Go Now: 7 Reasons to Visit Murphys

If you are looking for the perfect charming little town with an exciting social scene surrounded by natural beauty, Murphys is the place to be. This little village nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains makes it the perfect place for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled family vacation, or a girls’ (or guys!) weekend away. Here are a few reasons why we think Murphys is so special…

1. Murphys Irish Day – Third Saturday in March

A hugely popular St. Paddy’s Day celebration in honor of Murphys’ Irish beginnings. Here’s what keeps bringing folks back every year:

  • It can be a beautiful 65-degree day or snowing, but the party always goes on.
  • It’s free.  Unless you want to spend your pennies on green beer and Irish fare, that is.
  • Singing and dancing to live Irish music in the middle of Main Street is not only encouraged, but expected.

Sponsored and organized by Murphys Business Association, Murphys Irish Day is “one of the premier annual events in the Mother Lode. Each year on the third Saturday in March, thousands of people from Northern California and beyond gather in the historic gold rush town of Murphys to honor its Celtic heritage and to celebrate as only the Irish can. Its picturesque Main Street is filled with booths offering handcrafted items, original art, photographs, tasty food, wine, and other beverages. The day begins with a pancake breakfast.  At 11 a.m. the swirl of bagpipes heralds a parade of marching bands, classic cars, horses, community organizations, novelty entries, and some of the finest children in the land. Throughout the day, there is continuous entertainment featuring singers, dancers, musicians, and jugglers.  All this in addition to the charming shops, fine restaurants, and tasting rooms that line historic Main Street and help create what is nationally recognized as one of the finest small towns in America. The Murphys Business Association creates Irish Day each year with the knowledge that if you visit Murphys once you will want to return again and again. Sponsored by the Murphys Business Association, Murphys Irish Day is a fundraiser for many community projects and non-profit organizations and is the primary fundraiser for the Murphys Business Association and the Murphys Firefighters Association. For more information, contact

Here are top 5 important things to know when planning your visit to Murphys Irish Day from the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance.

2. The Wine – Vineyards and Tasting Rooms

Locke Vineyards

Downtown Murphys is home to over 25 tasting rooms all within walking distance of Murphys hotels. Each one offers a little something special like Lavender Ridge’s cheese and wine pairings, Pop the Bubbly‘s local and international champagnes and sparkling wines, or Val du Vino‘s full production winery/vineyard/tasting room – the only one in downtown Murphys nestled at the end of Main Street Murphys.

See the list of SF Chronicle Wine Competition award winners from Calaveras County. Click here to find the full list of tasting rooms and vineyards in Murphys and throughout Calaveras County.

Tour vineyards, attractions, and adventures in comfort with drivers familiar with these windy, mountain roads:

  • Gold Rush Tour Company has experienced drivers & guides with tours that fit every budget – from concerts to vineyard tours to their unique Whiskey Wagon.
  • Courtwood Wine Tours let’s you enjoy a comfortable, relaxing ride with a knowledgeable and friendly guide!
  • Murphys Taxi Company Call 209.795.7777 on weekends Text 209.404.6229 on weekdays only

3. Spring Wine Weekend

Spring Wine Weekend

An event where you can enjoy two days of spring weekend fun in Calaveras Wine Country. 1-day and 2-day tickets include a commemorative wineglass, a wristband for special tasting flights at 27 participating tasting rooms, a weekend guide with maps, live music, vineyard explorations, tasting experiences, special events, and a whole lot of fun! Advance ticketing is required as this event will sell out, however you can click here now for a $5 off coupon. The Calaveras Visitors Bureau and Angels Camp Museum, located at 753 South Main St., Angels Camp, offer free museum admission with your Spring Wine Weekend wristband this weekend only. Check out for more special offers from local attractions included in your ticket this weekend! This event funds the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance’s ability to host annual wine programs and events, wine education seminars, community park improvements, and local high school scholarships.

4. Mercer Cavern

Mercer Caverns
The walk tour | Dave Bunnell

Mercer Caverns is a short drive (or walk if you’re feeling adventurous) up Sheep Ranch Road – about 1.5 miles north of the center of downtown Murphys. Named after Walter J. Mercer who discovered the caves around 1885, this cave system is a walking distance of about a quarter of a mile, but distance is not covered all at once. There are several stops along the tour route where the guide will talk about the history and geology of the caverns and answer questions. The tour descends into the caverns to a low point of about 161 feet below the surface and equivalent of a 16 story building. The tour is moderately strenuous, so wear non-slip walking shoes.

