There’s a feeling you get in the Santa Ynez Valley – a vibe. Gather inspiration for your next trip from our blog, and then share how you experience the SYV by tagging your photos on social with #SYVibes.

Easter Weekend in the SYV

Easter weekend activities and events in the Santa Ynez Valley

Easter weekend is a special time to celebrate and gather with loved ones in the Santa Ynez Valley. We know there’s plenty to do between family gatherings and church outings, so we’ve compiled a list of activities and events over Easter Weekend for you to peruse.

Friday, April 14th


Carr Warehouse
Live Music with Tony Ybarra ~ Flamenco, Latino Guitar Duo
Hours: 5-7pm
Cost of Event: Free Admission, 21+

Standing Sun Wines
Standing Sun LIVE presents Greg Felden with Chi McClean and Lady Rogo
This is an all ages show! Wines will be available for purchase and food will be available for purchase from Tacos Amigos.
Hours: 7pm
Cost: $12 Standing Room / $17 Reserved Seating

Saturday, April 15th

Easter Egg Hunts

Buellton Rec Center’s Easter Eggstravaganza
Hosted by the Buellton Rec Center, Easter Eggstravaganza begins at 10 am sharp! Over 10,000 eggs, prizes and games all taking place at River View Park, Buellton. The Easter bunny will be there too, so don’t be late.
Hours: 10am – 1pm
Cost of Event: Free admission

The Great Bell Street Egg Hunt in Downtown Los Alamos
Hop on out to Los Alamos for a springtime egg hunt! They’ll be hiding treasure-filled eggs along Bell Street, and it’s up to you to find them. Collect super sweet prizes like free wine (for 21+), tasty eats and more.
Hours: 1pm – 5pm
Cost of Event: Free admission

Special Offerings & Entertainment

Loring Wine Company
Tax Relief Day
Join Loring Wine Company at their tasting room in Buellton and take a break from the hectic tax season. Half-off wine tastings and complimentary cheese pairings all day. They’re also taking 15% off all bottle purchases!
Hours: 10am – 4:45pm
Cost of Event: 15% off all wines, half-price tastings, complimentary cheese pairings

Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Live Music: Kate Steinway’s Wayfaring Woman Tour
Kate Steinway is bringing her soulful voice and cheerful ukulele to California’s Central Coast this summer on her “Wayfaring Woman” Tour. A world traveler and storyteller, Steinway will be sharing her effervescent and heartfelt songwriting
Hours: 12pm – 4pm
Cost of Event: Free admission, Sunstone wines available to purchase

The Good Life Cellar
Live Music at The Good Life
Enjoy live music with local Country Rock Star – Cash Cooper!
Hours: 8pm – 10:30pm
Cost of Event: Free admission, California craft beer and wine available for purchase

Sunday, April 16th, Easter Day


Santa Ynez Valley Marriott
Easter Brunch Buffet
The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s Easter Brunch Buffet will feature an array of breakfast items, hot and cold dishes and several desserts. There will be a Bottomless Mimosa bar, too! Reservations are required, please call 688-1000.
Hours: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Cost: $45.00 for Adults & Seniors, $30.00 for children 4-10 years, $20.00 for Bottomless Mimosa Bar

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery
Brunch at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery with Live Music

Bob’s will be serving Hot Cross Buns for as long as they last from April 14th through Easter Sunday, April 16th, and will be selling the bakery’s signature Easter Panettone. As a special treat for Easter’s festivities, soulful musician Kate Steinway, currently on the “Wayfaring Woman” tour, will entertain guests with her cheerful Ukulele from 10am to 1pm. Bob’s Well Bread Café menu will be served throughout the day.
Hours: The bakery will be open 7am – 6pm, with live music from 10am – 1pm.
Cost: Easter admission and live music is free; Easter Panettone – $25; Hot Cross Buns – $18 / dozen
Order Details:  All Panettone orders must be submitted by 6:00 pm Friday, April 14th. Choose pick up day of Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  After the 14th, first come, first served. Hot Cross Buns Served from April 14th – April 16th only. Order by calling 805-344-3000.

Easter Egg Hunts

Kalyra Winery
Easter Egg-stravaganza
Easter fun for the entire family, egg coloring, egg hunt for kids & adults, prizes, wine specials.
Hours of Event: 10am -5pm
Cost of Event: Free! Guests can bring a picnic — no outside wine or alcohol allowed

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church
St. Mark’s Easter Egg Hunt
Members of the public of all ages are invited to celebrate Easter at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue at the corner of Alamo Pintado Avenue in downtown Los Olivos. The popular St. Mark’s Easter Egg Hunt will be held at 9:15 am in the courtyard and gardens for toddlers and children through elementary school age (kids, please bring your own basket).
Hours of Event: 9:15 a.m. start time until all eggs are discovered
Cost of Event:  Free to all children from toddlers to elementary school age. Happy Easter!

Vincent Vineyards & Winery
Easter Sunday Egg Hunt

Join Vincent Vineyards & Winery for a special Easter celebration! Bring friends and your own basket for the egg hunt, egg painting, and photos with the Easter Bunny.
Hours of Event: 1pm for ages 1 – 5; 1:30pm for ages 6 – 10; 2pm for egg painting and photos with the Easter bunny

Special Offerings & Entertainment

Global Gardens
2 for 1 tastings on Easter Sunday
Buy one $5 tasting, get another one free! Taste Organic Cerignolas and enjoy $10 off large liter jar.
Hours: 10am – 5pm

Tasting Rooms Open

The following Santa Ynez Valley wineries and tasting rooms will also be open on Sunday, April 16th. We recommend calling ahead to confirm hours.

