Don’t have the time or funds to travel to Denmark this spring? Do the next best thing and head to Solvang, California and prepare yourself to be charmed.
Located in the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley, the town of Solvang was founded by a group of Danish-Americans at the turn of the 20th century.
Over 100 years later, Solvang remains a bastion of Scandinavian culture and draws many tourists each year.
Here are some of my favorite ways to spend the day in this lovely spot:
Grab some Danish pancakes at Paula’s Pancake House (1531 Mission Drive). These thin, tasty cakes are a great way to start your day. I like topping mine with real cream butter, lingonberry syrup and enjoying them with a cup of dark coffee.
Relax in Solvang Park with a good book (Corner of Mission Drive and First Street). This lovely little park is the perfect place to while away the morning with a good book (if you need a new one, stop by Book Loft at 1680 Mission Drive). It’s also a popular picnic spot during the lunch hour. When the town’s festivals (like Danish Days and Winterfest) are in full swing, Solvang Park is the activity hub. During the summer months, you can catch free movies in the park on Friday nights.
Have a treat at the Danish Mill Bakery (1682 Copenhagen Drive). Whether you opt for the Danish butter cookies, a loaf of homemade bread or a traditional pastry, you can’t go wrong here. Their coffee is quite good, too.
Pick up a new pair of clogs at the Solvang Shoe Store (1663 Copenhagen Drive). This quaint shoe shop carries all of the top Scandinavian clog brands such as Dansko, Sven, Troentorp and others in a variety of styles and colors — an excellent selection at fair prices.