Welcome to Calistoga
Located in California’s Napa Valley, Calistoga is a small city currently home to a population of over 5,000 residents. The city is nestled at the north end of Napa Valley, in a picturesque region between the majestic Mayacamas Mountains and the Palisades. Calistoga has welcomed countless visitors since 1862 as the first wellness destination in California.
Calistoga has plenty to offer for both residents and visitors alike. The city is blessed with distinct seasons that feature a high proportion of pleasant sunny days, which gives its scenic surroundings and vibrant downtown area a unique character and a relaxing atmosphere. In addition to the city’s extensive lineup of annual events and wealth of family-friendly attractions, Calistoga is also known for its world-class hot springs resorts, exceptional wines produced from the city’s officially designated growing region, and a wide array of top-rated restaurants. For nature lovers and outdoor adventurers, Calistoga’s close proximity to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, and other nearby outdoor destinations offers easy access to incredible recreational opportunities.
Calistoga’s abundance of outstanding tourist attractions helps maintain the city’s lighthearted, old town feel, resulting in many friendly faces wherever you go. Its relatively small population also gives the city a relaxed vibe, along with easy and stress-free commutes. If you’re looking forward to a laidback lifestyle in the heart of wine country, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more ideal place to live than Calistoga.
Calistoga’s History at a Glance
In the early 18th century, Calistoga was the site of several villages that relied on the acorns from its abundant oak trees as a food staple and its natural hot springs as a healing ground.
The first American settlers arrived in the area during the 1840s, many of whom took up lands within the area.
Samuel Brannan, who led the settlement expedition on the ship Brooklyn, purchased more than 2,000 acres in 1885 to accommodate his plans of developing a spa destination reminiscent of New York’s Saratoga Springs. The city’s name comes from a claim that when Brannan announced his plans to make it the “Saratoga of California,” he said “Calistoga of California” instead.
Before it was known as Calistoga, the city was previously called “Hot Springs” by some locals and “Agua Caliente” by the Native Americans and Spaniards.
Brannan’s Hot Springs Resort (now the site of Indian Springs Resort and Brannan Cottage Inn) was opened in 1862, attracting many of California’s rich and famous. The completion of the tracks constructed by Brannan’s Napa Valley Railroad Company in 1868 further cemented Calistoga as a tourist attraction, as well as the main transportation hub for the upper Napa Valley region and a gateway to the neighboring Lake and Sonoma Counties.
Calistoga Real Estate
There’s a great selection of stylish and well-built homes waiting for anyone planning to relocate to Calistoga. Typical homes for sale in the area include classic Queen Anne cottages in secluded areas, comfortable bungalows close to the downtown area, and spacious custom single-family homes in quiet tree-lined neighborhoods and gated communities near the outskirts of town.
For luxury home buyers, there’s a selection of expansive vineyard estates and romantic hillside getaways just outside city limits. Many of these properties were designed by some of the top architects in the Bay Area and offer sweeping views of the Napa Valley and its surrounding hills.
Calistoga’s rustic elegance, gorgeous natural surroundings, and 19th-century western town charm are some of the main reasons why it attracts prospective homebuyers who are looking forward to living a wine country lifestyle. Many of the homes are built specifically with this in mind — you’ll be able to find many homes built to take full advantage of Calistoga’s sunny climate and picture-perfect views, with features such as large windows, expansive porches, patios, swimming pools, and hot tubs, and more.
Living in Calistoga
Schools in Calistoga
Public schools in Calistoga, CA are administered by the Calistoga Joint Unified School District
, which serves over 800 students from Calistoga and its surrounding communities. Schools served by the district provide a demanding, standards-based educational program designed to encourage high-level problem solving, creativity, and student engagement. The small class sizes, quality resources, and individualized attention ensure that all students get an enriching education that helps them develop into reliable and compassionate members of the community.
