Windmills & Wine: Top Attractions in Solvang, California

Have you ever dreamed of a place where you can eat authentic Dutch pastries for breakfast, tacos for lunch, and finish off the day with some stroopwafels? Where you can wake up, dip your toes in the Pacific, and then throw on your wooden dancing clogs without getting a second look? Probably not…because that would be an incredibly weird dream, right? But believe it or not, this bewildering mash-up of a village exists in Solvang, California. If you’re taking a road trip through California, make sure to check out these top attractions in Solvang, California!

You’ll know you’re approaching Solvang when California’s Highway 246 suddenly gives way to windmills, half-timbered homes, and gabled roofs *In the middle of Cali?!?  Yes!* Arriving in the quaint Danish-inspire village instantly transports you into a charming old-world fairy tale. As you drive into town, grab some street parking (free) or find one of the city’s numerous lots (also free), and explore on foot.

attractions in Solvang, California; what to do in Solvang, California

Eating in Solvang

Cozy downtown Solvang features Danish restaurants (enter the stroopwafel mentioned above), unique half-timbered architecture, and great boutique shopping. Bakeries seem to be the most popular storefront (I’m definitely not complaining), which results in the scent of pancakes and pastries wafting through the air. Your best bet is to arrive in town hungry and ready to consume some sugar—you can easily pass a few hours alternating between popping into shops and munching on mouthwatering Scandinavian goodies. With me being me, arriving hungry is never an issue…I can always make room for dessert!

attractions in Solvang, California; what to do in Solvang, California

Check out Wine Country

The town isn’t huge, so once you tire of the clock towers, shopping, and pastries, head out of town to a winery. Solvang is located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Wine Valley and has dozens of options to choose from (Yay!). I chose Rideau Vineyard,–mostly because it looked really cute online—it was a charming farmhouse surrounded by rolling hills and lush vineyards. They offer tastings featuring choice reds and whites, as well as picnic tables and Adirondack chairs outside if you choose to purchase a bottle (I obviously did, duhhhh). Take advantage of the sweeping valley views, bask in the sunshine, and just relax while sipping a rich Cab. This is definitely one of the top attractions in Solvang!

attractions in Solvang, California; what to do in Solvang, California

Visit Solvang ASAP!

The European-style village, Danish bakeries, and wine tasting options make for a very unique weekend getaway or daytrip in California. Follow my suggestions above for how to spend a beautiful day in Solvang and the Santa Ynez Wine Valley. Enjoy, and have a glass of Cabernet for me!

attractions in Solvang, California; what to do in Solvang, California


Cheap flights to Los Angeles:I’d recommend looking up They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. You can typically find decent flights into LA.

California Car Rentals: As far as rental cars go, you can’t go wrong with Expedia. They pull from a number of different car companies, and definitely provide good deals. If you’re looking for a luxury rental (imagine cruising through California in a plush convertible, wind whipping through your hair), try Sixt –they provide some legit deals on premium and luxury rentals!

California Resources:

For further reading on California, make sure to check out the following guides!

  • Venice Beach: For your weekend guide to Venice Beach, look no further!
  • Big Sur: Discover the top 8 foolproof tips for driving Big Sur!
  • San Francisco: Do you know the top things to do in San Francisco in 3 days?
  • Napa Valley: Explore Napa Valley 101 for all you first time visitors!
  • Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip: For the most epic 8 day PCH road trip guide down the California coast, look no further!

Have you been to Solvang, California? I’d love to hear about any unique culture mash-up towns that you’ve visited…let me hear ‘em in the comments below!

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own.

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  1. I love windmills there is something so relaxing about them. I have never heard of Solvang before, but will add it to my itinerary next time we are in California.

  2. We were hoping to go to Solvang during our recent trip to California, but couldn’t because of the wildfires. Next time!!

  3. Wow, I’ve never even heard of Solvang! Looks so cool and love the Scandinavian inspiration throughout. Definitely want to spend an extended period of time in Cali one day!

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