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Most people wouldn’t expect California, the land of eternal sunshine and beaches, to have one of “America’s most Christmassy Towns.” However, you’d be surprised to find out that a little Danish town called Solvang is one of the country’s most festive holiday destinations.
One step into Solvang, and you’ll feel like you’ve left the country. A stroll along its main street will take you past little Danish bakeries and towering windmills. The twinkling lights and sounds of Christmas carolers will make you feel the holiday spirit instantaneously.
Solvang takes the holiday season to another level with its annual Julefest Celebration. You can enjoy this festivity from late November to early January. During this time, you can experience the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Julefest Parade, Solvang Nativity Pageant, candlelight tours, a tree burn, and a Solvang Holiday food tour.
While Solvang sparkles during the holidays, it’s a wonderful year-round weekend getaway that feels like teleporting to Denmark. Other exciting activities you can do at any time include wine tasting, sampling Danish food, and shopping for unique souvenirs.
Try a famous aebleskiver, or round Danish donut topped with jelly, at the Solvang Restaurant on Saturday morning. Spend the day shopping and visiting Santa, then enjoy the festivities like the Candlelight Tour and light shows at night. On Sunday, try some pastries at Mortensen’s Bakery and lunch at one of Solvang’s many restaurants before heading home.
You can add wine tasting to your itinerary by touring the Sideways wineries in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley.
Things to Do
When to Go
Visit between late November and early January to experience Solvang as a Christmas town. Check the Julefest Celebration website for individual holiday event dates.
Solvang’s Julefest is free of charge.