Solvang is a city in Southern California that is known for its Danish architecture and many wineries. This Danish village looks and smells like Christmas time all year round. Solvang is a quick 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara and is filled with activities, festivals, wine tasting rooms, and delectable dining.
With the number of things to do in Solvang, it's impossible to complete everything all in one day. From the most popular attractions to Solvang’s hidden gems, you'll want to add these to your list to get the most out of your vacation. You'll discover restaurants, museums, music venues, shopping, distilleries, farms, bakeries, and more!
No matter what you have planned, Solvang has much to offer. Let’s dive into the 40 best things to do in Solvang.
40 Best Things to Do in Solvang
Visiting Solvang can seem overwhelming at a glance and you may have some trouble deciding where exactly to start on your trip. Below, we’ve put together an extensive list of things to do in Solvang to make your trip an unforgettable one.
1. Old Mission Santa Ines
The Old Mission Ines is an active church that offers self-guided tours of the mission buildings and gardens. There is a gift shop and museum located within. There is a small fee for the tour and it should take you around an hour to complete.
It is the 19th in chain of 21 California missions and was founded on September 17, 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. Old Mission Santa Ines is the favorite of visitors who enjoy the vistas of the missions hilltop grounds.
What you’ll need to know: If you want to get away from the busyness of Solvang, we recommend adding this to your list of things to do first.
2. Rusack Vineyards
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You’ve come to the right place in California if you’re looking for a good location for wine tasting. When you arrive at Rusack Vineyards, you will enter through a winding drive where you’ll see a redwood deck that is constructed around four gorgeous ancient oaks. The Canyon Terrace Deck has a comfortable lounge where you can have conversations with friends, drink wine by the glass or bottle, and sample a vast selection of wines.
If you want to spend time on the terrace, it is available through appointment only. In addition to having red and white wines for tasting, they also have a sampling of cheeses and crackers available. Rusack Vineyards is dog-friendly as long as your pet is on a leash.
What you’ll need to know: If you are coming with a group of six or more people, you’ll need to call to make a reservation.
Related Read: 15 Best Romantic Getaways in California
3. Hans Christian Andersen Park
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If you’re looking for a place to spend with the family and kids, you’ll want to head on over to Hans Christian Andersen Park. This park is a beautiful park that is filled with oak trees. If you have a skater and a young child, you’ll be just in luck, as this park has a ramp and wooden playground area.
The playground has many features like a tall slide, a tunnel slide, a music making station, rock climbing wall, and more. You can even pack a basket and use the area’s picnic tables to have a nice lunch. If you’re on a budget, this is a great activity to add to your list.
What you’ll need to know: This park does have restrooms and is well-maintained.
4. Nojoqui Falls
One place you will need to explore when you travel to Solvang is Nojoqui Falls. This is nestled in the foothills of Solvang and features a waterfall hike. The hike is very short and perfect for those who have small families.
The hike takes about 30 minutes, but if you have children you should plan extra time to play at the park. You can park near the trailhead where there are also restrooms located. When you arrive to the park, there is no parking fee.
What you’ll need to know: You may bring a jogger stroller, but be aware that there are stairs and obstacles on the wide path.
Related Read: 15 Best Carmel Hiking Trails
If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Solvang, you’ll want to check out the Elverhoj Museum. Elverhoj is a quiet gem with a triple focus on documenting the history of Solvang, celebration Danish culture, and promoting fine arts and artists. The exhibits located throughout this museum highlight these three elements.
The exhibits are apart of the building and are intertwined with its architecture and ornamentation with the story of the artists who made the structure. The Elverhoj Museum opened up in 1988 and is one of the few exams located outside of Denmark that is devoted to Danish culture and Danish-American Experience.
What you’ll need to know: There is no charge for admission, but a donation is recommended.
6. Solvang Festival
The Solvang Danish festival happens every September and is one of the biggest events of the year in Solvang. It includes three parades, Danish folk dancers and musicians, and other featured events. These features events include Aebleskiver Breakfasts, Viking Encampment, free Saturday evening rock concerts, and much more!
At the festival, you’ll be able to check out ace throwing, free concerts, a beer and wine garden, torchlight parade, and opening ceremonies. On Saturday, they have a food and photo tour, comedy industries, and kid’s corner. On Sunday, the last day of the festival, they have a children’s parade, and closing ceremonies.
