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14 Best Things to do in Calistoga California for Grown-Ups

There are loads of fun things to do in Calistoga California. Calistoga Napa Valley is a super cute small town in California. Within the Napa Valley, there are several lovely towns with restaurants and accommodation.

However, I did find Calistoga to be the quirkiest and most interesting.

Here are 14 fantastic things to do in Calistoga California

14 Best Things to do in Calisgota, California for Grown-Ups

1. Eat at Solbar Solage

One of the top things to do in Calistoga is eating! I stayed at Solage Calistoga and I ate at Solbar a lot. That would be five breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners. And everything was fantastic.

Solbar offers outside and inside seating. We only ate inside once when outside was full and it was still a nice experience – but outside is definitely the better option.

Read my full review of Solage Spa here 

outdoor dining area at Solbar Solage Calistoga
The lovely outdoor dining area at Solbar

Let’s start with breakfast at Solbar – what a fabulous breakfast menu! Lots of healthy options like egg-white omelets, grapefruit and avocado and crab etc as well as delicious pastries and some brilliant pancakes.

Lunch we went with snacky options – fish tacos were a highlight. Dinner at Solbar Calistoga is structured as first, next, main and dessert. You can take only one, two or three items or you can go for the great value USD$80 4 course menu. This is great value for a Michelin star restaurant like Solbar.

avocado, crab and grapefruit on english muffins at solbar breakfast
Avocado and crab on muffins – yum!

The menu at Solbar Calistoga changes regularly and keeps up with the season. When I was there I was particularly blown away by the lamb and the quality of the basics like the amazing tomatoes.

There is, of course, a fantastic wine list as well as you would expect when staying in the heart of the wine country. The wine list at Solbar offers my new favourite thing after visiting the Napa Valley – wine flights. Large tasters of several wines grouped together by style or type.

tomato salad at solbar solage
Amazing tomato salad at Solbar

2. Stay at Solage Calistoga

When it comes to Calistoga hotels Solage may well be the top of the list. When you think relaxed, stylish California this is exactly what I had in mind. Solage is a lovely property that is quite spread out so there is a feeling of intimacy despite the size.

Our room at Solage was huge with a living area and a large patio. I love that it came with pushbikes as well. This was perfect for exploring the Calistoga attractions.

cabin or room at Solage Calistoga California
Our cabin

The service at Solage was fantastic, the food is amazing and wow the Solage spa is lovely. There is a large spa area with extra pools, natural waters, steam rooms etc etc.

We tried one of their core treatments which was a mix of scrub, soak and massage and was lovely. This is a Calistoga spa highlight. There are no Calistoga hot springs at Solage but they really don’t need them.

Bath in spa at Solage Calistoga
My kind of Bath

The main pool at Solage is huge and perfect for lounging by and reading your book – with a nearby pool bar of course.

If you are looking for something more active in Calistoga Napa you will receive a full activity schedule when you check in with all of the classes – from yoga to the circuit – that is on offer during your stay at Solage.

Click here for the latest prices and availability for Solage Calistoga 

solage calistoga pool with deckchairs
Pool time

3. Hit the Calistoga Wineries

Of course, when it comes to things to do in Calistoga wine and wine tastings will be at the top of your list. I spent a lovely afternoon at the Von Strasser & Lava Vine Winery.

We were able to do our tasting whilst sitting outside – such a treat being brought glasses of delicious wines for a Calistoga wine tasting whilst relaxing outside.

Brian Arden wines, which is very close to Solage, also comes highly recommended. And here is a great post on the Best Wineries in Calistoga.

If you love finding hidden gem wine areas and California check out my Livermore Wine Tasting Guide

Von Strasser and Lava Winery entrance
Time to do some tasting, one of the best things to do Calistoga has on offer
Von Strasser and Lava Winery cupboard
So tempting.

4. Watch Sideways

There is something about watching a movie or tv show in the place where it is set – it seems to add so much. I had the same experience watching Narcos in medellin. Anyway, I digress.

The film to watch when tasting wine in California is Sideways. It was released in 2004 and stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church as two friends that decide to go on a week-long wine road trip.

Download it before you leave home or if you are staying at Solage you can borrow it and watch in on dvd in your room.

Signs for coffee shops in Calistoga
Coffee time!

5. Take the Wine Train

I find it hard to imagine that there would be anyone who wouldn’t want to take a ride on a Napa Valley Wine Train. Yes it is very touristy and it isn’t cheap but this is one of the most fun things to do in Napa Valley.

There are many journey choices on offer from the Napa Valley Wine Train. We went with a lunch offer that included a winery tour – the fantastic Grgich Hills.

