Day Trip to Solvang, CA

I’ve lived in California my whole life and haven’t heard of Solvang until recently. Solvang is this little Danish town in a little north of Santa Barbara in Southern California. We took a trip down to Santa Barbara decided to stop to check out Solvang for a quick day trip.

Things to Do in Solvang

Solvang is known for their Danish style architecture and wineries. A few things you can do there are:

  • Go wine tasting or go on a wine tour
  • Check out the Old Mission Santa Ines
  • Check out the Solvang Festival Theater
  • Browse a few museums including the Hans Christian Anderson Museum and the Vintage Motorcycle Museum
  • Take a ride on a trolley and carriage

We took the low expenses route and did some light exploring and did some eating instead. Here is a snapshot of our our day trip:

What We Did During Our Day Trip

Surrey Rental

We wanted to do some exploring and you can easily walk everywhere since the town isn’t that big. We saw a few people riding around in surreys and thought that it might be fun to explore that way instead. A surrey is a bike that can fit 4+ people where everyone has to pedal together and there is one “driver” who moves the bike to either make a turn or to brake. It was a little tough getting into the rhythm of it at first, but it was actually a lot of fun once we got the hang of it. We had a lot of laughs trying to figure this thing out.

There are a few surrey rental shops all over town. The price of this was about $40/hour for a double surrey (about 6 adults). They also have a triple surreys (9 adults) and single bikes.

Me in a 6 person surrey

Exploring the Town

While we were riding around in our surrey, we were able to explore the whole time and stop and park it when there’s no cars around to walk around. I loved the cute Danish architecture and it was a nice change of scenery from the city once in a while.

Bakeries

I love sweets and there are so many bakeries everywhere and I knew I had to stop into at least one of them. We stopped by Olsen’s Bakery and got a few treats. My faves are the princess mocha waffles which are crushed almonds filled with mocha cream dipped in chocolate and the danish waffle which is a soft pastry filled with cream.

Restaurant

With any place you travel to, you have to eat! Not a lot of restaurants have Danish food, but we found a couple. I’m not too familiar with Danish food, but it seems like a lot of carbs and sausage.

Solvang Brewing Company – they have a pretty extensive menu of American dishes and a few Danish dishes as well. Some of the items we got were:

  • Danish Meatballs: The meatballs were tender and the gravy had lots of flavor. We got the mashed potatoes as well and they were soft and buttery.
  • SBC Sausage Trio: There were 3 different types of sausages that each had its own flavor. We got plain potatoes with it which were good because everything else came with some much fat and flavor. The pretzel with cheese was probably one of my favorite parts as I love melted cheese.
  • Jager Snitchel: This is a large piece of thinly pounded pork that’s battered and fried with bacon gravy on top. I loved how crispy the breading was and the the pork was actually still really juicy. The gravy was good as well, but you can just taste the overall unhealthiness of this meal. 
  • Danish Reuben: A sandwich with tons of pastrami. The pastrami was really good and so was the rye bread. The dressing helped it so it wasn’t dry and all together it was a tasty sandwich.

All the dishes came with pickled red cabbage as well which was actually really good as it has a nice vinegar-y tang, but it’s too much when you have some on all 4 dishes.

Overall, it was a very tasty Danish meat with lots of variety of meats and carbs.

Solvang Restaurant – We came here for another meal and shared a few items.

  • Danish Hot Dog: This was tender and flavorful from the herbs that are in it and the fried onion strings gave it a nice crunchy texture. It’s pretty small though and more like a snack than a meal.
  • Open Face Sandwich: This was good if you want variety as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of their rye bread and half the plate were deli meat and sliced cheese. As much as I liked the variety, I wasn’t a huge fan of the fillings of the sandwich
  • Sausage Platter: This is good if you want to try a variety of sausages. It came with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy and some red cabbage that was nice and tangy.
  • Aebleskiver: This is probably what most people come for. It’s pretty much like a donut with powdered sugar and jam drizzled on top. Eat it while it’s hot!

Overall, it’s a decent place to try some danish food.

Ostrichland

Ostrichland is not exactly in Solvang, but it’s a couple of miles away and worth a quick trip if you have some time. To be honest, there’s not too much to do there beside look at ostrich and emus and feed them. The entrance fee to see them is about $6/person and you can feed them for $1 a feeder. It’s a cool experience to feed them, although they can get a little aggressive (or probably hangry). They’re kind of cute if you’re not afraid of big birds.

Overall

Overall, Solvang is a super cute town to explore and worth a day trip to check out the Danish architecture and try some Danish food.

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