More laid back than Napa and Sonoma, the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region has become an under-the-radar favorite among Northern California wine lovers who like to hang with their dogs and hear live music and picnic on weekends.
Many of the best wineries here are located within a few miles of each another, in and around Los Gatos, making it easy to get a real fee; for the region in a single day. (Plus, morning fog and high elevation keep the vineyards cool during summer month.) Want to make a weekend of it? Head back to Los Gatos, where you'll find chic hotels and restaurants for days.
Where to Stay + Eat
(Courtesy of Yelp/Hotel Los Gatos)
Hotel Los Gatos
With all the vibes of a Mediterranean villa, this downtown hotel promises a dip in the pool and a massage at the spa before a big Greek-style dinner at Dio Deka. // 210 E. Main St. (Los Gatos), hotellosgatos.com
At the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this comfy spot has basic rooms and suites, an indoor-outdoor restaurant and lounge, and fireplace-facing couches in the courtyard. // 140 South Santa Cruz Ave. (Los Gatos), tollhousehotel.com
Courtesy of Yelp/Hult's Restaurant
Dark wood and leather go perfectly with Hult's rich, classic dishes like sous vide duck breast and truffle risotto. The large fire-warmed patio is an excellent place to enjoy a cocktail or an entire meal. // 165 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd. (Los Gatos), hultsrestaurant.com
Fill up on southern-inspired fare like pulled pork benedict and shrimp and grits before heading up the mountain to taste. Whether you grab a seat at the bar or wait for a table (it's busy most mornings), this sweet spot will make you feel at home. // 27 E. Main St. (Los Gatos), southernkitchenlg.com
This Michelin three-starred restaurant needs little introduction: It's fancy, expensive, and not to be missed for those who can shell out for the seasonal tasting menu by celebrity chef David Kinch. // 320 Village Ln. (Los Gatos), manresarestaurant.com