  • Alexander & Wayne, 11am – 6pm
  • Alma Rosa, 11am – 6:30pm
  • Arthur Earl, 11am – 6pm
  • Barbieri-Kempe, 12pm – 5pm
  • Beckmen, 11am – 5pm
  • Blair Fox Cellars
  • Buttonwood Farm Winery, 11am – 5pm
  • Ca’ Del Grevino, 12pm – 7pm
  • Carivintas,  11am – 7pm
  • Carr Warehouse, 11am – 6pm
  • Casa Cassara Winery, 12 – 6pm
  • Casa Dumetz
  • Dascomb Cellars
  • Dragonette
  • Dreamcote Wine Co, 11am – 5pm
  • Foley Estate Vineyard & Winery, 10am – 5pm
  • Firestone Vineyards, 10am – 5pm
  • Kaena, 11am – 3pm
  • Kalyra, 10am – 5pm
  • Lincourt Vineyard, 10am – 5pm
  • Lucky Dogg Winery, 11am – 5pm
  • Rideau Vineyard, 11am – 4:30pm
  • Sort This Out Cellars & High Roller Tiki Lounge, 10am – 7pm
  • Vincent Vineyards & Winery, 12pm – 5pm
  • Zinke Wine Co., 11am – 5pm


Santa Ynez Valley Events

Touring Through the Santa Ynez Valley

SANTA YNEZ, CA - MAY 15: Storm clouds float over Armour Ranch Road in Happy Canyon on May 15, 2015, near Santa Ynez, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers, the coastal region of Santa Barbara has become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

With so many constraints on and so much demand for our time these days, it’s incredible to get away even for a few days—especially when that time away is in the middle of California’s Central Coast. More specifically, the Santa Ynez Valley. With its gorgeous vineyards to explore, charming inns and B&Bs to stay at, and miles of open road to drive, the Santa Ynez Valley is the perfect place to relax, unwind, and forget about real life for a while. And with six distinct communities to discover, all within close proximity of each other, exploring the back roads and byways of the Santa Ynez Valley is simple and fun.

There are few folks who know the open road more than CarRentals.com, which is why we’ve partnered with them to present the top places in the Santa Ynez Valley to explore on your next trip. Here are CarRentals.com’s recommended ways to tour the Santa Ynez Valley.


Heading north from Las Cruces on U.S. Route 101, you’ll travel through picturesque countryside, with sprawling pastures at the foot of rolling hills that are covered in flowing green and yellow grasses. You’ll pass by places with names like Pioneer Ranch, Nojoqui Creek Farms, and Moonshine Canyon. You’ll know you have arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley when you reach Buellton, a place where days are spent discovering Mendenhall’s Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Peroliana, exploring hot spots down Industrial Way, or touring the vineyards at Mosby Winery. Grab a bottle of their La Donna, a refreshing chardonnay that’s perfect for enjoying on a warm summer day.

Los Alamos

Also located off the famed U.S. Route 101 is Los Alamos, a town whose Spanish name translates to “the cottonwoods.” Enjoy lunch at one of the cafes like Bell Street Farm or Bob’s Well Bread Bakery that line the downtown street.

Santa Ynez

The wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley—especially the ones around its namesake town—aren’t all about lounging in Adirondack chairs on sprawling estates, checking off boxes for each wine you like. Sometimes the journey to get to them is half the fun. Especially when you begin in the town of Santa Ynez and drive along its unparalleled wine trail. As you make your way past vineyards with names like Crown Point and Vogelzang, you’ll weave your way through horse ranches and produce farms that share real estate space with many of the wineries on this trail. If you only make a stop at one winery, it should be the Italian villa look-a-like, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery. Enjoy a glass of 2015 soleil blanc and a cheese platter while relaxing at this sprawling estate and gazing at the surrounding countryside.


A few miles down California State Route 246 will bring you to a quaint town called Solvang, a place that looks like a re-creation of a 17th century Danish village, because that’s exactly what the town’s Danish settlers intended. Park the car and start off on foot along the Solvang Wine Walk, a self-guided tour through the many tasting rooms that occupy storefronts in the downtown district. Begin with a wine and chocolate tasting on the patio at Royal Oaks Winery Tasting Room while a local musician serenades you with soothing tunes. Continue your journey down backstreets like Copenhagen Drive and Park Way, stopping in such esteemed places like Dascomb Cellars and Toccata Tasting Room, before completing your tour with a treat from one of Solvang’s authentic Danish bakeries.


When you head east on California State Route 246, you’ll eventually run into Route 154, where you’re going to want to hang a left and continue on until you reach the town of Ballard. Don’t blink, or you might miss this charming little enclave in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley, which happens to be a perfect place to escape the big city for a day or two. Make your way to Seein’ Spots Farm and make new friends in the form of miniature mules and donkeys. Check out the historic Ballard Little Red Schoolhouse, which has been educating students since 1883. And when your appetite becomes too strong to ignore, head over to The Ballard Inn & The Gathering Table, where you can enjoy an excellent wine and food pairing.

Los Olivos

Any visit to the Santa Ynez Valley is not complete without a scenic drive along the Foxen Canyon Road Wine Trail. Beginning in Los Olivos, you’ll pass through miles upon miles of postcard-worthy landscapes characterized by vineyards, rolling pastures, grazing cattle, and oak-dotted hillsides as far as the eye can see. Since this is, after all, a wine trail, stop off at Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard, where a deeply colored bottle of 2013 Parker West pinot noir will provide a wonderful contrast to the valley’s whites. Continue your bottle-collecting journey at the eponymous Foxen Winery and pick up a bottle of their Foxen 7200 2014 sauvignon blanc. When it’s all said and done and the time to make your way back to your homestead has come, you’ll have more than enough bottles of fine wine to entertain guests at future dinner parties, and just as many wonderful stories to share about the trip. Cheers.

We hope we’ve said it all. We think we’ve said it all. Now, all that is left for you to do is climb behind the wheel and hit the wide-open roads of the Santa Ynez Valley. Remember to enjoy your time in wine country responsibly. California’s Central Coast has never looked so good.

