So Much More than Windmills: 10 Best Attractions in Solvang

See the sites in Solvang! This pretty little town is just a short drive from Santa Barbara, and it's the epicenter of Danish culture in California. Founded in the early 1900s by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a colony in a warmer climate, Solvang is a perfect day trip destination for families, friends and couples.

If you're visiting Solvang with your family, don't miss the Solvang Trolley. The horse-drawn trolley, also known as the Honen, is a fun way to get your bearings. Tours depart form in front of the Solvang Visitor's Center every 35 minutes. After your ride, children will enjoy expending a little energy at the one-of-a-kind playground at Sunny Fields Park that features a viking ship, gingerbread house, puppet theater and more. 

Adult visitors will appreciate Solvang's food and wine scene, as well as the many cultural venues. Spend the first part of your day admiring the nature-inpired exhibits at the Wildling Museum. Then indulge in an afternoon of wine tasting. Sevtap Winery is a fun tasting room located right in the heart of Solvang's downtown district. Or drive to Rusack Vineyards for a beautiful view and some equally beautiful Syrah.

No matter the motive for your visit, this list will help you make wonderful memories in beautiful Solvang!


Visit this museum celebrating the life and work of Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen, located in the Danish town of Solvang. Perhaps best loved for his collection of fairy tales, this establishment showcases original letters and photographs, as well as artwork done by Andersen himself. Exhibits and displays highlight his childhood home, his stories and his history. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be accessed through both the Book Loft and the Kaffe Huis. Free parking is available on the street or in nearby city lots. Andersen's birthday is celebrated here each year on April 2nd, complete with a cake and festivities.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Everyone loves fairy tales! A trip to the Hans Christian Anderson Museum is ideal for the young and the young at heart.

Geneva's expert tip: Exit through the Book Loft so you can pick up any fairy tales you may be feeling nostalgic about.

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Visiting Santa Barbara in September? You might be lucky enough to head up to Solvang for California's #1 Danish festival! Solvang's Danish Days are a long weekend of family, food and fun. In 1936, the first Solvang Danish Days festival celebrated the village's 25th anniversary. Ever since, the annual celebration has persisted to honor Solvang's heritage with authentic food, music, dancing, parades, live entertainment and family activities. There is an aebleskiver eating contest, merchant fair, beer and wine garden and much more. Many events are free. You can stay at one of the many hotels in town or drive up from Santa Barbara - it's only about half an hour away!

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: The Solvang Festival Theater is a beautiful outdoor theater that hosts entertaining plays and great musicians.

Geneva's expert tip: Book a hotel well in advance. There are many charming inns in town and most events are within walking distance.

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Ready to do a little wine tasting in sunny Solvang? When you're tired of looking at windmills, stroll into Sevtap, a fun wine tasting room in the heart of it all. Sevtap's motto is to "drink good wines," which is exactly what you'll be doing. Wine tasting is only $10. If you enjoy what you taste, buy a bottle onsite for a memorable souvenir. Chalkboard walls and borrowable guitars encourage you to play while you sip. There is live music every Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. and a DJ every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. The Sevtap tasting room is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. No one under 21 is allowed in the tasting room.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: If you're looking for a fun place to taste some locally produced wines, Sevtap is the place to go.

Geneva's expert tip: Sevtap Winery is open late (until 8 or 9 at night) and often hosts live bands!

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Ready to learn more about the arts and culture of Denmark? Of course you are! Head straight to the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang, California for a fun, family-friendly learning experience. Rotating exhibitions celebrate traditional Danish crafts, Solvang history and famous Danes throughout history. Youth and adult arts and crafts classes are offered seasonally. The historic building boasts lush gardens capped off with a romantic gazebo, making it the perfect site for a wedding or party. The Elverhoj can accommodate up to 150 guests for special events with advanced notice. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free; a $3 donation is suggested.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Want to learn more about Danish culture? This is your stop!

Geneva's expert tip: This historic building boasts lush gardens capped off with a romantic gazebo, making it the perfect site for a wedding or party.

