Solvang,California-Cute Danish Town
Solvang located in Santa Barbara County and nestled in Santa Ynez Valley is a quaint city that resembles a European village.The city is Danish-themed as if it were the Danish land section of Disneyland, since it was founded by Danish immigrants and quite a few Danish descendants live here.
Unique Bakeries, Cute little gift shops, Aebleskivers, Danish Pasteries, Buildings, Windmills, Ostrich Farm, Belgian Draft horses pulling hønen and Santa Ynez Valley are some of the highlights of this Denmark of California. It’s a perfect getaway for a weekend.
Located in Santa Barbara County and nestled in Santa Ynez Valley, you’ll find a quaint city that resembles a European village.
Solvang has several features that are unlike any other places that you could visit in California. Several windmills that have been converted into small businesses can be found on many street corners. If you look carefully, there are storks perched above several buildings. Horse drawn carriages are a common sight as people gain a wealth of knowledge about the history of Solvang from tour guides. Businesses are linked close together and have wood trim that is often in the form of a pattern, usually crisscrossed. This gives the city more character. Also, there is a statue dedicated to Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson, as well as a replica of his home.
Copenhagen Drive, Main Street, Alisal Road, Mission Drive are must visit streets.
Located about 5 minutes north of Solvang on the south side of Highway 246 past many farm areas, you will find a a little farm area that has cattle gate that is home to many Ostriches and Emus.It’s a ranch where ostriches and emus roam & people can buy cups of food to feed them, with gift shop & fresh eggs.
I paid 5 bucks to get in and 1$ per dish of feed which these birds will rapaciously devour in seconds like the cookie monster.
If you have never seen Ostrich/Emu up close or fed them, it’s quite an interesting experience.
So worth the quick stop, it’s like a miniature ostrich & emu zoo.
OstrichLand is one of those places that will leave you with a lasting impression.
The Solvang Restaurant Aebleskivers
Before reaching our Inn, we made a quick stop at Solvang downtown’s “The Solvang Restaurant” to the Best Æbleskivers in town! Aebleskivers are actually ebleskivers – or Danish apple pancakes.
Loved the setup where you can eat inside or there was a special window for ordering takeaway aebleskivers
You get three nice sized puffed pancakes and they are drizzled with raspberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. So good!
It was the perfect size to share, though I admit I could have easily ate them all myself. Totally worth it to get into the whole Danish vibe of Solvang.
Gift shops on Copenhagen drive
After stuffing ourself with Aebleskivers, we visited some giftshops in the downtown.
Gift shops are one of the tourist attractions in Solvang. My favorite was Edelweiss.
It’s a cute little gift shop on Copenhagen drive. Though the brick exterior is charming, it does not prepare you for the amazing and exciting collections displayed throughout inside—elaborate hats perfect for a wedding, collectible dolls and children’s tea sets, adult tea pots and fine-china cups, silver charms, tiaras, and much, much more.
A lot to look at! This is a store particularly for the kid at heart shopper.
Prices are what you’d expect….expensive on some things but decent on others, especially if there’s a sale going on. The staff is friendly and helpful.
The Meadowlark Inn
After some eating and window shopping in Solvang Downtown, we reached The Meadowlark Inn.This is a beautiful and cozy inn just a couple of miles away from Solvang downtown, The owner/host is a very courteous and warm person. The rooms are clean and the interiors are done perfectly.
There’s also other chairs set up in the courtyard that you can sit on and great big trees surrounding you with some nice ambient lights
In the morning there is a continental breakfast served in a really cute dining room!. The breakfast was 5 stars.We had a delicious homemade quiche, a pastry plus toast, English muffins, and cereal were available. OJ, coffee, hot tea and hot cocoa were also in stock.
Dinner at Cecco Ristorante on 1st Street
The night we reached we had dinner at Cecco Ristorante
Cecco is great, from the comfortable patio area, to the cool and casual vibe inside.