Author: Chris Killen






Santa Ynez Valley Events

Why You Should Spend Your Spring Break in the Santa Ynez Valley

Spring is just around the corner and not only does that mean that an end to winter is finally in sight but it also means that it’s nearly time for your Easter holiday! To help you make the most of your time off,

Visit the Santa Ynez Valley has the perfect spring break vacation ideas. Our charming towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang know how to up the springtime celebrations, and love welcoming visitors for a weekend getaway in the Santa Ynez Valley.


If your spring break occurs between Wednesday, March 15 and Sunday, March 19, you’ll want to plan a Santa Ynez Valley visit for the 25th Annual Taste of Solvang, which features some delectable foodie festivities:

  • Farmers Market Chef Walks: Solvang Farmers Market, Wednesday, March 15 @ 3:00 PM. Led by Solvang’s prominent farm-to-table chefs. Start with a guided stroll through the Market to find produce that will result in a unique gourmet experience comprised of that day’s haul.
  • Blind Tasting Challenge: Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang, Thursday, March 16 at 6:00 PM. Taste four red wines, while learning to use wine knowledge and sensory skills to arrive at a final conclusion for each.
  • Sip + Savor: Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall, Friday, March 17 from 7-9 PM. 25 of the best Santa Ynez Valley chefs, bakers, caterers, winemakers, and brewers present a smorgasbord of savory and sweet bites, wine, beer and cocktails, with live music from the Sean Wiggins Band.
  • Tasting Trail: Saturday, March 18 from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Shop your way through Solvang as dozens of businesses welcome Trail guests with bite-sized edible treats. The Hans Christian Andersen Museum, the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, and the Wildling Museum will all offer free admission for ticket holders.
  • Solvang Wine & Beer Walk: Saturday, March 18 from 2-7 PM and Sunday, March 19 from 12-4 PM. Pair shopping with a refreshing sampling from over 15 wine tasting rooms, wine bars and beer bars.
  • Buttonwood Farm Winemaker Dinner: Saturday, March 18 at 6:00 PM at Cecco Ristorante in Solvang. Join Chef David Cecchini and Buttonwood Farm Winery winemaker, Karen Steinwachs, for a locally-inspired, Italian-influenced gourmet dinner.
  • Sunday Brunches: Sunday, March 19. Venture over to “The Backroom” at Valley Brewers for a whole new culinary experience as Starlight Kitchen’s artisanal spread plays with wine country-inspired savory dishes by The Chef’s Touch Catering and Valley Brewers expertly paired brews.  Or let the culinary team at The Landsby treat your taste buds to their unique worldly flavors with a locally-sourced Sunday brunch in the Santa Ynez Valley-inspired dining room of the beautiful Mad & Vin.

Also available are the Weekend Pass and VIP packages. Make reservations now at hotels in Santa Ynez Valley as rooms fill up quickly.

Buellton Wine and Chili Festival

Check out the red-hot Buellton Wine and Chili Festival on Sunday, March 19 from noon until 4:30 p.m. at the beautiful Flying Flags RV Resort. Your ticket includes a souvenir glass, unlimited wine for those over 21, chili tastings, and live entertainment by The Caverns. You can even play bocce ball, horse shoes, table tennis, mega-sized beer pong and cornhole. Tickets are available for guests under 21 who just want to sample chili, and have a good time. Children under 12 are FREE, so bring the entire family to this certified International Chili Society Cook-off!


Spring Break Activities in the Santa Ynez Valley

Don’t miss these other Easter and spring break activities in the Santa Ynez Valley:

28th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza and Easter Egg Hunt: Saturday, April 15 at 10:00 am. The Valley’s largest egg hunt is in Buellton at River View Park. After the hunt, enjoy activities, games, Easter crafts, a picture with the Easter bunny and more! Free.

Easter Egg Hunt: At Andrew Murray Vineyards in Los Olivos on Saturday, April 15 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The winery will host several games and activities culminating in the Easter Egg Hunt. After all the eggs are found, enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace while the kids play outside. There is a cost involved for this family event.

Easter Egg Hunt Party: At Kalyra Winery in Santa Ynez on Sunday, April 16, from 10:00 AM Easter Egg Hunt– 5:00 PM. Kids can scour the property for eggs to redeem for chocolate, while adults hunt for eggs in the tasting room to redeem for 2 for 1 tastings, discounts on wine, and other fun prizes.

35th Annual Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend: April 20-23, 2017. Visit up to twelve tasting rooms from Thursday through Sunday with an all-inclusive Vintners Visa Wine Country Tasting Pass. Many wineries also host their own events, including open houses, winemaker dinners, library tastings, vineyard walks, and barrel tastings. Events for Saturday, April 22 include: Santa Barbara Wine Seminar from 9:30-11:00 a.m. at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, Festival Grand Tasting from 1-4 p.m. at River View Park in Buellton, and the Big Bottle Bash, starting at 7:00 p.m., at K’Syrah, a new special event venue in downtown Solvang, featuring large format wines brought by guests and winery representatives paired with a delicious family style dinner.

Visit SYV

Visit our website at VisitSYV.com before hopping on over to the Santa Ynez Valley for a listing of Santa Ynez hotels and Santa Ynez Valley restaurants. You’ll also find a complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley,  or check out our suggestions for more Easter and spring break activities.

Happy Spring Break from Visit Santa Ynez Valley!

Santa Ynez Valley Events

February is All About Love in the Santa Ynez Valley

Where is the love? Visit Santa Ynez Valley knows that after the new year begins, you quickly get back into the grind and tackle the new year with a ferocity. With new year goals and new deadlines fast approaching, it’s easy to get lost in work and obligations. But now that you’ve settled back into a daily routine and life per usual, isn’t it time to think about the love again? You and your loved one put a lot of effort into making things great on the homefront and the workplace, so now it’s time to do the same for just the two of you. Come celebrate the good life and find the love again this February with a romantic weekend getaway in Santa Ynez.

