Jobs in Napa, California, United States
Location and Population. With an estimated population of 80,416 in 2016, Napa is the largest city and country seat of Napa County. It is located on the banks of the Napa River, equidistant from San Francisco, and Sacramento. The population is mainly non-Hispanic White (53%) and Hispanic (40%). The share foreign-born is 23 percent. Median household income has increased since 2008, when it was about the same as the statewide figure, and cost of living is high. Unemployment is quite low and poverty is stable at around 10 percent.
Origins. Napa was founded in 1847as a river port for cattle ranchers and lumbermen, and for a time, silver miners. Tanning and leather works developed early and remain important. The Sawyer Tanning Company, established in 1869, became the largest tannery west of the Mississippi, and the contemporary Napa Glove Company dates back to 1888. By the time the city of Napa incorporated in 1874, agriculture and wine-making had developed north of the city limits, while light industry, banking, commercial and retail activity for the county had evolved within the city itself. The wine industry remained important until the end of the 19th century, after which it declined due to disease, prohibition and the depression. Prohibition was lifted in 1933 but the industry did not fully recover until the mid-1970s, when California wines won highest honors over comparable French wines in a blind tasting event in 1976 dubbed the ‘Judgment of Paris.’ Thus began a golden era for high-end wineries in Napa Valley.
Economy. County administration, healthcare, and Napa Valley tourism are the main employers today. An ambitious redevelopment plan for downtown Napa failed to take off in the 1970s, and the city lost out on the initial growth of the tourist industry in Napa Valley. Since 2000 the situation has been turned around by investments in hotels, restaurants and restorations in the downtown area, which in turn helped stimulate development of the Napa riverfront. Once a sleepy residential area, the city of Napa is now a luxury destination with celebrity-chef restaurants, upscale lodgings, and manicured parks. Napa has been prone to flooding since its founding, and a major flood in 2005 caused extensive damage to both city and country. The restoration of the Napa River has been accompanied by returning fish and wildlife to the area and creating sanctuaries. Many of Napa’s historic buildings were badly damaged by an earthquake in 2014, but most have now been fully restored, or will be soon.
Character. Napa is expensive, and its attractions appeal more to established professionals and seniors who like to drink and socialize than to couples just starting a family. To be really accepted in those circles, one must have lots of money or have lived there all one’s life. On the other hand, many local workers live there for the sake of convenience.
What Makes Napa Special
ARTS AND CULTURE
di Rosa Art Gallery: Foremost collection of contemporary Bay Area art.
Downtown Napa: Late-19th/early 20th century buildings, shops and a riverfront promenade.
Hess Collection Winery and Art Museum: Part of a historic site where wine was first produced in the 1860’s. The original stone winery built in 1903 is now joined by a modern structure housing the Hess Collection of contemporary art, and the grounds are open to visitors.
Napa Valley Opera House: A historic landmark structure dating from 1879, managed by a nonprofit organization which restored its intimate 2nd=floor theater in 2002 as a performance venue for plays, music, dance, comedy and family programming.
Uptown Theater: An art deco masterpiece dating from 1937, now restored in the heart of downtown Napa and used as an intimate venue for live music and comedy shows.
SHOPPING AND FOOD
Napa Valley Wine Train: A tour of area wineries via vintage Pullman cars.
Oxbow Public Market: A 40,000 square foot open-span food hall which opened in 2007 and includes a scenic outdoor deck with seating along the Napa River. It leases space to vendors of fresh meat and fish, organic produce, fresh-baked goods, and specialty foods, and houses a variety of coffee shops and ingredient driven and ethnic restaurants.
SPORTS, RECREATION, OUT-OF-DOORS
Alston Park: A dog park with two fenced areas and trails for dog-walkers, joggers and bikers.
Napa River Trail: A walking trail alongside the calm, picturesque Napa River in an area designated as a bird and wildlife sanctuary within Kennedy Memorial Park.
Skyline Wilderness Park: Hiking trails with different levels of difficulty from the Valley floor to Lake Marie on the Skyline Ridge, with lovely views and ruins of an old miners’ camp.
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