Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Solvang, CA

  • Published 2022/07/28

Nicknamed the Danish Capital of America, Solvang is a city in California’s Santa Barbara County.

The streets are lined with buildings boasting magnificent Danish architecture, windmills of various sizes, and Danish restaurants and bakeries serving traditional cuisine.

Solvang is also famous for its wineries, as it is located close to the heart of California wine country.

Even with its significant Danish influence, the city is still quintessentially Californian.

It’s a popular tourist destination all year round and is only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles.

With nearby beaches and golden sunshine, Solvang is a perfect destination to experience the fascinating mix of Danish and Californian culture.

Here are the best things to do in Solvang, California:

Stroll around the City and Explore Its Hidden Gems

View of Solvang shops

fox_lei /

Solvang is filled with fantastic architecture and windmills for visitors to admire.

This picturesque city is ideal for exploring on foot.

Stroll around to witness its scenic glory.

People at a Solvang cafe

Benny Marty /

You can discover less famous shops, restaurants, cafes, and much more while walking around the city.

You will see the Danish influence on this Californian city while roaming its streets.

Long walks in California’s golden sunshine and beautiful Danish streets will refresh your mind, body, and soul.

Try Traditional Pastries from the City’s Authentic Danish Bakeries

Fresh Danish Pastries at solvang

mmartin68 /

A visit to this beautiful city will not be complete if you don’t get to try traditional pastries from authentic Danish bakeries.

The local bakeries serve freshly baked pastries, cookies, loaves of bread, and much more.

Solvang has five famous authentic Danish bakeries that are very popular among tourists and locals.

Storefront of Danish Mill Bakery


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 waffles, and Risalamande from these fantastic bakeries.

People eating at The Solvang Bakery

randy andy /

Visit the Iconic Old Mission Santa Ines

Exterior of Old Mission Santa Ines

Julie Vader /

Built in 1804, Old Mission Santa Ines was one of the 21 Spanish missions built in California in the early 19th century.

Located on Mission Drive, Old Mission Santa Ines is one of the best-preserved remaining Spanish missions.

Now, this National Historic Landmark is a Parish church.

Interior of Old Mission Santa Ines

Bill Perry /

It is also a museum that showcases rare paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, artifacts, vestments, and more.

The church also has a beautiful and peaceful courtyard with a lovely landscape.

It also has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and gifts to remember this historical place and lovely Solvang.

Bell tower of Old Mission Santa Ines

Steve Heap /

Witness the City’s Culture at Elverhøj Museum of History and Art

Welcome sign of Elverhoj Museum of History and Art

Kit Leong /

Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is a renowned museum located on Elverhoy Way.

It showcases Solvang’s rich culture and heritage and its prevalent Danish influence.

The museum’s building was a Danish 18th-century-style former home with stunning Scandanavian architecture, ornamental ironwork, panels painted by hand, and artisan wood carvings.

Interior of Elverhøj Museum of History and Art

Kit Leong /

It also has spacious galleries, limited-time exhibitions, and regional and international art displays.

In addition, there’s a gift store where you can buy unique art-related and Danish-themed items.

Visitors are welcome to join the museum’s workshops, classes, and Danish events.

Head to the lovely Elverhøj Museum of History and Art to witness the city’s culture and heritage through excellent exhibitions and displays.

Displays in Elverhøj Museum of History and Art

Kit Leong /

Check Out the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature

Entrance door of Wildling Museum of Art and Nature

Jllm06, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1977, the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is a small multi-level museum showcasing the importance of preserving nature and wildlife through art.

It was founded by Patti Jacquemain, an artist and conservation advocate who aimed to create awareness and inspire the locals to protect Solvang’s natural heritage.

The museum showcases nature-related art in the form of photography, paintings, and much more.

It also has a gift store where you can buy quirky handmade items.

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is located on Mission Drive.

Feed the Ostriches at Ostrich Land USA

People feeding ostriches in Ostrich Land USA

Iv-olga /

Located on East Highway 246, 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 landscape views.

You can observe and feed the ostriches that call this farm home.

Two ostrich in Ostrich Land USA

Erick Cervantes /

The farm or zoo also has a store where you can buy food to feed the birds and fresh eggs to take home with you.

Drop by the fantastic Ostrich Land USA to experience the birds up close and interact with them.

Admire the Vintage Rides at Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum

Exterior of Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum

DocFreeman24, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum showcases a private collection of vintage and classic motorcycles, along with European race bikes.

Visitors can check almost a hundred of the rarest vintage motorcycle models available around the world.