5. Grape Stomp & Gold Rush Street Fair – First Saturday in October

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the oldest and biggest Grape Stomp in California in 2023!

Calaveras Grape Stomp Splatter I Courtesy of Calaveras Winegrape Alliance

Look to the first Saturday in October for people to descend on our gorgeous little historic gold rush town and wine destination to get down and dirty for true grape stomping competition. Excitement and comaraderie fill the air as teams are encouraged to come in costume and show off their creativity at the Gold Rush Street Faire benefiting Feeney Park. A full day of reuniting with friends and family, this year Murphys is celebrating its 30th anniversary of wild and wacky grape stomping competition. Cross this off your bucket list, make some memories, and sign up early!

6. Murphys Park

Murphys Park

Murphys Park is located in the middle of downtown, down the street from the Murphys Historic Hotel. Picture families and couples and friends strolling through the park, playing on the playground, or sitting next to the creek. It’s a great place to bring a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy a nice day outside. Visit the Veteran’s Memorial across from the park, the Murphys Library up the stairs from the park, or attend a live performance at the Murphys Creek Theater.

7. Ironstone Heritage Museum

Ironstone Museum wagon
Ironstone Heritage Museum | wagon

It might be small, but the Ironstone Heritage Museum contains some fascinating Native American and California Gold Rush artifacts and was actually established as a tribute to that historic time and to the Miwok who inhabited the area before the mass influx of mining hopefuls. The Gold Rush collection includes photos, mining maps and personal artifacts including letters written by miners to friends and family back home giving an intimate peek into what life was really like for these 19th century adventurers.

Attractions: Ironstone Heritage Museum gold nugget
Ironstone Heritage Museum gold nugget | Menka Belgal

The centerpiece of the museum is the largest crystalline gold leaf specimen ever found in the Mother Lode. A massive 44 pounds in size, the piece is beautifully formed and handsomely displayed.

The “Gold Pocket”, as it has come to be known, is 98 percent pure, making it a specimen of exceedingly high quality and value. Sixty-three pounds before preparation, it spent almost a year in an acid bath washing away most of the surrounding matrix to ultimately reveal the forty-four pound specimen that is on display at the winery. The stone entrance to the crystalline gold display is reminiscent of an early “forty-niners” gold mine with its massive stone face and broad beam construction.

The Heritage Museum also features a vast display of natural gold specimens acquired from modern-day prospectors who are still very active in the Sierra Foothills. Visitors to the museum can purchase a wide variety of books and educational materials, as well as artifacts and souvenirs related to the Gold Rush era.

Ironstone Vineyards Jewelry Shoppe | Lisa Boulton
Beautiful decor and jewelry at Ironstone Vineyards’ Heritage Museum & Jewelry Shoppe

In addition, carefully selected jewelry is available for purchase in their jewelry shop within the museum, including treasures such as gold-in-quartz jewelry, natural gold nuggets and nugget jewelry, as well as an impressive collection of diamond, emerald, turquoise and other precious and semi-precious gem artistry.

Can you stay?

Let’s Eat!

Murphys offers a wide array of restaurants from brick-oven pizza to fine dining, family casual to romantic ambience serving local wine and beer. Find all the diverse and delicious cuisine Murphys has to offer here.

Murphys Pourhouse
Man vs sandwich at Murphys Pourhouse

Let’s Stay Awhile…

Murphys Vacation Rentals – Little Yellow Cottage

Murphys delivers with plenty of places to settle in for a few days. Everything from a comfortable room to store your stuff and get a good night’s rest so you can adventure out for the day to romantic, luxurious getaways to vacation rentals for groups of any size exists right here. Stay in Murphys a few days if you can. We’d love to have you!

Dunbar Bed and Breakfast

Stop in an say hello!

Come by and see us at the Murphys Information Center located at 202 Main Street at the end of town in Murphys across from Alchemy Restaurant. Pick up the new Calaverasopoly board game or a souvenir from your visit.

You can also find out about more things to do and see in Murphys and throughout Calaveras!