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.


With world-class wines, a farm-to-table culinary scene, endless natural beauty, and a mild climate, the romance of Valentine’s Day is offered any time of year

The Santa Ynez Valley has long been a favorite destination for couples who yearn for a romantic wine country getaway. With acres of rolling vineyards nourishing some of the world’s best wines, charming inns and hotels welcoming visitors at seemingly every turn, and a creative farm-to-table culinary scene and restaurants with just the right ambiance, the Santa Ynez Valley leaves little wonder why.

Of course, we all want to wow the one we love with a perfect Valentine’s Day. But here in the Santa Ynez Valley along California’s breathtaking Central Coast — where the climate is perfectly mild all year round and the natural beauty is endless from sea to mountain peak — romantic getaways can hardly be contained to a single day in February.

Home to six quaint towns spread throughout a fertile valley, the Santa Ynez Valley’s offerings are as diverse as the couples who visit. The distractions of the outside world fade away as couples ride through the vineyards on horseback, then share the bounty of the region with a quiet picnic prepared by an award-winning chef. With more than 100 wineries to explore, a guided wine tour from a local expert allows couples to take it all in without a single worry in the world. And couples can sip the region’s great vintages with a private tasting in a quiet section of an estate vineyard.

Revel in a morning hike to Gaviota Peak for a breathtaking ocean view, then reach peak relaxation together with a couples massage at one of the region’s top spas, followed by a private wine tasting or two. And finish the day by savoring the fresh flavors and intimate settings that have fostered the Santa Ynez Valley’s renowned culinary scene.

“The romance of the Santa Ynez Valley lies in the abundance of opportunities for couples to reconnect, and the mild climate keeps the window of opportunity open all year long,” said Shelby Sim, President/CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “This region is proud of its world-class wines and restaurants. But what makes the Santa Ynez Valley a truly exceptional romantic getaway is in the many ways it can be shared and relished together — from wine tours and tastings to outdoor excursions to soaring over vineyards in a hot-air balloon or glider.”

Here in the Santa Ynez Valley, so much is possible most every day of the year.

Planning a romantic trip to the Santa Ynez Valley is simple at visitsyv.com, where visitors can research events and attractions, book lodging and activities, and create a custom itinerary with the click of a mouse. 

About the Santa Ynez Valley:

Barely two hours from Los Angeles and a scenic four-hour drive from San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley feels worlds apart from both. With six distinct communities encompassing everything from classic California wine country to Northern European traditions to the very best of the Old West, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to endless possibilities. Here in and around the towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang visitors will find more than 100 wineries, incredible food, special events and a unique, rich heritage. For more information, including a complete listing of wedding venues, restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms and events, go to VisitSYV.com.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Your Instagram-Worthy Santa Ynez Valley Itinerary

A Listing of Santa Barbara Wine Country Locales to Fulfill Your Inner Instagrammer

If you take a trip and don’t post a resulting photo stream to Insta, did that vacation really happen??? Thanks to the force of social media that is Instagram, many of us seek out perfect backdrops for documenting our adventures and experiences, wine country or otherwise. And just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles, or a handful of hours south of San Francisco, on the historically-road tripped California Central Coast, you’ll find six Santa Ynez Valley towns full of scenescapes – all ready and waiting for their close-up.

With all of this photographic content at your fingertips, you’ll need to make the Santa Ynez Valley more than just a day-trip. Book your stay to start populating that Insta feed…c’mon, do it for the gram.

Los Alamos

In the tiny town of Los Alamos, a former stagecoach stop and depot for the Pacific Coast Railway, preserved Old West scenes mingle with mid-century structures and architecture – and nowhere are the town’s Western wiles more apparent than at the 1880 Union Hotel and Saloon, which still houses a stagecoach office within the private event space of the Hotel, a popular wedding venue. The open-to-the-public Saloon has photographic details galore, and the weathered, wood-paneled building’s frontier-town façade always offers up plenty of lens personality.

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Accommodations at boutique, cactus-adorned The Alamo Motel, come complete with Southwestern-chic décor elements and an on-property outpost of Santa Barbara County wine label, Municipal Winemakers, in the form of a photogenic wine tasting “cabin”.

Skyview Los Alamos, an extensively-rehabbed 1950s motor lodge, still boasts the property’s original road-side signage and swimming pool, around which a lounge-y scene of craft cocktails and elevated “hotel food” has emerged (hint: don’t miss the oysters). The 1864 exterior of the Victorian Mansion Bed & Breakfast makes for a pretty picture, but the six themed suites on the inside (1950s, Gypsy, Roman, Egyptian, Pirate, French) really take the Instagram cake.

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Los Olivos

At Los Olivos garden art and home accessories shopping wonderland, J. Woeste, seat yourself in a bright red, larger-than-life Adirondack chair.

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Downtown Los Olivos’ Instagram title of “Miss Congeniality” has been decidedly bestowed upon Los Olivos Lemons, a giant, yellow citrus-shaped stand doling out gourmet lemonade, adjacent to the kid-friendly (of both the “big” and “little” varieties) Saarloos + Sons wine tasting room.

On the culinary spectrum of things to do in Los Olivos, sits Global Gardens®, with an olive oil tasting bar and a #gramworthy, hand-painted butterfly mural.


Santa Ynez

Rowdy, raucous and raring to go: the Western-Victorian town of Santa Ynez is known most in nightlife circles, for The Maverick Saloon. Fabled live entertainment and dance venue, bar and now, eatery, “The Mav” has been the location of many a photo session, some clearly remembered, some slightly hazy (in the best possible way). Strike a pose with one of the many authentic, history-filled horse-drawn transports at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum’s Carriage House. A nod to the Valley’s Victorian era may be found in the opulently-renovated Santa Ynez Inn, with its rambling grounds and event spaces.

