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The Santa Ynez Valley is home to a must-see gem for those who celebrate culture and authenticity—Solvang. The quaint Danish village is worth visiting, especially if you long for international travel experiences within the Golden State. Other than admiring the rustic windmills and the mesmerizing architecture, there are plenty of things to do in Solvang. Here are the best ones.
Must-See Solvang Attractions
Danish Bakeries and Restaurants
Make sure to get the most out of Solvang’s authentic cuisine. There are plenty of places to visit in Solvang on an empty stomach. A homely Scandinavian dish is a great start or finish to your day. And don’t forget to try the notorious aebleskiver—these Danish donuts served with jam are the treat that’ll make you crave more.
Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Step into this small fairy-tale house and peek into the infamous folktale writer’s life. The Hans Christian Andersen Museum (open under normal circumstances) houses exhibits and collections from the legendary author’s works and life. With classics such as The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid, the Danish Shakespeare’s museum is worth paying a visit to whenever you’re in town. Don’t forget to stop by The Book Loft located below the museum and get your findings gift wrapped for free.
Solvang Festival Theater
Jazz concerts, plays, and many more events are enjoyed at this 700-seat outdoor amphitheater. If you’re looking for something exciting to do in Solvang, check out Solvang Festival Theater’s (open under normal circumstances) up-to-date event calendar to see what’s happening.
Things to Do In Solvang with A Family
Hans Christian Andersen Park
This charming park is a great spot for people of all ages. You’ll find a skatepark, large slides, a music-making station with chimes, and even a rock-climbing wall. The large oak trees, picnic tables, and grassy alleys make a trip to this park one of the best things to do in Solvang with your family.
An inexpensive and fun thing to do with kids in Solvang is feeding the ostriches and emus at Ostrichland. Who wouldn’t enjoy having an up-close experience with these wondrous birds? On your way out, buy fresh ostrich eggs and unique souvenirs to remind you of happy memories.
Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor
Whether or not you ride the Solvang Trolley, there’s no denying that their ice cream parlor is one the sweetest treats you’ll ever have. You’re destined to find a new favorite among their various seasonal and classic flavors (even sugar and dairy-free options). If ice cream isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry—Solvang fudge is the next best thing here.
This small California town has a lot to offer, even an escape room so the whole family is entertained. Choose any of the three experiences at the Ultimate Escape Rooms in Solvang and enjoy 60 minutes of adventures with your family. Try solving all the puzzles as quickly as you can because there are so many more things to see in Solvang.
Solvang Danish Days
With folk dancers and musicians around town, this three-day annual festival allows you to get the full taste of Danish culture. The Solvang Danish Days festival (held under normal circumstances) has taken place for more than 80 years. It has entertained both visitors and townsfolk with parades, concerts, ceremonies, cooking, and eating contests. If you can’t make it in September, don’t sweat it—there are fun things to do in Solvang every month of the year.
Solvang: Things to Do Next
In the various specialty boutique stores in the town center, you'll find the perfect gift for a friend, family member, or yourself. Grab a straw hat from Hats Unlimited and a funky pair of socks from Sock Loft as a memory from your trip.
Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
There are things to do in Solvang, CA even for motorcycle aficionados. Take a peek at classic collections of rare motorcycles and European race bikes at the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum. If you’re looking to buy a motorcycle, you just might be in luck—the museum regularly alters its collection and frequently has bikes for sale.
Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
This farmhouse replica built by Danish artist Viggo Brandt-Erichsen is home to Solvang’s heritage. Art exhibits tell the history of Danes in the United States and the Danish concept of "Janteloven", which means caring for and about each other—the foundation of Solvang’s friendly spirit. The hand-crafted structure of the Elverhoj Museum (open under normal circumstances) captivates architecture enthusiasts due to its resemblance to 18th-century Danish farmhouses.
Free Things to Do In Solvang
Old Mission Santa Ines
Old Mission Santa Ines was established in the 19th century with an admirable exterior and a praiseworthy interior. Stroll through the gardens, explore the museum, and light a candle in the church. Whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the wonderful views of Santa Ynez River Valley and the nearby mountain ranges.
Things to Do Near Solvang
Once you’ve had enough of Solvang’s attractions, feel free to explore the places nearby that have plenty of hidden gems worth discovering. Among the oak forest of Nojoqui Falls County Park, you'll find a waterfall cascading down the lush greenery.
The 10–minute hike to Nojoqui Falls is quite enjoyable. The soothing sounds of this 80–foot waterfall make the park a great spot to relax and unwind. Picnic tables, barbeque pits, and a playground are available in case you decide to spend more time at this spot.
Horseback Riding in Santa Ynez Valley
Add a little spice to your romantic getaway and take your special someone on a ride with Santa Ynez Valley Horseback Rides. Whether or not you know how to ride a horse, this experience is a must. Choose from a horse or a pony and enjoy the memorable ride along the flowing Santa Ynez River and the serene Santa Rita Hills canyon.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
A hot air balloon ride above Santa Barbara is undoubtedly the most memorable thing to do near Solvang. Sky’s the Limit offers both morning and evening flights to soak in both sunrise and sunset views. Feast your eyes on the green meadows and vineyards of the spectacular Santa Ynez Valley.
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