Solvang, which is Danish for sunny fields, is a quaint little Danish village on the southern California coast (near Santa Barbara) that is filled with European charm, windmills, craft local brews, delicious local wines, and decadent pastries.
I know, it sounds too good to be true, right!? Well it is a real place, and I believe it is a must-see if you live anywhere near southern California.
Settled in 1911 by Danish immigrants, Solvang remains a little piece of Denmark in sunny California. With so many places to shop, drink and eat, it is best to make a weekend out of your visit – but it also makes for a fun little pit-stop on your way up (or down) California’s coast as well.
We typically break up road trips to one of our favorite spots, Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo, with a quick stop in Solvang. Honestly, it is really fun little town that the whole family will really enjoy!
In this article I will go over all the fun things to do in Solvang with kids, so you can make the most out of your family trip to Solvang!
Here’s what’s in this article:
Fun things to do in Solvang with kids
- Shop the cute local shops
- Solvang Trolley & Carriage Company
- Places to grab a drink with kids
- Old Mission Santa Ines
- Hans Christian Andersen Museum
- Elverhoj Museum of History & Art
- Relax or play at a park
Best Danish bakeries in Solvang
Best places to eat in Solvang
- Bit O’ Denmark
- Solvang Brewing Company
- Succulent Cafe
- Solvang Restaurant
- Copenhagen Sausage Garden
- Fitzpatrick’s Tavern
- Hill Haven Provisions
- Mad & Vin
- Chomp Burgers, Fries and Shakes
Best places to stay in Solvang
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Fun things to do in Solvang
We love to walk around and enjoy the scenery in Solvang. It’s not every day we get to see darling Danish architecture and windmills here in California. I’m sure you and your family will find ample photo opportunities! These are some of our favorite Solvang family activities:
Shopping in Solvang
There are tons of cute boutique shops to explore in Solvang. Antique shops, toy shops and Christmas themed shops are must visits. Here is a short list of our favorites.
Grab a drink somewhere!
Solvang is located in California wine country and there are plenty of places that mommy and daddy can take a drink break between all that family fun. Luckily, there are a few that are family-friendly and kids are welcome to hangout while parents enjoy. Here are our two favorites.
1760 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
Got to love a little history and there is nothing like taking the kids to a California mission. Built in 1769, Mission Santa Ines was the 19th established out of the 21 missions. It has beautiful and tranquil grounds to explore and soak up some history while enjoying breathing views of the Santa Ynez River and San Rafael mountain ranges.
1624 Elverhoy Way, Solvang, CA 93463
You guessed it, this where you and your kids can learn all about the art and history of Solvang. However, this is a fun museum that even has a scanvanger hunt for kids and plenty of activties to keep the actively learning.
Kid-friendly parks in Solvang
Sunny Fields Park
775 Atterdag Rd. Solvang, CA 93463
This park features a fun playground for keeps to burn up some excess energy.
775 Atterdag Rd. Solvang, CA 93463
This park brings fairytales to life as you enter the beautiful grounds, filled with live oak through castle arches.
Corner of Mission Drive and First Street Solvang, CA 93463
This expansive green is where Solvang holds a number of annual events like Winterfest and Summer Movie nights. When there aren’t events, is a lovely place to just wander and enjoy.
Danish bakeries in Solvang
1682 Copenhagen Dr. Solvang, CA 93464
This bakery is a real treat as Arvid Peterson the founder actually baked goods for King Christian X, before immigrating to the United States and opening this very bakery in 1960. You can still go and enjoy sweet treats as well as select lunch items today!
460 Alisal Road Solvang, CA 93463
Another cute family-owned bakery, this a great spot to grab a sweet Danish treat or select lunch item. Opened since 1951, they pride themselves on providing excellent customer service and friendly touch you can’t find anywhere else.
438 Alisal Road Solvang, CA 93463
There is a theme with the bakeries, as The Solvang Bakery is also family-owned. Located under the pretty pink windmill, this bakery oozes charm. They specialize in authentic Danish pastries, bread and tarts as well as creating beautifully designed specialty cakes and wedding cakes.
Places to eat in Solvang
Don’t worry about food if you are visiting Solvang with kids. They have a wide variety of global fare as well as fine dining options. However, when visiting a little Danish village, I recommend eating Danish cuisine. Part of traveling with kids is giving them new experiences. Incredibly, with over 46 dining options in one small town, I have narrowed the list to 10 of my favorites.
473 Alisal Road Solvang, CA 93463
This sweet little restaurant has it all, it is Danish, it is cozy and it is historical. In fact, Bit O’ Denmark is located inside one of Solvang’s most historical buildings, an old school house built in 1911. Now, They serve up a mix of Danish, European and American cuisine that everyone will love. Bit O’ Denmark is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a huge smorgasbord (or Scandinavian-style buffet) available.
