Engaging in at least one of these 27 best and fun things to do in Solvang will undoubtedly boost your general experience in Solvang.
Solvang is a historic Danish Golden State town with a laid-back and relaxing atmosphere that makes for a great vacation.
The unique local area boasts of places to see and things to do. Are you still unsure where to go in this charming, idyllic, rustic village?
Don’t worry; we are here to help you!
Here are some of the best and fun things to do in Solvang, California.
Fun Things to Do in Solvang
1. Solvang Wagon and Carriage
Solvang Trolley & Carriage is an amazing way to do this and to get a glimpse of Solvang’s top attractions.
This tour company uses horse-drawn carriages to bring you a tour of this small California town.
Specifically, the type of “carriage” used is known as Honen, which is a form of transportation originating in Denmark.
The unique carriage uses two teams of Belgian horses, each affectionately named, to pull passengers.
Trolley & Carriage is owned by a local Orona family who dresses up in traditional Danish attire taking guests through the streets.
They provide guests with extensive and detailed information about the city’s history and offer a unique and exciting experience. Each Honen can accommodate about 20 guests.
2. Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum
The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum is another of the many fun things to do in Livermore, this California city.
Located in the old Solvang Designer Outlet Center, it took an incredible two decades to complete.
The museum is owned by Virgil Elings, owner of every other motorcycle on display as part of his private collection.
The Vintage Motorcycle Museum exhibits all kinds of vintage motorcycles, sport bikes from Europe, and various rare automobiles.
Rotating exhibits always allow a diverse variety to explore, from vehicles from the 1900s to more modern bikes.
Brands such as BMW, Velocette, Ducati, Gilera, and Triumph are on display.
3. Elverhoj Museum of History and Art
The mission of the Museum of History and Art is simple: to preserve, collect, and present key features of Solvang, California’s rich history, as well as the city’s Danish culture—and the arts and crafts that came from that connection.
It is a community center designed to showcase the true heritage of Danish-American pioneers, the heritage of Denmark, and the Danes’ colorful and strong artistic commitment.
Elverhoj Museum of History is located in the old house of one of the famous artistic families of the city.
The magnificent structure was hand-built by Viggo Brandt-Erichsen with ornamental ironwork, hand-crafted and hand-painted carvings and panels, and the best of Scandinavian architectural influence.
Although the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art is modest in size and appearance, it is one of the city’s best institutions of its kind.
There are many exhibitions, workshops, classes and children’s events every year, with lots of things to see!
Things to Do in Solvang at Night
1. Hans Christian Andersen Park
Hans Christian Andersen Park is another fun activity in Solvang, California, dedicated to the Danish author of fairy tales.
Just off Mission Drive, the park is located on Chalk Hill Road, marked with a bust of the man himself as the centerpiece.
The entrance to the Hans Christian Andersen park is marked by a large gate that resembles a castle from a fairy tale and thematically begins a whimsical journey into its lovely greenery.
The park full of activities for children is nothing less than charming, motivated by the stories written by Andersen.
In the park, you will find different playgrounds for children of different ages, a skate park, big shady oak trees, a machine that makes old-fashioned music, and even a climbing wall.
Picnic tables allow for rest and recreation while enjoying the relaxing Solvang air.
2. Solvang Festival Theatre
Opened in 1974, the Solvang Festival Theater is a community organization with a mission to support and promote performance art in California.
Every production is of high quality, dating back to her very first production of Once Upon A Mattress.
Concerts, plays, and performances of all kinds lit up this festival theater day and night.
It hosts fundraising festivals and concerts for various charities and causes, including names like J. Messina, Crosby and Nash, Tommy and Bonnie Raitt.
If you won’t be at any major event but still wish there were options for what to see in the Festival Theatre, don’t despair!
Some family events are held more regularly, such as Sunday Jazz in the Garden and Family Night at the Theatre.
With 700 seats in a magnificent outdoor amphitheater, theatre spaces for hire, and a host of modern amenities, this is a great summer destination for your vacation!
3. Bethania Lutheran Church
In 1928, Bethania Lutheran Church was completed, designed to look just like a standard country church in Denmark.
It was made for Solvang’s Lutheran settlers who gathered there.
It was one of the first buildings in this Californian city to carry this Danish look and inspired design.
Bethania Lutheran Church’s architecture is stunning, with beautiful woodwork by Jes Smith of Wisconsin.
