Solvang is a small city with a population of around 5,300 near the coast of Central California. The town received a large number of immigrants from Denmark between 1911 and 1931, and they brought their style and culture with them. There are lots of fun tourist attractions in Solvang and its surrounding area.
10. Nojoqui Falls Park
Nojoqui Falls Park is part of the County of Santa Barbara park system. The 85-acre park has ball fields, a playground, picnic tables and barbeque grills, benches, and restrooms. It has four large group picnic areas which can be reserved for gatherings a fee. The park has hiking trails, one of which leads to spectacular Nojoqui Falls. The falls are 100 feet high, cascading over sandstone. The park is seven miles southwest of town on Alisal Road. It is open from 8:00 am to sunset every day. A picnic and a hike to Nojoqui Falls would a perfect for a romantic date.
9. The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market
The Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association holds markets in nearby communities’ year round. The Market comes to Solvang every Wednesday from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm in the summer, and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm in the winter months. The Market sets up at Copenhagen Drive & 1st Street. This farmers market was founded in 1983 and has 130 grower members. Visitors can shop for fruits, vegetables, pistachios, olive oils, jojoba oils, and flowers. It is open rain or shine. Enjoy the Farmers Market with friends or family and get some delicious, fresh produce while you’re at it.
8. Solvang Festival Theater
The theater, located at 420 2nd St., is an outdoor amphitheater that seats 700. It was built in 1974 to host the summer productions of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts out of Santa Maria. The conservatory is made up of 50 theater professionals, and they train 100 students each year. Some past performances of the PCPA include Cinderella, Once Upon a Mattress, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, and The Taming of the Shrew. The theater’s upcoming shows are posted on their website, and you can purchase tickets while you are there.
7. Chumash Casino Resort
The Chumash Casino Resort, at 3400 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, has been owned and operated by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians since 1994. Originally a small operation, its current 190,000-square-foot complex was built in 2004. The casino offers 24 hour gambling to people 21 and over, as well as dining at the Chumash Café, the Creekside Buffet, or The Willows. The resort also has a hotel, which has a large, full-service spa. The casino hosts ticketed events, including comedy shows, concerts, and dance parties. Rates vary, and some events are free. Tickets are available at the website.
6. Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Author Hans Christian Andersen is one of Denmark’s favorite sons. This California city has a statue of him and another of his creation, the Little Mermaid. The city also has this museum, located at 1680 Mission Drive. The museum is upstairs over the Book Loft and Kaffe Hus. Guests must enter through the store. Exhibits include a model of Andersen’s childhood home, antique tools for making wooden shoes, original letters, photographs, artwork, and more. The museum also has hundreds of volumes of his work, some in English and some in Danish. The museum is open every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
5. Santa Ynez Valley Historical Society Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House
This museum is located at 3596 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez. It has eight rooms of displays showing the area’s Western roots, as well as that of the Native American Chumash tribe from the region. The Carriage House has an impressive collection of carriages. A docent will be on site to answer questions. Visitors can take a docent led tour by appointment. The site is also the location of the Ellen Gleason Memorial Library, which is a reference library with over a thousand books, maps, photographs, and more. The society accepts donations.
4. OstrichLand USA
Ostrichland is one of the best things to do in Solvang with kids. This ostrich and emu farm is located at 610 E Highway 246, just a few miles out of town. The farm has 50 ostriches and emus that are tame and trained to eat out of bowls. Tickets come with a bowl so visitors can feed the birds. The farm is open every day from 9:00 am to dusk. The gift shop, which is open the same hours as the farm, sells t-shirts, some gift items, ostrich and emu eggs, and ostrich meat. The store gets its meats from outside suppliers. The birds at the farm are not slaughtered. Tours are available.
3. Vintage Motorcycle Museum
If you’re looking for something cool to do on the weekend, check out the Solvang Motorcycle Museum, located at 320 Alisal Road. The museum is the private collection of owner Dr. Virgil Elings. The oldest piece in the collection is a 1910 FN. The rotating collection includes more than 90 bikes from around the world, with information on each one. The popular museum is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. It will open on weekdays by appointment. Children under 10 get in free with a parent or guardian.
2. Wine Tour
There are roughly 40 wineries surrounding Solvang. There are a number of companies offering wine tours, such as 805 Wine Tours and Taxi Cab Service, and Stagecoach Company Wine Tours Inc. If you prefer, you can take a self-guided tour. Maps are available to download from the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau website. Just remember to swish the wine and dump it out, so you can taste more wine and still drive safely. Some local wineries include the Plam/Mission Meadow Winery, Los Olivos Vintners, The Gainey Vineyard, and Blackjack Ranch Vineyards.
1. Danish Days
Solvang was built to be a home away from home for Danish immigrants. The downtown has a number of windmills. The buildings are done in Danish style, complete with thatched roofs. The Danish Days festival is an annual three-day event in September that has been running since 1936. There are parades, eating contests, Danish Maids who act as hostesses, historical reenactments of Viking times, dances, handcrafted items, authentic food, a Viking beer and wine garden, and more. Lots of activities and events are free. Tickets can be purchased for specific events at the website.
This city, with its rich Danish heritage, was founded in 1911. Today, roughly one million people visit the town each year. These are some of the best activities and places to visit in Solvang. The climate is mild and temperate. Don’t forget your jacket, as it will get cool at night.