Do the R.E.A.L. Napa

Downtown Napa shows visitors the locals' take on local living.

IN THE WORLD OF TRAVEL... one word, and concept, reigns above all others. Nope, it isn't "freebie" or "discount" or even "once in a lifetime" (which, yes, is technically four words). It's "local," period, and done. And as easy and as everyday as the idea of local is -- it is all around us, wherever we happen to live, yes? -- it can be hard to capture the concept, and bottle it, for people visiting a town for a day or two. Oh, a sticker in a shop window might tout the retailer as a "local's favorite!" but going any deeper than the window sticker is quite the sticky wicket. What's needed, beyond moving to a town and actually becoming a local, is a concentrated effort on the city's behalf to bring an element of local spirit to hotels, restaurants, and other spots that are indeed treasured by the residents of the area. Downtown Napa is doing just that, with its new "Do the R.E.A.L. Napa" campaign.

LET'S START WITH... that acronym. We dig a good acronym, and this one touches upon the tentpoles of the foodie-and-fun city: restaurants, entertainment, art, and lodging. This means that the stay-over deals and go-out finds will fall under this foursome's umbrella, and it is a fine umbrella to be under. A map to local favorites is up at the official Do the R.E.A.L. Napa site, and lodging specials to make the local-lookie-loo-ing easier? Those are up, too, and run the goodie gamut. The Blackbird Inn is offering 25% off for a night, while Candlelight Inn Napa has a Napa Valley Wine Train twist.

AND, YOU BETCHA: There's an Instagram contest afoot with the "ultimate Napa getaway" as the prize. There are tags to know and original snaps to take around the city. Flowers, wine, or the scene at a local coffeeshop? Something funkier, and, yes, local, rather than travel-brochure-y, just might be your ticket.

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