We’ve taken out the guesswork for you and have the sweetest recommendations in store – from accommodations, cozy dinners for two, and a lineup of great special events, we have you covered. First, you’ll need to book a room in one of our cozy Santa Ynez Valley hotels or bed and breakfast inns. Built in the traditional style of a Danish village, the Royal Copenhagen Inn in Solvang will have you believing you have traveled to Denmark. Its spacious rooms, suites, and lofts are all decorated in the Danish tradition. Check out their Wine and Spa package, and all you’ll have to do is sit back and feel the love.

Elegant accommodations and award-winning cuisine make Ballard Inn & Restaurant one of the most sought after romantic bed and breakfast inns in the Santa Ynez Valley. With its gourmet cuisine, fine local wines, and comfortable guest rooms (many with fireplaces), you’ll be enveloped in a tranquil atmosphere that exudes romance. For an additional fee, they will sprinkle your room with gorgeous rose petals at bed turn-down, add a bottle of locally acclaimed Laetitia Sparkling Brut Cuvee, leave scrumptious chocolates on the pillows, lower the lights, and set the mood with soft music.

Valentine's Day Vacation Central Coast

Does music put you in the mood? Then you won’t want to miss the ultimate crooner, Johnny Mathis, as he brings “The Voice of Romance Tour 2017” to Chumash Casino Resort on Thursday, February 9 at 8PM. One of the most beloved male vocalists of all time, Johnny Mathis is a legendary member of the Grammy Hall of Fame with a dozen gold or platinum albums. Come swoon to his lush, romantic vocal stylings on adult contemporary favorites including “Misty,” “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Chances Are,” and more. And don’t miss the Casino’s “Sweetheart of A Deal BINGO Winnerfest” on Sunday, February 12 at 1pm.  Sales start at 9am.

If it’s wine that does the trick, you’ll want to extend your stay over the President’s Day weekend and enjoy the 12th anniversary of “A Wine Fantasy In February,” from 2/17 through 2/20. Sponsored by the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association, this is their most popular event of the year. On your self-guided tour, you’ll visit many small, family owned winery tasting rooms throughout the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s the one time of the year where you’ll get to taste reserve and estate wines, meet many of the winemakers and winery owners, and enjoy delicious cuisine along the way.Valentine's Day Vacation Central Coast

For more ideas, review our complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, romantic Santa Ynez Valley restaurants, or check out our suggestions for Valentine’s Day activities below. We are thrilled to share the romance of the Santa Ynez Valley with visitors to our area.

Find the Love with Valentine’s Day Activities in the Santa Ynez Valley

Valentine's Day Vacation Central Coast

Here are just a few Santa Ynez Valley Valentine’s ideas you and your partner will love:

  • Valentine’s Day Winemaker Dinner: Saturday, February 11 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Sanford Winery. Enjoy a romantic evening of extraordinary wine and food in the majestic West Barrel Room. In honor of Valentine’s Day, winemaker Steve Fennell will guide you through a full course meal by Pure Joy Catering, and discuss Sanford Winery’s history, winemaking practices and estate wines.
  • Tales From the Tavern: At Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm. Featuring Peter Malvey and Heather Maloney. Tales from the Tavern is an extraordinary concert series and community cultural program that brings together singer-songwriter-storytellers / authentic troubadours and an exceptional listening audience, in the intimate setting of an old roadhouse, to share in a journey of discovery through song and story.
  • EROS DAY 2017: Celebrate with your love on EROS DAY 2017 with the Pre-Release of our 2015 EROS, Sunstone’s “Lovely” Bordeaux style Blend Saturday, February 11, from 11am-4 pm
  • Ride and Wine: Enjoy unsurpassed views with a ranch and vineyard ride at Vino Vaqueros. The rolling hills set the stage for an unforgettable adventure. After your ride, make your way back to the barn and enjoy a glass of wine from Estelle Vineyards.
  • Spend Time Together: Nothing says “I love you” more than spending time together. Explore our charming towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang. Discover that treasure you never thought you’d find –  or perhaps never even dreamed of – at more than 200 independent and family-owned boutiques (chain stores are virtually non-existent).  Experience local artisans’ wares, jewelry, apparel and crafts from contemporary to vintage. You’ll especially enjoy “Solvang Third Wednesday” on Wednesday, February 15. This is a special day to shop, eat, drink, and play in Solvang. More than 60 unique shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, activities and professional offices offer special sales and discounts every Third Wednesday.

Valentine's Day Vacation Central Coast

You’ll also find plenty of romantic hideaway dinner locations in our quaint towns. And of course there are plenty of romantic walks, bicycle paths, picnic spots and outdoor activities where you can just relax together and talk…or whatever.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Visit Santa Ynez Valley!

Valentine's Day Vacation Central Coast

Santa Ynez Valley Events

3 Reasons to Visit Santa Ynez Valley this February


Looking for a winter escape? Then here are three top reasons to visit Santa Ynez Valley this February, from romantic activities and wine tasting to gorgeous, film-worthy scenery.