This place is famous for their wood burning oven pizza and we ordered the same 🙂 Loved the Beets salad which was roasted red and gold beets, baby arugula, burrata and basil oil. The shrimp were interesting too with saffron. Pesto pasta with chicken was good too. We had very high expectations from Tiramisu but we were disappointed. So on food we were 90 percent happy (tiramisu took away 10 percent)
The server asked us the feedback on food and she happily took off tiramisu from the check after we mentioned that we didn’t like it much
Overall we had a wonderful evening and recommend this place if you are in the mood for Italian while in Solvang.
Olsen Danish Village Bakery on Mission Drive
Next day morning our 1st stop was the famous Olsen Bakery on the Solvang Main Street
Much like the town of Solvang, Olsen’s is a throw back to Europe with French doors that lead into the main street and delicious fresh baked kringles, danishes, and other fine pastries. They have their own butter cookies
Olsen’s is also on the less expensive sides of the bakery spectrum here in Solvang, their wares fetch for more bang for your buck.
The staff here is very nice and extremely accommodating and knowledgeable of everything in their display cases. Each of the ladies behind the counter are also very good baristas, I know that Cafe a latte is a espresso and steamed milk, but it’s very tasty here, maybe its the combination of their delicacies and the coffee that make it a desirable dish.
Solvang Trolley & Carriage
I had a great experience with the trolley tour. This horse drawn trolley tour is the only one of its kind offered in Solvang.
If you’ve got questions about the things your seeing while your out and about in Solvang, and would like to tour around in a big wooden trolley, I’d highly recommend checking this out. Prices are as follows:
Our group was on time as were the driver and tour guide. Off we went! The lady was really pleasant and thorough with the history of Solvang. She highlighted a couple of restaurants and shops. I asked about couple of restaurants we passed by and I appreciated the tour guide’s frank feedback. My other favorite part was the introduction of the horses (Stella and Claire).We were informed that these horses were Belgian Draft horses, and they were damned strong beasties.
The tour was about 30 minutes. Another fun fact was that our driver is the son of the original owner, he’s taken on the family business that’s been around a couple of decades.
The tour starts and ends just next to the visitor center on Copenhagen Dr. And the trolley fits approximately 15+/- people; and the tour is approximately 25 minutes long.
This is definitely an eye catcher so make sure you have your picture face on because other tourist will be taking pictures of the horse and trolley so for all you photo bombers this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage!!!
All in all, I had a great time. Great service with a smile!
Hold on to the tickets they give you, with them you can get a dollar off at the Solvang Trolley Ice-cream Parlor.
Solvang Trolley Ice-cream Parlor on Copenhagen Dr
Quaint “mom and pop” ice cream shop located right behind the Blue windmill on Copehnhagen Dr. They serve a variety of ice cream flavors. I believe they have the widest selection of flavors in town. The ice cream they serve is McConnell’s of Santa Barbara.
This is an old timey ice cream parlor, with good flavors, yummy waffle cones, and cute decor.
Homemade waffle cones make the cones special and add a great buttery crunch! All natural ice cream.
They were voted as one of the top ice cream parlors in California. I had the whiskey caramel ice-cream and it was outta the world.
The Little Mermaid on Mission Drive
It’s a Danish Mexican fusion place .We went to this place only on the recommendation of our Solvang Trolley & Carriage guide. As per her they serve very different kind of Aebleskivers..
which are known as churros ebelskivers. They were deep fried and served with Kahlua creme which was very interesting.
I loved the decor of the place. Very bold use of colors and had a very rustic look to it.
Paulas Pancake on Mission Drive
Eating Paulas Danish Pancake is the #1 must thing to do in Solvang 🙂 This is a totally Classic Old-Fashioned Pancake House. I love their staff dressed up in danish costume..can’t get more danish than this 😛
The biggest, fluffiest pancakes. The good stuff galore on top, fruits and nuts, and some fresh juice (no cheap stuff) on the side.
This place in extremely famous so make sure that you come early if want to have pancakes for breakfast. It’s open from early morning till 3pm.
We did a smart thing of having pancakes for lunch than breakfast which saved us lot of time.
The pancake mix is pretty famous and is definitely worth buying to recreate them in your kitchen. Do try their Danish Sausage too!
Santa Yenz Valley
Our drive was beautiful as it was through the Santa Yenz Valley.