The Napa Valley is famous for its abundance of top-rated restaurants, and Calistoga holds its own as one of the best culinary destinations in the region. The city is a haven for foodies, offering a diverse range of mouthwatering cuisine from classic California comfort food to enticing French bistro fare, Asian fusion to authentic Southern BBQ, and many more. Diners will be able to choose from a variety of casual, family-friendly venues, award-burger joints, gourmet delis, cozy bakeries and cafes, outstanding brunch places, and so much more. Many restaurants in Calistoga feature sidewalk dining and summertime patios, treating guests to gorgeous views that complement their delicious meals.
Some of the excellent restaurants that are worth a visit in Calistoga include:
Resorts and Spas
Calistoga is famous for its geothermal hot springs. The city’s springs and spas are an attraction for both Napa Valley locals and tourists who are looking to enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. In addition to a wide range of traditional spa offerings, Calistoga’s variety of spas also features unique amenities such as mineral baths and mud baths. Want to treat yourself to the finest spa experiences in Calistoga? Some of the best spa destinations to visit include Indian Springs Resort
(Samuel Brannan’s original resort spa), Calistoga Ranch
, and Solage Resort
. For a full list of spas, resorts, and other wellness venues in Calistoga, visit the city’s official tourism website
In addition to its relaxing hot springs, spas, and resorts, Calistoga is also famous for its exceptional, award-winning wines. The Calistoga AVA boasts one of the warmest climates within the Napa Valley, balanced by cool nights thanks to the breezes blowing from the Pacific Ocean directed right through the Chalk Hill Gap. The result is a diverse array of world-class wines enjoyed by guests throughout the many tasting rooms scattered in the region. Here are a few outstanding wineries for you to check out in Calistoga:
Dutch Henry Winery
– Named after the nearby Dutch Henry Canyon, this family-owned small production winery specializes in Bordeaux varieties such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel. The winery offers a variety of experiences that let visitors sample their top-notch wines along with their extra virgin olive oil grown right at the estate.
– LOLA was established by winemaker Seth Cripe in 2008 with the goal to produce world-class wines at reasonable prices. The boutique winery sources fruit of unparalleled quality from numerous appellations throughout Napa and Sonoma. Sample LOLA’s excellent wines at The LOLA House, their tasting room located in downtown Calistoga.
– Located just a short drive away from downtown Calistoga, Amici Cellars is a family-owned and operated winery featuring breathtaking views of the Palisades. This winery offers an extensive collection of large format bottles, reserves, and designate wines for guests and members of their wine club. Each bottle of wine reflects the meticulous process of maintaining every plot of land in their vineyard to the final product offered at their tasting room.
– Clos Pegase is one of the most prestigious wineries in the Napa Valley, producing wines straight from its estate vineyards encompassing over 450 acres in Calistoga and other premier growing regions in Napa. Their painstaking approach to the winemaking process, from pruning grapevines, and farming vineyards, to ensuring exact wine specifications, allows them to produce bottlings of unmatched quality.
Calistoga’s easy access to mountains, hiking and biking trails, rivers, and other recreational destinations makes it a paradise for outdoor lovers of all ages. Ready to embark on a fun outdoor adventure? Here are some places for you to check out:
Rent a bike or bring your own to the Oat Hill Mine Trail
, a scenic and historic route stretching from Calistoga to the quicksilver mines in the 1870s. The 8.3-mile route features panoramic views of Napa Valley and volcanic formations.
Located about an hour away from Calistoga is the Russian River, which gives adventurers unforgettable views of the wine country while seated on a kayak. The river passes through sprawling vineyards, expansive meadows, and enchanting redwood forests. You can check out venues such as Getaway Adventures
and Burke’s Canoe Trips
for guided tours of the river.
The Petrified Forest
is another great nearby destination for hiking and other outdoor activities. Located just ten minutes from downtown Calistoga, the forest is home to wood that was petrified more than three million years ago after the eruption of Mt. Saint Helena.
These are just a few of the many amazing outdoor activities you can experience in Calistoga!