My husband and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary mid-December 2013 in Solvang. The town was magical during the holidays. It’s a great place to go in winter, because it’s colder than out on the coast and it feels more like December. It can get very hot here during the summer, which makes winter the best time to visit (in my opinion!).
I also love Solvang because you can stay within walking distance of the restaurants!
Drive Time: It’s about 2 ½ hours to Solvang from LA and about 3 ½ hours from Irvine.
Weather: Solvang is in the Santa Ynez Valley and winter temperatures can get chilly in the evening. Dress in layers and bring a coat.
- Hadsten House Inn & Spa (Booking.com) – breakfast included, spa
- Royal Copenhagen Inn – pool
- Hamlet Inn (Booking.com) – free bikes to cruise around town
- Alisal Guest Ranch & Golf Resort $$$$
- Lake Cachuma Campground $
Eat & Drink (adults):
- the good life (craft beer & wine cellar)
- Fitzpatrick’s Tavern Pub & Grill
- Cecco Ristorante
- Succulent Cafe and Trading Company
- Sides Hardware & Shoes (in nearby Los Olivos)
- Paula’s Pancake House
- Solvang Brewing Company (also good for adults only)
- Pea Soup Andersons Buellton (a little outside of town)
- Sunny Fields Playground
- Hans Christian Anderson Playground
- Nojoqui Falls Playground
- See miniature horses at the Quicksilver Ranch (free)
- See ostriches off the side of the road on your way into Solvang from Buellton and you can stop to feed them at OstrichLand USA
- Nojoqui Falls Park & Waterfall Hike
- Walk the grounds of the Old Mission Santa Ines and enjoy the valley views
AM – On our trip, we left the kids with the grandparents and headed up to Solvang by way of San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara. We arrived for a late lunch in Los Olivos which is the cutest little town for couples! You’ll want to leave time to wander the shops and take photos of town. We tried Sides Hardware & Shoes restaurant for a yummy food sitting at the bar. Then we walked over to J Woeste which is an indoor/outdoor garden shop full of treasures. We spent a good deal of our afternoon here slowing down.
PM – On our way to the hotel we stopped at the Quicksilver Ranch to see the miniature horses and at the Old Mission Santa Ines. After we settled at the hotel, we hopped back into the car for a drive past Alisal Ranch out to Nojoqui Falls Park for the waterfall hike. It was only an hour before the park closed at sunset. But it was plenty of time to spot deer and walk the short trail over bridges, up stone steps, and through fall leaves to the waterfall. We wandered through the park in wonder at the lichen dripping from the trees and the woodpeckers working the area and storing up their acorns.
Then it was a pretty drive back to the hotel and a stroll around town. We had a glass of wine and listened to live music at the good life and headed to the Solvang Brewing Company where we shared an appetizer and the Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller) plate for dinner. We stayed at the Hadsten House Inn which has a fireplace in the room.
AM – Breakfast is included in the room rate and it’s really good. We’ve stayed at Hadsten more than once. We walked around town again after breakfast and took in our favorite Book Loft independent book shop and got some goodies to take home at the Solvang Bakery – where they were all set up for kids to decorate gingerbread houses. The pastries to get in Solvang are the “Kringle” and the Danish waffles. We walked through all the bakeries to see who had the best. Our vote went to Solvang Bakery. Aebleskivers (round pancakes) are also very popular and we tend to head to the Solvang Restaurant sidewalk window for those!
We headed back home before lunch time, but we stopped to check out the Lake Cachuma Campground on the way. It’s a great spot and the weather was nice enough when we were there. They have yurts and cabins available for families if you’re not up to camping in a tent.
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