Even if it were just a plain old city in California, Napa would still be a popular destination. With its Mediterranean climate and Wild West and Gold Rush history, its easy to see this towns appeal. But with good luck and good soil aligning perfectly, Napa also happens to be home to the most prestigious vineyards in the United States. In many ways, this riverside city has single-handedly created wine culture in America, so it's no surprise that it also supports some of the tastiest West Coast cuisine you'll find. Before too many bottles are uncorked, lets take a closer look at the inner-workings of Wine Countys namesake city.
Unlike many cities that are built around a self-sustaining industry, Napa is almost equal parts homeowners (49.9%) and renters (41.9%). But even though almost half the city is dependent on the terms of their leases, Napas annual residential turnover is a mere 15%. That really isnt so surprising when you consider that two bedroom homes in this California staple can be rented for $1,700 a month, or that two bedroom apartments can be found for under $1,300. And realistically, as Napas median home sale price is climbing into the mid-$400,000s, renting isnt a bad option at all. But, be warned: given the city's seasonal tourism, renting in Napa rarely means rent to own.
Tourism is a big thing in Napa, and within the last decade, the citys downtown district has grown exponentially to accommodate it. Besides the downtown restaurants that will always draw in the crowds with the promise of their local wine pairings, Main Street also offers the option to get gussied up and check out the Napa Valley Opera House, a local non-profit that puts on performances in an authentic and historic opera hall built in 1879. Theres also an abundance of local artists and boutiques in the city, with galleries like Ann Ruhr Pifers Grand Hand featuring exceptional regional pieces and routinely winning national awards.
In part thanks to to the wine industry, which has created countless jobs for Napa citizens, finding a job in Napa is a snap. Whether youre giving tours, growing grapes, selling bottles, or bringing glasses to a table, vineyards are a huge here and theyve helped turn Napa into what it is today. Wine aside, however, Napa also has a nationally recognized medical center, Queen of the Valley, which draws hundreds of brilliant medical professionals to the area each year. And then theres the citys luxury industry, with hotels and spas alike catering to both affluent residents and dozens of tourists looking to forget they even have a flight back home.
Like any city with a somewhat seasonal focus, there are areas that have a higher-than-average vacancy rate. 34% of homes in Atlas, for example, are vacant. But truly, thats no cause for alarm: its simply due to vacation properties. So if youre looking for actual neighbors living next door, a spot like Central Napa offers a great, safe-city vibe, and the people to match. One great thing about this city, though, is that California Route 29 runs through its entirety, meaning that whether you live in River East at Napas southern edges or in Vintage up north, youre going to be squared away in the transportation department. And with some of the most delicious and decadent spots in America located just a few miles into the valley, why wouldnt you want to hop in the passengers seat for a nice, Saturday afternoon drive?
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