Today you can look at its majesty with the famous altar, railing, pulpit, pastoral chair, and baptismal font. Sculptures and religious art decorate the structure with meaning and grandeur.
The windows in the church are also amazingly executed. A model ship floats from the ceiling of the Bethany Lutheran Church sanctuary, meant to represent the calm of a safe haven through the testing turbulence of life’s sea.
It is a touching detail and creates a unique symbol. Regardless of your religious disposition, a trip to this church should be on your list of things to do in Solvang!
Things to Do in Solvang For Couples
1. Solvang Antiques
If you think treasure hunting is one of the best things to do in Solvang, you’ll be delighted with Solvang, California’s rustic, fun, and unique antiques.
It is the largest and best-known store of its kind in the Santa Ynez Valley and features a wide variety of specialty, vintage, and antique items.
Dwight and Arlene Steffensen own the antique store and have hand-picked its selection with everything to appeal to many, whether you are a casual shopper, a window browser, or a serious collector.
Everything is digitally organized through an inventory control system from Silver, clocks, sculptures, furniture, fine art, cut glass, music boxes, and jewelry.
This system allows storekeepers to find the most reasonable prices for new items worldwide and have them delivered to your store.
The staff at this beautiful antique shop are knowledgeable and eager to help you get what you are looking for in the store.
With nearly four decades of experience and operation, the treasure you will find is endless.
Be sure to check out the on-site Solvang Antiques Fine Art Gallery, which spans over 1000 feet and features a permanent collection of antique art and rotating contemporary exhibits.
2. Solvang Wind Harp
The Solvang Wind Harp is one of the most unique things about this town and is the oldest wind harp in the Californian city.
It was designed to look like a part of the Church of St. Nicholas in Copenhagen, namely the tidskugle, or time ball, which came first.
The wind emits a series of beautiful musical notes when the wind blows through it.
The wind harp, also known as the Aeolian Harp, was once placed atop the tower of the Denmark Pavilion, made for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
The Exposition ended in 1915, and the Wind Harp was to be destroyed with all the other buildings but was saved.
A wind harp was brought to this city, newly settled at the time.
The wind harp was originally made of bamboo and wood, but today it has been renovated and is now made entirely of metal.
The most surprising thing is probably its current location – right behind a nursing home that softly sings its tunes depending on the weather.
3. Olive Oil Tasting
We are well aware of the many wine-tasting options in California, but what about olive oil tasting?
Believe it or not, it is a common and equally luxurious way to pass the time, especially if you are a fan of these things!
Check out all the tourist attractions known for their olive oil as one of your weekend activities!
If you’ve never been to any olive oil tasting event or center, you should know that it usually involves sampling several oils having different ingredients. From jalapeno, and rosemary, to even lemon flavors, you’d get the taste of different oils.
If your taste buds are hungry for adventure, you may be able to try vinegar tastings on the same site.
Some famous olive oil tasting spots in Livermore are Olive House, Sanger Family of Wines, and Solvang Olive Press.
Don’t be afraid to explore the multiple ingredients; if you find an oil you like, you might just buy a bottle to take home!
Things to Do in Solvang For kids
1. Nojoqui Falls Park
Not far from the village is Nojoqui Falls Park – worth a trip off Highway 101 this weekend.
Extensive spaces and picnic tables add to the value of the activities you can do here, but the main attraction remains Nojoqui Falls itself.
With a trail that measures just about 0.65 miles round trip and only 175 elevation gain, Nojoqui Falls Park provides you with quick gratification for a very short trip.
After completing your walk along the trail, you’ll reach an observation deck that provides a great view of the flowing Nojoqui Falls, which rise 80 feet above the ground and tumble onto some moss-covered rock below.
The falls are at their fullest in winter but are still beautiful in their thinner state in summer and fall.
There’s a free park entry; the on-site playground gives kids something to do on the way down.
All in all, if you’re okay with leaving Solvang for just a little while, this is one place to visit that you shouldn’t miss.
2. Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch
If you’re looking for unlikely activities in California, you can’t go wrong with Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch!
Located in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley and lined with rolling hills and oak trees, it is so famous and often allusion as the “Kentucky of the West!”
The ranch is owned by Aleck and Louis, who use it for breeding all kinds of miniature horses – especially show-quality ones. Many of them became national champions.
All the horses are adorable in their small size and great to watch and interact with, making them one of the ideal Solvang attractions for kids.
