Nicknamed as the Danish Capital of America, Solvang is a city located in Santa Barbara County in California. The lovely town has a population of about only 5000 people, according to the 2010 census. It is located only a 2-hour drive away from the land of Hollywood, Los Angeles. Solvang is a year-round popular tourist destination to enjoy the Danish delight of this beautiful city. Danish culture is prevalent all over the city. There are tonnes of buildings with magnificent Danish architecture in the streets along with windmills of various sizes. Solvang is famous for its authentic traditional Danish Pastries. There are several Danish bakeries, restaurants, and cafes in the city where you can experience Denmark's cuisine.
Along with Danish food, the town is also pretty famous for its wineries, as it is located not very far from the heart of California wine country. Even with significant Danish influence, the city is full of quintessential Californian essence. With beaches located nearby and the eternal golden sunshine always shining bright, Solvang is a perfect destination to experience the fascinating mix of Danish and Californian culture. Here are 20 of the best things to do in Solvang, California.
Stroll Around The City
Solvang is a fantastic city with fantastic architecture and windmills to see. The beauty of this picturesque town is ideal for exploring on foot. Stroll around the town to witness the scenic glory of this charming city. You can discover various less famous and more unusual shops, restaurants, cafes, and much more while exploring the town on foot. You will truly see the Danish influence on this Californian city while roaming around in its streets. Long walks in the golden sunshine of California and beautiful Danish streets will refresh your mind, body, and soul.
Eat Authentic Danish Pastries
A visit to this beautiful town will not be complete if you do not eat the traditional Danish pastries from the authentic local Danish bakeries. The local bakeries serve freshly baked pastries, cookies, loaves of bread, and much more. The town has five famous authentic Danish bakeries that are very popular among tourists and locals alike. The best bakeries in Solvang are- Danish Mill Bakery, Birkholm's Bakery & Cafe, Mortensen's Danish Bakery, Olsen's Danish Village Bakery, and The Solvang Bakery. Do not forget to try the danish rolls, butter cookies, aebleskivers, cream puffs, danish waffle, and Risalamande from these fantastic bakeries.
The Iconic Old Mission Santa Ines
Built in 1804, Old Mission Santa Ines is a place of worship located in Solvang. It was one of the 21 Spanish Missions built in California in the early 19th century. Old Mission Santa Ines is one of the best-preserved remaining Spanish Missions. Now, this National Historic Landmark is a Parish church. It is also a museum that showcases rare paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, artifacts, vestments, and more. The church also has a beautiful and peaceful courtyard that has a lovely landscape. The entry fee for a self-guided tour to see the church and museum is only $6. It also has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and gifts to remember this historical place and lovely Solvang.
Witness Town's Culture At Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
Elverhoj Museum of History and Art is a very renowned museum located in the village of Solvang. It showcases the rich culture and heritage of Solvang and its prevalent Danish influence. The building of the museum was a Danish18th Century-style former home with stunning Scandanavian architecture, ornamental ironwork, panels painted by hand, and artisan wood carvings. The museum has spacious galleries and changing exhibitions with regional as well as international art displayed. The premises also have a gift store where you can buy unique art-related things and Danish themed items. The entry in the museum, however, you can donate if you want. The museum also hosts workshops, classes, Danish events, and much more for children. Visit the lovely Elverhoj Museum of History and Art to witness the town's culture and heritage through excellent exhibitions and displays.
Check Out The Wildling Museum of Art & Nature
Founded in 1977, Wildling Museum of Art & Nature is a small multi-level museum with numerous displays and exhibits that showcases the importance of preserving nature and wildlife through art. It was founded by Patti Jacquemain, an artist and conservation advocate, and she aimed to create awareness and inspire the locals to protect the natural heritage of Solvang. The displays and exhibitions in the museum feature nature-related art, including photography, paintings, and much more. The admission fee is $5, and it also has a gift store where you can buy quirky handmade items.
Feed Ostriches At Ostrich Land USA
Ostrich Land USA is a farm with more than 100 birds, including ostriches and emus. The farm covers an area of 33 acres and offers sweeping views of the landscape. You can feed the most giant bird of the world, Ostrich, by yourself. Or you can just watch and enjoy these birds. The farm or zoo also has a store where you can buy food to feed the birds as well as fresh eggs of the birds. Ostrich Land USA is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. Drop by this fantastic place to experience the birds up close by feeding or interacting with them.
Vintage Rides At Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum showcases a private collection of vintage and classic motorcycles along with European race bikes. The museum and its collection are owned by a motorcycle enthusiast Virgil Elings. It took almost 20 years for Virgil to complete the impressive collection. The museum is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm. However, if you want to visit it on weekdays, you can call ahead and make an appointment, they will happily open the museum for you.
Take A Guided Tour Of The Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Hans Christian Andersen was a well-known Danish author. He wrote plays, travelogues, poems, novels, and more. He was most famous for the fairytales he wrote. Hans Christian Andersen Museum is devoted to Hans Christian Andersen and his world-famous works. The museum consists of different displays and exhibits that present the life and work of the famous author. You can take guided tours of the museum and participate in various activities that the museum provides, such as mini-lectures, festivals, and parties. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm for you to visit.