What you’ll need to know: You can visit the website to see the schedule from previous years to get an idea of what events will be held.
7.Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
A museum you’ll want to add to your list of things to do is the Solvang Vinage Motorcyle Museum. They have one or the largest displays of vintage and rare motorcycles and racer bikes. This collection has something for every motorcycle lover that ranges from 1910 FN to the present.
At this museum, you’ll find names like AJS, BMW, Ducati, Gilera, Matchless, Moto Guzzi, MV, Norton, Triumph, and Vincent. Each month, the museum will rotate some of the bikes, so they are constantly changing and expanding their room.
What you’ll need to know: Admission to the museum is $10, but children under 10 are free with a guardian.
Related Read: 30 Things To Do In Santa Cruz
8. Visit Quicksilver Ranch
If you have a love for animals, head over to Quicksilver Ranch for a tour. Quicksilver Ranch is located in the Santa Ynez Valley just 30 miles of Santa Barbara. They do not offer petting pens or cart rides, but you can get up close and personal to the miniature horse.
This is a great place to come and take the kids to view the miniature horses. The self-guided tour lasts for about 20-30 minutes. This is a free ranch, but donations are recommended to help with the upkeep of the ranch.
What you’ll need to know: Tours are available by appointment only, and for 20 people or more it is $3 per person.
9. Sunny Fields Park
Sunny Field Park is a great place to take the family on a sunny day, especially those with young children. Kids love this playground and the many structures there are to climb on. It’s an original park with wooden structures, restrooms, picnic tables, open fields, and sand volleyball courts.
If you’re headed here to have a picnic, there are plenty of places you will find shade. Right down the street from the park is where you’ll find Quicksilver Ranch.
What you’ll need to know: If you have pets, this is also a great area to take them for walk.
10. Seein’ Spots Farm
If you want another farm to add to your list of things to do, you’ll want to add Seein’ Spots farm to the bunch. Seein’ Spots farm is a family farm that is located in Santa Ynez. This farm is committed to raising and taking care of the finest miniature donkeys.
Visitors are offered kiddie rides for small children and to develop a bond with the donkeys. This farm rescues goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, ducks, chickens, geese, and more! If you’re interested in learning about miniature donkeys and to see the rescue animals, you’ll want to come to this farm.
What you’ll need to know: To tour this farm is by appointment only.
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11. Visit the Solvang Windharp
The Solvang Windharp is a historical landmark of Solvang, California. The Windharp works as it is spun from the wind and creates a variety of musical sounds depending on the weather for that day. The harp is located behind a nursing home, plays music, and sings the history of Solvang.
What you’ll need to know: To get to the Windharp, turn left at the nursing community and the Windharp will be on your left. There are only two visitor parking spots in front of the harp.
12. Solvang Trolley & Carriage
Map It:1618 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463 | Phone: (805)-794-8958 | Website | Hours: Monday: 12 PM-7 PM, Tuesday: Closed, Wednesday-Friday: 12 PM-7 PM, Saturday: 10 AM-8 PM, Sunday: 10 AM-7 PM | Entrance: Adults: $14, Seniors: $12, Children (3-11): $9
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Solvang, you’ll want to hop on one of the Solvang Trolley and Carriage tours. The trolley was introduced in 1964 and would pick up guests from the Solvang Lutheran Home to Nielsen’s market. Over the years, the trolley has turned into a horse-drawn carriage service that is great for any occasion.
This carriage tour is a charming way to explore Solvang as both relaxing or romantic. When you arrive, your trolley will board outside the visitor’s center and then will take you on a 25 minute tour of downtown Solvang. You will discover the architecture and attractions of the town while your guides tell you the history of Solvang.
What you’ll need to know: Children under the age of 3 may ride free of charge, but depending upon available seating may need to ride on the lap of a parent.
13. Admire Solvang Antiques
Nestled in Solvang is an antique shop that you simply can’t miss during your visit. This shop holds antique jewelry that includes necklaces, bracelets, engagement rings, earrings, brooches, and more! They carry restored watches along with vintage and antique pocket watches, along with the finest brands.
If you’re looking for fine art, you’ve come to the right place. They also carry antique and vintage fine art and sculpture, along with a variety of contemporary art from their personal artists.