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At one of the Santa Ynez Valley’s vineyard gems, Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, the organically-farmed vineyards loll out from under the estate’s Provençal French courtyards, stone barrel-aging caves, and picturesque picnic havens.


Ballard and Solvang

The “burg” of Ballard is in and of itself, fantastically photo-ready, but its crowning jewel is the bucolic lodging and restaurant duo, Chef Budi Kazali’s Ballard Inn and The Gathering Table. Down the country road, lies agri-centric Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, with its Instagram “influencer”-favorited 1946 farm truck. In the heart of downtown Solvang, the Danish-settled village displays numerous hints at its rich cultural past, many of which make for renowned modern photo opps. Solvang’s multiple windmills pull double-duty as businesses and backdrops: in three of the most famous, you’ll find CrossHatch Winery (436 Alisal Road), Sevtap Winery (1622 Copenhagen Drive), and Solvang Brewing Company (1547 Mission Drive).

No visit to “Little Denmark” would be whole, without a pause for pictures in front of The Little Mermaid fountain (Mission Drive and Alisal Road). And who could resist the vivid, vast circumferences of the Danish pancakes at Paula’s Pancake House? Not anyone who would also regale the iconic pastry offerings from one of the many Solvang bakeries, or those frequently-portrayed Danish dough rounds, Aebleskiver. Shopping in Solvang is plentiful, and noticeably popular among visitors is the home of the big red clog – the famously-photographable footwear residing curbside at the Solvang Shoe Store (Copenhagen Drive and First Street). On the outskirts of Solvang, saddle up at The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort for a luxe getaway’s worth of Instagrammable activities like horseback riding, golf, spa time, BBQ dinners and campfire moments.



The award-winning 2004 movie Sideways was filmed in numerous Santa Ynez Valley spots. But one of the film’s most famous settings is now the Sideways Inn, which also features one of the most memorable windmills in the “SYV”, outside of Solvang. Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, Sideways Inn’s sister property which adjoins the hotel’s grounds, is an Instagram dream – from the life-size rhino guarding one of the “glamping” sections of the funtastic vacation destination, to the row of meticulously-restored vintage and Airstream travel trailers, to the variety of themed cottages and tents (Surf, Wine, Brewhaus, National Park, Safari and Tiki), to the private, gated Santa Ynez Guest Ranch and the cinematic luxury getaway that it provides. More Sideways movie nostalgia may be found at the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant, now accompanied by next-door wine tasting location extraordinaire, for chef/restaurateur, Frank Ostini’s, and Gray Hartley’s Hitching Post Wines. Neighboring the twin Hitching Post properties, OstrichLand USA provides eponymously-opportune memories, photographic and otherwise, via its fine-feathered residents.

Save some iPhone memory for Buellton’s picture-perfect roadside history, a grand portion of which is captured in the private collection of the family-owned Mendenhall Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana. Equally as intriguing to highway travel history buffs, is the often-posted Pea Soup Andersen’s – whose billboards up and down Highway 101 paint the way to the storied rest stop.


Let’s get to the root of the matter.

What would a Santa Barbara wine country experience be, without a visit to the vines that produce the region’s awarded wines? Best bets for essay-caliber vineyard photos may be found throughout the Santa Ynez Valley, with some newer entrants to the pictorial game – plus some classic viticulture standbys – stretching from Lompoc to Los Olivos: Melville Vineyards & Winery, Spear Vineyards & Winery, Dierberg Star Lane Vineyards, Brick Barn Wine Estate, Demetria Estate, and Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, to name just a few.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Christmas in the Santa Ynez Valley


Below is a guide to making the most of your Christmas experience in the Santa Ynez Valley. Here you will find a list of what restaurants and wineries will be open, and which restaurants offer special holiday menus. For the best experience, we highly recommend calling the restaurants and tasting rooms ahead of time to ensure they still have seating availability.


Restaurants Open Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

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VisitSYVAbout VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Thanksgiving in the Santa Ynez Valley

Thanksgiving is here (though the weather may not always reflect it!) – and if you are thinking about letting someone else do the cooking this year, Santa Ynez Valley restaurants are eager to serve.

Below is a guide to making the most of your Thanksgiving experience in the Santa Ynez Valley. Here you will find a list of what restaurants and wineries will be open, and which restaurants offer special holiday menus. For the best experience, we highly recommend calling the restaurants and tasting rooms ahead of time to ensure they still have seating availability.

But what other things to do on Thanksgiving can you partake in, especially if you have relatives to entertain? How about a little adventure on Thanksgiving Day? Vino Vaqueros Horseback Riding will be open for rides on Thanksgiving. Call (805) 944-0493 to make your reservation.

Also, make sure to check out our Events Calendar for a complete listing of upcoming events.

Restaurants Open Thanksgiving Day 2018

Actor’s Corner Cafe 443 Second Street, Solvang (805) 686-2409 5:00pm -8:00pm
Aebleskiver Café 446 Alisal Road, Solvang (805) 688-1250 9 AM – 5 PM
Belgian Café 1671 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang (805) 688-6630 7 AM – 3 PM
Big Bopper Drive-In 1510 Mission Dr., Solvang (805) 688-6018 10 AM – 8 PM
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery 550 Bell St
Los Alamos
(805) 344-3000 7:00am – 11:00am
Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn 3539 Sagunto St
Santa Ynez
(805) 688-4142 1:00pm – 6:00pm (Traditional Thanksgiving Buffet)
Cafe Dolce 475 First St, Solvang (805) 708-9003 7 AM – 8 PM
Cecco Ristorante 475 First St, Solvang (805) 688-8880 11:30 AM – 3 PM; 5 – 9 PM
Chumash Casino 3400 CA-246
Santa Ynez
(805) 686-0855 Cafe: 7am – midnight              Buffet: 1pm-9pm          Willows:  3:00pm – 9:00pm  MENUS
Copenhagen Sausage Garden 1660 Copenhagen Dr.,
(805) 697-7354 10 AM – 9 PM
Danish Mill Bakery & Café 1682 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang (805) 688-5805 7 AM – 2 PM
First & Oak at the Mirabelle Inn 409 First St., Solvang (805) 688-1703 Reservations
5 – 8 PM
Hummingbird Café 453 Atterdag Rd., Solvang (805) 403-7100 11 AM – 6 PM
The Lucky Hen Larder

1095 Meadowvale Road
Santa Ynez
(805) 691-9448 9am – 12pm

Taking pre-orders for Cheese + Charcuterie boards and will be featuring lots of holiday jams and sauces.