  1.  February wine events

February is all about romance and there’s no better place to spend Valentine’s Day than in Santa Ynez Valley. Book a weekend getaway with your partner and enjoy a backdrop of sweeping ocean views, lush vineyards and majestic mountains. For the perfect romantic evening, visit one of the valley’s many wine-tasting rooms, take a vineyard tour or check out one of these special Valentine’s events:

  • Valentine’s wine and chocolate pairing – sample delicious truffles and three half glasses of red wines at the Wandering Dog Wine Bar. Tastings take place from the 9th to the 15th February and cost $20 per person. Add cheese tasting for an additional $7.
  • A Wine Fantasy in February – the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association is holding its 13th annual event for wine-lovers. A $55 wine fantasy passport gives you free tastings at each of the association’s 14 wine rooms, many of which are family-owned. Meet the winemakers, enjoy delicious free food and take away a souvenir wine glass.
  • Valentine’s Day Wine Maker Dinner – enjoy a romantic evening at Sanford winery with a gourmet meal in the stunning West Barrel Room. Winemaker Steve Fennell will guide you through the meal and discuss the wines. Tickets cost $120 for club members and $150 for non-club members.  
  1.  Visit film locations in Santa Ynez Valley

The annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes place from February 1st to the 11th. This year, Visit SYV is proud to be sponsoring the World Cinema Series taking place at several theaters throughout the festival. VisitSYV will have a lounge in the so if you have a festival pass, drop by for our happy hours and after parties. SBIFF

Film buffs at the festival know that the Santa Ynez Valley is a popular filming location for moviemakers because of its iconic Californian landscape of towering mountains, sparkling coastline and picturesque towns. Films set in Santa Ynez Valley include Sideways, Seabiscuit and the Gary Sinise adaptation of Of Mice and Men. Why not take a tour of these classic film locations throughout the valley this February?

  1.  Romantic activities

If you’re visiting Santa Ynez Valley on a Valentine’s getaway, there are plenty more romantic activities on offer besides wining and dining. Try one of these:

  • Hot air balloon rides – the year-round near perfect climate in Santa Ynez Valley, as well as light winds make it the perfect place for hot air ballooning. Take a romantic sunrise or sunset ride and float over vineyards and ranches.
  • Horseback riding – Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding offer guided rides through the hills and fields of Estelle Vineyards. Opt for a private ride for a romantic experience.
  • Couples massage – pamper your loved one with a romantic couple’s massage or treatment at one of Santa Ynez Valley’s top Spas.

So what are you waiting for? Head to Santa Ynez Valley this February for some romance, wine and breathtaking views.

Find a hotel in Santa Ynez Valley and explore our six quaint towns. Take a wine tour or dine at our 5 star rated restaurants.

Valentine's In The Valley



Santa Ynez Valley Events

Top 5 Reasons To Attend Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week

California Restaurant Month

Top 5 Reasons To Attend Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week is almost here! Of course, everyone at Visit Santa Ynez Valley thinks the restaurants in Santa Ynez Valley are great all year round, but they really do go all-out to make January our favorite time of year. That’s when visitors and locals alike get to taste some great California cuisine at an unbelievably prices. The 7th Annual Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week kicks off on January 22 and ends on January 28, giving you a full week of extraordinary dining.

Restaurants throughout the Santa Ynez Valley will present 3-course tasting menus for just $20.17 (excluding tax, tip and beverages). Get the family and friends together, invite guests from out-of-town, or plan an intimate evening for two without the kids. Here are the top five reasons everyone will want to attend the 2017 Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week:

The Amazing Price: You read that right – the amazingly low price of just $20.17 for 3 courses is practically unheard of! And our world class restaurants do not sacrifice quality to meet this price point. They really want you to come in, get to know them, and sample their cuisine. They’re putting their best foot forward to introduce you to the many unique and creative dining options we have available in Santa Ynez Valley.

The Wineries: It’s not just our restaurants that have all the fun. Many of our tasting rooms like to participate by offering special wine and small bite pairings for $20.17. They want you to have the opportunity to get to know more about the terrific wines that are produced in the Santa Ynez Valley. Participating tasting rooms include Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards, Brander Vineyard, Helix Tasting Room, Kaena Wines, Kalyra Winery, Loring Wine, and Wandering Dog Wine Bar.

Hotel Specials: Everyone gets on board with Restaurant Week because we really want to show off our great communities. Book a stay for yourself or your out-of-town guests during Restaurant Week, and ask about their special offers. Many of the amazing hotels in the Santa Ynez Valley offer restaurant week specials, including ForFriends Inn Bed & Breakfast, King Frederik Inn, Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, and Solvang Inn & Cottages.

Reconnect With Friends: When was the last time you were really able to talk with your friends? You’ve all gotten busy with life, but what better way is there to reconnect than over a wonderful meal? Grab a friend and make Restaurant Week your time to bond over new and exciting flavors.

New Flavors: Are you in a food rut? It can be disconcerting to try new flavors or taste sensations. But Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone while you expand your horizons and your palate. The restaurants in Santa Ynez Valley love to pull out all the stops and showcase their menus to new audiences during this special week. At a bargain price, you can certainly afford to try places you wouldn’t normally venture. Who knows? You might just find a new “favorite” spot!

Our charming towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang have some amazing restaurants, and we are sure you and your loved ones can’t possibly have tried them all yet. In the Santa Ynez Valley you can find everything from down-home American and authentic Danish to sushi and modern Italian-American cuisine.

You’ll find restaurants spotlighting local ingredients, romantic hideaways, family-friendly pancake houses, brew pubs, oodles of al fresco dining options, wine from the valley’s award-winning vineyards and even locally-brewed beers. With over 25 restaurants participating in Restaurant Week this year, you’re sure to find incredible flavors all week long.

Note that participating hours may vary from restaurant to restaurant, so it’s always a good idea to check our website. Head over to www.DineSYV.com to see participating restaurants and menus, and be sure to stay tuned, and follow us to learn more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for special sneak previews!

For more ideas on creating a weekend getaway in Santa Ynez or finding romantic Valentine’s Day activities, stop by our website at VisitSYV.com to review our complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Ynez hotels, and Santa Ynez Valley restaurants you can enjoy year-round. We are thrilled to share the awesome cuisine of the Santa Ynez Valley with those who know us best and those who are new to our area.

