In addition to being the center of what is arguably the world’s most famous wine region, the city of Napa is an historic and culinary landmark in its own right. Founded in 1847, this beautiful community was a staging area for the California Gold Rush of the late 1850s. In some ways a sleepy little town, the main streets had barely been paved for the first time when many of the city’s buildings were damaged or demolished in the earthquake of 1906. Fortunately, Napa’s historic downtown still exhibits reminders of the miners and merchants who helped establish the city as the economic hub of the Napa Valley. The California State landmark First Presbyterian Church, built in 1874, greets motorists as they cross the river into downtown. Kitty corner to that is the Napa Mill; built on the River in 1884 and now home to the Napa River Inn and great shops and restaurants. On the other side is the Oberon Building, where local brewpub, Downtown Joe's, carries on a tradition of serving drinks since 1934. Across the street, the chandeliers in Wells Fargo bank illuminate the marbled wainscoting and intricately painted plaster ceiling of this 1923 structure. Surrounding these are hundreds of structures from the same period; mansions that wealthy San Francisco businessmen used as second homes, the famous Napa Valley Opera House, and more.
Napa began to shake its sleepy image 20 years ago. Residents passed an initiative for flood control, which raised millions to restore the Napa River and prevent the flooding which, over the years, has devastated the city. In the past 10 years, close to $1 billion in private and public money has been invested in downtown Napa. Today, this historic city boasts of new centers bustling with activity for diners and shoppers alike, such as the Oxbow Public Market, the Riverfront Building and the West End. Sixty-five restaurants, over half of which are Zagat rated, a few having been awarded Michelin stars, wait to serve you. Twenty-four tasting rooms, all within walking distance of each other, pour thousands of local Napa Valley wines. Wind your way down the street as you go from place to place, and enjoy the art walk, featuring 15 commissioned works. Stroll down the riverfront trail, a winding path that runs for miles. You won’t need a car while you’re in Napa, and can spend the night in a downtown hotel or B&B.
Nighttime is made for entertainment. Enjoy a musical performance at the Uptown Theater, with great sound, wide, comfortable seats and room to dance in the aisles. The Napa Valley Opera House, a fully restored performance venue that was closed for over 100 years, features live musical and entertainment performances. Internationally known artists love it for the acoustics. If you prefer something more intimate, several restaurants feature live music, from jazz, rock to blues.
Add to that the Mediterranean climate residents enjoy year-round, and you’ve got many reasons to visit downtown Napa. Visit donapa.com for even more. Cheers!
Of the cities in the county, Napa itself has the greatest number of residents, accounting for 56 percent of the total, or 78,340 people, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The Napa County Labor Force numbers 77,000. The State of California Employment Development Department projects that Napa County is expected to gain 9,800 new jobs in the next 5 years. Manufacturing and Leisure & Hospitality industry sectors are each expected to generate 1,900 jobs for a combined total of 3,800, over 41% of the county’s projected non-farm growth. Manufacturing is the largest nonfarm industry sector in Napa and is expected to increase by nearly 16%. The fastest growing industry sectors based on growth rate are Leisure & Hospitality (21%), Retail Trade (20%), and Wholesale Trade (19%). Other industry sectors projected to grow faster than the county’s nonfarm growth rate are Education Services, Health Care & Social Assistance (16%) and Professional & Business Services (14%).
Napa County’s high demand occupations reflect a range of sectors including Farm, Retail and Health Services. High demand occupations are the sum of new jobs and net replacements for the ten-year period from 2008-2018. The need for nurses and home care aides reflects Napa’s aging population, as Baby Boomers retire they increase their demand for health care services.
Residents in the Napa city are largely employed in Educational & Health Services, Manufacturing, and Leisure & Hospitality sectors.
City of Napa Facts on File (from the City of Napa):
City of Napa population (2012 estimate): 78,340
County of Napa population (2012 estimate): 139,045
Median age of residents: 36.1 years
Average Income per Household: $66,339
Percentage of total County population and jobs in the City of Napa: 60%
Neighborhood parks, community parks and open space parks: 43
Total acres of park land: 802
Rainfall: About 24" of rain per year, primarily from October to March
Average maximum temperature in July: 82 degrees
Average minimum temperature in January: 37 degrees
Percent age 25 or older with Bachelor's degree or higher: 23.3%
Percent with graduate or professional degree: 8.3%
Mean travel time to work: 23.9 minutes
School District: Napa Valley Unified
Number of colleges within 35 miles: 8
Number of Zagat rated restaurants in Downtown Napa and Oxbow Distirct: 31
Number of wineries in Napa County: 391
Number of wine bars and/or tasting rooms in Downtown Napa and the Oxbow District: More than 20 (See list of locations here.)