Mad & Vin at The Landsby 1576 Mission Dr., Solvang (805) 688-3121 Reservations
3 PM – 7 PM
Old Danish Food Farm/Fudge Kitchen 441 Alisal Rd., Solvang (805) 688-9932 9 AM – 4 PM
Olsen’s Bakery 1529 Mission Dr Solvang (805) 688-6314 7:00am – 1:00pm
Pea Soup Andersen’s 51 E Hwy 246
(800) 732-7687 7:00am – 10:00pm
Pho 805 435 Alisal Road, Solvang (805) 686-8200 11 AM – 9 PM
Red Viking Restaurant 1684 Copenhagen Dr Solvang (805) 688-6610 9 AM – 4 PM
River Grill Restaurant & Bar 150 Alisal Road, Solvang (805) 688-7784 8 AM – 2 PM
Root 246 420 Alisal Rd
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 686-8681 Reservations accepted from 3pm-9pm/ MENU

Loung 1pm – 10pm

Solvang Brewing Company 1547 Mission Drive (805) 688-2337  11:00am – 10:00pm
Solvang Bakery 438 Alisal Rd, Solvang (805) 688-4939 7 AM – 4 PM
Solvang Restaurant 1672 Copenhagen Dr Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 688-4645 6 AM – 3 PM
The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table 2436 Baseline Ave
(800) 638-2466 3:00pm – 8:00pm set menu; reservations required
The Bear and Star 2860 Grand Ave
Los Olivos
(805) 686-1359 Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet reservations accepted from 12-5PM/ MENU
The Starting Gate at the SYV Marriott 555 McMurray Rd, Buellton (805) 688-1000 Thanksgiving Buffet  from 11:30am – 4pm
The Stone Cow 1655 Mission Drive, Ste A (805) 694-8800 11 AM – 5 PM
Viking Garden Restaurant 446 Alisal Rd
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-1250 9 AM – 7 PM


Wineries / Tasting Rooms Open Thanksgiving Day 
Community Craft 2446 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Los Olivos (805) 338-1403 10:00am – 3:00pm
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company 45 Industrial Way, Buellton

2363 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos

(805) 694-2252 ext. 110

(805) 694-2252 ext. 343

12:00pm – 3:00pm

12:00pm – 3:00pm

The Good Life 1672 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-7111 11:00am – 4:00pm


Santa Ynez Valley Events

Santa Ynez Valley’s Spirited Side

Wine and Halloween go hand-in-hand, right? But if you’re looking for something craftier for the harvest season holidays – haunted, or otherwise – the Santa Ynez Valley also boasts other libations. A quick Los Angeles getaway (we’re just two hours north) or a weekend jaunt south of San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley’s six wine-drenched towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang, offer a variety of thirst-quenching experiences. And although these might speak to the 21-and-over set, activities for all ages may easily be ordered as a “back”. Here, you’ll find cocktails, beer and wine to suit nearly all tastes.

One Valley. Six Towns. Something for Everyone.

So visit our vineyards, hike our hills, dine in wine country, belly up to the bar…and get a room. With this many options for indulging, the Santa Ynez Valley is so much more than just a day trip.


Cemented in Highway 101 road trip history, industrious Buellton businesses are still accommodating weary travelers in need of a little refreshment. At Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Buellton Taproom & Barrelworks, suds are offered up to lucky locals and visitors as limited releases, liquid collaborations, and beer-world famous wild ales, while the on-site Taproom Restaurant provides nourishment in the form of beer-braised short rib and other gastro-pub fare.


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On the aptly-named “Industrial Way”, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Buellton Taproom, the mothership for the California Central Coast-based craft brewery, displays a dizzying list of draft beers; accompanying eats from The Kitchen, including kid-friendly bites; and an outdoor beer garden with distractions for the minis. Next door, at Santa Barbara County’s first distillery since prohibition, Ascendant Spirits offers tours and tastings at their facility where whiskeys, vodkas and gins spring to life. Just up the street, DorWood Distillery handcrafts small-batch Vodka, Malt Whiskey, Gin and Limoncello, featuring a lounge-like area for tasting experiences.


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Nightcaps don’t get any better than those had at hotels, and at the Sideways Inn’s own Sideways Lounge, after-dinner / before-bed Lavender Lemondrops come crafted with care, alongside a selection of local beers and wines. The bar’s well-appointed interior spills out to open-air seating areas and an adjacent fire pit, the perfect setting to ease you into your overnight, outdoor adventure at adjoining lodging property, Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground. Additional, modern hotel mixology may be found at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s 555 Lounge & Bar, which also features an expansive, fire-pitted outdoor area for cozying up with those Cosmos.


When you think “Viking”, does beer come to mind? If you’re in Solvang, it should. Solvang Brewing Company’s first taproom, co-founded by a fourth-generation, Solvang-born Danish descendant, serves up proprietary ales only available within close proximity to the Santa Ynez Valley. “Solvang Brew Co.” also holds a full bar, outdoor seating areas beneath the building’s famous windmill, and a kitchen turning out hearty pub grub.