1914 Indian V motorcycle displayed in Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum

Rachel.dicerbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum and its collection are owned by motorcycle enthusiast Virgil Elings, who took almost 20 years to complete it.

The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum is located along Alisal Road.

1955 triumph motorcycle in Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum

Rachel.dicerbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Guided Tour of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Exterior of Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Roman Korotkov /

Hans Christian Andersen was a well-known Danish author who wrote plays, travelogues, poems, novels, and more.

He was most famous for the fairy tales he wrote.

The Hans Christian Andersen Museum is devoted to the author and his world-famous works.

Interior of Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Hayk_Shalunts /

Located at H.C. Andersen Haven 1, it consists of displays and exhibits that present Andersen’s life and work.

You can take guided tours of the museum and participate in various activities it provides, such as mini-lectures, festivals, and parties.

Building sign of Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Hayk_Shalunts /

Taste the Exquisite Wines at Rusack Vineyards

Located on Ballard Canyon Road, Rusack Vineyards is a boutique vineyard and winery situated on 48 acres of Californian land.

The vineyard produces world-class wines you can drink while enjoying views of the beautiful surroundings.

It offers a stunning setting where the visitors can have picnics and sip on their fabulous wines.

The vineyard also has a tasting room where you can taste the most excellent award-winning wines.

Visit Rusack Vineyards to experience the finest wines and backdrops of California.

Ride around the City with Solvang Trolley & Carriage Tours

Trolley & Carriage tour at Solvang

CrackerClips Stock Media /

Solvang Trolley & Carriage Tours offers unique ride services that will take you back in time.

A ride on a horse-drawn trolley with a knowledgeable tour guide is the most charming and quaint way to explore this lovely city.

The tour guide will show all the city’s most famous attractions while talking about Solvang’s local history.

Take a ride in a trolley or carriage to explore the village while appreciating its beauty, old-school style.

You can find Solvang Trolley & Carriage Tours on Copenhagen Drive.

Shop for Handcrafted 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 store has a wide array of handcrafted and vintage antiques for you to choose from.

You can buy impressive fine art, silver jewelry, porcelain, sculptures, and more.

The store also comprises Solvang Antiques Fine Art Gallery, where you can see stunning antique art pieces and contemporary artworks displayed in revolving exhibits.

Visit Solvang Antiques to witness prestigious antiques and beautiful artwork.

See Adorable Little Ponies at Quicksilver Ranch

A pony in Quicksilver Ranch

Orange Grove /

Just a short ride from Solvang’s central area, Quicksilver Ranch is located in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley.

The ranch is home to some of the best-thoroughbred horses and miniature horses that look like baby unicorns.

You can take guided tours of the ranch.

Walk around the Quicksilver Ranch to adore the little horses and enjoy the area’s beauty.

The ranch is located on Alamo Pintado Road.

Stop by Nojoqui Falls Park

Scenic view of Nojoqui Falls Park

LopezJ /

Located only a 15-minute drive from central Solvang, Nojoqui Falls Park is an 85-acre park with sweeping views and greenery.

The park has a playground for children and a designated area where you can enjoy picnics, making it an ideal place to visit with the whole family.

A stunning 80-foot waterfall awaits you at the end of a short hike, and it is undoubtedly the park’s main attraction.

Nojoqui Falls Park is well worth visiting and enjoying nature in its full glory.

Book a Stay at the Luxurious Hotel Corque

Hotel Corque is a luxury boutique hotel located on Alisal Road.

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.

Hotel Corque is spotless and peaceful and will make your stay worth it.

Treat Your Taste Buds to Italian Cuisine at Sy Kitchen

Sy Kitchen offers exquisite modern farm-to-table Italian cuisine.

The restaurant’s executive chef is from Italy and knows how to make traditional Italian food with a Californian twist.

The food served is made from local produce and is delicious.

Don’t forget to try their fresh in-house pasta when you visit this lovely restaurant.

You can find Sy Kitchen along Faraday Street.

Have Breakfast at Paula’s Pancake House

Signage of Paula's Pancake House

Michael Vi /

Paula’s Pancake House is a cafe that serves American and Danish cuisine.

It is located on Mission Drive.

They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for the guests to cater to everyone’s needs.

Exterior of Paula's Pancake House

HannaTor /

This cafe serves terrific breakfast food.

Don’t forget to try the Danish pancakes, fruit waffles, danish sausage, and French toast when you visit this excellent cafe.

Visit Sunny Fields Park

Sunny Fields Park is a unique park in Solvang with a wooden-themed playground for kids.

