The album was released for the first time on CD in 1980 by Arista Records before being re-released in 2000 by BMG International. It was then remastered, expanded, and released as part of the Beyond Description (1973–1989) box set in October 2004. The remastered version was later released separately on CD on April 11, 2006 by Rhino Records.
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 something of a latter-day Garcia-Hunter classic, ranking #5 on Stereogum's list of the 10 best Dead songs.