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Home-brew aficionados and DIY’ers frequent home brewing boutique, Valley Brewers, which comes complete with a speakeasy craft beer bar, “The Backroom”, accessed through a “bookshelf” door. The Good Life, “a craft beer & wine cellar”, pours a deliberate list of local and Central Coast wines, but also surprises with an impressive Californian beer selection, plus a few Danish imports for good “skål”. The Landsby hotel’s Lobby Lounge beckons tipplers with house-made shrubs, revolving cocktail specials, and a daily Happy Hour favorited by locals in-the-know. Hill Haven Provisions, the restaurant/wine, and cocktail bar combo tucked away in Solvang’s Atterdag Square, sports one of the Santa Ynez Valley’s top mixologists and a curated drinks list to match. The bar at Hotel Corque’s Root 246 proves a particularly worthy spot to lounge, with a sleek cocktail menu and precise listing of wine and beer. When in wine country, do as the tikis do and head to the hidden tiki bar at the back of the Sort This Out Cellars wine tasting room. In the tiny, tropical oasis of High Roller Tiki Lounge, you’ll find thoughtfully-made tiki “wine-tails” served with a wealth of tiki history, knowledge and atmosphere. Custom-made, collectible tiki mugs cradle tiki drinks with nods to the bar’s Danish location, such as the “Solvang Siren”, “Bloody Viking” and the “Suffering Scandinavian”.


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Santa Ynez

One of Santa Barbara County’s premier drinks menus is housed at S.Y. Kitchen, where barkeeps stir up seasonal, market-fresh cocktails like the “Slow Drip Old Fashioned” with house-made bitters; “Barrel Aged Vieux Carré”, appropriately including absinthe; and the mescal-based “El Viejo”, with gusano powder. Get some play-time with that drink at one – or all five – of the Chumash Casino Resort’s bars and lounges, from the mid-casino floor “Center Bar”; to the chill Hotel Lobby Bar; to the high-stakes, premium spirits High Limit Bar; to the laid-back, poolside rooftop bar; to the Lounge at the Resort’s AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Willows restaurant.


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Los Olivos

Los Olivos’ über-luxe Fess Parker Wine Country Inn sports The Bear and Star restaurant and bar, where “refined ranch” cuisine also comes in fluid form, with ranch-to-glass cocktails served in an equally refined hardwood and leather-bound setting.


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At Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Los Olivos’ “The Cottage”, the craft brewery’s core beers are on tap and ready “to go” in bottles. Add ample outdoor areas, a game room, live entertainment and rotating food truck appearances, and your Los Olivos visit is pretty much planned.

Los Alamos

Whiskey rules at the 1880 Union Saloon, a true bar fixture in Los Alamos’ Old West history. The once-stagecoach stop’s cocktail menu is divided into two, “Whiskey” and “Non-Whiskey”, with the 1880’s takes on classic drinks like the Sazerac (“New Orleans signature primed by a St. George Absinthe rinse, with Sazerac Rye Whiskey, organic sugar, Peychaud’s Bitters, smoked orange oils”), as well as Instagram-friendly pours like “The Sisco Kid” (“Monte Alban Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, pineapple-jalapeño shrub, fresh-pressed lime, smoked Maldon salt”). Beer, wine and the Central Coast’s famous tri-tip are also on the menu, along with other cowboy-appropriate delicacies like chicharrones.


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Just down the main “strip” of Bell Street, PICO at the Los Alamos General Store checks all the boxes with a serious culinary-cred chef, an award-winning restaurant wine list, a 2,000-bottle wine shop, and a so-simple-it’s-genius, streamlined cocktail menu with drinks like their “Gin & Juice” (Dogwood Union Gin, lime juice, passion fruit, caraway simple), and the secretive “Chef’s Noble Manhattan” (Medley Bros. Bourbon, Amaro, chef’s secret concoction).

Preserved in mid-century time, the iconic Skyview Los Alamos motel’s décor and finishings overhaul included a hip re-do of the property’s on-site, hilltop restaurant and bar, “Norman” – which opens to a scenester pool deck and views of the hotel’s own vineyard, sloping down from Skyview’s perch above Highway 101. Norman’s cocktail menu sections include brunch-ready “Bubbles” (e.g., the “Sunrise”, made with Root Elixirs Strawberry-Lavender, lemon, champagne); “Refresh”, with a standout sipper in “Pineapple Express” (pineapple rum, Damoiseau rhum agricole, lime, sugar, CBD oil); “Garden” (like the “Sweet Pea V & T”, with sweet pea-infused vodka, Fever-Tree Tonic, citrus); and “Classica” (bonjour, “French 75”).


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Experience fall in the Santa Ynez Valley. Our myriad of accommodations, personality-filled haunts – and clever craft cocktails – will warm your heart and soul, and fuel your wine country vacation memories. Book now, for your most spirited season, yet.


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About Visit Santa Ynez Valley: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best places to eat in Solvang, best Santa Ynez wineries, and lists things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at http://www.visitsyv.com for complete visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations.


Santa Ynez Valley Events

I Love the {Santa Ynez Valley} Nightlife: Santa Barbara Wine Country Heats Up after the Sun Sets

Late-summer in the Santa Ynez Valley means long, sunny days – often spent in vineyards and wineries, on hiking trails or horseback, at pools or spas, or shopping, museum-hopping and of course, eating your way through it all. But Santa Barbara wine country activities don’t stop when night falls. Whether we’re your vacation or wedding destination, or where you call “home”, the Santa Ynez Valley offers numerous nightlife options to keep your wine country agenda – and your glass – filled to the brim.nightlife, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Ynez, the Late-Night Capital of the “SYV”

The Victorian-Western town of Santa Ynez, maybe surprisingly, offers the most extended late-night hours in the Santa Ynez Valley. The storied and historic Maverick Saloon hosts frequent, and lively, musical acts and equally as energetic guests with operating hours until 2am, every night. Front porch seating, a kitchen turning out a gussied-up late night menu and regular events like Honky-Tonk Thursday, Karaoke Night and 2-Step Dance Lessons, keep this wine country roadhouse, well, “country”. At the sleek, modern opposite end of the Santa Ynez nightlife spectrum, sits the Chumash Casino Resort, with a 24/7 casino and bars, the Lounge at the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Willows restaurant (open daily until 11pm), bountiful late-night dining options at The Buffet (open daily until 10pm) and The Café (open Sunday-Thursday until 12am, Friday/Saturday until 2am).

