I’ve been to Solvang 3 times (well 2.5 times, as one of those times was just dropping in for lunch and pastries) and so I thought I would share some of my pointers if you are planning on going to visit! And if you haven’t been to Solvang yet, I 1000% recommend you do. I clearly love it but I also think it’s perfect for everyone — even my parents whom I brought most recently!
1 | Culture
There’s tons of history and culture to explore in Solvang — such as…
+ Hans Christian Andersen Museum — all about the Danish author who brought so many of our favorite nostalgic fairytales to life — like The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl, and Thumbelina
+ Jules Hus — a famous Christmas store full of festive traditional Christmas decorations, nutcrackers, and nativities
+ Old Mission Santa Ines — one of the 21 missions
2 | Pitstops
I LOVE the central coast — it’s one of the most special places to me. There are so many picturesque, quaint towns nearby (within 1-2 hours drive of Solvang) that you really can’t go wrong with any detours. If you’re coming from SoCal (like me), I would recommend to pick and choose pitstops up till Solvang. There are tons of things to do north of Solvang as well, but I think you should save that for a separate trip. Here’s list of some places to visit near Solvang:
+ Santa Barbara (Downtown, Mission, Pier/Wharf, Montecito, Sea Cliff)
+ Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Lake Cachuma
+ Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cambria, San Simeon
+ Ventura, Camarillo, Malibu
You can see a sample of an itinerary in my previous blog post.
3 | Stay
If you go to Solvang, you MUST stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott (which I’ve stayed at twice!) — it’s only a mile away from Solvang and it’s next to a shopping plaza (incl. Albertsons, CVS, Starbies, Taco Bell, McDonalds) in case you need anything. I used to travel a lot for work and I would have to say they earn a spot in my personal Top 5 Hotels list just because they have so many conveniences and they go the extra mile in customer service.
I am an Ambassador Elite with Marriott so some of these goodies may be exclusive, but still I think they provide a lot more than other hotels do (especially compared to US domestic ones), such as~:
+ Free parking (I despise when hotels charge for parking)
+ A rly nice hotel gym, and also a raquetball court, ping pong table, large chess set, swimming pool and jacuzzi, and laundry rooms
+ SUPER quick and responsive with any requests whereas other hotels sometimes take hours to respond
+ Lobby charcuterie board for Friday happy hour
+ Ambassador welcome gift of 1000 pts, a welcome gift bag (including beer!), a thank you gift bag (more beer!), a charcuterie board, and free breakfast each morning for two people
+ I got a suite upgrade the first time I went. They were all sold out the second time but the regular rooms are still nice
+ First floor and ground floor rooms! The ground floor rooms have sliding doors that take you directly outside which is SO convenient for 1) dogs to go to the bathroom and 2) MP who I always send to get something from the car for me LOL
+ They do NOT have a lounge at the moment, but rumor has it they’re working on adding one!!
My dad wrote this cute note saying the gym was “✰✰✰✰✰” lol.
4 | Tour
I highly recommend the Eat This, Shoot That! walking + eating tour. You get to taste all of the must-have Solvang foods and learn a little bit of history at the same time. You can read my full blog post review from 2021 (they’ve changed it up a little bit since then, including a chocolate factory tour!).
Use code GOODEATS10 for a 10% discount on your tour! (Use it under the “How did you hear about us?” section)
5 | Eat
If you don’t want to go on the tour, the one place you HAVE to eat at is the Copenhagen Sausage Garden. I’ve eaten there 4 times in the 2.5 times I’ve visited Solvang 😀 I really love sausage, but even Michael who doesn’t care much for sausages agrees that this place is so good. Get the 3 or 4 sausage sampler (cheddar bacon is our favorite flavor!!) and enjoy it with a giant ice cold beer!! If you don’t have time to eat in the sausage garden (or if you don’t want to wait the longass line), then call ahead and order to-go! Be sure to try all of their craft mustards and get lots of sauerkraut.
+ Aeblskivers from Solvang Restaurant (they’re like the Danish version of donuts)
+ Frikadeller from Bit O’Denmark (it’s traditional Danish food, think Ikea but better)
+ Danish treats at one of the many bakeries (they’re all the same to me, just go to the one without a line)
+ First & Oak (I’ve not been here, but our tour guide proposed to his wife here. They’ve won a Michelin star!)
+ Mad & Vin (I’ve also not been here, but it looks sooo cute from the outside)
+ Split Pea Soup from the famous Pea Soup Andersens (it’s in Buellton, right next to Solvang. Even if you don’t like soup, they have lots of homey dishes and huge portions!)
+ Or lounge at one of the many wine-tasting spots
6 | Ostriches & Emus
For just $5 entry and $1 for bird pellets, you’ve got to go to Ostrichland to feed the ostriches and emus!! Try to go before noon while they’re still hungry. The line can get really long so I suggest getting your tickets online in advance. They also have the fattest pet bunnies! See my blog post from our last trip!
7 | Souvenirs
Here are some “very Solvang” souvenirs!:
+ Ostrich and/or Emu eggs from Ostrichland!! We’ve gotten 2 emu eggs and 1 ostrich egg from there. Eating it scrambled is the best tasting way. You can also preserve the egg shell, if you’d like.
+ Chocolates from Ingeborg’s – We got Michael’s dad the chocolate patties dusted with Syrah-infused salt…SO good. My dad got a fisherman’s chocolate set lol.
+ Spices from Solvang Spice Merchant! I have so many yummy spices from them
+ Santa Ynez wines – We got 3 bottles of this Cuvée to give away as souvenirs
+ Santa Ynez olive oil or olives – We got a bottle of garlic & mushroom olive oil from Twenty Mile Winery. The green olives from Cailloux Cheese Shop are so good
+ Christmas ornaments from Jules Hus
+ Danish pastries from any of the bakeries
+ Canned pea soup from Pea Soup Andersens which they sell in their gift shop.
+ I wonder if the Copenhagen Sausage Garden sells their mustards? So yummy!!
8 | DoG-Friendly
Solvang is literally the #1 most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been to. I’ve never seen SO many dogs, everywhere, every time I’ve gone to Solvang. Even Ostrichland is dog friendly! The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is also SUPER dog friendly, they even gave Taitai a welcome doggy bag with treats and a souvenir food bowl!! T_T And like I mentioned before, they have rooms on the ground floor that are connected to the outside so it’s sooo convenient to let them out to use the restroom.
Wow this post is rly long. Ugh I struggle with blogging because it’s hard to cram everything into a single post (whereas back in the Tumblr days, you could break literally every image, paragraph, or even sentence into a separate posts and it was totally normal / preferred). I should probably go back and make this post more concise but I’m not gonna…so thanks for reading it all if you did!!!
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