What you’ll need to know: You can browse the antique shop online for the one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t find anywhere else or shop in person.
14. Paula’s Pancake House
Looking for a delicious breakfast spot to dine at in the morning? Look no further than Paula’s Pancake House! Paula’s Pancake House has Danish and Buttermilk pancakes that are served with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
This famous breakfast spot provides exceptional food quality and home grown hospitality. All of their items are prepared in house and use only the freshest and local ingredients. If you ask anyone in Solvang about pancakes, they’ll immediately tell you to head over to Paula’s.
What you’ll need to know: Paula’s Pancake House serves breakfast and lunch items.
15. Complete an Escape Room
When traveling, you can find escape rooms in almost any city. When coming to Solvang, you’ll want to check out their escape room. This ultimate escape room is located in the fairy tale town of Solvang.
Escape games are live-entertainment where you and your friends will race to solve puzzles and clues to escape before your time runs out. Escape rooms are great for families and friends, and reservations can be made by reserving online.
What you’ll need to know: You will be asked to sign a waiver electronically when you arrive.
16. Grab a Pastry at the Best Bakery
If you want to grab a quick bite to eat, you can stop by one of Solvang’s best bakeries. Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery is one of the best bakeries in town. They carry breads, cinnamon and Danish waffles, coffee cakes, cookies, pastries, and more.
Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery has specialty items you can purchase as well. Their specialty items are homemade style raspberry jams and homemade style apricot jam.
What you’ll need to know: If you can’t stop by the bakery you can also order online.
17. Go Hiking
If you’re looking for a good place to go hiking in Solvang, the top trail is the Nojoqui Trail. You can walk the short trail to gaze at the falls. This is a stimulating setting that you and your family will remember from your trip.
This hiking trail can accommodate large groups and has become a favorite spot for family outings. The location is convenient, but far enough to give you a refreshing environment.
What you’ll need to know: If you’re hiking the trail and need a spot to reserve, you’ll need to pay advance.
18. Visit the Mendenhall Museum
If you want another museum to add to your list, you’ll want to add the Mendenhall Museum to your list of things to do. The Mendenhall Museum is a private collection museum that has the largest petroliana collections that include gasoline pumps, gloves, porcelain glass, oil, and road signs. You’ll also be able to observe race cars, racing memorabilia, license plates, gas and oil items, and other antiques.
What you’ll need to know: They can also schedule private tours for individuals and clubs.
19. Go Horseback Riding
Grab the family and check out another unique way to see the beautiful landscapes of Solvang by horseback. Circle Bar B Stables provides hours and rates to ride horses along their trail. The most popular horse trails last from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours and begin at the ranch headquarters.
By horseback riding you’ll have the thrill of seeing nature up close, from hawks soaring to wildflowers in the spring. No matter what time of year you come here to go horseback riding, you will cherish the best memories on the California coast.
What you’ll need to know: Ride prices do not include gratuity for your guide. Riders under the age of 18 coming without a parent or guardian need a signed liability release form.
20. Go Golfing
If you want to golf and are looking for an upscale golf course, you’ll want to check out Alisal Golf Course. This is one of the favorites among visitors as you’ll be able to experience the anxiet oaks, manicured fairways and greens, and panoramic views of the Santa Ynez River. All skill levels are welcome to come try out this golf course.
You can book tee time and discover elevated play at their two private golf courses. They also have a golf package that includes unlimited golf, making this the perfect stay and play for golf lovers.
What you’ll need to know: The River Course is open year-round for the public to enjoy and is ideal for beginners, as well as families.
21. Visit Ostrichland USA
Ostrich land USA is considered a costal landmark in California. It is a popular destination and great first stop when headed to the Danish town of Solvang. They have over 100 amazing ostriches that are adored by people of all ages.
When you visit, you’ll be invited to feed the animals, or you can stand back and enjoy the interactions and admire the beauty of the birds.
What you’ll need to know: On most days, the birds can be fed throughout the day, but on busier days they may restrict feeding to ensure the birds are not overfed.
22. Visit the Book Loft
If you’re a book lover, you’ll want to stop by Solvang’s Book Loft. The Book Loft is an independent bookstore that serves the needs of tourists all over the world who come to town to visit. The staff at the store can help you order a book, make a recommendation, help you select the perfect gift, wrap, and can send your orders to any destination.