It’s Honky Tonk Thursday! Complimentary tacos at 4pm and line dancing at 6!

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Buellton, Second to None

When an award-winning movie brings fame to your delicious slice of wine country, you run with it: may we present the Sideways Lounge at Buellton’s Sideways Inn, open daily until 12am. The newly-renovated, sparkling-chic Lounge features signature cocktails with nods to its Santa Ynez Valley neighbors – “Los Olivos Lavender Lemondrop”, “Solvang Sazerac” – bottled and draft beers, and wine, natch, including requisite listings of local Pinot Noir. An adjacent firepit and al fresco seating only add to your wine country story.

More Sideways nostalgia, with a helping of “Santa Maria Style BBQ”, may be found at The Hitching Post II Restaurant (open daily until 9:30pm). Live music fans flock to Standing Sun Wines (open until 10pm on concert nights), one of the Santa Ynez Valley’s leading live entertainment venues hosting singers/songwriters and bands from Los Angeles to Nashville, and all points in between.

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Buellton’s beer industry centers also offer evening entertainment: Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Buellton Taproom & Barrelworks facility is open seven days until 9pm, as is Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Buellton Taproom. Bonus? Both breweries include on-site restaurants with outdoor areas. The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s 555 Lounge & Bar, as grand as the hotel’s lodging accommodations, welcomes late-night revelers with well-appointed outdoor lounging options.

Solvang. #livelikeaviking #andpartylikeonetoo

Solvang’s sidewalks do NOT roll up at “5”. Case(s) in point: Solvang Brewing Company’s famous windmill welcomes late-night eaters and drinkers seven days, until what the brewery, bar and restaurant simply refers to as “Late” hours. Outdoor seating with prime people-watching fronts the venue.

The Good Life, “a craft beer & wine cellar”, regularly features live music and special events, also with sidewalk-adjacent outdoor seating (open Sunday-Wednesday until 9pm; Friday/Saturday until 11pm). The hip, Nordic design aesthetic of The Landsby hotel’s Lobby Lounge (open Sunday-Thursday until 9pm; Friday/Saturday until 10pm) sets the scene for cleverly-crafted cocktails and elevated bar nibbles, like “Salumi Grilled Cheese” (fontina, hot salami, prosciutto, pesto, local sourdough). Sort This Out Cellars’ wine tasting room hides a posterior secret: High Roller Tiki Lounge, an atmospheric and singular wine country tiki bar serving up “wine-tails” with a healthy dose of tiki culture and décor. Both venues rock with live music most Friday and Saturday nights (open Sunday-Thursday until 7pm; Friday/Saturday until 10pm).

During Santa Ynez Valley’s summer months, theatergoers delight in the open-air Solvang Festival Theater’s “PCPA” (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) residency and the varied performances that it brings. Next up, “Mamma Mia!” (July 27-August 26) and Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” (August 30-September 9). During Solvang’s annual Danish heritage and food & wine festival, Solvang Danish Days (September 14-16), the event’s Viking Beer & Wine Garden stays open until 10pm, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Linger in Los Olivos (and Ballard)

The Bear and Star at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn offers a Bar Menu until 9:45pm, Fridays and Saturdays, while the restaurant serves dinner daily, until 9pm. The Los Olivos outpost of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. is open daily until 9pm, with plentiful outdoor seating, a live music schedule, occasional food trucks and foodie pop-ups. The Gathering Table restaurant at the quaint Ballard Inn, has dinner seating Wednesday through Sunday until 9pm.

Los Alamos, Santa Ynez Valley’s Last Late-Night Frontier

Ready those cameras: Los Alamos night spots are an Instagrammers dream. Near the western end of the town’s main “strip”, Bell Street, stands the history-laden 1880 Union Saloon. The once-stagecoach station bar swings its doors open until 11pm daily (except Tuesdays), with a Western antiquity-filled space, chef-driven bar bites (including regional “delicacies” like a tri-tip sandwich and chicharrones). Split into two sections, “Whiskey” and “Non-Whiskey”, the Saloon’s cocktail menu features some of the most spirited drinks in the SYV (Barrel-Aged Negroni, anyone?).

Who is down for a game of pool? Open today 11a-11p #1880unionsaloon

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PICO at the Los Alamos General Store’s (open until 9pm, Sundays and Tuesday-Thursday; until 10pm, Friday/Saturday) award-winning restaurant wine list is rivaled only by their equally-curated cocktail menu, with drinks like the “Bing Bong” (Bourbon, lemon, Bing cherry juice), “Highland Honey” (Scotch, honey vinegar, lemon, absynthe), and the simplistic “Fast y Nasty” (Mezcal, pickled jalapeño, lemon juice). PICO’s “backyard” has garden-laced seating areas and a rustic fire pit, while the restaurant/ bar/ wine shop mash-up holds a 2,000-bottle retail selection for wines “to go”. Weary road trippers, you have arrived: vistas and vibes rule at iconic mid-century motel, Skyview Los Alamos, recently reopened post-jaw-dropping remodel. With a fitting on-site eatery and bar, Norman – and proprietary vineyard – dinner and drinks are served daily to both hotel guests and “non” until 9pm, with a bar that opens up to outdoor seating on two sides, a perfectly-restored pool area, and an expertly-mixed “drink list that highlights some of the best winemakers and local ingredients” in these parts.