Visit The Rusack Vineyards
Located on the Ballard Canyon Road in Solvang, Rusack Vineyards is a boutique vineyard and winery situated on 48 acres of Californian land. The vineyard produces world-class wines that you can drink while enjoying the beautiful landscape of the surroundings. It offers a stunning setting where the visitors can enjoy picnics with their friends and family with fabulous wines. The vineyard also has a fantastic tasting room where you can taste the most excellent award-winning wines. Visit the Rusack Vineyards to experience the finest wines and backdrops of California.
Ride The Town With Solvang Trolley & Carriage
Solvang Trolley & Carriage is a carriage ride service in town that will take you back in time. A ride in the trolleys pulled by horses with knowledgeable tour guides of the city is the most charming and quaint way to explore this lovely city. The tour guide will show all the historical and most famous stops of the town while narrating the town's local history and heritage. Take a ride in the trolley or carriages to explore the village while appreciating its beauty in an old manner.
Drink Amazing Wine At Sevtap Winery Tasting Room
Sevtap Winery Tasting Room is a tasting room where you can drink remarkable wines. The motto of this tasting room is "Drink Good Wine," and they provide the best wines to the visitors. The Sevtap Winery Tasting Room has an excellent wine selection for you to choose from. If you are an oenophile, then this is the right place for you. The owner and the winemaker will answer your questions with patience. Not only excellent wines, but this place also has chalk walls for you to draw and guitars for you to play.
Shop Hand-Crafted Antiques At Solvang Antiques
Solvang Antiques is the largest and most renowned antique shop in Santa Ynez Valley. It is located in Solvang on Copenhagen Drive, the heart of the shopping village. The store has a wide array of hand-crafted and vintage antiques for you to choose from. You can buy impressive fine art, silver jewelry, porcelain, sculptures, and so much more. There is a knowledgeable staff that will help you and will answer all your questions. The store also has Solvang Antiques Fine Art Gallery, where you can see stunning antique art pieces and contemporary artworks displayed on revolving exhibits. Visit Solvang Antiques to witness prestigious antiques and beautiful artwork of Solvang.
See Adorable Little Ponies At Quicksilver Ranch
Just a short ride out of Solvang, Quicksilver Ranch is located in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley. The ranch has some of the best-thoroughbred horses along with miniature horses that look like baby unicorns. The farm is open daily from 10 am to 3 pm. You can also take guided tours of the ranch that costs $3 per person. Walk around the Quicksilver Ranch to adore the little horses and best enjoy its beauty.
Stop By The Nojoqui Falls Park
Located only a 15-minute drive away from Solvang in Goleta, Nojoqui Falls Park is an 85-acre park with sweeping views and greenery. The park also has a playground for children and a designated area where you can enjoy picnics. There is also a stunning 80 feet waterfall that you can see at the end of a short hike. Nojoqui Falls Park is well worth visiting and enjoying nature in its full glory.
Stay At The Corque Hotel
Corque Hotel is a boutique hotel located only a 5 minute walk away from the Old Mission Santa Ines. This lovely hotel provides various amenities such as outdoor pools, hot tubs Concierge, room service, and much more to make your stay worthwhile. The suites are spacious and offer beautiful views of the Danish city with private balconies. The hotel also provides a free shuttle bus service for all the guests. Corque Hotel is spotless and peaceful and will make your stay worth it.
Eat Italian Food At Sy Kitchen
Sy Kitchen offers the best freshly made modern farm-to-table Italian food in the town. The restaurant's executive chef is from Italy and knows how to make traditional Italian food with a Californian fusion. The food served is made from local produce and is amazingly delicious. Don't forget to try their fresh in-house pasta when you visit this lovely restaurant.
Eat Breakfast At Paula's Pancake House
Paula's Pancake House is a cafe that serves American and Danish cuisine. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for the guests to cater to everyone's needs. This cafe serves terrific breakfast food. Don't forget to try danish pancakes, fruit waffles, danish sausage, and french toast when you visit this excellent cafe.
Visit The Sunny Fields Park
Sunny Fields Park is a unique park in Solvang that has a whole wooden themed playground for kids. The playground has original wooden structures on which the kids can climb and play. The park also picnic tables, barbeque pit, volleyball court, and much more.
Attend An Event
Solvang hosts several fun and fabulous events in the city throughout the year. There is always some event going on in the city that you can attend to experience the spirit of the town. The most famous events hosted by the city are Solvang Grape Stomp (to celebrate the harvesting season of grapes), Solvang Danish Days ( to commemorate the Danish influence with parades, dancers, musicians, and much more), and Julefest (to celebrate Danish Christmas). Don't forget to attend these events when you visit this lovely town.
Catch A Show At Solvang Festival Theater
Built in 1974, Solvang Festival Theater is a local community-based theater where you can watch live performing arts and other entertaining performances. It is a 700-seat outdoor amphitheater. You can book tickets to the shows on their website online. Make sure to watch a theater show or concert or jazz festival or comedy festival at Solvang Festival Theater.
Solvang, a lovely city, is filled with Danish culture and Californian sunshine. It is a perfect place to see Denmark and California's intertwined cultures while sipping fantastic wines. What are you waiting for? Visit Solvang to and do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit this charming city.