Go to Heaven received a generally negative response from critics, though a retrospective review in Allmusic remarked that "Time has somewhat mellowed the general disdain that critics and Deadheads alike leveled at Go to Heaven upon its release".J. M. DeMatteis's review in Rolling Stone summarized the album as "more of the same uninspired fluff that's become the Grateful Dead's recorded stock in trade", though he did praise Brent Mydland's contributions. Allmusic's retrospective review said that while the tracks were generally weak, a number of the songs were later developed into strong live numbers. Like Rolling Stone, they praised the addition of Mydland to the band's lineup. In contrast, Robert Christgau, while complimentary of the rendition of "Don't Ease Me In", called Mydland an "utter wimp".
DeMatteis, who is better known for his work writing comic books, came to regret his review of the album, and ended his career as a music critic as a consequence.
"Althea" has come to be regarded as a Garcia-Hunter classic, ranking #5 on Stereogum's list of the 10 best Dead songs.