Calistoga is at the north end of the Napa Valley in the Bay Area region of California. Calistoga was founded as a hot springs resort in the 1860s 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's 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.
At least since the 1700s, Calistoga's distinguishing characteristic has been its hot springs, which were used by the native Wappo people for medicinal purposes. After the time of Spanish missions and Mexican ranchos, Samuel Brannan bought 2000 acres, founding Calistoga and starting the Indian Springs resort. The resort eventually went into the hands of Doctor John Wilkinson, the founder of the spa industry.
Due to the spa industry, the California wine boom of the 1970s, the ensuing tourism, and the proximity to San Francisco (which in turn has fueled more tourism), Calistoga, like the rest of the Napa Valley, has maintained very high property value. This has increased the cost of living and essentially the price of everything from coffee to gasoline. The surprise win by Chateau Montelena Winery of Calistoga at a 1976 Chardonnay blind tasting in France instigated the California wine boom of the 1970s.
- San Francisco International Airport 90-120 min away by car.
- Sacramento International Airport. 90–120 minutes away by car.
- Oakland International Airport. 80–110 minutes away by car.
- Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport, (STS IATA), in Santa Rosa, is served by Alaska Airlines operated by Horizon Air to and from Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego and Seattle/Tacoma. The airport is 11 km (20-40 min) west of Calistoga 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.
- 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.
- Interstate 80 East to Highway 37 at Vallejo;
- Highway 37 West to Highway 29;
- Highway 29 North to Calistoga.
- 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.
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, 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 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 Sterling, Twomey, Clos Pegase, Paoletti and Cuvaison.
- 1 Old Faithful Geyser, 1299 Tubbs Ln, ☏ . $10 adult, $3, 6–12 years old, free for under 6 years old. 9AM-6PM daily. Named after the far larger geyser in Yellowstone National Park, this geyser puts on a good show every 10-15 min. Bring a lunch and have a picnic while waiting for the show to start.
- 2 Petrified Forest, 4100 Petrified Forest Rd (off Highway 29 south of Calistoga, then a few miles west along Petrified Forest Road). 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 $8, Children 6-11 $3.
- The Sharpsteen Museum, 1311 Washington St, ☏ , fax: . Daily 11AM-4PM. Presents the history of the upper Napa Valley. Free; $3 donation recommended.
- 1 Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, 3801 St. Helena Highway North (Highway 29), ☏ . 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). $5 per vehicle.
- 2 Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park, 3369 St Helena Hwy, St Helena (3 miles north of St Helena on Hwy 29). Sa–Sun 10AM–5PM, plus some Mondays. Closed in 2020 due to a wildfire. This park is centered on a water-powered grain mill built in the middle of the 19th century. The grist mill still works and is operated on the weekends; the tour is worth the extra charge of $5 a person. Because wooden mills can't comply with modern food safety standards, the corn, wheat, and rye flour that they mill for the demonstrations can't be sold, but small bags are available as souvenirs for a donation. There is a hiking trail to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and its camping facilities. Picnic area and drinking water. Wheelchair-accessible unisex restrooms. Geocaching site. Dogs allowed only in specific outdoor areas.
- 3 Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, 4824 Lake County Hwy #4774, ☏ . Sunrise to sunset. This park has one historic spot: the site of a now-demolished cabin where Robert Louis Stevenson once stayed. However, the main reason to go to this park is to spend half the day hiking up the mountain (9 mi., 2000' elevation each way) to see the 360° panoramic view from the summit. This is not an easy trail, especially the last mile. Bring water, sunscreen (there is no shade after the first mile), a hat, good shoes, stout lungs, and warm clothes for the windy summit. During the summer, plan to start this hike before mid-morning. Bikes permitted on some trails. No dogs permitted anywhere. Geocaching site. No restrooms, no drinking water, and limited parking.
In addition to the businesses below, many of the local resorts also offer spas.
- Lavender Hill Spa, 1015 Foothill Blvd. (HWY 29), ☏ . Beautiful garden grounds with full spa packages perfect for couples on a romantic vacation. Check their website for specials, they often have discounts of gift cards that can be printed in advanced and used for treatments.
- Lincoln Ave. Spa, 1339 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Massages start at $60/25 min.
- Golden Haven Spa, 1713 Lake St, ☏ . Bachelorette party packages as well as regular and couples massages. Massage: $85/1hour.
- 4 Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, 1006 Washinton St, ☏ . 4 outdoor mineral water pools, exercise and aerobics rooms. Right in town. Rooms starting at $142 (Mar-Oct), $120 (Nov-Apr).
- Clos Pegase, 1060 Dunaweal Ln, ☏ . Daily 10:30AM-5PM. Estate wines grown, pressed, vinified and bottled on their 450 acre winery. Wine, art, architecture, picnic area. Try their great red wines and enjoy their public tours. Tour: free.
- Castello di Amorosa, 4045 St Helena Hwy, ☏ . Daily 9:30AM – 6PM. This replica of a Tuscan castle is one of Napa Valley's landmark destinations. General admission for adults (self-guided tour; includes tasting of five wines) is $30; children (ages 5 to 20) is $20. Guided tours and other upgrades are available.
- Sterling Vineyards, 1111 Dunaweal Ln, toll-free: . 10:30AM-4:30PM. View the Napa Valley from high above on the aerial tram that delivers you to the Sterling Vineyard tasting room; $15 and includes tasting of 4-5 wines and a self-guided tour for 21+ and $3 for under 21. Pay a little extra and taste the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots from single vineyards and other premium wines. Great place for those traveling with their whole family. Great Cabernets, too.