What you’ll need to know: You can check their website for any special events.
23. Visit the Old Danish Fudge Kitchen
Nothing will satisfy your sweet tooth more than to stop by Solvang’s Old Danish Fudge Kitchen. The Old Danish Fudge Kitchen has been in business since 1961 and makes and sells fudge, caramel apples, peanut brittle, soft pretzels with cheese, and more! They are more than just a local shop, they also can ship year round.
Surprisingly, when cut full sliced, their fudge will not melt. They use heavy cream instead of butter and still cut it while it’s warm. Grab the kids and come pick out your favorite treats!
What you’ll need to know: It is usually best to eat their fudge within 10 to 14 days. Although the fudge can remain edible for some time after that, if you wait too long to eat it, you can always retain a slice for use as a paperweight or doorstop.
24. Visit Sanger Wines Tasting Room
Map It: 1584 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463 | Phone: (805)-691-1020 | Website | Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 12 PM-6 PM, Thursday: 12 PM-7 PM, Friday & Saturday: 12 PM-9 PM, Sunday: 12 PM-7 PM | Entrance: Prices Vary
If you love tasting new wines, you can come over to the Sanger Wine Tasting Room. The Sanger family of wines have come together to put together the greatest Mediterranean wine experience. They offer two wine tasting flights that feature six different wines on each flight.
If you’re a wine club member, wine tasting is free for all club members for up to three guests. The Sanger experience flight has a limited production of wines and library wines from the Sanger Family portfolio. If you’re traveling on the weekend, there may only be one type of flight available.
What you’ll need to know: Olive oil and vinegar tasting is a must! They offer non-flavored and flavored oils and vinegars for you to sample.
25. Grab a Drink at High Roller Tiki Lounge
If you’re looking for a unique activity, you’ll want to check out the High Roller Tiki Activity Lounge. The High Roller Tiki Lounge features delicious wine cocktails that are inspired by classic tiki drinks. The atmosphere is relaxing with dim lighting, cozy seating, and a chill time.
It is the first and only wine bar that exclusively features tiki-style wine that is based with alternative cocktails. They also feature craft beers from local sources with favorites from other regions.
What you’ll need to know: You can visit their website for their online merchant store.
26. Visit Firestone Walker
Check another brewery off your things to do list by stopping by Firestone Brewery. Firestone Walker has the classics and new innovations that are brewed in Paso Robles, CA. It is a beer company like no other and was founded by two brother in laws who just wanted to make perfect beer.
What you’ll need to know: Their beers are available nationwide, but you will always know that they are California beer.
27. Take a Photo With the Windmill
If you’re visiting Solvang, you can’t visit without taking a photo with the infamous windmill. The first windmill was built in 1922 and used for a working well on the farm. The windmill pumped up water and and ground up grain for farm animals.
It is now one of the main landmark’s of Solvang and a popular and quick tourist attraction.
What you’ll need to know: There are six different windmills in Solvang we so you’ll have a variety to choose from.
28. Do the Solvang Grape Stomp
The Solvang Grape Stomp festival is an event that every visitor should attend if they’re traveling in the month of October. You’ll sip from dozens of the best wineries, eat locally prepared food, and drink pink in the I Love Rosé lounge and dance the afternoon away. You’ll be able to discover your inner Lucky and enter the I Love Lucky Look-a-like contest.
What you’ll need to know: You just be 21 years or older to enter this festival.
29. Go Camping
One of the top places to go camping near Solvang is Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground. They have charming cabins, classic campers, and supercharged RV sites. At this campground, poolside cabanas will keep you cool late into the afternoon.
This campground is just down the road from ostrichland USA. When you’re at Flying Flags campgrounds, you’ll be sure to take in the beauty and be inspired to come back.
What you’ll need to know: You can visit their website to view availability and to book your stay.
30. Try Olive Oil Tasting
Solvang California isn’t just a great place for wine tasting, but it’s the perfect spot for olive oil tasting too. When you walk through the doors, you’ll hear music that mixes with the scent of black truffle, sesame, and honey ginger. This olive oil shop offers purity, flavor, optimal health, and quality.
Some of the oil flavors you’ll come across are black truffle, white truffle, almond oil, walnut oil, wild mushroom & saga, and more! Bring the family by and pick up some of your favorite oils to take home.