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When you’ve had your fill of Santa Ynez Valley nightlife, we have over 30 hotel options for a restoring night’s sleep. You’ll need your energy for the next day’s – and night’s – wine country adventure.

About Visit Santa Ynez Valley: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best places to eat in Solvang, best Santa Ynez wineries, and lists things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at http://www.visitsyv.com for complete visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country and Families —  A Perfect, if Unexpected, Pairing

With kid-friendly attractions, family-friendly wineries, and much to explore, the Santa Ynez Valley makes for a surprising family getaway 

The terms “wine country” and “family friendly” don’t often go hand in hand. But the Santa Ynez Valley is no ordinary wine country destination — a rare place that is as appealing to families as it is to foodies and wine-lovers.

Now is often the time when parents begin to plan for a summer spent with the kids and search for an experience that meets the needs of everyone in the family: children, parents, and even grandparents included. Just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, a scenic four-hour jaunt from San Francisco, and 30 minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, the six distinct communities of the Santa Ynez Valley are such a place.

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With more than 100 wineries, the Santa Ynez Valley is undeniably a playground for oenophiles both for its wines as well as the opportunity to taste them in a setting far less crowded than other similarly world-class wine destinations. And with wine inevitably comes food, and imaginative local chefs and the region’s deep agricultural roots combine to create a culinary scene steeped in the farm-to-table movement.
Beyond food and wine, the Santa Ynez Valley combines a fascinating and diverse history to explore, rolling hills that call to outdoor adventurists, and one-of-a kind attractions to offer a unique destination that is both educational and adventurous.

Below are just a few of the attractions that make the Santa Ynez Valley a surprisingly family-friendly destination:

Nature to explore: Hike rolling hills and take in the breathtaking vistas offered along hundreds of miles of Santa Ynez Valley trails, or visit an 80-foot waterfall at Nojoqui Falls Park. View native bald eagles, osprey, and hawks, or learn about the region’s cultural history, with boating and nature tours of Cachuma Lake.

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The Valley by horseback: This is horse country, and there’s no better way to tap into Santa Ynez Valley’s Old West roots than with a horseback ride. With Vino Vaqueros, KAP Land & Cattle, Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables — just to name a few — SYV offers no shortage of opportunity to create a memory that everyone in the family will be sure to cherish.

Dive into history: Founded in 1804, Old Mission Santa Inés has a rich history to unearth. And with its traditional Danish architecture and authentic bakeries, downtown Solvang itself is a testament to the Northern European roots of its early settlers. The Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Elverhoj Museum of History and Art are among the many museums that will both enlighten and entertain.

Something a bit offbeat: Ever feed an ostrich? It’s possible, along with Emus at Ostrichland USA, one of the many one-of-a-kind attractions in the Santa Ynez Valley. Spend time at Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch, introduce the kids to the works of Hans Christian Andersen, or rev things up at the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum.

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Fun in the food we eat: Farm tours offer a window into what makes the Santa Ynez Valley the breadbasket of California’s Central Coast. Visit an olive farm such as Global Gardens and taste some of the most sought-after olive oils anywhere. Many of the Santa Ynez Valley’s wineries are more than just vineyards, too. Some, like Buttonwood Farms Winery & Vineyards are working farms meant to be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Or visit Clairmont Farms, an entirely organic lavender farm, for an altogether different experience.

Sometimes the fun is where you stay: Whether interested in a dude ranch experience at the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, a casual stay at the King Frederik Inn, “glamping” in a safari tent or vintage Airstream trailer at Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, or something in between, the Santa Ynez Valley has family-friendly lodging options to fit an array of budgets and interests.

Planning a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley is simple at visitsyv.com, where families can research events and attractions, book lodging and activities, and create a custom travel itinerary.

About the Santa Ynez Valley:

Barely two hours from Los Angeles, a scenic four-hour drive from San Francisco, and just 30 minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, the Santa Ynez Valley still feels a world apart. With six distinct communities encompassing everything from classic California wine country to Northern European traditions to the very best of the Old West, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to endless possibilities. Here in and around the towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang visitors will find more than 100 wineries, incredible food, special events and a unique, rich heritage. For more information, including a complete listing of wedding venues, restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms and events, go to VisitSYV.com.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

13 Reasons to Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, NOW

Sun, fun, food – and wine. Santa Ynez Valley, surrounded by rolling vineyards and fruitful farms, has something delicious in store, year ‘round. Between New Year’s and the next season, in the Valley’s six towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Solvang and Santa Ynez, new wines are released (it’s Rosé time!), and restaurant menus change to reflect the best of what late-winter and early-spring bring to the table. Moderate temps and plentiful sunshine round out the “in between”. So skip the slopes; Santa Barbara Wine Country beckons.

  Romance has nothing on us. Valentine’s Day celebrations may have passed, but the romance continues in the Santa Ynez Valley. With the approaching wedding and anniversary season, it’s hard to find a more romantic venue than wine country. Santa Ynez Valley accommodations are numerous and varied, so slip away mid-week for a romantic vacation to suit your wildest desires – whether they’re budget-friendly or luxe. And while you’re here, indulge in one of the many events happening at wineries, wine shops, breweries and restaurants all over the Valley.