Although they are small, these miniature horses can be quite strong and powerful.
Nevertheless, they are friendly, good-natured, and even gentle, usually at ease with children, and love to feed and cuddle them.
If you’re here during the birth time of the year, you might catch a glimpse of the newborns, all long-limbed and clumsy, clinging close to their grazing mothers.
3. Rideau Vineyards
What can we say – there is no end to the great vineyards in Solvang, California, and we would be leaving out a lot if we left out Rideau Vineyard as one of those places worth seeing!
The vineyard has become an award-winning estate for only the finest wines and was founded by New Orleans Iris Rideau.
Specifically, it is completely designed to produce only Rhône grape varieties and perfectly perfect its specialty!
Rideau Vineyard is located on Alamo Pintado Road, picturesque in lush green grounds surrounded by oak trees, beautifully landscaped to complement the estate’s beautiful French Victorian architecture.
It’s even more special because they only make wine without distributing it, so tasting wines at Rideau Vineyard is extra fun.
You can also be part of one of the famous vineyard dinners that are inspired by the Creole roots and paired with their delicious wine.
Indoor Activities in Solvang For Adults
1. Old Mission Santa Inés
Old Mission Santa Inés has a history of over two centuries and has more than earned its name not only as an important Catholic mission but also as a major tourist center in Solvang and indeed all of California.
Overlooking the Santa Ynez River Valley, the beautiful San Rafael, and the Santa Ynez Mountains.
It was in 1804 that this mission was founded, originally to help integrate the Chumans of the Santa Ynez Valley into Spanish life.
It was built by missionaries of the Franciscan faith and was founded by Father Estevan Tapis.
The old Mission of Santa Inés went through many events during its long life.
The mission didn’t start as a Solvang gem, from natural disasters to political unrest, financial difficulties to all-out rebellion.
In fact, years of dilapidation, neglect, and dilapidation nearly destroyed the building before several restoration works returned it to its current glory.
Old Mission Santa Inés remains an active church, and its parish holds masses in Spanish and English.
It is home to a magnificent rare art collection, including manuscripts, sculptures, artifacts, paintings, and robes.
It also boasts of a gift shop and a beautiful garden if you’re looking for more things to do on-site.
Docent-led tours offer new perspectives on the church, museum, porches, and garden.
Don’t forget to check out the bells in the museum – one dates back to 1904!
2. Hans Christian Andersen Museum
The Andersen Christian Museum is one of the best and most fun places to visit for literature lovers in Solvang, California.
It is on the second floor of a famous bookstore in the city: The Book Loft, a place you should visit if you are a bibliophile anyway.
Although small, the Hans Christian Museum is a gem and more.
Dedicated to its titular author, who wrote many of the folklore-based tales we know today, it is a worthy testament to the great work of the Danish legend.
In fact, Andersen is as famous and revered in Denmark as the legend Shakespeare of literary epiphany.
The Hans Museum isn’t just about the author’s prolific stories, which are surprisingly deep, subtle, and elegant in prose compared to their modern remixes.
It is also dedicated to the deep friendship he shared with Jenny Lind, the famous singer for whom he wrote The Nightingale.
Although she did not return his love for her, she was his muse all the time, and they remained close.
A fascinating section of this Museum is the paper clippings exhibition, which is a collection of hand-cut folded papers that Andersen made while telling his story.
He had a habit of starting to cut when he started telling a story, and when he finished the story, he would unfold the paper to reveal the beauty he created. There are models of the author’s home, some early editions of his most famous stories, and character models for viewing.
3. Wildling Museum of Art and Nature
The Wildling Museum of Art & Nature of Solvang, California, was created by Patti Jacquemin, conservationist, and artist, in 1997.
It was founded to promote the use, protection, and appreciation of nature and wildlife through the arts.
Over the course of its existence, the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature has hosted more than 40 different events, including highly successful educational programs, art exhibits, creative workshops, tours, fun trips, and more.
His commitment is to inspire others to care for nature and natural habitats, and most would say he has succeeded!
The museum has a small art collection, but the variety of this collection makes up for its size.
Expect to see great photography by Richard Salas, Jeff Jones, Roger Craton, and Ines Roberts, oil paintings by John Fery, and wonderful works of all kinds by Ray Strong, Lockwood de Forest, and Russell Chatham.
