Solvang Things to Do Tips by travelgourmet Top 5 Page for this destination
Solvang Things to Do: 81 reviews and 180 photos
ROUND TOWER OF SOLVANG
The Round Tower of Solvang is a replica 1/3 the size of the Rundetaarn (Round Tower) in Copenhagen, Denmark. When you first see the Solvang Round Tower, you get the feeling of the actual Rundetaarn in Copenhagen. I have seen the one in Denmark and walked up the 7 floors of circular road to the top. This was built in 1642 by orders of King Christian IV as an observatory with a little planetarium. The Rundetaarn of Copenhagen, Denmark, is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe.
The Round Tower of Solvang, California is part of a Pizza restaurant, "Tower Pizza". That's the trouble with today. No respect for the beauty of the past. Selling Pizza out of a historic building even if it is scaled down, just isn't sit well with me. Well, ride in from the back parking lot to spot the Round Tower of Solvang and the beauty will still be there. From the front street side, you enter between buildings and can see the replica rebus near the top of the Round Tower and a plaque with the story of the Round Tower sits near the courtyard. The building itself does add a bit of flair to Solvang.
Address: 436 Alisal Rd Solvang, California
Directions: On Alisal Road, between Copenhagen Drive and Molle Way, turn into the driveway at Molle Way to the US Post Office and go around to the rear parking lot to see the Round Tower, before going to the sidewalk entrance.
THE HIDDEN GEM
The California Missions were founded from 1769, starting with Mission San Diego de Alcala, with the leader at that time being Father Junipero Serra. (1713-1784), a priest in the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church who came to Mexico and the Californias to establish the missions till the twenty-first Mission, San Francisco de Solano in 1823. In Solvang, right in town, is the nineteenth Mission, Santa Ines in 1804. The Spanish name for Agnes was Ines and the area became known as Santa Ynez with the anglicized spelling. I only bring this up to help explain where the name Santa Ynez Valley comes from and it is due to the misspelling of Ines.
The Mission is a sight to behold as it has the classic look of most of the Missions with the long arched covered corridor buildings attached to the church portion of the Mission that has the bells in the towers and on the walls. With all the tourists in Danish Solvang, it is a strange sight to see this Spanish Mission sitting on the edge of town. The interior design of the church is simple, yet has a rich collection of paintings and statuary. There is an audio tour offered to help guide you through the museum rooms, church, and garden. Looking out past the parking lot to the fields below and beyond to the hills almost has the feel of when the padres first came to the area. Next to the hustle and bustle of tourists in town, the Mission is a place of quiet and calm. Kind of apropos for Mission Santa Ines to be called "The Hidden Gem" of the Missions. It's the hidden gem of Solvang.
Address: 1760 Mission Drive Solvang, CA 93464
Directions: In Solvang, on Mission Drive (Hwy 246) one block East of Alisal Road.
Phone: (805) 688-4815
BEAUTIFUL BELL CLOCK TOWER
Walking is the way to see Solvang. So many little boutiques and quaint shops to browse through while making your way around the town. Time for an ice cream or maybe an aebelskiver. Was that an antique or a replica? Ah, a wine bar or the park to relax while deciding what's next to do. Listen for the clang of the Hoven Trolley or the sweet sound of the bells of the Clock Tower across the street from Solvang Park.
Located above the Antique Center in Solvang, the clock tower is a wonderful addition to the town of Solvang. You will never be without the time as it can be seen from the main two streets of town as well as the park with a bandstand. The brick facade is beautiful to see the pattern laid out and the building is the Old Mill store locations with many antique dealers. A must see while in Solvang.
Address: 486 First Street Solvang, California
Directions: Across the street from Solvang Park in the center of town off Mission Drive on First Street.
IT LOOKS LIKE WINE TIME
Solvang, a little bit of Denmark, in California also has a little bit of wine in this Santa Ynez Valley. Solvang, which translates into "sunny fields" in Danish, now has money fields in the many vineyards that have matured into great wine labels. Thanks to the movie "Sideways", Solvang is now in the center of the wine country and wine bars are busy in this wonderful old world transplant.
One such new wine bar is a beauty. Bradford & Buttler Wine Bar is pure pleasure. Plush stools and chairs, great decor, soft music, and knowledgeable owners and staff. I had a nice chat about the wine bar with one of the owners, Randall Bradford, who is very excited about the concept of featuring the local wine country with the best wines on the Central Coast and the fact that it is not just a "tasting room" but that you can also buy wine by the glass or bottle, sit down and relax well into the night as they stay open late. Sounds like a great idea. Open Mon-Thu 2pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-midnight and Sunday 11am-10pm.
Address: 1659 Copenhagen Dr Suite C, Solvang, CA, 93463
Directions: Copenhagen and First Street. Look for sign.
Other Contact: info@.bradfordbuttlerwinebar.com
Phone: 805 688-1133
Sandy McFadden at Solvang Visitors Center
Solvang, California is a quaint town and full of things to do. You really should make the first stop be the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau located at their building located on CopenHagen Drive and the parking lot near Second Street.
They have many brochures and maps for you to enjoy the entire Solvang experience. The many restaurants to choose among and the boutiques to shop in, as well at the wine bars are listed for you to find the ones to your liking. If you desire to stay overnight, which I recommend, the hotels, motels, and B&B's have there listings in the Solvang & Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Guide magazine that you can pick up free of charge at the Visitors Center. The staff is friendly and can answer any question you may have regarding the area. Don't leave Solvang and find out you missed something you should have seen or done before you left. Stop at the Visitors Center and get the low down on everything from A-Z regarding the area.
