The storied and diverse culture that rings throughout the County of Santa Barbara makes the area an excitingly eclectic place. From the surfer dudes hanging out down by the beach to the artists frequenting the Funk Zone to the students roaming the campus of UCSB, the variety is undeniable. There is one place, however, that stands out from the rest. A short, 40-minute drive from Hotel Milo, the city of Solvang feels like a village taken straight from Denmark and dropped in sunny California. For a cultural and vibrant day trip, check out our guide of what’s what in Solvang.
Walking around Solvang, visitors can experience a visceral reproduction of Denmark from the buildings’ colorful facades to the smell of food wafting from open restaurant storefronts. As eating is one of the best ways to explore a foreign culture, it’s imperative to eat some delightful Danish and European cuisine when in Solvang. The Greenhouse Cafe is a Nordic bistro that combines authentic dishes— Danish sausage & red cabbage, Danish Pancakes— with a beautiful outdoor patio. It’s also worth stopping by one of the many bakeries in Solvang for some Danish butter cookies and other tasty treats!
One of the most enjoyable parts of shopping in Solvang is to walk the the streets with their mountain town appeal, and explore the shops, which each have the aesthetic of a quaint European home. Throughout these various outlets, shoppers can peruse a wide variety of Danish antiques, collectibles, art pieces, gourmet gifts, clothes and more. Art Hus and a variety of other galleries around Solvang share the work of local and Danish artists alike. Gaveaesken, which means the Gift Box, sells Danish paper and Scandinavian Christmas items all year round. Beyond Christmas good and art, Solvang is dense with interesting things to buy with over 150 retail destinations.
In a place where a foreign culture is so prevalent, there’s nothing more helpful, informative and enjoyable than a museum. Amongst Solvang’s several educational destinations, the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art is a full scale exploration of Danish culture. The Hans Christian Andersen Museum takes a deep look at the life and work of the Danish author who the institute is named after. Additionally, Solvang is filled with wonderful museums, art galleries and historical sites.
From wine tasting to golfing, there are a whole lot more things to enjoy in Solvang. All it takes to experience this Danish wonder, is to come right here to Southern California!