December In Napa Valley: Events And Things To Do 

Napa Valley transforms into a winter wonderland in December, offering a plethora of festive activities and enchanting experiences. 

Here’s a glimpse into some of the best activities in Napa Valley in December:

december in napa valley
photo credit: Yountville.com

Festival Of Lights In Yountville

Every December, Yountville transforms into a magical wonderland during the Festival of Lights.

Holidays in Yountville kicks off on Sunday, November 19, 2023 for the tree lighting ceremony and goes through January 1, 2024.

The town glitters with over 100,000 twinkling lights adorning trees, buildings, and storefronts.

Stroll along Washington Street, sip hot cocoa, and enjoy live music performances.

The festive seasonal events feature a variety of family-friendly activities, including a scavenger hunt, cookie decorating, and photos with Santa.

Meritage Resort Ice Skating Rink

napa valley in december
photo credit: Meritage Resort
  • Location: 875 Bordeaux Way, Napa, CA 94558
  • When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 15 Mon – Fri | 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm; Sat – Sun | 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Winter Holiday Break, Dec. 16 – Jan. 7 Monday – Sunday | 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
  • Website: https://www.meritageresort.com 
  • Tickets: $25; $20 Locals, First Responders, and those bringing a donation;  $17 Kids 0-13

The Meritage Resort in Napa becomes a winter wonderland each December, featuring a charming outdoor ice skating rink nestled amongst the picturesque vineyards. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a first-timer, this festive activity is perfect for families and friends of all ages.

Here’s what you can expect

Beautiful Setting: Skate under the twinkling lights and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Napa Valley vineyards. Enjoy the holiday magic the ice rink displays with festive decorations adding to the experience.

Real Ice Rink: Experience the thrill of skating on a professionally maintained ice rink.

Skate Rentals: Rent skates on-site if you don’t have your own.

Warm Beverages & Treats: Cozy up with hot cocoa, coffee, and other warm beverages available for purchase.

Special Events: Throughout the season, the ice rink hosts special events such as live music, DJ nights, and family-friendly activities.

Stay Cozy and Warm: Upgrade your experience by reserving an Igloo or Fire Pit.

Napa Christmas Parade

christmas in napa
photo credit: The Napa Valley Register

Get into the joyful spirit of the season at the annual Napa Christmas Parade.

Happening on December 9th, this beloved tradition features festive floats, marching bands, and of course, a visit from Santa Claus himself.

The Napa Christmas Parade begins at 5:00 PM and winds its way through downtown Napa.

Reindeer Run In American Canyon

reindeer run american canyon
photo credit: AC Parks

Lace up your running shoes for the December Reindeer Run in American Canyon in person or virtual!

The 13th annual Reindeer Run in American Canyon is a 5K/10K run/walk that takes place on December 2nd at 9am and raises funds for local charities.

Dress up in your favorite holiday attire and run through the scenic vineyards.

Napa Valley Wine Train: Santa Train Jolly Journeys

napa valley wine train santa
photo credit: Napa Valley Wine Train

The Santa Train Jolly Journey is a magical journey through Napa Valley in December.

It is a beloved annual tradition that brings holiday joy to Napa Valley. This festive train ride aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train takes you through the vineyards, complete with caroling, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. 

Whether you’re a local resident or visiting Napa Valley for the holidays, the Santa Train Jolly Journeys is a must-do experience. It’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Here’s what you can expect:

Four Jolly Journey options: Choose from the “Santa’s Cookie Car” and “Jingle on the Rails” experience for adults or the “Gourmet Holiday Express” and “Very Merry Vista Dome” for families.

Festive Atmosphere: Enjoy the holiday spirit with festive décor, carolers, and warm cider or cocoa.

Santa Visit: Meet Santa Claus and have your picture taken with him!

Delicious Treats: Enjoy a delicious cookie and hot cocoa.

Beautiful Views: Take in the stunning scenery of the Napa Valley vineyards as you travel by train.

Christmas Tree Lighting In Napa

christmas tree napa ca
photo credit: Visit Napa Valley

Celebrate the start of the holiday season at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in downtown Napa November 22nd at 6:00 PM.

This festive event features live music, holiday treats, and the official lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.

Downtown Napa Holiday Lights Tour

festival of lights yountville
photo credit: Napa Valley Wine Trolly

The Downtown Napa Holiday Lights Tour is a magical experience that captures the essence of the holiday season. This festive tour takes you through the charming streets of downtown Napa, showcasing its stunning transformation into a winter wonderland.

Here’s what you can expect

Sparkling Lights: Witness the dazzling display of twinkling lights along the streets of downtown Napa.

Festive Charm: Stroll along the historic streets and take in the festive atmosphere, complete with carolers, holiday music, and heartwarming decorations.

Unique Stops: The tour includes stops at several iconic landmarks, including the Napa Riverfront, Oxbow Public Market, and First Street Napa.

Holiday Shopping: Before you embark, take advantage of the festive atmosphere to browse through the charming shops and boutiques of downtown Napa.