California Restaurant Month

Happy Restaurant Week from Visit Santa Ynez Valley!

P.S. If you think our food in the Santa Ynez Valley is great, wait until you try our wine! In February we will be celebrating the 12th anniversary of “A Wine Fantasy In February,” from 2/17 through 2/20. Sponsored by the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association, this is their most popular event of the year. On your self-guided tour, you’ll visit many small, family owned winery tasting rooms throughout the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s the one time of the year where you’ll get to taste reserve and estate wines, meet many of the winemakers and winery owners, and enjoy delicious cuisine along the way.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Ring in the New Year in the Santa Ynez Valley

The New Year is a time for hope, happiness and celebrations. Visit the Santa Ynez Valley invites you to celebrate the good life in our charming communities. With New Year’s Day on a Sunday this year, we encourage you to take a relaxing weekend vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley. Explore our quaint towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang, take in a Santa Ynez Valley wine tour, and festively celebrate the New Year.

 Happy New Year from Visit the Santa Ynez Valley!

New Year’s Eve Activities in the Santa Ynez Valley

  • New Year’s Eve Dance Party: Saturday, December 31 at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. Ring in the New Year with a fun and funky New Year’s Eve Dance Party! Boogie down and count down to 2017 during a fun-filled flashback concert, featuring 70s disco tribute band “Boogie Knights” and totally awesome 80s band “The Spazmatics.” It’s the perfect way to celebrate New Year’s Eve and it’s all free with a Club Indulge Card.
  • New Year’s Eve Festivities: Saturday, December 31, celebrate New Year’s across the country at The Good Life in Solvang, a retail shop and bar specializing in California Craft Beer and small production wines from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles. They will be open from noon until 11:00 p.m., beginning with “East Coast” New Year’s Festivities at 7 pm. The cost is $40/person.
  • New Year’s Eve Dinner at Ballard Inn and Restaurant: Ballard Inn and Restaurant will be serving a five-course dinner at 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. Call ahead of time at 800-638-2466 to guarantee a table!
  • New Year’s Eve Dinner at S.Y. Kitchen: S.Y. Kitchen will also be serving a special New Year’s Eve menu from 5pm to closing. Pricing ranges from $18 – $40 for specials with optional wine pairings curated by Sommelier Emily Johnston available by the glass or bottle. The holiday menu items will be offered à la carte and are meant to be enjoyed alongside other seasonal offerings and signature dishes from S.Y. Kitchen’s dinner menu. Call ahead for reservations at (805) 691-9794 and preview the menu here.
  • New Year’s at the Maverick Saloon: The Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, established in 1963, is one of the last original, thriving California honky-tonk saloons. Tucked away in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Maverick gives locals and visitors a taste of the Old West and makes everyone feel at home. The minute you step on the front porch you will see the history in the walls constructed from old barns, hear the live music coming from the stage, and feel the spirit of the people who’ve been welcomed through its doors by the signed dollar bills left on the ceiling – proof they were once lucky enough to have been there! Stop in New Year’s Eve for the fabulous Soul Cats, complimentary champagne, party hats and more. $10/per person or $15/per couple.
  • New Year’s Eve Champagne Party: December 31 from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang. Celebrate New Year’s Eve on east coast time before heading out for your west coast party! Countdown at 9pm with Champagne toast. Party goes until 10pm with drink specials and lots of fun!
  • New Years’ Eve at Rideau Vineyards: Visit this charming tasting room and winery in Solvang for a singular wine tasting experience. Surrounded by vineyards planted in 1998, lush grounds, beautiful gardens, and majestic oak trees, the bucolic site immediately transports you back to feelings of old world French Victorian New Orleans. Party Saturday, December 31 at 1:00 p.m. Includes BBQ pop-up and live music featuring The Burning James Trio.

Santa Ynez New Years Parties

New Year’s Day in the Santa Ynez Valley 

After the partying, start off the New Year on the right foot with a stop at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos. They’re open on New Year’s Day, but visit early in the day for the absolute best selection and lovely aromas of bread and pastry fresh from the oven. Pastries are out by 7am.  Breads start at 7am, and continue to come out until mid-morning. It’s well worth the drive – or the post-celebratory crawl – Travel + Leisure Magazine recently named Bob’s as one of the Top 15 Amazing Small Town Bakeries in the United States.

Interested in brunch?  The Vineyard House in Santa Ynez will ring in the New Year with a brunch menu and dinner on New Year’s Day. The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott and Root 246 are also open for breakfast on New Year’s Day.

Wine making is an art in the Santa Ynez Valley, and wine tasting makes the perfect way to continue your New Year’s celebrations. Take advantage of The Winter Pass through January 31, 2017, and enjoy 14 Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association winery tasting rooms for just $40.

These Santa Ynez Valley wineries will be open on New Year’s Day:

You can also click here to view Holiday Hours for tasting rooms throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country.

If shrub cocktails are more your style, head over to Mad & Vin at The Landsby in Solvang. The Mad & Vin bar will be open at noon New Year’s Day for lunch and cocktails and will serve dinner in the restaurant from 5 pm – 9 pm.

Looking for a little adventure on the first day of the new year? Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding is open New Year’s Day and will have a s’mores bar for riders to enjoy by the fire after their ride. Call (805) 944-0493 to book your appointment.

Once you’ve experienced a New Year in the Santa Ynez Valley, you’ll want to keep coming back again and again. We have plenty of restaurants, hotels, things to do and outdoor activities to keep you and your family entertained year-round. Check back with Visit Santa Ynez Valley frequently for great ideas on restaurants in the Santa Ynez Valley, special wine tasting opportunities, and hotel discounts and packages, or sign up for our newsletter and we will notify you as soon as we have details of upcoming events.

Santa Ynez New Years Parties

Make the Santa Ynez Valley your destination choice for family weekends, romantic weekends, and year-round fun. We look forward to showing you just big our small towns can be.

