Napa, California

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Napa, California
City of Napa by the Napa River (cropped).JPG
Chateau @ Domaine Carneros Winery (7581236496).jpg
Alexandria Hotel and Annex June 2016 (cropped).jpg
Napa River floodwall USACE (cropped).JPG
Darioush - Sarah Lou 04 (cropped).jpg
Clockwise: Napa Waterfront; Alexandria Hotel; Darioush Winery; Downtown Napa; Domaine Carneros
Napa County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Napa Highlighted.svg
Location in Napa County and the state of California
Coordinates: 38°18′17″N122°17′56″W / 38.30472°N 122.29889°W / 38.30472; -122.29889 [1]
Country United States
State California
County Napa
Region Northern California
Incorporated March 23, 1872 [2]
  TypeMayor and Council Government
   Mayor Scott Sedgley (D) [3]
  City18.28 sq mi (47.33 km2)
  Land17.97 sq mi (46.54 km2)
  Water0.31 sq mi (0.79 km2)  1.69%
20 ft (6 m)
 (2020) [6]
(2022) [7]
  Density4,348.1/sq mi (1,678.80/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes [8]
94558, 94559, 94581
Area code 707
FIPS code 06-50258
GNIS feature IDs 277561, 2411209

Napa is the largest city and county seat of Napa County and a principal city of Wine Country in Northern California, United States. Located in the North Bay region of the Bay Area, the city had a population of 77,480 as of the end of 2021. [9] Napa is a major tourist destination in California, known for its wineries, restaurants, and arts culture.



The Cayetano Juarez Adobe, built in 1845 by Californio ranchero Cayetano Juarez, is the oldest building in Napa. Cayetano Juarez Adobe 1.jpg
The Cayetano Juárez Adobe, built in 1845 by Californio ranchero Cayetano Juárez, is the oldest building in Napa.

The origin of the word "Napa" is disputed.

The word "napa" is of Native American derivation and has been variously translated as "grizzly bear", "house", "motherland" or "fish". Of the many explanations of the name's origin, the most plausible seems to be that it is derived from the Patwin word napo, meaning "house". [10]

Further adding confusion, Napa was originally spelled with two Ps: Nappa. [11] There are maps and deeds dating back to the mid-1850s bearing this spelling. Shortly thereafter, the present spelling was adopted; the reasons for this are unclear.

Mexican era

At the time of the first recorded exploration into Napa Valley in 1823, the majority of the inhabitants consisted of Native Americans. Padre José Altimira, founder of Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, led the expedition. Spanish priests converted some natives; the rest were attacked and dispersed by Mexican soldiers. [12]

The first American settlers began arriving in the area in the 1830s.

Post-Conquest era

Napa State Hospital opened in 1875. 06817-Napa-1905-State Hospital-Bruck & Sohn Kunstverlag (cropped).jpg
Napa State Hospital opened in 1875.

Prior to the American Conquest of California, Napa Valley was in California's District of Sonoma. At the time, its boundaries also included Lake County to the north. By this time, the indigenous people were either working as field laborers or living in small bands in the hills surrounding the valley. Tensions between the white settlers and Native Americans broke into war in 1850, resulting in soldiers hunting down and massacring all the natives they could find, driving the remainder north toward Clear Lake. [13] By 1870, the Native American population consisted of only a few laborers and servants working for the white settlers.

The City of Napa was founded by Nathan Coombs in 1847. [14] General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo had paid to survey for a township downriver at Soscol Landing, where riverboats could turn around prior to Napa's founding. Instead, the Napa town site was surveyed on property Coombs had received from Nicolas Higuera, original holder of the Rancho Entre Napa, a Mexican land grant. The first record of a ship navigating the river was the Susana in 1842, though by 1850 the Dolphin became the first passenger steamship to navigate the Napa River in order to open another path of commerce.

