Sure, wine country is beautiful in summer when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. But winter in Napa Valley is also surprisingly serene and fun, even when it’s pouring down rain. Rainy days simply nudge you to double-down on cozy and intimate activities, which is easy when there are so many great places to do both.

Here are some of our favorite things to do on a rainy day in Napa Valley.

Wineries that are Perfect in Rainy Weather

Just because it's raining doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel on touring and tasting at some of the best wineries. The lush, rolling hills and vineyards are beautiful even in the rain! Rains typically bring moody and dramatic fog, and often give way to stunning rainbows – and wineries are the best locations to witness these dreamy sights.

Wineries with indoor or covered patio tastings

Many wineries have charming and cozy indoor tasting areas or outdoor tastings under covered patios which still provide a scenic backdrop of the vineyards. Here's just a few options:

Wineries with caves

Wine caves provide an ideal refuge on rainy days, offering a unique and intimate alternative to the traditional wine tasting. Napa Valley has over 65 wineries with caves, and many offer their caves to visitors for wine tastings and tours. Here's just a few of the most popular winery caves:

Take a Scenic Drive

Winter rains bring lush green hills, vineyards blanketed with mustard blooms, and moss-covered forests, perfect for exploring from the comfort of your car on a rainy day. Pack a cooler with snacks, and choose from our favorite scenic drive routes.

  • Discover boutique wineries and beautiful valley views on the back roads of Calistoga and Spring Mountain.
  • Take a quiet ride up Silverado Trail and onto Howell Mountain with mountainside wineries and gorgeous views of the valley.
  • Discover off-the-beaten-path rustic wineries, sweeping lake views, and plenty of natural beauty on Highway 128.
  • Enjoy a slower pace and a taste of the country life as you cruise around the back roads of Coombsville on a quick scenic drive close to Downtown Napa.

Visit a Food Hall

Stroll through Oxbow Public Market in Downtown Napa and browse shops like Napa Bookmine, Whole Spice, Anette's Chocolates, Napa Valley Distillery, or The Olive Press. Don’t forget to stop by Ritual Coffee for a hot pour-over. The market is also a great spot for lunch – nibble on a warm empanada from El Porteño, enjoy a hot pizza from Live Fire Pizza, or sip on Matzoh Ball Soup from Loveski Deli, Chef Christopher Kostow’s take on a Jewish deli.

Oxbow Public Market

Relax and Rejuvenate with a Spa Treatment or Mud Bath

A lazy, rainy day is the perfect cue to head to a spa or hot spring for some relaxation and rejuvenation. Spas are a huge part of the Napa Valley vibe, and indulgent pampering is taken to a whole new level here. Spa Alila at Alila Napa Valley provides an elevated experience with soothing facials, body renewal treatments, and detoxifying massages. Halehouse Spa at Stanly Ranch has pre- and post-workout treatments, fitness assessments, daily fitness classes, and therapeutic massages – all to help you achieve total wellbeing.

You don’t need sunshine to get yourself a good mud bath. There are plenty of options for this service, but the mud baths at Spa & Baths at Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort are some of the best. The mud and volcanic ash mixture they use today is the same mud recipe they’ve used for 70 years. For another spin on the traditional mud bath, try the three-part treatment at Spa Solage at Solage Calistoga, which includes a mud experience, a water endeavor, and a sound immersion.

Spa & Baths at Dr. Wilkinson’s

Catch a Movie at an Independent, State of-the-art Theater

Founded in 1913, St. Helena’s 140-seat Cameo Cinema is California's oldest continuously operating single-screen movie theater. Owner Cathy Buck has infused this classic ‘movie palace’ with Napa Valley’s legendary style and hospitality and state-of-the-art technology: the Cameo is the only single-screen Art House Cinema in the United States to boast a state-of-the-art Barco 6k Cinema Laser Projector and Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. Perhaps Buck’s biggest accomplishment is that she has kept the theater independent. A movie here is only part of the experience.

Appreciate Art and History

Art connoisseurs and even casual admirers will find a wealth of art and artists. Napa Valley is home to public and private art exhibits and museums, winery art installations, galleries and open studios.

Napa Valley is home to several history museums, all of which paint colorful pictures of the respective communities they serve.

  • In Calistoga, the Sharpsteen Museum provides a compendium of information about the town’s past as the wellness capital of California.
  • In St. Helena, the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum is a great spot to learn about the eponymous author’s time in Napa Valley.
  • In Yountville, the Napa Valley Museum offers great perspective on the history of the valley overall.
  • And in Rutherford, the 1881 Napa Wine History Museum at Oakville Wine Merchant shines a spotlight on some of the tools farmers and vintners used to ply their craft over time.

Rain or shine, it may just be the best day you’ve spent in Napa Valley after all.

Top photo credit: Bob McClenahan