Address: 1639 Copenhagen Drive Solvang, CA 93463
Directions: The Solvang Visitors Center is located in the center of town on Copenhagen Drive in the building at the public parking lot.
Other Contact: 1-800-468-6765
Jeg er en Skandinav THE BUST OF HANS
To see Solvang properly is to walk it. That can become tiring. Take a break from the shopping, eating, drinking, and touring around by walking, bicyling, rideon the horse drawn trolley, or relax and take a break in Solvang Park. Green grass, a lovely gazebo and a replica bust of Hans Christian Andersen are found here as well as clean public restrooms. There is a Hans Christian Andersen Park in Solvang but it is not in the town shopping district.
Address: Corner of Mission Drive and First Street Solvang
Directions: On the main street through town, route 246, Mission Drive.
THE LION ROARS DELIGHT
My wife, Sue, and I walked into Lion's Peak Vineyards Tasting Room in Solvang to enjoy not only the dazzling art works on the walls, but to taste many of the wines that are making Lion's Peak a household name. We were not disappointed. A smiling face greeted us with a big hello and welcome that warmed up the room. Mary, the tasting room manager and wine hostess for our tastings was a pleasure to converse with regarding wines and the well balanced Lion's Peak wines.
After several tastes of the whites, a label called "Lulu", a blend of Sauvigon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Muscat, was my wife's choice, winning her over from the Viognier and Marsanne that I enjoyed. As to the reds, most were satisfying with good finishes but the wine that knocked my socks off was the Reserve Lionnesse that is 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 20%Cabernet Franc. No wine fancy talk needed here. The Lion's Peak Reserve Lionnesse was 100% right on with my discerning taste buds.
Both my wife and I agreed on Mary's suggestion of trying the Augustus XIX Port with her homemade brownie/chocolate chip cookie combo. What a knockout punch! In fact, as I write this, I am sipping a little of that Port, but unfortunately without the cookie. Thanks to Mary for a wonderful wine tasting and even a better appreciation for Lion's Peak Vineyards. Now, if I only could have met the owner, Jennifer Soni-Arant, to thank her for developing wonderful wines to enjoy. That would have completed my day.
Jennifer Soni-Arant, owner and winemaker of Lion's Peak Vineyards, has her hands full with the winery vineyards in San Miguel within the Paso Robles Appellation, the tasting room in Solvang, and the New International Boutique Wine Shoppe and Tasting Bar in Cambria. That's a lot of running around and it takes a dedicated staff to keep it running smoothly. Looked pretty smooth at the Tasting Room in Solvang. Lion's Peak has won many awards over the past years and with the dedication by Jennifer and her team, I am looking forward to many fine wines in the future.
Fine wine is an art in progress. You have to nurture the vine to produce the grape that releases the nectar of the gods. Art is very similar. Your have to produce the paints to color the palette that brings a painting to life. In Solvang, Lion's Peak wine tasting room combines the two together with the wine in the bottle and the art on the label. While taste sampling the fine wines with your palate, your eyes are dancing over the modern art works on the walls of the Lion's Peak Vineyards Tasting Room. Then you realize that the art is reproduced on the wine bottles label, a wonderful coupling.
Lion's Peak Vineyards Tasting Room is open Monday-Thursday 11:00 to 6:30 with extended hours on the weekends. Make sure you stop by and try the port and as the saying goes "any port in a storm". Don't believe it, no way, only Lion's Peak Augustus XIX Port will do.
Address: 1659 Copenhagen Drive Solvang, CA, 93463
Directions: Lion's Peak Vineyards Tasting Room is in the center of Solvang on Coenhagen Drive near the visitors parking lot.
Phone: (805) 693-5466
WINE MAGIC IS THROUGH THESE DOORS
Solvang is a Danish town with a California wine country flare. One of the best and brightest stars of the wine tasting bars in Solvang beckons to you to step inside the stone walled room. There is a magical draw to the entrance that sits below street level with wonderful wood doors and a red domed canopy that proudly exclaims "Tastes of the Valleys". At the entrance, you realize that this wine tasting room has enveloped your senses to stay and sip awhile.
Inside, you are mesmerized by the many bottles of fine wine, featuring the best in Central Coast winemaking, that line the walls and fill the racks. So many wine labels to choose for a tasting, that help is needed from the smiling faces behind the bar. My wife, Sue, and I were pleased to be greeted by Ash Mehta and his wife, Lissa Hallberg, with a warm and friendly hello, followed by a time to try wine suggestion. The ambiance is here and the bar chairs were comfy enough to sit and chat with the owners as well as fellow patrons.
One of the clever ideas that Ash brings to the room, is to ask if he can take a photo of you and your mate kissing for the "Wall of Fame Friends and Guests" photo pages of their website. That kiss puts you in the mood to taste a few wines. Tastes of the Valleys has many vineyards wines displayed, at least sixteen that I counted, and I am sure at least one of which shall please your palate. Remember, if you want to taste different wines to find the one that appeals to you the most, just ask at Tastes of the Valleys to help you decide with the sample tasting, which bottle or bottles that you are going to take home to enjoy. They are open Sunday-Thursday 12 Noon till 8 PM and Friday-Saturday 12 Noon till 10 PM. If you stop by, please say hello to Ash and Lissa from travelgourmet.
Address: 1672 Mission Drive Solvang, CA 93463
Directions: From Hwy101, take Hwy246 East. Tastes of the Valleys is on Hwy246 just past the park with the bandstand and before Alisal Rd. From Hwy154, take Hwy246 West into Solvang. Located on the left side of Hwy246, 1/2 block past Alisal Rd.
Phone: (805) 688-7111
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