In the mid-1850s, Napa's Main Street rivaled that of many larger cities, with as many as 100 saddle horses tied to the fences on an average afternoon. John Patchett opened the first commercial winery in the county in 1859. [15] The Napa Valley Register , founded by J.I. Horrell and L. Hoxie Strong, made its debut on August 10, 1863, with weekly publications until becoming a daily newspaper in 1872. [16]

Napa Valley Opera House, built in 1879 Napa Opera House, 1018-1030 Main St., Napa, CA 9-5-2010 2-32-51 PM.JPG
Napa Valley Opera House, built in 1879

The California Gold Rush of the late 1850s expanded Napa City. A tent city was erected along Main Street. Many cattle ranches were maintained, and the lumber industry had greatly expanded. Sawmills in the valley were in operation cutting up timber that was hauled by team to Napa and then shipped out on the river to Benicia and San Francisco.

The Sam Kee Laundry, built 1875, is the oldest commercial building in Napa. Sam Kee Laundry Building, 1245 Main St., Napa, CA 9-5-2010 6-50-03 PM (cropped).JPG
The Sam Kee Laundry, built 1875, is the oldest commercial building in Napa.

In 1858, the great silver rush began in Napa Valley, and miners eagerly flocked to the eastern hills. In the 1860s, mining carried on, in a large scale, with quicksilver mines operating in many areas of Napa County. The most noted mine was the Silverado Mine, near the summit of Mount Saint Helena. At this time, the first wave of rural, foreign laborers from coastal villages of China's Canton province arrived in California and at Napa County mines. A settlement for Chinese laborers in Napa was established in the early 1860s. At its peak from the 1880s to the early 1900s, the Chinese population grew to a population of over 300 people. [18]

In 1869, F. A. Sawyer established Sawyer Tanning Company in Napa and was joined in the business by his father B. F. Sawyer a year later. It went on to become the largest tannery west of the Mississippi River. The world-famous Nappa leather or Napa leather was invented by Emanuel Manasse in Napa in 1875 while working at the Sawyer Tanning Company.

Napa was incorporated on March 23, 1872, and reincorporated in 1874 as the City of Napa.

The Napa State Hospital received its first patients in 1876. The Napa Valley Opera House became popular after its debut on February 13, 1880, with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore , but it later languished and was closed for many years. [19] It was reestablished in the 1980s.

Modern era

Downtown Napa in 1906 08340-Napa, Cal.-1906-Corner Main and Second Street-Bruck & Sohn Kunstverlag.jpg
Downtown Napa in 1906

Napa had become the primary business and economic center for the Napa Valley by the dawn of the 20th century. The San Francisco, Napa and Calistoga Railway was established in 1905 for passenger and freight service. The railroad carried passengers from ferry boats in Vallejo to stops in Napa and other locations in the valley. [20] [21]

As agricultural and wine interests developed north of the city limits, much of the light industry, banking, commercial and retail activity in the county evolved within the city of Napa and in earlier times along the Napa River through the historic downtown. Napa Glove Factory was established in 1903 and was the largest plant of its kind west of Chicago.

Andretti Winery, founded by Mario Andretti in 1996 Andretti Winery, Napa Valley, California, USA (8400631750) (cropped).jpg
Andretti Winery, founded by Mario Andretti in 1996

Edwin Pridham and Peter L. Jensen invented the moving-coil loudspeaker in 1915 in their Napa workshop while working on an improvement for the telephone receiver. Pridham and Jensen went on to found the Magnavox Company in 1917. [22] In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Napa was known for having a sizable red-light district, with brothels primarily concentrated on and around Clinton Street. [23]

Following studies made by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1930-40s, the U.S. Congress authorized channel improvements on Napa River and construction of a dam on Conn Creek as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944, though funding was never approved. The City of Napa funded and built the dam in order to create the water conservation reservoir Lake Hennessey in 1948; however, flooding continued to be a problem.

The Culinary Institute of America at Copia opened in 2016. Grove - Stierch - April 2019 02.jpg
The Culinary Institute of America at Copia opened in 2016.