Romantic Things to Do in Solvang
1. Shoestring Winery
You get the picture: most fun things to do in Solvang, California, involve alcohol!
Located at the beginning of the Santa Ynez Valley, Shoestring Winery is owned and operated by Bill and Roswitha Craig.
Hand-grown and hand-crafted delicacies create refreshing and delicious wines at Shoestring Winery.
Whether you crave their oak-barrel Merlot, light Pinot Grigio, award-winning Sangiovese, or classic French Rosé, they offer something delicious for everyone.
If you’re here in Solvang, you can stop by Shoestring Winery for wine tastings or purchases.
If relevant, you can even choose to host special events here as the winery caters for them with a western-style barbecue!
2. Jules Hus
In this town, you’ll find a charming and whimsical Jule Hus, filled with all the magical Christmas items your heart could wish for!
With a red facade and extensive facade on the Danish building, it’s a great choice for something to look at for the festive season, even if all you do is browse.
Jule Hus is full of beautiful old European Christmas and Scandinavian products with ornaments, decorations, and more.
Collections of nativity scenes, wooden nutcrackers, Santa and angel figurines, and more all create an exciting experience.
It doesn’t even have to be Christmas to enjoy what it offers!
3. Danish bakeries
Solvang is a Danish town, which means it’s a great place to get surprisingly authentic Danish in California.
Just shopping for pastries is one of the most fun activities you can engage in, especially if you like sweet things and are looking for something to pass the time.
There are countless bakeries throughout the city that sell fruit, cheese, and other Danish products. Still, there are plenty of other options like stroopwafel, risalamande, butter cookies, brownies, almond cakes, and kringles galore.
One of the best choice options is undoubtedly the Solvang Bakery, which offers bear claws, honey almond cakes, gingerbread houses, and coffee.
Other great bakeries in town include Mortensen’s Danish Bakery with strudels, kringles, butter cookies, souvenirs, and Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery with ring cakes, kringles, and Danish waffles.
If you’re searching for even more options, you can also try the Danish Mill Bakery and Birkholm’s Bakery and Cafe!
Free Things to Do in Solvang
1. OstrichLand USA
If you need tourist attractions in Solvang, California, OstrichLand USA is the place to be!
Aviary lovers, animal lovers, and anyone looking for fun can appreciate the large birds that live here.
This “zoo” features ostriches and emus waiting to be observed and, if you’re lucky, fed from your hand!
If you’re interested in ostrich-themed merchandise, head to the gift shop to browse the range.
In addition to souvenirs, there are also ostrich eggs and ostrich meat for sale, although none of OstrichLand’s own birds is raised for meat.
2. Rusack Vineyards
Solvang (and much of California) is known for its wine, and Rusack Vineyards is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for such offerings in town.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Ballard Canyon, surrounded by trees, Rusack Vineyards is known for producing world-class beverages sold at its boutique winery.
Rusack Vineyards is managed by Steven Garbac and owned by Gregg and Alison Rusack with a motto encompassing a combination of family, craft, art, and land – at least according to their label!
The place is nothing short of beautiful and worth checking out for sightseeing alone.
The tasting room at Rusack Vineyards has a deck made of beautiful redwood that overlooks the beautiful vineyard and beyond, with four ancient oak trees forming the backdrop.
The wines here are award-winning and you can even order a homemade picnic if you want to extend your stay!
They are best known for their Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, but all of their wines are great!
3. Lincourt Vineyards
Another one of those wineries that California is so famous for, Lincourt Vineyards is located in Santa Barbara County, right between Lompoc and Buellton.
Owned and operated by the Foley Family, it is a winery that produces and distributes all types of handcrafted wines known for their quality and taste.
It uses sustainable processes and conscious business practices contributing to smarter beverage production.
Lincourt Vineyards overlooks the Alamo Pintado Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley and is full of great picnic spots and relaxing access gardens, lawns, and vineyards.
One of his main places to visit is his tasting room, which is built on what was once part of the estate’s old dairy farm.
The room’s rustic charm makes for quite a pleasant experience, and with the many flavors and charcuterie or cheese platters on request, it’s a great way to indulge.
Cheap Things to Do in Solvang
1. Eat in Restaurants
It doesn’t seem possible, but this California city is full of amazing restaurants and eateries that should be on your list of culinary must-sees.
Bit O’Denmark is located in the oldest building in town.
It has some great Danish appetizers like flaeskesteg and frikadeller.
