St. Helena Must-Dos for First-Time Visitors

Make the most of your getaway and learn the best tips + tricks to navigate wine country like a pro.

Lodging + Accommodations

Booking your stay in advance gives you a nice starting point for how long you plan to explore St. Helena. We recommend at least 3+ days to truly understand the beauty of wine country and get the most out of your stay.

Alila Napa Valley is for the seekers who want to experience close-to-touch vineyard views with a luxurious intimate retreat ascetic. Rejuvenate your inner wellness warrior at the spa and indulge your taste buds with California cuisine at the hotel’s on-site restaurant the Acacia House. Once you’re checked in there’s plenty to explore a step away from your room.

Alila Napa Valley

At the Wydown Hotel, less than a block away from St. Helena’s finest shopping, lavish wine tasting rooms, and mouthwatering Napa Valley cuisine, this 12-room boutique hotel is top on the list for those who plan to explore on foot. Say goodbye to your car keys for the weekend and say hello to exploring St. Helena’s Historic Shopping Distrit all within walking distance of your stay. Insider tip; the hotel offers warm chocolate chip cookies in the evening to hotel guests.

Wydown Hotel

For a full list of St. Helena accommodations, click here.


There’s no secret St. Helena is king for Cabernet. Home to over 170 wineries in a 10-mile radius, St. Helena is a highly desirable travel destination for tasting Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon wines. We’ve hand-picked the top wineries you must include on your itinerary that will not disappoint your inner sommelier.

Indulge your inner wine snob at Hall Wines. With daily offerings including the signature HALLmark tour, guests have a choice of winery tours and tastings for the novice wine drinker to the expert cab collector. With over 35 pieces of contemporary art, this 150-year-old site has something for everyone.

Hall Wines St. Helena

Tres Sabores is where the locals go. This family-run, woman-owned winery is located minutes from downtown St. Helena. Known as “the ranch” this winery features certified organic wines, heirloom gardens, heritage olive trees, and much more. Children and dogs are welcome too. 

Tres Sabores

History speaks for itself at Charles Krug Winery. With a world-class hospitality center and extensive vineyard holdings, learn why experience matters at the historic Napa winery. 

Charles Krug Winery

No reservation is required at V. Sattui Winery. Three tasting rooms and a deli provide you the opportunity to casually enjoy wine and food on the picturesque 2-acre picnic grounds.  Or dive deeper into the aromas of wine with a traditional seated tasting under the 3oo-year-old oaks.

V. Sattui Winery

Top tip: each wine pour is 3 oz, tasting fees average $55, and most experiences take a minimum of 90-minutes. Reservations are key and most require 24-hour notice.

Outdoor Excursions

Now that you’ve booked reservations for wineries, it’s time to fill your itinerary with exciting excursions.  From exploring the peaks of Mount St. Helena to tasting the diverse wine climate of Napa Valley, St. Helena has it all to make your wine country experience filled with natural wonders.

Press pause at one of the largest bodies of fresh water in California. Lake Berryessa offers boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and more.

Lake Berryessa

Reconnect with mother nature at Bothe Napa Valley State Park. Leisurely hike up the canyon to see volcanic ash cliffs or venture to the historic Bale Grist Mill for an insider’s guide to an authentic peek into Californians’ rural heritage.

Bothe Napa Valley State Park & Bale Grist Mill

Spend an afternoon taking in the breathtaking views of the vineyard vines while stopping at tasting salons along the way with Napa Valley Bike Tours. 

Napa Valley Bike Tours & Rentals


After sightseeing, sprinkle in delicious farm-fork eats throughout your day. St. Helena features seasonal-driven menus, whether you’re traveling in the spring or fall, the cuisine changes with the times for your palate to savor every bite. 

Owned by three-star Michelin Chef Christopher Kostow, The Charter Oak is centered on a celebratory, family-style dining experience, with simple, approachable, and seasonal food.

The Charter Oak

Housed in a former nursery barn, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch revolves around a central open kitchen, showcasing organic and American farmhouse cooking. Graze through the gardens and in the mornings enjoy breakfast delights under the blue spruce trees. 

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Gatehouse Restaurant showcases the talents of CIA students. Enjoy a meal inspired by local produce from the college’s own farms and gardens. 

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Gatehouse Restaurant

Gott’s Roadside offers American roadside classics including California Burger, Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos with sushi-grade Ahi tuna, Chicken Kale Caesar, and hand-spun organic shakes.

Gott’s Roadside

For the sweet tooth sink your teeth into Erosion ice cream or savor every bite with decedent Belgian-style chocolate at Woodhouse Chocolate

Woodhouse Chocolate


So you’ve planned the ultimate St. Helena getaway, now you need to plan what to wear and pack. Here are a few travel tips and ideas for what you should have in your suitcase. Top tip: Make sure to leave room in the suitcase for shopping in St. Helena’s Main Street district.

  • Wine Country casual: Jeans are accepted year-round. A more upscale winery might call for darker denim, and be sure to dress in layers as many winery experiences take place outdoors and tours often take guests through wine caves and chilled cellar areas. 
  • Spring/Summer: sundress, denim, skirts, blouses, and sandals. For men- Golf attire and button-down shirts, denim, and closed-toed shoes. Add accessories for a pop of fun! 
  • Fall/Winter: Denim, sweater, and boots.
  • Flats or wedges: when visiting wineries, there is often a lot of walking around outdoors on unpaved surfaces. Be safe and wear low wedges or flats.
  • If you want to dress like a local vintner, bring a vest. If you don’t have one, not to worry head to Sportago where they have plenty of colors and sizes to choose from.  
Shopping Main Street St. Helena


St. Helena is a scenic 90-minute drive from San Francisco and Sacramento, and 35 minutes from Santa Rosa between Napa and Sonoma counties.

Wild Vine Tours is a luxury wine tour and transportation company, with an adventure twist. Tag along with local experts Scott and Nicole Dale for a curated tour of the beautiful Napa Valley region. Whether that be by foot, bike, or car they can customize any tour to best match your interests.

Wild Vine Tours

Airport car service and airport transportation are Five Emerald Limousine specialties. Serving all international airports in San Fransisco Bay and private jet centers getting to St. Helena has never been easier. 

Five Emerald Limousine

Interested in meeting like-minded, wine lovers? Join in on the fun with Platypus Wine Tours. This is truly a fun and social way to discover and savor new experiences while tasting some of the world’s most celebrated wines. 

Platypus Wine Tours