- Summers Winery, 1171 Tubbs Ln, ☏ . 10:30AM-4:30PM. Beautiful setting with bocce court and entertainment center. Taste their Charbono wine, a wine grown exclusively in California and primarily in Calistoga. Wine tasting: $7/person waived with any purchase of wine.
- Vincent Arroyo Winery, 2361 Greenwood Av., ☏ . 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.
- Ca'toga Galleria D'Arte, 1206 Cedar St, ☏ . W-M. This gallery features ceramic, tile, sculpture and painted artwork and home furnishings by artist Carlo Marchiori, whose extensive historic murals can be seen in public locations and in stores and restaurants all over Calistoga.
- 1 Calistoga Wine Stop, 1441 Lincoln Ave, ☏ , toll-free: , tom@CalistogaWineStop.net. 10AM-6PM. Napa & Sonoma County wines from smaller wineries.
- Lee Youngman Galleries, 1316 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM.
- [dead link] Bosko's Trattoria, 1364 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM except Tu (opens at 3 PM). Fresh made pasta, wood fire oven pizza, sandwiches. Starters $10-19, fresh pastas and pizzas starting at $19..
- Buster's Southern Barbeque, 1207 Foothill Blvd, ☏ . Daily 10AM-8PM. Southern style barbecue, beer and wine. Warning: the hot sauce is extremely hot. Ask for a taste if you are not sure you can handle it. Sandwiches $11 (includes one side dish), dinner $13.20 (includes two side dishes).
- Cal Mart, 1491 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . A grocery store offering take out sandwiches and prepared foods.
- Palisades Deli Cafe, 1458 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Offers take-out sandwiches and prepared food as well as on-site dining. 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.
- Sam's Social Club, 1712 Lincoln Ave (Located on the grounds of the Indian Springs resort; open to the public.), ☏ . Upscale New American fare in a bright eatery with a fireplace, a bar for local drinks, and a patio.
- SolBar, 755 Silverado Trail, ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 7AM-9PM. Restaurant and bar at the Solage Calistoga Resort was awarded a second consecutive Michelin Star for its cuisine in 2010. Daily menu based on seasonal changes. Mains $18-36 (lunch), $32-55 (dinner).
- Yo el Rey Roasting, 1217 Washington St, ☏ . Small, art-filled, creative hangout. The upper Napa Valley's only Fair Trade or organic coffee shop. Fifty cent discount for bringing your own mug or cup, and no charge for the WiFi or in-shop bookcase.
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 Ave, ☏ . 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 Ave, ☏ . Less touristic than the others on this list.
- Hydro Bar & Grill, 1403 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . 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.
These restaurants have separate bar service areas for still more nightlife options.
- Pacifico Restaurante Mexico, 1237 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Renowned for its margaritas, happy hour is M-F 4:30-6:30PM. Often frequently features live mariachi music.
- [dead link] Bosko's Trattoria, 1364 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Dinner can be enjoyed at Bosko's long wooden bar.
- Checker's, 1414 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . The bar features a number of wines by the glass.
- Sushi Mambo, 1631 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . noon - 9PM; closed Tuesday.
- SolBar, toll-free: . 755 Silverado Trail. Restaurant and bar at the new Solage Resort aims to compete with Brannan's for the upscale clientele.
- 1 Calistoga Wine Way Inn, 1019 Foothill Blvd, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Historic bed and breakfast. Charming rooms all with private baths and full breakfast included each morning. $99-$399.
- Dr Wilkinson's Hot Springs, 1507 Lincoln Ave, ☏ . Calistoga's landmark resort. Mud baths, three thermal pools, renewed lodging and great package rates. Founded in 1952, this is a resort that has consistently upgraded, family owned and reasonably priced for Napa Valley.
- 2 Craftsman Inn, 1213 Foothill Blvd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Elegant Craftsman-style bed and breakfast with beautiful new rooms with flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, private porches. Full breakfast included. Rooms Starting at $149.
- EuroSpa & Inn, 1202 Pine St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Spa services, and Wine Country California vacation packages. $125-210.
- Mount View Hotel & Spa, 1457 Lincoln Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Historic hotel with luxury feel and day spa. A romantic location with beautiful "Artist Cottages". Rooms starting at $189.
- Roman Spa, 1300 Washington St, ☏ . Hotel and spa in a Roman theme with baths and pools that complement the romantic cottage rooms. Rooms starting at $120 (midweek) and $160 (weekend).
- Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, 1006 Washinton St, ☏ . 4 outdoor mineral water pools, exercise and aerobics rooms. Right in town. Rooms starting at $142 (March-Oct), $120 (Nov-April).
- Calistoga Ranch (An Auberge Resport), 580 Lommel Rd, ☏ . 46-room, 157-acre resort in a private canyon with a private restaurant, outdoor activities including hiking, fitness center, yoga, pool overlooking vineyard and spa treatments at The Bathhouse. Lodges starting at $550.
- Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail, toll-free: . 89 studio style loft-inspired rooms with an eclectic design offering spa facilities. From $350 (Nov-March), $450 (Oct-April).
- Indian Springs Resort and Spa, 1712 Lincoln Ave, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Historic resort and spa founded in the 1800s by Samuel Brannan, California's first millionaire. Now owned by a local family, it underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and has the largest Olympic pool in Northern California and a "summer camp" style atmosphere. Spa uses volcanic ash treatments and all geysers fuel the pools. From $259.
- Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, 3801 St. Helena Highway North (Highway 29), ☏ . 40 sites. Restrooms and hot showers. $15.
|Routes through Calistoga|
|Lakeport ← Middletown ←||N S||→ St. Helena → Vallejo|
|Cloverdale ← Geyserville ←||W E||→ St. Helena → Winters|