Stop by our website at VisitSYV.com to review our complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Ynez Valley restaurants, and Santa Ynez hotels and inns, or check out our suggestions below for special New Year events. We are thrilled to share the spirit of the holiday season with visitors to our area.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Christmas Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley

Christmas Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley

Holiday Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley

The Santa Ynez Valley is filled with holiday celebrations in each of our six distinct communities. With so many festive, spirited celebrations, it’s no wonder the town of Solvang was named one of Time Magazine’s “Most Christmassy Towns in America.” We encourage you to spend your Christmas holidays with family and friends in the Santa Ynez Valley this year. Our charming towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang will welcome you in style for a Christmas Santa Ynez vacation.

With so many wonderful events to ring in the holiday season, we came up with our Top 5 Holiday Celebrations in the Santa Ynez Valley not to be missed.

  1. Santa Ynez 3rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, Thursday, Dec. 1,  4 – 5:30pm

Enjoy the lighting of a 75-foot tall redwood tree, the largest Christmas tree in the Santa Ynez Valley, along with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, visits with Santa, live entertainment, cookies and cider.

  1. Holiday Soirée, Thursday, Dec. 1, Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30pm –  9pm

SY Kitchen, Plenty Boutique & Third Window Brewing are partnering for the Holiday Soirée of the season to benefit Old Yeller Ranch Rescue. Don your best ugly sweater of the season for a chance to win a prize, enjoy appetizers by SY Kitchen, craft beer by Third Window Brewing, and wine by Fess Parker Winery. Also, enjoy music by DJ Peetey, photo booth fun, holiday shopping at Plenty Boutique, silent auction packages & more!  

  1. Olde Fashioned Christmas in Los Olivos, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2 – 8pm

A fun-filled day of activities for the entire family, including crafts and activities for the kids and shopping for adults. You may also want to take a relaxing break at Los Olivos restaurants and tasting rooms.

  1. Buellton Winter Fest, Sunday, Dec. 4, 9am – 9pm.

The mild climate of the Santa Ynez Valley may never bring snow. But with a holiday village that piles some 20 tons of snow for all to enjoy, the dream of a white Christmas is indeed possible at the Buellton Winter Fest. The Winter Fest begins with Breakfast with Santa and ends with a light parade and the traditional Buellton Christmas Tree Lighting. In between, enjoy food trucks, vendors, holiday libations, and all the snow in the Holiday Village.

Enjoy two concerts under the baton of new director Dr. Michael Eglin at Solvang Veterans Hall.

  1. Julefest Celebrations in the Santa Ynez Valley, Dec. 1, 2016 – Jan. 6, 2017

One of our biggest holiday celebrations, the annual Solvang Julefest (Yule-Fest), runs from December 1, 2016 through January 6, 2017. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Together,” and features fun activities for everyone. Plus, there will be many open houses at local retailers, special concerts and more throughout the season.

Solvang Julefest

Solvang is known for its delightful Danish-inspired Julefest Christmas celebration. Here are some of the holiday festivities that are planned:

  • Tree Lighting Ceremony: Kick Julefest off on Friday, December 2, from 5-6:30pm in Solvang Park. Enjoy free live entertainment with area bands, choirs and caroling culminating in ballerinas performing around a 22-foot tall tree.
  • Julefest Parade: Saturday, December 3, at 11am, featuring over 300 participants including dancers, musical groups, vintage vehicles, horses, carriages and animals. The parade originates at Solvang Veterans Hall and ends on Alisal Road near the village Post Office. After the parade, enjoy a free performance of “The True Meaning of Christmas—Through the Eyes of a Donkey and Mouse” in the Solvang Park Gazebo with area children presenting an original play.
  • Holiday Marketplace at Wildling Museum of Art and Nature: Saturday, December 3 from noon-5p.m. Browse among over a dozen local artists and craftspeople to find unique gift items. Booths will be placed throughout the museum so you can also enjoy the exhibitions.  Carolers add to the festive atmosphere, free cider and cookies, and a visit from a “polar bear” with family photo opportunities will round out the afternoon.
  • Santa in the Park: December 2-4 and 10-11 at Solvang Park. Welcome Julemanden (The Christmas Man), and bring your camera for some great photo opportunities. First come, first seated with the jolly old elf.
  • Shop, Mingle and Jingle: Holiday celebration featuring thousands of twinkling lights, open houses, special concerts, 100 plus Christmas trees at shops, holiday shopping discounts and more. More than 150 one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops offer everything from clogs to Danish porcelain to handmade lace, leather, iron art, jewelry, clothing, elegant antiques and collectibles, beautiful imported objects, vibrant arts and crafts, and colorful home furnishings. This year’s event spans two weekends, December 2-4 and December 9-11, 2016
  • Julefest Wine & Beer Walk: Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11, 11am-4pm. Your passport features 16 wine and beer tasting rooms throughout the village offering samplings. Tickets are $45 per person (21 years or older only) for the 2-day passport, and include a souvenir wine glass.  
  • Nativity Pageant: Saturday, December 10, 5 & 7 PM, at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater. Free admission. Enjoy an elaborate stage presentation of the nativity story with musical accompaniment and narration. Performance includes a choir, actors in traditional costumes, and live animals on stage.
  • Christmas Lights & Sights Trolley Tour: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 6:00-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:45 p.m., presented by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department. Features the best of holiday décor throughout Solvang and Santa Ynez Valley. Seasonal music and hot chocolate will be served on board. Departs from Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall. Tickets are $13 per person in advance. Call 805-688-7529 to reserve your spot.
  • Solvang Third Wednesday Holiday Edition: Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Featuring deals at local merchants, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors, the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market from 2:00-6:00 p.m., and the Third Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk.
  • Come back on Friday, January 6, 2017, from 5-7p.m. for Solvang’s Annual Christmas Tree Burn in the fields of Old Mission Santa Inés. This is one of the largest fire safety demonstrations and community gatherings on California’s Central Coast. It includes live entertainment and refreshments for purchase.