Warm Treats: Indulge in delicious holiday treats like hot cocoa, roasted chestnuts, and warm apple cider.

Christmas Eve Dinner In Napa

Napa Valley offers a diverse range of restaurants serving delicious dinner for your Christmas Eve holiday. You can reserve Christmas Eve dinner on Open Table.

Here are a few recommendations:

Cole’s Chop House $$$$

Location: 1122 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, Cole’s Chop House presents an exquisite dining experience, blending timeless steakhouse classics with an elegant atmosphere and impeccable service.

The star of the show at Cole’s is undoubtedly their selection of dry-aged steaks. Aged for 21 days to perfection, these cuts offer a depth of flavor and tenderness that is simply unmatched.

Ristorante Allegria $$$

Location: 1026 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

Ristorante Allegria’s menu is a vibrant fusion of Italian influences and the best of California cuisine. From succulent chicken and homemade pastas to delectable lamb dishes and the signature Marinated Teriyaki Skirt Steak, each dish is a masterpiece of culinary artistry.

Celadon – Napa $$$

Location: 500 Main St G, Napa, CA 94559

Celadon’s talented chefs craft their dishes with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, allowing the true essence of each flavor to shine through. From succulent Mediterranean specialties to vibrant Asian delights and the hearty comfort of American classics, each bite is a celebration of culinary artistry.

Morimoto – Napa $$$$

Location: 610 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

Tradition meets innovation in a breathtaking dance of flavors at Morimoto. Chef Morimoto’s genius lies in his ability to infuse classic Japanese dishes with the finest Western ingredients and preparation techniques, creating a culinary tapestry that tantalizes the senses.

The Tuna Pizza is a culinary adventure in itself. Fresh, raw tuna dances on a bed of crisp crust, alongside anchovy aioli and the vibrant kick of jalapeno. 

This is a dish that defies expectations and redefines the meaning of fusion cuisine.

Waterfront Seafood Grill $$$

Location: 720 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

The Waterfront Seafood Grill beckons you with its commitment to fresh, seasonal seafood and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Chef Jesus Mendez, with over 40 years of experience crafting culinary delights in the Napa Valley, leads his team in delivering an unforgettable dining experience.

Chef Mendez honed his skills under the renowned Greg Cole for 21 years at Cole’s Chop House. This experience is evident in every dish, where meticulously selected ingredients are transformed into culinary masterpieces.

Tarla Mediterranean Grill $$

Location: 1480 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

Tarla Grill offers a unique fusion of Greek and Turkish cuisine, captivating your senses with its straightforward yet sophisticated menu. Their chefs weave together the rich flavors of Greece and Turkey with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Savor delicate mezes (appetizers) perfect for sharing, indulge in savory entrees like succulent kebabs and vibrant vegetable dishes, and awaken your taste buds with authentic desserts.

There are so many more available!

Napa Valley Weather In December

In Napa Valley, December weather is generally mild with cool mornings and moderate afternoons. Here’s a breakdown:

Average Temperatures:

High: 56°F (14°C)
Low: 38°F (4°C)

Precipitation:

Average rainfall: 3.9 inches
Rain falls predominantly in short bursts throughout the month.

Sunshine:

Expect an average of 5-6 hours of sunshine per day.
Specifics:

Early December can be quite pleasant with sunny days and temperatures reaching the low 60s.

As the month progresses, temperatures gradually become cooler and the chance of rain increases.

Nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing, especially in the valley’s more rural areas.

What to wear:

  • Pack layers to adjust to the fluctuating temperatures.
  • Consider bringing a rain jacket and warm clothes for the evenings.
  • Comfortable shoes are essential for exploring the vineyards or attending outdoor events.
  • Overall, December in Napa Valley offers a charming and festive atmosphere despite the slightly cooler temperatures. Be prepared for a mix of sunshine and rain, and you’re sure to have a wonderful experience exploring the region during the holiday season.

Maximize Your Napa Valley Trip In December

Make sure to book your accommodations and reservations well in advance, especially for popular events and restaurants.

Napa Valley offers something for everyone during the holiday season. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family-friendly adventure, or a festive celebration, you’re sure to find the perfect way to experience the magic of the season.

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Is December a good time to go to Napa Valley?

December is one of the best times to visit Napa Valley. Napa comes alive in December with magical holiday festivities. Best part if there are far fewer crowds and great deals on hotels.

Are Napa Valley wineries open in December?

There are plenty of Napa wineries open in December and reservations will be easier to get because there are fewer crowds. Napa Valley in December is Cabernet season so you’re in for a treat if you love your reds full-bodied.

Is Napa worth visiting in winter?

Napa in the winter means you won’t have to navigate through as much traffic, it’s easier to find open parking spots and you’ll have more time to sit and enjoy great conversations with your tasting room host, family and friends.

How do people dress in Napa in December?

Since Napa isn’t freezing but still can be cold, light layers are always a great option. This means, not your heaviest coat but a good light coat can be layered for extra warmth. Bring your favorite sweaters and long sleeve tops.

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