Wine Country, meet Dine Country. Escape the Spring Break madness at other destinations. Here, March brings a passport wine tasting experience (now through March 31) good at more than a dozen participating winery tasting rooms, including estate and library wine samplings, wine-paired treats, and winemaker meet-and-greets. Santa Ynez Valley boasts a booming foodie culture with “craft” everything – from wine, beer, spirits and cocktails, to bread, picnic and pantry provisions, to sweets ranging from cakes and pastries to marshmallows and gelato. Restaurants spread throughout the Valley’s six distinct towns offer endless combinations for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night, keeping you satisfied for days.  This is farm-fresh, wine country cuisine done to the nines, by chefs with international culinary resumes and time spent in far-flung locales such as Italy, Israel, Spain and England, and stateside, in Las Vegas, Napa and New York City. Celebrity chefs, and celebrity chef alum, coming from the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, Rick Moonen, Alain Ducasse, José Andrés, and April Bloomfield, now call the Valley “home”. A Santa Ynez Valley trip in late-winter / early-spring, also affords visitors extra opportunities to taste what we have to offer. On International Women’s Day (March 8), 20+ Santa Barbara County women winemakers join forces with some of the region’s female chefs, bakers and gourmet foods purveyors for the charitable “2nd Annual Women Winemakers Dinner”, held right in downtown Solvang.Just days later, the “26th Annual Taste of Solvang” (March 14-18) kicks off, ushering in five days of food events all over town, including a Solvang Tasting Trail, Wine & Beer Walk, Farmers Market Dinner and Danish Sunday Brunch. On March 18, the industrial-chic town of Buellton welcomes guests to the 4th Annual Buellton Wine and Chili Festival. Held at the something-for-everyone Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, where you can “glamp” it up or camp barebones, festival-goers will sample wares from more than 25 winemakers, craft brewers and distillers, cast their votes in the festival’s chili and salsa cook-off, and enjoy live music and entertainment for all ages. Late-March (March 21), The Bear and Star restaurant at the formidably luxurious Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, hosts an intimate, collaborative Chef’s Table Dinner featuring the combined talents of chef/owner John Cox, with that of chef Josiah Citrin of Los Angeles’ Mélisse. A grand finale: The 36th Annual Vintners Festival (weekend of April 21) brings together more than 100 Santa Barbara wineries, with local fare from farmers, foragers and chefs, in a grand tasting event – which, this year, also features a sparkling wine-centric Bubble Lounge. A Vintners Visa grants access to tasting rooms and vineyards Valley-wide, while weekend happenings are offered throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country.

Geese fly south for a reason.

This time of year, Santa Ynez Valley sees outdoor-friendly daytime temps, while nights provide just enough chill in the air to make the most of those al fresco fireplaces and pits featured at so many of the area hotels. Take a break from the feasting and imbibing (if you must) and go for a hike, a bike ride (mountain, or road), hop on a horse, play a round of golf, visit a spa, or partake in some of the other things to do in wine country, like yoga or painting in the vineyards.Cyclists will flock to the Valley in March, for the SCOR Solvang Century, Metric & Half-Century races (March 10), while film and outdoors enthusiasts will descend upon Los Olivos for the NatureTrack Film Festival (March 23-25).


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Egg hunts are better with wine.

Break out those baskets: Buellton’s River View Park holds the Valley’s largest Easter fête, the 29th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza and Easter Egg Hunt (March 31), also featuring an adult-only version of “the hunt”. For kids of all ages, there are activities and games galore, plus Easter crafts, photos with the Easter Bunny, food trucks and more. Valley restaurants, event venues, wineries and vineyards will also host egg-and-wine-themed occasions, for both “big” and “little” kids.

Walk. Shop. Wine & Dine…

In the Santa Ynez Valley, midweek means extra discounts and deals. During the monthly Solvang 3rd Wednesday (February 21, March 21, April 18), more than 15 participating Solvang wine tasting rooms, wine and beer bars offer a special discounted tasting opportunity on the Solvang 3rd Wednesday Wine & Beer Walk. Select Solvang merchants offer 3rd Wednesday savings on merchandise, a handful of area hotels provide discounted 3rd Wednesday rates, the Solvang Farmers Market offers freshly-harvested local produce and gourmet goods, and certain Solvang restaurants feature a special three-course Solvang 3rd Wednesday menu for just $25++ per person, à la Restaurant Week.

The Valley’s famously walkable towns provide ample opportunity for retail therapy: Wine-taste as you meander in and out of the upscale boutiques of Los Olivos and Santa Ynez; antique shopping abounds in Los Alamos; and collect iconic baked goods – and memories – in Solvang. Undertake other walkable endeavors in the Valley’s many museums, with exhibits of regionally-unique nature, art, history, culture, lore – and even, automotive interests.

…then post all of your Wine Country experiences to Instagram.

With ample photographic backdrops for capturing your Santa Ynez Valley visit – be that Danish, Old West, Victorian, urban-industrial or agricultural – your winter break will be one you won’t soon forget.

About VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the  best Santa Ynez wineries,  best places to eat in Solvang,  Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at  www.VisitSYV.com  for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” our  Facebook  page for ideas on planning  Santa Ynez vacations. Email  info@VisitSYV.com  for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Santa Ynez Valley Events

Santa Ynez Valley December 2017 Holiday Events Guide

Solvang holiday events

Here are some events coming up in our community that may be of interest to you and your family.

Santa Ynez Valley Food and Drink Events

Holiday Wine and Beer Walk: Saturday and Sunday December 9th and 10th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm is Solvang’s Holiday Wine and Beer Walk. For just $45 per person you will get a 2-day passport that will allow you to stroll the beautiful village of Solvang, sip local wines and sample local beers. There are over 12 different wine and beer tastings rooms and wine bars included in the tour. This event is sure to help you get in the holiday spirit and you will even get a souvenir wine glass with your ticket purchase.

Beauty Behind The (Big) Bottle: Take a walk through the barrel room at Zaca Mesa Winery on Saturday December 9th from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm and experience an exclusive tasting of large-format Syrahs and find out what makes these amazing wines so unique. The wines will be expertly paired with gourmet cheeses from Cailloux Cheese Shop in Solvang. This event always sells out quickly, so make sure to make your reservations right away. Tickets are $40 for Zaca Mesa club members and $50 for non-members. Call Dianna at (805) 688-9339 ext. 306 for more information.

