A Local's Guide to Solvang & the Santa Ynez Valley

Last May, Lauren, Emma, and Ashley launched our second store in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley- a land of vast hillscapes, century old oak trees, and roaming cows and buffalo. There's a deep history of cowboys, ranching, and vineyards in this area, which is one of the reasons we placed some of our roots here. More specifically, our store is located in downtown Solvang- a quaint, European-styled town with strong ties to Denmark. This area of the Central Coast is one of the most visited, but without a local's knowledge, it can be easy to have the same touristy-vacation that the rest of the public has. If you're looking for a unique experience in our neck of the woods, you've come to the right place. 


Where to eat:


If you're going to do anything touristy while you're in Solvang, Paula's Pancake House is a popular favorite for brunch. It's just across the street from the Landsby Hotel and an easy walk if you're staying anywhere in Solvang. They serve traditional Danish dishes (kringle is a MUST try) as well as all other American breakfast staples. They're open from 6 AM to 3 PM everyday, but can get super crowded on weekends so plan accordingly. I'll link the menu right here if you're curious to see more. 



Just a stone's throw outside of Solvang is the quaint town of Los Olivos, where Nella Kitchen & Bar is located. Nella is an extension of the world famous SY kitchen and a favorite among locals. Like Paula's Pancake House, it can get crowded, especially on weekends. Please make a reservation ahead of time and you can find their menu here

If you're looking to dine somewhere in Solvang, The Peasant's Feast, Coast Range, and The Succulent Café are some other options that all of us at Heritage love!


Located inside the Landsby Hotel, Mad & Vin specializes in what they call "wine-country cuisine." Their name, translated from Danish literally means "Food & Wine." If you're looking for something with strong ties to Santa Ynez wine culture, Mad & Vin could be a great spot to check out. (PS... they also have many vegan and gluten free options)

Another favorite amongst food connoisseurs is SY Kitchen, a refined Italian restaurant that specializes in house salads, oven fired pizzas, and homemade pasta. Please note that SY Kitchen requires a reservation, which can be made here.  


Where to stay:

The Landsby Hotel is located in the heart of Solvang and within walking distance to every shop and restaurant in town. The Landsby boasts an expansive, homey courtyard and well-finished bedrooms.  



Nojoqui Falls (pronounced Nuh-ho-wee) is certainly off the beaten path for tourists, even though it's only a 10 minute drive away from Solvang. Popular among locals, Nojoqui Falls State Park offers a 10-15 minute, easy hike that's suitable for people of most ages. I've even seen a guy do this hike on crutches!

After hiking and playing in the water, enjoy the large grass fields, play ground, and BBQ pits for a late afternoon of snacks and games. Note- this waterfall doesn't always have running water depending on the severity of the drought. 


Our neighbor Alessio runs Via Gelateria, a traditional Italian gelato shop! He hand makes his gelato fresh every week and has flavors you've never heard of before (passionfruit, moscarpono coffee, vanilla cinnamon, and dark cherry chocolate)! Regardless of the weather outside, Via Gelateria is a shop that should be at the top of your list!


For any thespians reading this, attending a show at the PCPA theater would be at the absolute top of my list of things to do in Solvang. Although their building is under construction right now, they put on shows nearly every night throughout the summer ranging from plays to musicals and more. You cannot go wrong with your choice of show here. I've attended shows here for the last 15 or so years and enjoy recognizing many of the actors and actresses whom are involved in every production for years on end. 


If you've ever wanted to learn about wine and cheese pairing, Cailloux Cheese (another of our neighbors) is the place to do it. Whether you're someone who wants to cheese taste or take a cheese class, they have options for both. Visit their website here and support local!


Finally, for wine tasting, you can't go wrong with any of the wineries that share a courtyard with us. Our next door neighbor Alma Rosa is a personal favorite of employees, but there are a total of four wineries within just a few meters of our store. All of them grow locally and have a stellar atmosphere for an evening of wine tasting. 

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