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The Wildling Museum is an art museum in Solvang that is dedicated to inspiring visitors to enjoy, value and preserve nature by showcasing works that celebrate the wild. The museum has a fluid exhibition space that can accommodate anywhere from three to five different shows at any one time. They also offer art workshops, lectures and events for the whole family. A community-minded facility, this museum has a quiet study area that's open to the public. Private events may also be held in the museum; contact them via phone or email for more details. Follow the Wildling on Facebook to learn about current exhibitions and upcoming special events.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: This is a fun museum for both children and adults that explores the beauty and value of nature.

Geneva's expert tip: Visit their Facebook page to learn about upcoming special events, like studio tours and artist talks.

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The Solvang Motorcycle Museum is located near the heart of beautiful Solvang, California. This museum celebrates vintage and rare motorcycles. Although the emphasis is on racing bikes, there are many styles of motorcycles here, from past up to the present. Their vast collection is rotated monthly, so there is always something new on display. Admission is $10. Children under 10 get in free with an adult. Open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekdays by appointment only. Free parking is available out front. Many other shops, restaurants and attractions are within easy walking distance. Like their Facebook page to learn more about rare motorcycle curiosities.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Lots of rare motorcycles under one roof paired with a very knowledgeable staff equals two-wheeler heaven!

Geneva's expert tip: Visiting on a weekday? The Solvang Motorcycle Museum, though typically closed, may arrange for a private showing if you call ahead.

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The Solvang Trolley is a Danish-style streetcar that started operating in 1964 as a means for transporting residents to the local grocery store. Today the trolley, also known as the Honen, is open to visitors and gives tours of Solvang. Drawn by two very handsome horses, the trolley is also available to rent for weddings and wine tours. Tours operate from Thursday to Monday and run every 35 minutes. Board the trolley in front of the Solvang's visitor's center on Copenhagen Street. Tours cost $10 for adults, $5 for children and $8 for seniors. Call ahead to make reservations for large parties.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Who gets to ride around in horse-drawn carriages these days? You do, if you board the Solvang Trolley!

Geneva's expert tip: Have a couple of one-dollar bills on hand to tip the driver if you are happy with your tour.

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This park is a must stop for active families and curious travelers. A unique, custom-built wooden playground is the main attraction, featuring slides, tire swings and little houses for hide and seek. True to Solvang's Danish heritage, there is also a gingerbread house, puppet theater and viking ship. There's a separate area for the smallest tots and plenty of seating for adults. A baseball diamond is adjacent to the playground. Clean water features, like misters, are placed throughout the park, to protect the hot and weary on warm days. Sunny Fields Park's very clean grounds and facilities make visitors feel welcome.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Sunny Fields is the most unique playground for miles around, boasting a viking ship, puppet theater and more!

Geneva's expert tip: Bring some snacks and a good book to read. Kids love this playground and usually want to stay awhile.

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Rusack Vineyards is best known for their red wines, especially Pinot Noir and Syrah. Being on the smaller side for a vineyard (situated on just 48 acres) Rusack crafts their wines using both estate grapes and locally sourced varietals from some of the best vineyards in the area. Visit their website for detailed tasting and crafting notes, including the origin of the grapes and fermenting process. This beautiful, rose-bordered winery has a large outdoor picnic area, but you should call ahead to reserve space for parties of ten or more. They also have cheese and crackers for sale in the tasting room - in the event of a more impromptu picnic!

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Rusack is one of the most beautiful vineyards and tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Geneva's expert tip: Gift with purchase: your tasting fee includes an elegant crystal logo wine glass. Bring the whole family and start a collection.

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Mission Santa Ines was founded by the Franciscans in 1804 and named after Saint Agnes of Rome. Located midway between Old Mission Santa Barbara and Mission La Purisima Concepcion, this historic building now serves as both a museum and a church for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. An audio tour is available to guide you though the museum, church rooms and garden. The Danish town of Solvang was built up around the mission in the 1911 by settlers seeking a warmer climate. Many shops, restaurants and other attractions are nearby. There is a gift shop on site and plenty of free parking.

Recommended for Solvang's Best Attractions because: Historic Mission Santa Ines was originally built in 1804 and is one of the 21 California missions.

Geneva's expert tip: Take a self-guided audio tour to learn about the history of this beautiful mission.

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Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva