Explore Solvang: A Mix of Denmark and Wine Country Just a Few Hours From the Bay Area

Trip length

A few hours

Metropolitan area

SF Bay Area Trip Highlights

Overview

In the Bay Area, we like the quirky things in life. The artisinal products, organic food, flea markets, the unusual and unique things. While there are plenty of quirky things in our area, I also look to find the quirky wherever I visit. While on a road trip around California, I got the chance to visit Solvang, a Danish town in the middle of Santa Barbara County. From the Bay Area, it's roughly a four-hour drive, but it feels like you end up in Europe as some of the restaurant names are in Danish and the architecture seems like a duplicate of Denmark. It is a wonderful, peaceful getaway, a great escape from the craziness of the Bay Area.
While in town, you can enjoy plenty of wine tastings, as Santa Barbara is the wine country for Southern California. Many of the vineyards are just down the road from their Solvang tasting room. They even have a few beer tastings. One that I particularly enjoyed was at The Good Life. Solvang also has a few used bookstores, clothing stores, and antique shops, all within walking distance as the town is not very large. This is a town that you could potentially cover in a day, but I would recommend you stay for two to take it all in.
For those of you who are foodies, I recommend going to the Los Olivos tasting room where you can try fantastic olive oil and balsamic vinegars in a variety of flavors that are aged 18 years. For those of you who are animal lovers, you have to go visit Quicksilver Ranch and Ostrichland. At Quicksilver Ranch, you can admire and pet the miniature horses. They are very friendly and are really fun to watch. At Ostrichland, you can either admire or feed the ostriches AND emus! They are a bit too friendly, but it's so great to get so close to such beautiful creatures. The best part is that it's free to go to Quicksilver Ranch and it's only a few dollars to get into Ostrichland. It can't get much better than that, except, possibly, the photos you take home with you.

How to get there and get around

Take the 101 South to the CA-246 East towards Solvang.

Best Restaurants (or places to eat) in the area

Bit O' Denmark: If you want authentic Danish cuisine when you come to Solvang, this is the place to go. Try one of their traditional open-faced sandwiches on pumpernickel bread!

Root 246: It is the ultimate farm-to-table cuisine. Their recipes are inspired by what is in season so you will always get the freshest ingredients at the peak of their harvest. Make sure to start with the cheese board and some fresh oysters. It is, without a doubt, my favorite restaurant in Solvang.

They have plenty of pastry shops to choose from, danishes galore. Try Birkholm's Bakery or the Danish Mill Bakery.

Cafe Dolce: They have a nice selection of gelato and coffee, as well as a nice courtyard to enjoy it in after your purchase. They also normally have an employee handing out $1-off coupons for your purchase!

SF Bay Area Neighborhood Characteristics

Hadsten Inn and Spa: They have plenty of amenities, provide a complimentary breakfast, and are also the best reviewed hotel in the area. It is conveniently located right on the edge of town adjacent to Hans Christian Anderson Park, one of the favorite places in town of tourists and locals alike.

Svendsgaard's Lodge: For those who are more money-conscious, this is the place to stay. It is also conveniently located right on the corner of Mission Drive and Alisal Road, on the other edge of town than the Hadsten Inn and Spa. They also provide a small free breakfast every morning and all of the rooms are very clean and roomy.

Additional Links

Local hangouts, Shopping spots

Solvang Brewing Company: Solvang is not known for its nightlife, but this is the one place that is open until 2AM. They have Karaoke on Thursdays and, obviously, a great selection of beer on tap.

 
Pic by @geeybanez

A family in front of a windmill in Solvang

 

Solvang City in California

 
Pic by @ppuif

A woman posing out side Hanson's Clock Shop Jewelers along Alisal Road.

 
 
Pic by @summersaa

One of the windmills in Solvang.

 
 
Pic by @rheeys19

A figurine in one of the many housewares and collectible stores.

 
 

The sign to the entrance of Solvang.

 

Solvang Brewing Company

 
Pic by @tedatkins

Outside Solvang Brewing Company.

 
 
Pic by @maanschi

An antique store in Solvang.

 
 
Pic by @1life1world

Stores along Mission Drive.

 
 
Pic by @geargrinder

Some of the great pastries available in Solvang.

 
 
Pic by @musicajz

Beautiful pastries at a bakery in Solvang.

 

Solvang California

 
Pic by @olgab13

A restaurant in Solvang.

 

Solvang Brewing Company

 

A Danish meal in Solvang.

 
 
Pic by @resignert

Some fun items at a vintage consignment shop.

 
 

One of the amazing vinegars from Los Olivos Olive Oil Company.

 

Solvang City, CA

 
Pic by @judypark213

One of the many restaurants in Solvang.

 
 
Pic by @jspeeed

Ostriches at Ostrichland in Solvang.

 

Ostrich Land USA Inc

 
Pic by @nerb

Two visitors outside the entrance to Ostrichland.

 
 
Pic by @jhoanfrank

A visitor feeding the emus at Ostrichland.

 

Some of the miniature horses at Quicksilver Ranch.

 

One of the very cute miniature horses enjoying the sun.

 
 
Pic by @dez1007

A collage of shots of Quicksilver Ranch.

 
 
Pic by @renato_ko

Along a street in Solvang.