Napa Valley

In a valley that has been dominated by agriculture for the last 100 years, culture struggles along. But visitors can find experiences not centered around the table. In downtown Napa, the recently restored 100-year-old Napa Valley Opera House isn’t just for opera. Roy Rogers and Bebel Gilberto have both performed there, and the venue also shows old movies, hosts high school musicals, and serves as one of the hubs for the Napa Valley Film Festival. The Uptown Theater attracts some surprisingly big acts, from Eddie Money to Ani DiFranco. Shows tend to sell out fast, as it is one of the more happening places for live music north of San Francisco. And the Hess Collection, a private contemporary art collection housed in the Hess winery on Mount Veeder, is a must-see for art lovers. The beautiful old building is surrounded by gnarly 75-year-old vines, and while the wine isn’t bad, the art is really the reason to go. It’s free to browse the gallery⎯and don’t worry, you are not likely to find a single vineyard landscape.

Auction Napa Valley is for wine-loving consumers with money to burn. The long weekend, which culminates in a daylong auction that raises millions of dollars for Napa Valley charities, is packed with dinners and tastings, and even those who don’t fork over the thousands of dollars it costs to attend can appreciate the general buzz in the air. Flavor! Napa Valley, which takes place in November, highlights cuisine as prepared by some of the Valley’s top chefs. The weeklong festival includes tastings, pairings, cooking demonstrations, and wine classes throughout the area. Festival Del Sol celebrates the summer solstice with everything from dance and opera to early morning yoga classes and, of course, plenty of food and wine. The Napa Valley Film Festival takes place each November, with screenings of independent films and documentaries (not just about wine!) throughout the Valley. Parties and dinners held at wineries and restaurants attract a diverse crowd. While it may not be Sundance, there are plenty of celeb-spotting opportunities.