1547 Mission Drive Solvang, CA 93463
I came for the Bloody Mary, but I stayed for the atmosphere and food! This restaurant is a real crowd pleaser with diverse offerings, brewery and massive Bloody Mary’s. The inside is very cozy and fun, while the outdoor patio is perfect for people watching on warm weekends.
1557 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
Succulent Cafe has a great location in downtown Solvang with a delicious menu that brings locally sourced fresh food to the table. This family-owned establishment is rustic and cozy with comfort food recipes made from scratch, filling the bellies and warming soul. On warmer nights, sit the a sparkling patio. They also have a great selection of wine to pair with your delicious meal.
1672 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
This is a local favorite and a Solvang classic. There are no frills, but it a comfortable spot to grab a bit in town with the family. In addition to serving up traditional Danish dishes, they are most known for their Aebleskiver which is a popular Danish dessert traditionally served during the holidays. These fluffy donut-like balls topped with raspberry jam and powdered sugar are a must when visiting Solvang with kids!
1660 Copenhagen Drive Solvang, CA 93463
This is a fun outdoor beer garden complete with fire pits that serves up 11 family-made sausages from all over the world and yummy charcuterie plates. They even have a veggie sausage for those who don’t eat meat. It is a fun little spot grab a quick snack and drink before exploring more of Solvang as a family.
490 First Street, Suite A Solvang, CA 93463
Who doesn’t love an Irish pub? It doesn’t matter where we travel, we always find an Irish pub to have a little fun with the family. Fitzpatrick’s Tavern is a fun and lively spot to enjoy upscale Irish classics, pub grub and cold beers.
485 Alisal Rd Suite 163, Solvang, CA 93463
Toscana is an Italian pizza and wine bar and you can’t really go wrong with with Italian food and kids right? You will love the cozy family-friendly vibe while you sip on wine and kids chow down on pizza. They have great salads too, for those looking for lighter fare. It is a great go-to when looking for a meal that all will enjoy.
448 Atterdag Road, Solvang, CA 93463
Hill Haven is a local favorite with a globally inspired menu that is fresh and complements the craft beer and cocktails. Family-owned the atmosphere is warm and inviting with an indoor dining room as well as an outdoor patio. It is a real crowd-pleaser among adults and kids!
1576 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
Mad & Vin is Danish for food and wine, but they offer much more. Located in the lobby of The Landsby Inn, people are loving the seasonal California Coast menu options. The dining room is warm, bright and cozy with a lively bar as well as an outdoor patio. In addition to a Sunday brunch they offer a lot of vegan. Vegetarian and gluten-free options.
1693 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
Looking for a good old burger and shake? Then your family will love Chomp Burgers, Fries and Shakes. This a family-friendly restaurant that kids and parents will love. The dining is modern-retro and the outdoor patio is perfect enjoy California weather.
Where to stay in Solvang
There are plenty of hotels to choose from, but if you are visiting Solvang with kids I recommend staying in a hotel that feels Danish and is walking distance from the village center. Park, relax, drink some wine (or lots of wine), and then just walk back to your room. That’s how I like to roll, anyway. Plus, when traveling with kids, the less you have to get them in and out of the car the better.
400 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463
A bit of a walk to Solvang’s city center but it’s a very nice boutique hotel with updated furnishings and several suite options available. They have a few places to eat on-site including a fancy steak and seafood restaurant. Yes, please!
467 Atterdag Road, Solvang, CA 93463
This is a newly renovated inn that is bright with Danish decor. The inn features a cozy courtyard, complimentary breakfast and rooms that are large enough for families, including a king room with bunk beds. How fun. Plus, it is walking distance to many shops, restaurants and bakeries. This is one of my favorite hotels in Solvang for families.
1054 Alisal Rd. Solvang, CA 93463
If you are looking for a real vacation experience, check out the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. They are located in the heart of Solvang, but sits on a 10,000 acre ranch. The ranch and resort offer a ton of amenities and activities, like horseback riding, golf, and fishing to keep everyone happy. Plus, they have children’s programs to keep the little one busy too.
That’s a Wrap!
If you’re a local, this is an affordable and convenient way to feel like you are in Europe for the day. For some visitors, maybe it is a taste of home. Whether you are a California native or just visiting, Solvang has something for everyone to enjoy. It is all about relaxing and perusing the shops before stopping to taste some wine or sweet Danish treats. Slow down, take in the beautiful surroundings and be a Dane for a day. If you are ever in California don’t miss visiting Solvang with kids!
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