During my teens, I rarely took advantage of a festival “in’s and out’s” policy. Once I entered a venue, you couldn’t drag me out until after the last encore. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the advantage to leaving a festival, even for a short while, is getting to come back refreshed.
I took a day trip to Napa to find the best places to take a break, grab a bite or pick up items you forgot on your way out the door to the BottleRock extravaganza. Best of all, they’re all within walking distance from the festival grounds.
While festival food can be delicious, it can run you $30 for a small margherita pizza or nearly $20 for two pieces of hand-roll sushi that may leave you hungry after an hour of dancing.
Gott’s is the place to grab a bite near the festival grounds, especially if you’re vegan or eat gluten-free. My personal favorite is the classic hamburger on sourdough bread, made with a vegan Impossible Burger patty, which gave me a minor panic attack when I first bit into it because the “meat” was so realistic. There are delicious sandwiches, soups and salads, too.
Honorable mention: Nation’s Giant Hamburgers and Napa Noodles for affordable eats.
Located on Main Street, Napa Valley Coffee Roasting is the closest spot to grab a real cup of coffee near the festival— well, unless you’re into chains, and want to go across the street to Starbucks.
Honorable mention: Ritual Coffee Roasters at Oxbow Public Market, but we’ll get to that.
You can’t get everything you need at festival. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find common items like deodorant, phone chargers and feminine products. Luckily I found two nearby one-stop spots.
Oxbow Public Market on First Street is essentially the San Francisco Ferry Building of Downtown Napa. The building is equipped with dozens of local shops. You can pick up anything from gourmet cupcakes and fresh fruit, to organic deodorant and sunscreen. There’s even a few sit down restaurants. The downside — you’re probably gonna spend more than you would at Target or CVS for essentials and equally as much on food as you would at the festival.
Val’s Liquors on Third Street is probably your best bet for reasonable prices. You can find snacks, energy drinks, extra chargers and just what you need to deal with aunt flow. There’s even an Italian restaurant inside if you want a real meal.
There’s nothing worse than having to stick out a 12-hour event through a wardrobe malfunction I know, I lost a shoe crowdsurfing once. Forget boutiques that sell T-shirts as pricey as a first born child, and pick up recycled clothes instead.
Wildcat Vintage Clothing on Randolph Street has one-of-a-kind pieces for both men and women, with fairly affordable prices compared to the ritzy nearby shops. The store stocks everything from hats, sunglasses and sweaters, to shorts and jeans in case you made the wrong choice of bottoms. There’s also Community Projects Incorporated Thrift Store just a short walk away on Franklin Street.