4:30PM. Their wines can only be bought through the winery and usually sell out before the grapes are picked. Big red wines, especially Petite Sirah.
  • Summers Winery, 1171 Tubbs Lane, Phone: +1 707 942-5508, [23]. 10:30AM-4:30PM. Beautiful setting with bocce court and entertainment center.
  • Calistoga Wineries [24]

Bars

Calistoga has more bars per capita than any other Napa Valley city, and may even have more than the City of Napa itself.

  • The Calistoga Inn, 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-4101, [25]. The Inn houses Napa Valley Brewing, which produces 4 beers as well as seasonal offerings, and a full pub-style bar, as well as a restaurant and lodging. Weather permitting there is also a back bar and beer garden along the Napa River, with picnic tables and horseshoe pitches. The Inn features live music nightly.
  • Susie's Bar, 1365 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-6710. Less touristed than the others on this list.
  • Hydro Bar & Grill, 1403 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-9777. The Hydro features an extensive offering of specialty beers and top-shelf liquors. Hydro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features live music on the weekends.
  • Bar-Vino, 1457 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-9900, [26]. Bar-Vino offers small plates and a wide range of local and imported wines from 4 p.m. daily.

These restaurants have separate bar service areas for still more nightlife options.

  • Pacifico Restaurante Mexico, 1237 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-4400, [27]. Renowned for its margaritas, Pacifico's happy hour is 4:30-6:30 Monday-Friday. Pacifico frequently features live mariachi music.
  • Bosko's Trattoria, 1364 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-9088, [28]. Dinner can be enjoyed at Bosko's long wooden bar.
  • Brannan's Grill, 1374 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-2233, [29]. An elegant atmosphere does not preclude televised sport at this restaurant's popular bar. Brannan's features Herb Gibson on vibes.
  • Checker's, 1414 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-9300. The bar features a number of wines by the glass.
  • Flat Iron Grill, 1440 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-1720, [30]. The small bar is located near the food-preparation area.
  • Kitani Sushi, 1631 Lincoln Avenue, Phone: +1 707 942-6857, [31]. This traditional sushi restaurant features the usual lineup of Japanese beer, sake and plum wine.
  • SolBar, 755 Silverado Trail, Phone: +1 866 942-7442, [32]. This restaurant and bar at the new Solage Resort aims to compete with Brannan's for the upscale clientele.

Sleep

  • Best Western Stevenson Manor Inn, 1830 Lincoln Avenue, +1 707 942-1112, Fax: +1 707 942-0381, [33].
  • Mount View Hotel & Spa, 1457 Lincoln Avenue, Toll free: +1 800-816-6877, Phone: +1 707 942-6877. Historic hotel with luxury feel and day spa.
  • Calistoga Hot Springs, 1006 Washington Street, Phone: +1 707 942-6269, [34]. Four outdoor mineral water pools, exercise and aerobics rooms. Right in town.
  • Calistoga Wine Way Inn, 1019 Foothill Blvd, Phone: +1 707 942-0680, [35]. Historic bed and breakfast with 6 rooms, right in town.
  • Craftsman Inn, +1 707 341 3035, [36]. Brand new 5 room bed and breakfast, center of town.

Campground

  • Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, 3801 St. Helena Highway North, (Highway 29), Tel: +1 707 942-4575. 40 sites. Restrooms and hot showers. $15.
  • Roman Spa, +1 707 942-4441, Fax: +1 800 404-4772 , [37].

Get out

Finished with Napa Valley? There's more wine to the west in Sonoma County, with Healdsburg close by.

Lake County, with recreation opportunities at Clear Lake as well as Harbin Hot Springs, is just over Mount St. Helena to the North.


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!