2 hour Visit to Solvang California


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Have you been to Solvang California?


If you are a Californian, you must have heard of this little Danish Village 45 minutes northwest of Santa Barbara.

I heard of Solvang Village from friends awhile back and I wanted to visit but it is so out of the way and about 4.5 hours drive from our home.


But last spring break we went on a road trip to Los Angeles, then on to Santa Barbara and alas! Solvang is on our way going home and so we decided to stop by for a few hours to roam the small village and experience this Californian Danish Community.


I did not know much about Solvang and what to do there and I sought help from my ever reliable friend Google. We wanted to see most of the village and with a short time to spare, we want to make the most of it.


What to do in Solvang California?


Google suggested to go find 4 Danish icons and we figured that should take us through the village with a purpose rather than just wander aimlessly!


Solvang is in Santa Ynez Valley and is a city of Santa Barbara County. Solvang is a Danish word for sunny field.


The city has a land area of about 9000 acres, a population of about 5900 as of July 1, 2017, and was founded in 1911 by Danish Pioneers who left Denmark for a better economic opportunity in America. 


This small city enjoyed visits by Danish Royalties. Frederick the Crown Prince of Denmark and Princess Ingrid visited in April 71939.

Princess Margrethe of Denmark visited on June 5, 1960, and she returned on May 23, 1976, as the Queen of Denmark with her husband Henrik, the Prince Consort of Denmark. 

Prince Henrik revisited as Solvang celebrated its Centennial Anniversary in June 2011.


As we entered the village through Mission Street, we were impressed with the picturesque half-timbered Danish architecture and the number of visitors walking along the pedestrian-friendly streets.



There are plenty of charming boutique shops with their display of Danish costumes and trendy merchandise and there was music as well that it felt like a party in the streets.


We love this telephone booth that looked like it came out from a fairytale book.




There were plenty of street parking spots.


There are 3 city parking lots and they are free but they are off the main street and you will have to do a short walk. Street parking is also free and we just went around the village and was fortunate to find one spot which is not too far to the main street.



After we parked, we just headed in the direction where the shops are and where there were plenty of people and we started our hunt for the 4 Danish icons


The Big Red Clog in front of Solvang Shoe Store.


The first icon we found was the Big Red Clog outside the Solvang Shoe Store at the intersection of Copenhagen Drive and First Street. The clog is a traditional footwear in Europe and it is a preferable footwear because it gives a constant level of feet support at all times you wear them because its firm soles do not compress like regular shoes. The shoe store sells Dansko and Swedish Comfort brands and they sell pretty hand painted clogs as well.


We found our first Windmill.

The second Windmill at the Village Square.


Then off we went looking for the 5 windmills. In the olden time, windmills were used in Denmark and across Europe to grind grains or to pump water or both, but nowadays windmills are generally wind turbines to produce energy.


The third Windmill we found at Atterdag Square on Molle Way.


The windmills in Solvang are just replica of the olden times windmill and its only for aesthetic purposes. Nevertheless, we went on a hunt for the 5 windmills but only found three and we have no idea where to find the other two.


The Little Mermaid Statue on Mission Street, Solvang, California

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our friend Jeama and her family happened to be vacationing in Denmark as I was writing this post.


We found the Little Mermaid Statue along the busy Mission Street. The statue is a replica of the famous Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark and was built based on a fairy tale written by the famous author Hans Christian Andersen.


Taking a break from walking by the Little Mermaid Statue Fountain.


And finally we found the famous  Round Tower or Rundetaarn located in the town center, it was just behind where we found the first windmill and it houses Tower Pizza. This icon is a 1:3 scale replica of the famous Round Tower built in Copenhagen in the 17th century as an astronomical observatory.


The Round Tower which is home to the delicious Tower Pizza.


In our quest to find the famous icons, we also found other interesting structures in Solvang like the charming Park Gazebo in the middle of the city park which has enough space for a large group to sit and rest…


Behind us is the Park Gazebo.


and the Solvang Festival Theater which can seat 700 for outdoor events.


The Solvang Festival Theater


And of course we found the famous Solvang Restaurant and we even tried the famous Aebleskiver dessert which is more like of a pancake ball smothered with jelly topping and I think you have to acquire the taste for this dessert before you can enjoy its different taste and texture.


The Aebleskiver dessert!


There are plenty of Danish bakeries with decadent desserts and authentic Danish pastries and bread in almost every corner and every street of Solvang and I noticed that it is more expensive most likely because it is a tourist destination.




If you are just passing through the city, I suggest you spend at least 2 hours to roam and enjoy the quaint atmosphere of this California Danish Community, but it would also be wonderful to spend a night or two in one of the charming hotels or inns and explore the Solvang local attractions.


The city celebrates the Annual Danish Heritage Festival on Solvang Danish Days which is a three-day event every September and this year is on September 14-16,2018. There will be three parades, a Saturday rock concert and Aebleskiver breakfasts and other fun activities.


If you visit in December, the city is transformed into a festive holiday town with lighted trees and Christmas decorations as they celebrate the Solvang JuleFest and you and your family can enjoy many exciting activities like live music at the park, parades, beer, and wine tours, and live performances at the Solvang Festival Theater. 


It was a short but a sweet visit to this charming small village and we left the city with a feeling of contentment and happiness that we finally had this adventure!


When are you going to visit Solvang!


Click this link if you want to learn about our adventures in Santa Barbara, the American Riviera!



If you have any questions please feel free to ask me or leave a comment or feedback at the bottom of this page.

You can also email me at lilibeth@lifeisadventures.com.

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