The 1986 Napa River flood revived public interest in finding a remedy. After a plan to widen the river channel proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers was presented in 1995 and roundly rejected, a group of special interests called Friends of the River formed, which built consensus on a "living river" plan. Voters in the County of Napa narrowly approved an increase of sales tax in a March 1998 election to fund the Napa River Flood Project. [24] In 2005, the Napa River again flooded the entire downtown area and destroyed 1,000 homes across the county. [25]

An ambitious redevelopment plan encompassing several blocks of downtown Napa's retail property was undertaken by the city in the early 1970s, though it did little to improve the city's economy. Downtown Napa finally began to recover and emerge from a long economic slumber in the 2000s, triggered by a significant growth in Main Street restaurants and hotels. The redevelopment of First and Main streets and the Napa Mill complex helped to stimulate investments along the Napa riverfront.

In 2014, the Napa area was struck by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake centered 3.7 miles (6.0 km) northwest of nearby American Canyon. [26] [27] [28] [29] In October 2017, the Atlas Fire and Partrick Fires burned several parts of Napa County (see also October 2017 Northern California wildfires).


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.1 square miles (47 km2), of which 17.8 square miles (46 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.69%, is water. Napa was the first location in California to be part of the North Coast American Viticultural Area. [30] Renowned for its wine due to the Mediterranean climate, surprisingly only about 9% of Napa's acreage is planted with grapes. [31]

The Napa River traverses the city on its journey to the San Pablo Bay. The city has conducted a variety of waterfront development along the banks of the river, including certain fill operations governed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers regulations. [32] The Napa River Flood Project has been in progress since the late 1990s, with the goal of mitigating the risk of flooding along a 6-mile (9.7 km) stretch of the river and 1-mile (1.6 km) of Napa Creek.

Napa aerial (cropped2).jpg
Aerial view of the Napa Valley, with the city of Napa is located in the center. Yountville is on the left and San Pablo Bay is on the right.


Napa has a Mediterranean climate similar to many other parts of Northern California. Winters are cool and damp and summers are warm and dry. During the summer months rain is rare. Occasionally there may be a day or two of light rain in June and September. Heat waves do occur, with the temperatures rising above 100 °F (38 °C). Wildfires can be a problem during the summer months. The fall is pleasant and many people come to visit Napa at this time. The winters are quite wet and cool and flooding can be a problem. Nighttime temperatures occasionally drop below freezing (32 °F or 0 °C). The rainy season is from October to April and occasionally into May. Snow is rare. The hottest temperature recorded in Napa was 114 °F (46 °C) on September 6, 2022, while the coldest temperature recorded was 14 °F (−10 °C) on December 22, 1990. The most rainfall in one year was 51.24 inches (1,301 mm) in 1983 and the least amount of rainfall was 6.74 inches (171 mm) in 2013. The most rainfall in one month was 16.13 inches (410 mm) in December 1955. [33]

Climate data for Napa, California (Napa County Airport), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present
Record high °F (°C)85
Mean maximum °F (°C)67.1
Mean daily maximum °F (°C)56.9
Daily mean °F (°C)47.6
Mean daily minimum °F (°C)38.2
Mean minimum °F (°C)29.5
Record low °F (°C)19
Average precipitation inches (mm)5.12
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Source 1: NOAA [34]
Source 2: National Weather Service [33]


Historical population
1850 159
1870 1,879
1880 3,73198.6%
1890 4,39517.8%
1900 4,036−8.2%
1910 5,79143.5%
1920 6,75716.7%
1930 6,437−4.7%
1940 7,74020.2%
1950 13,57975.4%
1960 22,17063.3%
1970 36,10362.8%
1980 50,87940.9%
1990 61,84221.5%
2000 72,58517.4%
2010 76,9156.0%
2020 79,2463.0%
2023 (est.)76,821 [35] −3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census [36]


Hot air ballooning above vineyards is a popular attraction in Napa. Ballooning In Napa (129976155).jpeg
Hot air ballooning above vineyards is a popular attraction in Napa.
The historic Lisbon Winery, built in 1882 Lisbon Winery, 1720 Brown St., Napa, CA 10-9-2011 11-34-40 AM.JPG
The historic Lisbon Winery, built in 1882

The 2010 United States Census [37] reported that Napa had a population of 76,915. The population density was 4,238.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,636.5/km2). The racial makeup of Napa was 57,754 (75.1%) White, 486 (0.6%) African American, 637 (0.8%) Native American, 1,755 (2.3%) Asian, 144 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 13,256 (17.2%) from other races, and 2,883 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28,923 persons (37.6%).

