Solvang — culinary decadence

  • Tom Dell
  • July 21, 2018
  • Welcome to Solvang!

    Solvang isn’t just one of California’s coolest small towns — it’s probably the prettiest
    • Forget the windmills and half-timbered buildings
    • Forget the perfect weather
    • Also, forget the festivals and sidewalk dancing
    • You can also forget the high-end shops and boutiques.   
    • Forget the dozens of wineries.   
    • Forget the museums, too.
    • And you can forget the graceful Spanish mission and giant casino.
    Solvang has dozens of festivals and celebrations

    Powdered sugar

    These attractions help explain why over a million visitors each year come to this small Danish-flavored town 45 miles north of Santa Barbara. 

    But here’s the bottom line:  Solvang, my friend, is all about the food! 

    Don’t drool on your desk!

    That’s what keeps everybody’s cash registers ringing and weekenders braving the 140-mile slog on US 101 to and from Los Angeles.  Solvang, is like a beautiful woman with powdered sugar on her chin.  All those other enticements will merely keep you occupied and your credit card warm until your next meal or bakery treat. 

    This is a svelte post in terms of writing.  Solving is very photogenic, so you’ll find lots of photos as you scroll onward.  Let’s start with a short video to show you what Solvang looks like:


    Be sure to load up on goodies to take home!

    Another reason for the text brevity:  I’m going to link you with the local convention and visitor bureau’s Visitor Guide,  In it is everything you need, including street maps, directions, hotel listings, restaurant listings (with lots of food photos!), winery and tasting room listings, museum information, and a whole lot more.  Go to

    Solvang has over 150 shops and 20 wine tasting rooms


    Solvang was founded in 1911, when a group of Danish settlers traveled west from the Midwest to escape the harsh winters and establish a Danish colony.  Originally, most structures were built in the same style as others in the area.  In the 1940s, a local architect began adding facades in what became known as the “Danish Provincial” style.  Another built four windmills.  Gradually, tourists began visiting Solvang because of the architecture.

    Copenhagen Road

    Moving fast-forward, Solvang has become a major attraction.  Where else will you find a town of 6,000 with 18 hotels, 35 restaurants, five authentic Danish bakeries, 20 tasting rooms and 125 wineries, over 150 shops and boutiques, and four museums, including the highly regarded Elverhoj history and culture museum, and even a vintage motorcycle museum?

    Mission Santa Ines is right in Solvang

    Mission Santa Ines is open daily.  Self-guided tour hours are 9-4:30 (except holidays.  Price: $5 (children under 12 – free admission to the museum).  All children under 18 must be accompanied by adults.  

    Solvang directions

    Getting to Solvang is easy:

    • From Los Angeles, follow US 101 to Buellton, then turn right n SR 246.
    • San Diego?  Take I-5 to Los Angeles, then continue as described above.
    • From San Francisco, take US 101 south to Buellton, then turn left.
    Downtown at night

    Parking is free on Solvang streets and in city parking lots. Enter city lots from Mission Drive near 4th Place, Copenhagen Drive across from Second Street, Oak Street between Second and Fifth Streets, or Alisal Road on the south side of Mission Drive.

    Solvang is overwhelmingly a weekend and holiday destination, so plan accordingly.  Traffic can be miserable, so buy lots of bakery treats to eat in the car.

    The Santa Ynez Valley wine country

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