The Napa Valley Wine Train

We enjoyed a decent three-course meal on the Napa Valley wine train with some great wine flights. The highlight though was the actual experience.

It was lovely having lunch rolling through vineyards and then stopping off to taste more wine. When it comes to what to do in Calistoga Ca this should be high on your list.

Book the Napa Valley Wine Train

Travelling with your dog? Here is a great post on dog-friendly wineries in Sonoma which is only one hour from Calistoga Napa Valley.

6. Enjoy Coffee from beans Roasted in Downtown Calistoga

American coffee can be rather dreadful – that awful drip stuff or far too milky cappuccinos. Luckily downtown Calistoga has a cafe that roasts its own beans and provides a great brew. When it comes to what there is to do in Calistoga tasting coffee can be added to wine tasting.

Yo El Rey coffee roasting in Calistoga
Time to roast some beans

Yo el Rey is a super cute coffee micro-roaster. And of course, they are also organic and fair trade certified. Yo El Rey roast their own beans and have a lovely little café right in the heart of Calistoga. Art 1217 Washington also gets some positive reviews.

Yo El Rey coffee shop in Calistoga
Coffee Time

7. Hit the Calmart

I realise that visiting a grocery store was probably not what you expected when it came to what to do in Calistoga – but the Calmart is a large fabulous grocery shop on the main road in Calistoga.

Calmart gives Wholefoods a run for their money with deli and takeaway food offerings. They can then meet all of your usual grocery needs.

The Calmart in Calistoga
Cute buildings in downtown Calistoga

However, for me, the highlight of the Calmart was the wine section. This is possibly the cheapest place to grab some great Napa Valley wines. They even had a decent range of dessert wines and ports.

Calistoga Calmart is the perfect place to grab Napa Valley wine for your room and wine to take home with you.

Yosemite Valley is one of the most stunning places in California – check out my guides to October in Yosemite and Yosemite in One Day

Shops on main street of Calistoga
A leg up on the main street in Calistoga

8. Send some Wine home

The Calistoga Wine Stop 1458 Lincoln,  can ship your favourite California Chardonnay worldwide. It is located in the train depot. The Calistoga wine shop stocks everything from vintage to bargains and cover all varieties. They will even specially pack up your wine if you are taking it home yourself.

9. Go shopping in a Train

The second train of the post. Downtown Calistoga has a couple of old trains that are California Heritage-listed and have been kitted and fitted out to provide a retail experience.

The Calistoga Wine Stop has a little tasting room here. There are also a few sweet shops and lovely quality souvenirs. The train car is part of the Calistoga Depot – all linked to the Wine Stop.

Train carriage shops on main street in Calistoga
Shopping in trains

10. More Calistoga Wineries – but this one has a big twist

Perhaps the most eccentric of the Calistoga wineries is the Tank Garage. The Tank Garage Winery is actually in an old retro 1930s gas station.  You can book a wine tasting or just drop in.

Trying 4 wines at the Tank Garage Winery will cost you USD$25 and take about 45 minutes. You may even get access to the back tasting room at the Tank Garage. This is normally only for members of their wine club.

Exterior of the Tank Garage Winery
Pulling into the Tank Winery, one of my favourite Calistoga activities

Tank Garage has its own wines with super cool labels and fabulous names like Post Disco, Stars like Ours and my favourite a red called Lick. As you would expect they also hold garage sales of their wines. This was one of my best places in Calistoga.

11. Natural Hot Springs

The original Calistoga things to do was visiting its Natural Hot Springs. They have been a Calistoga tourist attraction since the 1880s. It is possible to stay at Indian Springs Resort, home to giant hot spring pools, or book a spa treatment and get access.

When it comes to things to do in Calistoga hot springs there are also many hotels offering hot springs treatments.

Store on Calistoga Main Street
Some greenery

12. Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the top things to do in Calistoga Ca is head into the skies! Calistoga has its own hot air balloon specialists with flights planned daily. This one of Calistoga Ca attractions will set you back US$239 and you will have to get up very early (the flights leave between 5 am and 7 am so you have to be up before then).

However, you will get some stunning views of the Napa Valley on your hot air balloon ride and may even see the geyser erupt a couple of times (see number 14 below). The balloon floats around the northern area of the Napa Valley.

Once you land you can enjoy your post-flight breakfast with either a mimosa or a glass of sparkling wine. This is high on the Calistoga to-do list.

