On our recent trip to California we decided would take a day to walk around the town of Solvang. We enjoy experiencing different cultures and while this didn’t take us out of our own country, it offered us a tiny little taste of Denmark. Sometimes, doing something a little outside of the norm is exactly what you need. Different than the norm can be a whole lot of fun and that’s what we found Solvang to be.
We can’t say that we did much more than browse shops and eat food but that alone was enjoyable for the entire family (ages 2 on up!). What made it fun? Well, for one thing the town itself looks different than your typical American town. The city was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes who wished to create a Danish colony in America. (For a brief overview of the city, visit the ever popular Wikipedia page on the subject.) The architecture of the town, the façades and buildings, reflect the traditional Danish style. Here is a picture from our trip that gives you an idea of what to expect:
The town itself is actually quite large and there are plenty of things to pop around and see while you were there. We opted to explored the streets, taking time to pop into various stores of interest. The streets are peppered with candy stores, toy stores, souvenir shops, restaurants and bakeries and high end retail shops. Some of our favorite places were:
- The Book Loft (We may have stocked up on some Hans Christian Anderson titles that we were previously missing.)
- Hats Unlimited (Try on that Viking-like head gear!)
- Ingeborg’s Chocolates (The kids each spent some of their saved up vacation money for their chocolate candies of choice! Note: sugar-free options available!)
- Danish Mill Bakery (We picked up a loaf of sliced bread and some of their yummy cheese bread for the road!)
- Jule Hus Christmas Store (Oh, yes!)
- Nathalie’s Doll House
We took a break from walking around and visited Mortensen’s Danish Bakery and got some delicious treats to share together as a family. As you might imagine, the children were huge fans of this particular stop. (We collectively recommend this bakery for a stop if you need some downtime to relax. And eat.)
We debated going into the Hans Christian Anderson Museum which is connected to the Book Loft. What we found though was that many of the items from the museum are housed in the upper floor of the book store so we opted not to pay any particular entrance fees and instead just enjoyed exploring the town.
We ate lunch at the Viking Gardens which was so-so. We didn’t really have any restaurant to compare it to and I think that proved problematic in the overall meal experience. We can say that all of us enjoyed the Split Pea Soup but there are some question marks around the schnitzel. According to Yelp reviewers, it’s not really Danish food (a fact I’m going to find relieving). Wish we had looked up reviews before we went! (We usually do that but this time we didn’t.) I will say though that their hamburgers (ordered by other patrons) looked delicious. Oh well! Better luck next time.
To learn more about Solvang and visiting options, click over to the Official Solvang Visitors Website.
Are we glad we went? Yes! Our family had a blast. It was a fun addition to our California trip.