Have you been wondering whether it’s worth it to take a drive out to Solvang, California? Are you new to SoCal and have never heard of it? Well, if you are asking yourself, “Solvang: Is It Worth It?” I’m here to tell you…YES!!!
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Where and what is Solvang?
Solvang is one of my absolute favorite day trips to take here in SoCal. This charming little town draws you in with its shops, food, and beautiful views.
Solvang is a small town located in the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s along the central coast of California and close to Santa Barbara, Cambria, and Hearst Castle!
Solvang was established by Danish immigrants in the early 1900’s. The town is brimming with authentic Danish architecture, windmills, and food. The founders of the town wanted to ensure that Danish culture was represented and preserved.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I love visiting this town so very much!
Why Visit Solvang?
There are many reasons you should visit Solvang! Here are just some of the reasons this is one of my favorite towns to visit:
An amazing drive
Taking a car trip from Los Angeles to Solvang is part of the fun of visiting Solvang. You will drive along the coast and through beautiful Santa Ynez Valley to get there. There are a lot of beautiful hills and lush greenery.
The drive is peaceful and beautiful. I found that the kids enjoyed it just as much as the adults.
Walk through a storybook
Walking through Solvang is like taking a walk through a fairytale town. The architecture is truly charming and makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. You can’t help but feel like you are walking through a scene in a Hans Christian Andersen story.
Make Family Memories
I love that the kids get a feel of what visiting Europe might be like without taking a trip outside of California. How many places can you go in SoCal and say that?
I still remember when I went with my family back in the 1980’s. My Mom took me into a little shop and bought me a kid-size decorative fan. It looked exactly like one of the beautiful fans that are from Spain, but it was made in the perfect size for me! I cherished that fan and saved it for years. Then, my little girls became obsessed with the fans that I carry around with me (to church, Disneyland, etc.) and I passed my little fan from Solvang down to them.
I am confident that my girls will carry memories of our visits for years to come. As it is, they regularly ask when we will be visiting Solvang again.
Solvang has several food options. Here are some things that we regularly enjoy when we visit:
- Have a Danish pancake at a local restaurant.
- Bakery Items
- Baked pretzels
To be honest, there are multiple restaurants in the area, but we often focus on the items I listed above 😉
Beautiful window shopping
Part of the charm of visiting Solvang is the window shopping. Even if you never enter a shop, you will find that the window displays are enchanting!
I personally love that there are so many Danish and European-inspired items available for purchase. Some of the items that I have seen for sale and *loved* include:
- Cuckoo clocks
- Beer steins
- Nesting dolls (we have a bad habit of collecting at least one each time we visit Solvang).
Learn Some History
Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
I will be the first to admit that I let out a big sigh when my husband insisted that he wanted to go check out this home/museum during our last outing to Solvang. But you know what? I’m so happy we went!
The former residents of the museum home were artists. They included elements of Danish architecture in the home. My absolute favorite part of the home is the colorful kitchen.
Aside from the beautiful architecture and style of the home, you will learn about Danish history. There is also an art gallery with exhibitions that are changed regularly.
Museum admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5. You can find more information about the museum HERE.
The Hans Christian Andersen Library
While in Solvang, you should definitely check out the Hans Christian Anderson Library! It is a small room located above a bookstore. It is small, but it is fun to walk through and see books and knick knacks that show you just how many of your favorite stories were either written by this author or inspired by his stories. If you have kids in tow, they will get to see the titles of some stories that inspired major Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and Frozen.
Enjoy a whimsical park
I’m not sure who liked this park more- the kids, or the adults!
This park is a continuation of the fairy tale feel of Solvang! There are all sorts of towers, bridge walkways, structures, and artwork painted throughout the park. It is truly an enchanting park to visit and we stop by every time we visit Solvang!
Note that Sunny Fields Park is different from the Hans Christian Andersen Park. We made the mistake of assuming Hans Christian Andersen Park was the park to check out in Solvang. The entrance was very impressive, but other than that, it’s a park like you would find in any other town 😉
You can find the Sunny Fields Park address and hours HERE.
Visit Mission Santa Ines
Did you know that there is a California mission just outside of Solvang? You can literally walk to the Mission Santa Ines through the main public parking lot in Solvang!
To my surprise, my kids were really interested in walking through the mission. My oldest was in 4th grade at the time we walked through and she had just learned quite a bit about California mission history.
You can take a stroll through the gardens and tour the interior of the mission.
You might want to consider visiting Solvang during one of it’s special events. Solvang has different special events year-round.
We once visited Solvang right after Jule Fest (Christmas celebration). The décor was beautiful, and we wished we had been there during the celebration!You can find out more about special events at Solvang HERE.
Are you convinced?
I hope that this article has inspired to you to take a SoCal Day Trip to Solvang! I promise you will not regret the drive, or the visit! Don’t be surprised if you want to go back again 😉
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