Copenhagen Sausage Garden is a casual joint serving plenty of burgers and sausages, with good wine and beer to wash it all down.
Leonardo’s offers wonderful Italian cuisine with standard pasta and pizza options as well as some more classic options like Chicken Marsala.
Mad & Vin is a luxury restaurant in the Landsby Hotel. It boasts signature country wine, including seafood hot pots and sautéed salmon, paired with cocktails and wine.
Paula’s Pancake House is a breakfast joint with a mix of American and Danish options. Their Buttermilk Pancakes and Cinnamon Apple Pancakes are equally delicious.
The Solvang restaurant offers Nordic dishes with Danish-style meatballs, open-face sandwiches, and cream, although they offer burgers for local dishes.
2. Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery
Once again, one of the best things about Solvang, California, is the wine!
The Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery are located on Alamo Pintado Road in the Santa Ynez Valley.
It was owned by Roger Wisted and earned its name from the winery’s beginnings.
It is said that Wisted once won so much at blackjack that it allowed him to realize his goals of building a winery and planting a vineyard!
In 1997, Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery had its first-ever vintage, and within two years, the tasting room opened to the public.
The tasting room has a very local rustic charm and boasts a temperature-controlled cellar filled with wine from six decades ago!
The award-winning vineyard now produces a variety of varietals, namely Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot, and Franc.
3. Go Shopping
Since it is such a small town, some of the Solvang attractions you can find include shopping.
So if you’re craving some retail therapy this weekend, shopping is one of the things to do in this California city!
Here are some of the most popular shops and stores you can find.
A piece of the past is a great shopping center for antiques and vintage items with furniture, souvenirs, and all kinds of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Artistic Pony Studio hosts a wide variety of art created by local talent that will make a great addition to your home if you’re willing to spend some dough!
The Book Loft is an independent bookstore with an impressive selection of books for adults and children, including rarer literature of Scandinavian origin.
Used books are sold on the second floor if you’re on a budget.
Solvang Shoe Store is a great place to get authentic Danish clogs, hand-painted in beautiful colours and patterns.
Popular shoe brands are also sold here, so you have modern options alongside traditional ones.
The Swedish Candy Factory is the only American bakery for Polkagris, a candy bar from Granny, Sweden.
Over a dozen different flavors are made here, and you can watch the experts create and create these delicacies.
Cool Places to Visit in Solvang
1. Solvang Taxi and Wine Tours
Solvang Taxi and Wine Tours offers a fantastic way to travel through the Santa Ynez Valley and see various wine-related tourist attractions.
Locally owned and operated, it provides only first-class service, whether you’re looking for private wine tours, taxi services, delivery services, or even exclusive wedding transport.
The main attraction of Taxi and Wine Tours’ transport concierge is wine-related!
With expert knowledge of all the must-see wineries and hotels, restaurants, and tourist hotspots, the company’s staff will be more than happy to help get you where you want to be.
2. Carivintas Winery
Carivintas Winery is extra fun, even though it’s just one of the city’s wine-themed points of interest.
That’s because it’s not only family-friendly but also pet-friendly!
The winery has a simple mission: to give back to its surrounding community.
It does this by giving a portion of its profits to various charities such as Return to Freedom, Best Friends Animal Society, and many other non-profit animal welfare organizations.
Whatever you say about their white, red, and sweet alcoholic offerings, one thing Carivintas Winery knows is to maintain an engaging brand!
All of the wine labels boast nature or wildlife scenes, and their tasting room allows kids and pets to come and have fun.
The kids get games and puzzles, while the pets get treats, beds, and water, and it’s an overall very relaxing experience.
3. Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards is located near Santa Barbara, with 400 acres of land to the estate’s name.
Its sheer size means there’s plenty to see, and it’s undoubtedly a top-notch establishment, making it one of the most exciting places to visit for wine lovers!
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards are responsible for producing three major wine brands and boast an impressive two tasting rooms right in this small town!
Whether you’re looking for port, white, red or sparkling wine, you will surely find something you’ll like.
Royce Lewellen and Louis Lucas, who own their vineyard, are always happy to entertain guests and talk about their lives, the wine they make, and even some of their trade secrets.
Solvang looks like an uninteresting city until you get into it to enjoy all of its goodness.
At the end of your vacation, doing any or all of our suggested 27 best and fun things to do in Solvang, we hope you have a more interesting perspective of what fun should look like.