The Census reported that 75,678 people (98.4% of the population) lived in households, 568 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 669 (0.9%) were institutionalized.

There were 28,166 households, out of which 9,826 (34.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,862 (49.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,201 (11.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,571 (5.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,694 (6.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 221 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 7,457 households (26.5%) were made up of individuals, and 3,278 (11.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69. There were 18,634 families (66.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.25.

The population was spread out, with 18,848 people (24.5%) under the age of 18, 6,724 people (8.7%) aged 18 to 24, 20,933 people (27.2%) aged 25 to 44, 19,919 people (25.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 10,491 people (13.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.

There were 30,149 housing units at an average density of 1,661.4 per square mile (641.5/km2), of which 16,148 (57.3%) were owner-occupied, and 12,018 (42.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.7%. 41,591 people (54.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 34,087 people (44.3%) lived in rental housing units.


Waterfront along the Napa River Napa flood risk reduction efforts (6189504003).jpg
Waterfront along the Napa River

Napa's economy is characterized by its position as one of the principal cities of Wine Country, resulting in a significant portion of jobs in the city relating to wineries, restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industries.

The Napa State Hospital is located in Imola, an unincorporated area bordering the city of Napa.

The Napa Valley Business Park is located adjacent to the Napa County Airport in an unincorporated area of Napa County. Employers in the area include The Doctors Company and Treasury Wine Estates.

Top employers
The eclectic Spanish Colonial Revival style Gordon Building Gordon Building, 1130 1st St., Napa, CA 9-5-2010 2-22-30 PM.JPG
The eclectic Spanish Colonial Revival style Gordon Building

The town's comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020, lists the top ten employers in the City of Napa as the following: [38]

No.Top EmployersEmployees
1 Napa Valley Unified School District 1,735
2County of Napa1,209
3City of Napa434
4 Walmart 300
5 Napa Valley College 290
6 Kaiser Permanente 262
7The Meadows of Napa Valley Assisted Living193
8 Napa Valley Wine Train 193
9 The Westin Verasa Napa168
10Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa164


The Goodman Library Goodman Library, 1219 1st St., Napa, CA 9-5-2010 2-12-02 PM (cropped).JPG
The Goodman Library

In the California State Legislature, Napa is in the 3rd Senate District , represented by Democrat Bill Dodd, [39] and in the 4th Assembly District , represented by Democrat Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. [40] In the United States House of Representatives, Napa is in California's 4th congressional district , represented by Democrat Mike Thompson. [41]


The Napa Valley Wine Train DL 12 30 13 411x4 (17783355076).jpg
The Napa Valley Wine Train

CA-29 runs through Napa, connecting to Vallejo and the East Bay Area to the south and the Napa Wine Country to the north. CA-12 runs to the south of the city, connecting to Fairfield and Interstate 80 to the east and Sonoma and US-101 to the west.

Napa is also served by several airports: Oakland and San Francisco International 50 miles (80 km) to the south, Sonoma County 30 miles (48 km) northwest, and Sacramento International Airport 65 miles (105 km) northeast. Napa County Airport to the south, also serves as a small public airport.

Valley Intercity Neighborhood Express, [42] more commonly known by the acronym "VINE Transit", is the public transportation service for Napa as well as for Napa County. It is managed under the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency and is operated by Veolia Transportation. VINE has additonal service throughout the county and has connections to other public transportation systems in the nearby counties.

The Amtrak Thruway 7 bus makes daily stops in Napa to/from the Soscol Gateway Transit Center at 825 Burnell Street. From there, connections are available to Martinez to the south, and Arcata to the north. [43]

Evans Transportation provides daily service to and from Oakland International Airport and San Francisco International Airport daily from their main office on CA-29. [44]

Notable people

Sister cities

Napa's sister cities are: [49]

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014 South Napa earthquake</span> Earthquake in California in 2014

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bull Island (California)</span> Island in the Napa River in California

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