Travel

13 Reasons to Go to Solvang's Ultra-Christmasy Julefest

Published On 11/28/2016 Published On 11/28/2016
Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy Danish Mill Bakery
Flickr/Prayitno
The founders of Solvang | Elverhoj Museum of History & Art
Elverhoj Museum of History & Art
Courtesy Jim Barsch/Sunstone Chateau and Winery
First & Oak
Sunstone Winery | Flickr/Harold Litwiler
Courtesy Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau
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1. Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop 1529 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463

Originally established in Denmark in 1890, Olsen's Danish Village Bakery now bestows its sweet graces on California's Nordic enclave of Solvang. The shop has been family-operated for four generations, giving its bakers plenty of time to perfect the motherland's doughy fruit strips, butter cookies, apple strudel, and everyone's favorite: the cheese Danish. The quaint storefront looks the part, with a provincial-looking shingled roof that's typical of the town, home to many Danish transplants (and a windmill or three).

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2. Mortensen's Danish Bakery 487 Atterdag Rd, Solvang, CA 93463

At home in Petersen Village Square, Mortensen's Danish Bakery represents Solvang's Copenhagen character well with a tantalizing array of danishes, puff pastries, petit-fours, and specialties from butter cookies to strudels. A retail section offers all the frilly pink tea party accessories you could want, plus aprons dotted with cupcakes to match.

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3. Danish Mill Bakery 1682 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463

It's hard to miss Danish Mill Bakery, whose bright blue cottage storefront in Solvang features cookies and baked goods in the window. The butter cookies here have a flaky crunch, while whirling Danishes get spread with fruity jams, and pretzel-shaped kringles are dusted with sugar and sliced almonds. It's not all about dessert, though: savory meat-filled croissants and open-faced Danish cheese sandwiches are also available.

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4. Solvang Restaurant 1672 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463

Located in the heart of downtown on Copenhagen Drive, Solvang Restaurant specializes in (you’d never guess) Danish cuisine. The tourist-heavy spot is known for its aebleskiver, a traditional Danish Christmas delicacy likened to pancake balls and served with jam and powdered sugar. Solvang makes thousands of the donut hole-like sweets a day, and unlike Danish tradition, sells them year-round. They're best enjoyed alongside medisterpolse, a mild Danish sausage (seriously).

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5. Sunstone Vineyards & Winery 125 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460

North of Santa Barbara in Santa Ynez Valley, Sunstone Vineyards provides a 25-acre escape to French courtyards, stone caves, and wine country lifestyle. Sunstone produces Bourdeaux- and Rhone-style wines from organically grown French varietals. The villa -- an 8,500sqft building comprised of artifacts and reclaimed materials from across French history -- is home to a culinary center and five private suites for guests to enjoy. Tour the grounds, taste the wine, and enjoy a departure to France, without the passport.

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6. First & Oak 409 1st St, Solvang, CA 93463

Located in the Mirabelle Inn, First & Oak is an upscale European-influenced restaurant and fine dining headliner in Santa Ynez Valley. The kitchen is helmed by Gordon Ramsay alum Steven Snook, who prepares local California ingredients with French technique. First & Oak's wine list is extensive, which shouldn't come as a surprise given its charming, ivy-covered facade and wine country locale.

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7. Root 246 420 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463

Root 246, located in Hotel Corque, is a contemporary restaurant owned by the Santa Ynez band of Chumash Indians. The menu is designed by acclaimed chef Bradley Ogden, who creates modern dishes like lamb shank with goat cheese polenta and jalapeño popper flatbread with Spanish chorizo. The extensive wine list features Central Coast wines, but there's also an impressive whiskey menu -- and a small section devoted to cigars, because there's no better way to end a meal in wine country than with a glass of scotch and a cigar.

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