Solvang Farmer’s Market: The Solvang Farmer’s Market is held on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 6:00 pm on First Street between Mission and Copenhagen Drive, and is a fun, free, family-friendly event. Local farmers gather together in the marketplace to sell their seasonal, colorful agricultural products. There are tons of organic options to choose from, and the event goes on rain or shine! This is a great opportunity to shop and socialize.

Solvang 3rd Wednesday Restaurant Deal: On Wednesday December 20th from 4 to 7 pm select restaurants in Solvang will feature a 3-course “3rd Wednesday” menu for just $25 per person. This event will tie in with the Solvang Farmers Market as well, since the menu will include ingredients straight from the Farmers Market.

Santa Ynez Valley Holiday Events

Olde Fashioned Christmas: Los Olivos is hosting their annual Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday December 2nd from 4 to 8 pm. This fun event gives you the chance to experience warm, friendly, small-town fun and start the holiday season off right! There will be an artisan boutique in the Grange from 1 to 8 pm where you can get a start on your Christmas shopping, Santa Claus will be in St. Mark’s parlor, a train ride for kids their parents, live Christmas music, food trucks, live decorated Christmas trees at participating businesses, an Official Lighting of the Christmas Tree and much more!

Julefest Parade: Downtown Solvang is having their annual Julefest Parade on Saturday December 2nd from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. There will be over 400 participants and over 50 entries in the parade. The parade will go down Mission Drive, Copenhagen Drive and adjacent streets. After the parade, there will be free visits with Santa in Solvang Park. For more information call (805) 688-6144.

Gingerbread Wonderland: Gingerbread Wonderland is coming to St. Mark’s in Los Olivos on Saturday December 2nd from 4 to 8 pm. Beautiful gingerbread houses decorated by locals, and you can enter a gingerbread house of your own if you want. There will also be a Christmas cookie sale, live music, holiday crafts for the children, food and drinks and photos with Santa. Proceeds from this event will benefit Arts Outreach and St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Preschool, both of which serve children of our Santa Ynez Valley.

Julefest Tree Lighting: To kick off their annual Julefest, the city of Solvang will be having a tree lighting in Solvang Park (First Street and Mission Drive) on Friday December 1st from 5 to 6:30 pm. Come see Solvang sparkle as the tree is lit, watch dancing ballerinas, bands and caroling and see Santa Claus’ arrival in Solvang. This is a free, family friendly event.

Buellton Winter Fest: Buellton will be having their Annual Winter Fest on Sunday December 3rd. Start the day off right by bringing the whole family for a breakfast with Santa, and then continue the day by enjoying the 20 tons of snow, vendors, light parade, tree lighting, wine, beer and food. This is a fun day for the whole family. Call (805) 688-7829.

Los Alamos Christmas Tree Lighting: On December 8th, starting at 6pm at Ferrini Park (corner of Bell and Centennial Streets) in downtown Los Alamos, all are invited to enjoy a traditional tree lighting, carolers, luminaries and fun for the whole family. Call 805-344-3500 for more details.

Nativity Pageant: The Solvang Festival Theater (420 Second Street, Solvang, CA) is having a free nativity pageant, also known as the “Christmas Story”, on Saturday December 9th. The show is free, and there are two showings: one at 5:00 pm and one at 7:00 pm. There will be a choir, actors wearing traditional nativity costumes and live animals on stage. Although the performances are free, there is limited space so seats will be given on a first come, first entertained basis.

8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}: Tuesday, December 12 through Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Santa Ynez Valley locals and visitors will be treated to an exclusive holiday food happening as Chef Drew Terp, Chef/Co-Owner of PICO at The Los Alamos General Store (www.losalamosgeneralstore.com), and Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef for K’Syrah Catering & Events (www.kscateringandevents.com), team up for a collaborative eight-day Hanukkah food fest: “8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}”.

Elverhøj Museum’s Christmas Party: On the first Sunday in December (December 3rd), Elverhøj Museum is hosting their annual Christmas Party. There will be a 12-foot tall tree decorated with hand-made Danish ornaments, demonstrations of Danish Christmas crafts, bobbin lace making, live music, dancing around the Christmas tree and more fun activities. There will be traditional Danish open face sandwiches, Danish Christmas cookies and chocolates and all-around Danish Christmas cheer. Santa will also stop by to visit the kids, and he usually brings treats too! For more information call the Museum at (805) 686-1211

Holiday Concert: On Saturday December 16th at 7:30 pm and on Sunday December 17th at 3:00 pm the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale and Orchestra will perform their holiday concert, entitled “The Festival Of Carols”. The Youth Choir will be joining them in singing and performing holiday-themed music, including traditional caroling songs. The concerts will take place at The Solvang Vets Hall (1745 Mission Drive in Solvang, CA 93463).

Danish Family Christmas Dinner: The Danish Sisterhood is hosting their annual Traditional Family Danish Christmas Dinner on Sunday December 10th from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Bethania Lutheran Church (621 Atterdag Rd). There will be a delicious dinner, dancing around the Christmas tree and a special visit from Santa. This event is open to everyone, so bring your friends and family. Call (805) 705-2118 for more information.

VisitSYVAbout VisitSYV.com: Visit Santa Ynez Valley provides listings of the best Santa Ynez wineries, best places to eat in Solvang, Santa Ynez hotels and inns, and things to do in Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the website at www.VisitSYV.com for complete travel and visitor services. “Like” the Facebook page for ideas on planning Santa Ynez vacations. Email info@VisitSYV.com for help planning your next vacation in the Santa Ynez Valley.