Christmas Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley

Even More Activities in the Santa Ynez Valley

Stop by our website at VisitSYV.com to review our complete listing of things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Ynez Valley restaurants, and Santa Ynez hotels and inns, or check out our suggestions below for special Christmas events. We are always thrilled to share the spirit of the holiday season with visitors to our area.

Happy Holidays from Visit Santa Ynez Valley!  

Christmas Fun in the Santa Ynez Valley


Santa Ynez Valley Events

Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Santa Ynez Valley

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Santa Ynez Valley

Thanksgiving is a time when many of us welcome family from all parts of the country to our home to celebrate the holiday. If your travels are taking you to the Santa Ynez Valley, you’re in luck. If it will be your first visit, you’re in for a real treat. If you’ve been to the Santa Ynez Valley before then you know about the beauty of the area and all it has to offer.

Located in northern Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley is less than 40 miles away from the Santa Barbara beaches. There is so much to do and see here that you won’t want or need to go anywhere else.

Besides visiting family and friends, there are several other reasons why people put the Santa Ynez Valley on their itineraries. One reason is the Santa Ynez Wine Country. There is some of the best wine tasting around. Numerous wineries call the Santa Ynez Valley home. Be sure to schedule a wine tour when you’re in town.Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Santa Ynez Valley

The Santa Ynez Valley is also a popular spot because of the historic Solvang area. Think of it as a little slice of Denmark situated in California. The area was established in 1911 by a group of Danes who wanted their own space in a warm climate. Fast forward more than 100 years and Solvang is a quaint village that is home to several unique museums as well as boutique shopping and craft beer tasting.

Others come to the Santa Ynez Valley for the great outdoors. Horseback riding and a visit to the botanical gardens is often on many people’s checklists when they visit. You can also just enjoy strolling around different areas and taking in all the sights and sounds the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer.

The Santa Ynez Valley is full of beauty and activities this season and all year round. Once you visit once, you’ll want to come back again and again.

Q&A Hot Sheet

Q: We are coming to visit family but need a place to stay. What kinds of accommodations are available?
A: There is a variety of hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts to choose from. You can select the one that best suits your family’s needs.

Q: What does the Santa Ynez Valley offer for nightlife?
A: There are plenty of nightlife options and restaurants to choose from. The Santa Ynez Valley has several different cuisines to choose from. The best part of the area is that there are places you can just go to relax or more high-energy places like the Chumash Casino Resort. It all depends on the type of experience you’re looking for.

Q: What kind of weather can I typically expect?
A: Santa Ynez Valley has a Mediterranean climate with dry warm summers and mild winters.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Santa Ynez Valley

Upcoming Events in the Santa Ynez Valley

Solvang Farmer’s Market-Wednesday November 23, 2016 – Get all the fixins’ for your Thanksgiving feast at the Solvang Farmer’s Market. A wide variety of agricultural products from local farmers are sold from 2:30-6p.m. on First Street. This is held every Wednesday.

Turkey Trot in Solvang-Friday November 25, 2016 – After you eat all of that turkey on Thanksgiving, come to the Turkey Trot on Friday, November 25th. The 5K run/walk takes place at Sunny Fields Park in Solvang from 10:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. It raises money for the local Salvation Army chapter.

Private Barrel Tasting & Pairing at Figueroa Mountain Brew’s 6th Anniversary Party –Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 1 p.m. – There is plenty to drink and eat at this event. Wristbands will be sold for $10 with 4 cask releases throughout the day. A $75 ticket will get you a 6th Anniversary t-shirt and a 22-ounce bottle to take home.

Recent Posts


Santa Ynez Valley Events

Santa Barbara Wine Country Sparkling Wine Map

Santa Barbara Wine Country

Santa Ynez Valley, in Santa Barbara Wine Country, is known for excellent wines. In fact, this region is one of the world’s premiere growing regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as many other varietals. That’s why it’s perfect for sparkling wine.

This celebratory drink is known by many names: Champagne, Bubbly, Sparkling Wine, Champers, Prosecco, Cava and Bubbles. Santa Ynez Valley’s “Champagne” is also delicious…and it’s local!

California Sparkling Wine can’t be called Champagne — it’s not from the Champagne region of France — but most of the sparkling wine in Santa Ynez Valley is made in the same methode traditionelle, or method champenoise, used in the Champagne region. There are more than 30 producers of Sparkling Wine in Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Solvang and Sta. Rita Hills. Even wineries without tasting rooms are getting into the bubbles business! And these online-only producers are from some of the county’s highest-rated winemakers.

Sparkling Wine is extremely labor-intensive to make, so some wineries only offer their bubbles part of the year, and some make them only for wine club members. But most wineries will pour you a taste of their bubbles if not sold out, so don’t be shy; just ask!

Get the Santa Barbara Sparkling Wine Map here and follow the trail yourself. You can also find the Central Coast Sparkling Wine Map at the wineries shown on the map.

Santa Barbara Wine Country

Santa Ynez Wine Blogger - Liz DodderAbout the Author: Liz Dodder Hansen is a drinker, eater and traveler. She lives on California’s Central Coast and has eaten 5 kinds of foie gras in one day. She’s also a food & wine blogger, writer, photographer, recipe developer, web designer, social media maven and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). She’s written for company Presidents, wine country magazines and a Google blog (Consumer Packaged Goods). She is also totally obsessed with local Bubbles. Her website Cali Coast Wine Country is all about California’s Central Coast: all the food, wineries, restaurants, events and fun things to do from Paso Robles, Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo on down to Santa Barbara Wine Country.


Santa Ynez Valley Events