Solvang is a refreshingly delightful little city founded by Danish travelers in 1911 in Santa Barbara County, California. It offers travelers the opportunity to experience an authentic Danish architecture, culture, and cuisine without the hassle (or cost) of traveling to Denmark. With its charming, quintessentially Danish-style architecture, Solvang is a stunning, Instagram-worthy village surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards just 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. It has established itself as a Disneyland-Esque destination, attracting over one million guests annually. It’s the perfect one-day or weekend getaway for those seeking a taste of Europe in the United States without the need to cross the Atlantic.
Transportation and Lodging in Solvang
Solvang, with a small size of only 2.5 square miles, you can easily explore the entire town on foot in just one day. And if you prefer to drive, there are plenty of free spots available. On busier days when parking is limited, visitors can park on side streets just outside of town. Despite its small size,there are plenty of places to stay in Solvang. A big variety of hotels to suit different preferences, including traditional Danish-style, luxury, and cozy bed and breakfasts.
Bars and Restaurants in Solvang
Solvang offers a wide range of food options, including casual lunch spots, brunch spots, and nice sit-down dinner spots, catering to all tastes. Food offerings range from traditional Danish to classic American and international cuisine like Mediterranean and Italian dishes. Whatever your craving, there is definitely something for everyone.
For our favorite breakfast options around town, head over to Brekkies by Chomp on Mission Drive, their outdoor patio and cozy indoor seating make for a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, check out Campo Del Sol restaurant. Their contemporary and traditional dishes feature locally sourced, fresh, and artisanal ingredients. If you’re looking for a chic American restaurant for a sit-down dinner, Mad & Vin in the beautiful Landsby Hotel is a great choice. It opens for breakfast, closes in the afternoon, and then reopens for dinner. High Roller Tiki Lounge serves cocktails and beer for those seeking a more vibrant atmosphere, making it a perfect spot to unwind after a long day of exploring.
If you want to check out one of the best restaurants in Solvang, stop by First and Oak, located inside of the Mirabelle Inn, in the heart of Solvang. First and Oak offers a sensational seasonal menu that highlights local & organic ingredients prepared in a thoughtful manner.
Solvang Top Sights and Attractions
Tourists looking for a slice of Europe in the United States often flock to Solvang, making it a popular tourist destination. There are many exciting activities for visitors to do while in Solvang, including fascinating museums, holiday festivals, and plays produced by a local theater company.
- Located in the heart of Solvang, the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art is a fascinating museum that celebrates Danish culture and history. Visitors can explore Viking artifacts and participate in numerous educational opportunities. The museum is open every day except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is free, although there is a suggested $5 donation. Those interested in a group tour can request a tour with a museum docent by calling 805-686-1211.
- Located in the Copenhagen House, the Solvang Amber Museum and Hall of the Danes is a one-of-a-kind attraction that combines a museum, a jewelry store, a home goods store, and a toy store. Visitors can browse an extensive collection of amber and other various souvenirs. The museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM and offers a vast collection of Danish products available for purchase at various price points.
- The Hans Christian Andersen Museum, run by the Ugly Duckling, was created to honor Hans Christian Andersen and his famous fairy tales. Families and children can learn about the man behind “Thumbelina” and “The Princess and the Pea” at this museum, located on the second floor of The Book Loft Building. The museum is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (6:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays) and admission is free. It’s an ideal place for families to visit and explore the life and works of the renowned fairy tale author.
- The Bethania Lutheran Church is a charming church built in 1928 and designed with authentic Danish architecture. It holds worship services every Sunday at 9:30 AM. In addition to its regular services, the church offers free casual tours. Visitors can explore the church’s beautiful architecture and learn about its history free of charge.
- The Solvang Festival Theater, a 700-seat outdoor auditorium owned by the Solvang Theaterfest, features a variety of plays and musicals, including “Into the Woods” and “The Secret Garden,” throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy smaller concerts on occasion. Ticket prices for the theater range from $35 to $50, and guests can enjoy the productions in the beautiful outdoor setting of the theater.
- Solvang Julefest is a festive holiday celebration that takes place every December in the city of Solvang. The event features exciting activities such as fireworks, wine tastings, and holiday decorations. Visitors can choose to participate in the festivities or simply stroll the streets and enjoy the sights without cost. Ticket prices for the Julefest event are $25 for a single day or $45 for two days, which includes a souvenir wine glass. It’s a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and experience the unique cultural traditions of Solvang.
WHERE TO STAY – Mirabelle Inn
Mirabelle Inn is a classic Northern European, Renaissance-style Inn with distinctive half-timbered architecture, complete with Danish, French, and American flags waving atop its towering front. Upon entering the magical Inn, guests are welcomed by a soaring lobby that resembles a tiered Danish marzipan cake, known as Kransekage, with festive trimmings. The FIRST & OAK restaurant and Fireside Room flank the lobby, providing additional seating for dining patrons.
Mirabelle Inn is one of the best hotels in Solvang, boasts thirteen pristine, exquisitely-appointed guest suites, strung like pearls over multiple split stories, all conveniently accessible via elevator. Most suites feature romantic gas-lit fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, and all offer in-room robes, Samsung flat-screen Smart TVs and a complimentary wireless internet. The storybook Inn is polished with crystal chandeliers and skylights throughout, resembling a light-drenched jewel box. Book your stay at Mirabelle Inn today!