13. See some Million Year Old Trees

Like something out of an Enid Blyton novel, there is a Petrified Forest Calistoga. The trees were caught up in lava flow millions of years ago and are now essentially fossils. The trees at the Petrified Forest are a half-mile walk or you can take a 1 mile guided walk.

The walks take place at 11, 1 pm or 3 pm. The Petrified Forest is one of the prettiest things to see in Calistoga.

Calistoga bank
The Calistoga Bank

14. Old Faithful Geyser California Style

I do love a geyser. Something about nature taking charge of showing times! Depending on the time of year this faithful geyser erupts every 10 to 45 minutes.

Just like the Petrified Forest, the existence of the geyser is all linked back to a long-ago volcanic time. I did not expect to learn about ancient Volcanoes when I went to the Napa Valley.

The Geyser is open 365 days a year (it has recovered from the fires) and admission is USD$15 for adults. There is also a goat farm and an area for Bocce. Bocce appears to be a thing in Napa as there is also a Bocce ground at Solage Calistoga.

Rumour has it that they also get some pretty amazing rainbows at sunset post-eruption. When it comes to What is there to do in Calistoga CA the list is quite long. Calistoga California points of interest are extensive.

Cute shop on main street downtown Calistoga
Cute shopping in Calistoga

Napa Valley Tours

Of course, it is ideal to taste wine without a car so you can really enjoy it. This means that tours are the best way to safely get around the Napa Valley and enjoy wine.

Top 10 Wine Tours in the Napa Valley

Other Calistoga Boutique Hotels

There are loads of cute boutique hotels in and around Calistoga.

Go art deco at the Calistoga Wine Way Inn

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Stay on the actual natural Hot Springs at Indian Springs

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If you’re after some romance try the multi-award-winning Brannan Cottage Inn

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Stay at a listed heritage property plus get an amazing spa at the Mount View Hotel & Spa

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The latest opening in the area is the Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa. This unique retro boutique hotel is like stepping back in time – in a modern and cool way

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street into downtown Calistoga California
Downtown Calistoga

Getting to San Francisco

The nearest international airport for the Napa Valley is San Francisco. There is also a local airport in Sonoma albeit flights are more limited and domestic.

Flights to San Francisco

There are some fantastic drives around San Francisco – from heading south down to LA to drive around the Napa Valley.

Where is Calistoga California?

Where is Calistoga is a great question! Calistoga is about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco. It is centrally located between Napa and Sonoma.

Click here for different options and directions on how to get to Calistoga.

Gas dispenser at Tank Winery Calistoga
If only this dispensed wine!

Other things you might like to read

⇒ If you’re staying in San Francisco here is my guide to the Top 17 Unique Restaurants

⇒ And read my review of cute boutique Hotel G in San Francisco

⇒ My post on A Luxury Travel Blog about the Napa Valley Wine Train

⇒ and also on A Luxury Travel Blog the Best Eating Experiences in the Napa Valley

Who Paid for What with this Post

I paid for everything. This was completely me traveling and not working with any tourism boards or hotels etc. However, this post does contain affiliate links. That means that if you click through on them and make a purchase I may well receive a small commission. I just wanted to make sure that you knew.


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napa valley wine train and signage of calistoga california
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Calistoga is one of the most Charming Towns in the Napa Valley. Here are 14 great things to do in Calistoga California - from Calistoga Wineries to Coffee to a Petrified Forest and 11 more! #thingstodoincalistoga#whattodoincalistoga#downtowncalistoga#calistogathingstodo#calistogawineries#calistogawinetasting#thingstodoinnapa#thingstodoinnapavalley

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Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Napa valley is my one of the best place for tasting wine. Napa valley near the California city. There are 00 wineries that produce some of California’s best wines, then explore other notable attractions, such as the Oxbow Public Market, Napa Valley Wine Train, and the area’s Michelin-starred restaurants.

Sophia Grace

Monday 16th of April 2018

Great article about Cruise Ship. I rarely seen less this types of great articles for Cruise Ship. This has nice content which explain well about Cruise Ship.


Wednesday 4th of April 2018

Wine and Coffee- what else would I need in Calistoga? The Tank Garage is something i've never heard of and would be a definite go-to place for me, besides trying out the coffees.

Ami Bhat

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018

You have sold this one to me. Mainly coz of the wine trains. I definitely would love to try that one out. I would not mind a hot air balloon ride. Cheers

Denny George

Tuesday 3rd of April 2018

Calistoga seems like a great place to relax, unwind, and indulge. I really enjoyed your description and the photographs of the food at Solbar Solage. The natural attractions like the petrified and the geyser sound like great places to visit, and who can not be amazed by a wine train!

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