San Francisco/Napa: Top Attractions
|Going Sideways: The Napa vineyards (Corel)|
French Laundry (Napa)
Consult any best-restaurant list and chances are Yountville's French Laundry will be near the top. If you're lucky enough to get a table (it's trickyyou must phone to book exactly two months prior to the date you wish to dine), the reward comes in the shape of inventive gourmet dishes solidly grounded in French haute cuisine, but which borrow liberally from other European, Asian, and Indian influences. We're talking an exciting, meal-of-a-lifetime experience.
French Laundry: 707.944.2380, www.frenchlaundry.com
Palace Hotel (San Francisco)
Smack in the heart of downtown near the cable cars, the Palace's elegant exterior houses lavish rooms with dark mahogany furniture and high ceilings. It also houses some very appealing eating and drinking options, including the opulent, light-filled Garden Court conservatory (great for refined afternoon tea) and the cozy, gentleman's-club-like Pied Piper Bar.
Shopping in Union Square (San Francisco)
High-end shoppers flock to Union Square, where a comprehensive range of clothing, interior design, jewelry, and other retailers cluster. When your platinum cards and your feet have reached their limits, the plaza's cafes, bars, clubs, and restaurant are just a hobble away.
Additional Info: 415.781.7880
San Francisco Ballet (San Francisco)
Directed by the legendary Helgi Tomasson for the last two decades, the traditional San Francisco Ballet performs world-class interpretations of classic works. The company has stretched its status and widened its reach by performing commissions supporting important new choreographers.
San Francisco Ballet: 415.861.5600, www.sfballet.org
Spa at Auberge du Soleil (Napa)
It's difficult to know where the raves should focus firston the elegantly restful day spa, the fantastic Napa Valley terrace views, the luxurious privacy of the magnificent guestrooms, or on the accomplished food and wine from the fine-dining restaurant. This place, set among acres of olive groves, quickly gets under your skinquite literally, if you opt for one of the grape-seed- or olive-oil-based spa treatments.
San Francisco Opera (San Francisco)
The second-largest opera company in the U.S. boasts a world-class reputation. Performing at the handsome War Memorial Opera House (modeled on the Parisian Opéra Garnier), the opera is noted for its innovative approach to staging memorable performances and nurturing operatic stars of the future. Witness the next great voice.
San Francisco Opera: 415.864.3330, www.sfopera.org
San Francisco Symphony (San Francisco)
Classical music aficionados will have heard the San Francisco Symphony even if they have never seen it thanks to its long, illustrious, and multi-award-winning discography. Their programs are more wide-ranging than classics though. Check out the symphony's handy online "Concert Concierge" before planning a tripit's a good way to find a performance to suit your tastes.
San Francisco Symphony: 415.864.6000, www.sfsymphony.org
Milliken Creek Inn (Napa)
Perfectly made for the quintessential languid getaway, Milliken Creek and its wooded grounds along the Napa River are ideal for strolling, gentle canoe rides along its banks, or relaxing while the spa staff massage you into soporific ecstasy. The individually decorated rooms in shades of brown, cream, and wafts of white linen are soothing and sumptuous. This is one of the most romantic hotels in California and it's quite close to the wineries.
Hess Collection (Napa)
Celebrated wines and a small but important collection of contemporary art from the likes of Francis Bacon, Franz Gertschz, and Leopoldo Maler draw visitors to this lovely Napa Valley place. The gorgeous grounds, self-guided winery tours, and cool mountain breezes are worthwhile attractions in their own right.
Hess Collection: 707.255.1144, www.hesscollection.com
Domaine Chandon (Napa)
Set amidst a magnificent panorama of rolling hills, manicured grounds, and fields of serried vines, Domaine Chandon lets the imagination run wild. Stroll the grounds and taste the celebrated sparkling wine (and other varietals) before paring them with exemplary cuisine at the restaurant. The $145 tasting menu is ideal for sampling the best of what this elegant winery has to offer.
Domaine Chandon: 707.944.2280, www.chandon.com
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication