Solvang is a picturesque tiny town created in the early 1900s by Danish immigrants. This is a terrific spot to visit whether on a California road trip or as a lovely long weekend getaway because it has adorable Danish-inspired buildings, amazing wine, and incredible bakeries.
We spent a few of days in Solvang, strolling around the town and checking out some of the wonderful things around. So now we’ll show you all of the amazing things to do in Solvang, CA during your vacation!
1: TOUR MISSION SANTA INES
If you like local history, a trip to Old Mission Santa Inés is a must-do in Solvang!
Old Mission Santa Inés was erected in 1804 and is one of 21 historic missions built by Franciscan missionaries in California. The elegant structure offers views of the Santa Ynez River valley as well as the Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountain ranges. It is still a functioning church today. A museum and gift shop are located on the grounds of the old Mission Santa Ines. For a charge, visitors can have self-guided tours of the church, garden, and museum. If a docent-led tour is available when you come, we recommend taking advantage of it for a wealth of knowledge while touring the lovely historic complex.
2: VISIT SOLVANG VILLAGE
Solvang Village is a fun place to visit. It’s not very big, so it’s ideal for strolling or biking around. For a fun way to get around the area, rent a Surrey bike. You can also take a ride on the historic Solvang Trolley, which is pulled by horses.
Mission Drive is the village’s main thoroughfare, but there are other side lanes, cross streets, pathways, and shopping corners to discover. You’ll want to photograph Solvang’s colourful facades from every angle, marvel at the massive windmills, admire the lovely flower boxes brimming with vibrant blooms, and people watch. The village is a popular destination, and you’ll see a lot of people out and about on good days.
3: EXPLORE DANISH ARCHITECTURE
Solvang, dubbed the “Danish Capital of America,” is home to a plethora of Danish structures. Although the town’s residences and other structures were built in the local style at first, it later adopted a more European appearance.
Built in 1928, the Bethania Lutheran Church was one of the first buildings in Solvang to have a distinct Danish character. In the 1940s, the first of Solvang’s windmills was built, and locals began building (or modifying) their homes to have the half-timbered facades that may still be seen today.
Several windmills, as well as a clock tower that plays seasonal tunes, several fascinating facades, and some of the oldest residences and structures, from the church to the ancient Danish school, can be found in the village of Solvang today.
4: JULE HUS
The lovely Jule Hus (Christmas House) structure in downtown Solvang, with its red exterior, is a pleasure from the outside. But, at any time of year, don’t miss going inside to experience Christmas! The store is a treat to peruse, with glittering lights and a plethora of Christmas products.
Beautiful Old European Christmas ornaments and Scandinavian-inspired decorations can be found here. Wooden nutcrackers, angels and Santas, and nativity sets from all around the world will seduce you as you travel.
So far, we’ve purchased three Christmases from Jule Hus, one for each of our Solvang visits! They’re a lovely way to remember your time in the small town.
5: VISIT A MUSEUMS
APART from the must-see museum at the Old Mission Santa Ines and the historic Bethania Lutheran Church, there are numerous good museums to visit in Solvang.
TRY AEBLESKIVERS Aebleskivers are a popular Danish delicacy that is typically served around the holidays. They’re puffy little pan-fried dough balls that resemble doughnut holes but are more sweeter. For a delicious treat, they’re dusted with powdered sugar, jam, or syrup.
Aebleskivers is Dutch for apple slices, but there are none in this recipe! Aebleskiver Cafe on Alisal Road serves this typical Danish delight. Here is the list of Museums in Solvang.
Elverhøj Museum of History & Art
Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
Wildling Museum of Art and Nature
Solvang Amber Museum
6: TRY AEBLESKIVERS
Aebleskivers are a popular Danish delicacy that is typically served around the holidays. They’re puffy little pan-fried dough balls that resemble doughnut holes but are more sweeter. For a delicious treat, they’re dusted with powdered sugar, jam, or syrup.
Aebleskivers is Dutch for apple slices, but there are none in this recipe! Aebleskiver Cafe on Alisal Road serves this typical Danish delight.
7: HIKE TO NOJOQUI FALLS
The trek ends at an observation platform where you can see the 80-foot Nojoqui Falls fall over a mossy stone wall. After winter rains, the falls are full and forceful, but even when reduced to a narrow ribbon in late summer and fall, they remain attractive.
It’s free to enter the park, and this is a delightful climb with a wonderful payoff to add to your Solvang schedule.