What you’ll need to know: These oils are pure and authentic, with nothing artificially added. There are no pesticides, no antibiotics, no GMOs, no misleading labeling, bottled locally for maximum flavor, and nutrition and health.
31. Take a Bike Tour
Grab your family and friends on hop on of Solvang’s bike tours to explore the town. Their self-guided electric bike tour starts on 1st street and will guide you through parks, farms, vineyards, and more. You’ll get to see the historic Mission Santa Inez and Mattei’s Tavern as you get take in the sights and history of the sea.
What you’ll need to know: These tours take approximately 3-4 hours to complete.
32. Take a Pedicab Tour
Solvang Pedicab tours are an intimate, personalized bike carriage with a knowledgeable driver of the town. The driver will be your tour guide as you stroll along the streets of Solvang. These tours are great for couples, families, and those who want a relaxed, customized experience.
What you’ll need to know: In addition, you can also book the Solvang History Tour & Wine Tasting.
33. Solvang Food & Photo Tour
On this trip, you’ll head to the Danish town of Solvang for a food and photo tour. You’ll make multiple stops for food and drink tastings (some Danish treats) and will listen to your guided commentary. You’ll also receive some points from your guide on how to get the best photos.
What you’ll need to know: Prepare ahead as this activity typically takes 3-4 hours to complete.
34. Visit the Greenhaven Orchard
Greenhaven Orchard is a fruit selling stand located in Solvang with only the freshest fruits. In December, you can buy a bag of Granny Smith apples for around $5. It’s located just minutes from the Old Mission Santa Ines and the downtown shopping district.
Also located on the road where Greenhaven Orchard is located, you’ll find a nut and berry farm, lavender farm, wineries, olive oil stand, miniature horse ranch, Sunny Fields Park, and more! This is the perfect quick stop just to grab fruit on-the-go.
What you’ll need to know: It’s worth to note that this isn’t an actual farm, but a fruit stand.
35. Go to the Swedish Candy Factory
The Swedish Candy factory located in Solvang is the only Polkagris bakery in the USA that brings you delectable candy made fresh daily. They make authentic Swedish candy that is crunchy to start, but chewy once in your mouth. They use their 150-year candy-making method with no artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or preservatives.
What you’ll need to know: Their Swedish candy is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, vegan-friendly, use non-gmo sugar, and high-quality ingredients.
36. Visit the Sock Loft
The Sock Loft in Solvang is one of their town’s unique shops. They carry over 4,000 styles of socks, as well as jewelry, purses, scarves, shoelaces, wallets, and more. They carry sock sizes from infants, all the way to the largest socks for men.
Their socks only come from the best suppliers, so you’ll want to stop by and see what items you can grab on the way.
What you’ll need to know: This shop is also open on major holidays.
37. Go to the Solvang Visitor Center
The Solvang visitor center is your go-to source to find local museums, shops, restaurants, and other tourist attractions. You’ll also find wineries, dining, lodging, vineyards, and more!
What you’ll need to know: The visitors center has a wheelchair accessible entrance.
38. Visit the Shoestring Winery
Shoestring Winery is a family boutique vineyard and winery. If you’re looking for a spot to have lunch, you can make reservations for lunch where they have charcuterie and cheese plates. If you’re making reservations, they ask you to book at least 3 days in advance where tables are at a first come, first served basis.
What you’ll need to know: This winery has a great location and great service.
39. Dascombs Cellar Tasting Room
At the Dascombs Cellar Tasting, you can enjoy a seat in their relaxed tasting room setting. They offer wine tastings, wine by the glass or you can pick up a bottle or two. They are a family-owned, operated boutique that specializes in hand-crafted wines from the California Central Coast.
What you’ll need to know: Dascomb Cellars guarantees the highest quality of all of their wines. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please let them know within 30 days of purchase for possible replacement. Dascomb Cellars does not offer refunds on any wine or food.
40. Visit the Arrowsmith Wine Bar
Our last thing to do on the list is to visit the Arrowsmith Wine Bar. This is a European-style bar in the heart of Solvang. They specialize in small-batch wines as well as a delicious worldwide selection of fantastic wine and European beer.
What you’ll need to know: Their European-style bar offers the best selection of wine, draught and bottled beer, espresso, pastries, salads and paninis in a beautiful setting in the heart of Solvang.