Spend some time in Solvang, the Danish village nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley that looks and smells like Christmas year-round, with twinkling lights at night and baked goods served fresh every morning. Solvang, a quick 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara, is a truly unique village rife with activities, seasonal festivals, wine-tasting rooms and delectable dining. Bring the whole family — including the pooch! — or plan a couple’s getaway.
Kick off the day with a stroll along Mission Drive, the main street in town. Wander the avenues, walkways and catacomb-like shopping nooks. You’ll find all sorts of interesting Danish-themed souvenirs to remember your Solvang adventure. Shop your way through town for authentic gifts like wooden shoes, cuckoo clocks and unique clothing. Along the way, stop by a few of the local bakeries and confectionaries for tasty traditional Danish treats like aebleskiver (pronounced able-skeevers). You’ll find those fluffy, donut hole-type goodies in a number of bakeries and restaurants, but the most popular bites can be found at Solvang Restaurant’s walk-up window serving Arne’s famous aebleskivers. Mom-and-pop restaurants and local cafes line the streets between the shops, as do a number of tasting rooms featuring Rhone, Burgundian and Bordeaux-style wines. Cap off the night with live theater at the Solvang Festival Theater and be entertained under the stars.
Solvang Danish Days
If you’re in town during the month of September make sure not to miss one of the town’s signature events, Solvang Danish Days, which kicks off with a parade of Danish costumes and horse-drawn wagons. Explore the Old World artisans marketplace, watch Viking-age re-enactments, toast your neighbor in the beer & wine garden, watch (or compete in) the aebleskiver-eating contest, and enjoy old-fashioned storytelling by a local “Hans Christian Anderson.” This is a truly unique and memorable event for visitors of all ages.
Find even more beautiful places to explore in the Santa Ynez Valley here.