The park also picnic tables, a barbeque pit, a volleyball court, and much more.

Attend One of Solvang’s Exciting Events

View of solvang street

LI Cook /

Solvang hosts several fun and fabulous events throughout the year.

There is always some event going on that you can attend to experience the city’s spirit.

A float during the Solvang Danish Days

Klaus Nahr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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 miss the chance to attend at least one of these events when you visit this lovely city.

People watching the Solvang Danish Days

Klaus Nahr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Catch a Show at the Solvang Festival Theater

Exterior of the Solvang Festival Theater

FiledIMAGE /

The Solvang Festival Theater is a local community-based theater that was built in 1974.

In a remarkable feat, volunteers and local craftspeople built this beloved Solvang attraction in just 57 days.

The theater, located on 2nd Street, holds several live performances and other entertaining events throughout the year.

It is a 700-seat outdoor amphitheater and is the only performing arts facility of its kind on California’s Central Coast.

Make sure to watch a theater show, concert, jazz festival, or comedy event at Solvang Festival Theater.

Try a Variety of Wines at Blackjack Ranch

Located on Alamo Pintado Road, Blackjack Ranch was created as a result of the success of a Blackjack game.

That win allowed its founder, Roger Wisted, to realize a long-held ambition: to start a vineyard and a winery.

The winery’s name derives from its beginnings.

After producing its first vintage in 1997, Blackjack Ranch Vineyards & Winery established a public tasting facility two years later.

A temperature-controlled vault filled with wine from six decades ago is located in the tasting area, which has a very rustic, local appeal.

Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot, and Franc are just a few of the many varieties produced by the distinguished vineyard.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Swedish Candy Factory

When in Solvang, visitors must take part in the magic of manufacturing handcrafted candies.

Swedish Candy Factory uses a 150-year-old technique to manufacture genuine Swedish candy, which is crunchy at first but soft when you bite into it.

Artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or preservatives are not used in their production.

Swedish Candy boasts an extensive range of Stafford’s Chocolates.

The candy store is located on Alisal Road.

Go Wine Tasting at Lincourt Vineyards

Bill Foley established Lincourt Vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County’s at-the-time utterly unexplored area.

Tucked behind California pepper trees with views of the Alamo Pintado Vineyard, the winery boasts the rustic allure and straightforwardness of past times.

It is presently among the most sought-after cool-climate viticultural locations in California.

They select fruit for harvest based on tastes rather than numbers, and they include the winemaker in every step of the winemaking process.

All of Lincourt Vineyards’ wines are made with cutting-edge, environmentally friendly methods from estate vines inside the AVA.

Have Beer and Sausages at Copenhagen Sausage Garden

In the center of Solvang sits Copenhagen Sausage Garden, an outdoor beer garden.

This establishment has been providing Solvang with world-class comfort cuisine for 30 years, and they will blow you away!

Copenhagen Sausage Garden provides 11 family-made sausages from across the world.

To guarantee that only the best ingredients are utilized, their crew personally chooses the product after visiting local farms.

Their outdoor garden offers a new dynamic setting, with fire pits, big flat-screen TVs, and live music.

Enjoy a Lovely Stay at the Mirabelle Inn

The Mirabelle Inn is located at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The Santa Ynez Valley’s first boutique hotel is created to offer unique elements and touches that feel like home.

Your stay will be beyond pleasant and unforgettable thanks to a well-trained team and a proper service attitude.

The Mirabelle Inn’s 12 guest rooms are decorated and furnished differently, and they all have complete bathrooms, plush linen, and tasteful antiques.

Visitors can reach Downtown Solvang on foot from this opulent boutique hotel in Santa Barbara Wine Country.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Drink Amazing Wine at Sevtap Winery

Exterior of Sevtap Winery Tasting Room

Benny Marty /

Located in the neighboring city of Lompoc, Sevtap Winery has a tasting room where you can drink remarkable wines.

The winery provides some of the best wines in the area, allowing its customers to live up to its motto: “Drink Good Wine.”

It has an excellent wine selection for you to choose from.

If you are an oenophile, this is the right place for you.

Sevtap Winery is just 25 minutes away from Solvang.

Final Thoughts

Solvang is worth visiting for its stunning architecture, wineries, and bakeries selling genuine Danish delights.

The city is sure to win your heart whether you want to shop, dine, be one with wilderness, or uncover more historical sites.

This guide to the best things to do in Solvang, California will help you make your vacation more exciting and worthwhile!

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