Return to Travel
As California reopens, the Santa Ynez Valley is prepared to welcome visitors back to wine country this Memorial Day Weekend with the opportunity to once again experience the gem of California’s Central Coast. The Valley’s hotels, inns, restaurants, wineries, and outdoor activities are back to doing what they do best—providing a much-needed getaway that is welcoming, safe and spacious—just two hours from Los Angeles and a scenic four-hour drive from the Bay Area.
The region’s relatively slow pace of life and charming communities, abundant open spaces and uncrowded rural roads, and the stunning setting painted with lush vineyards and California Oaks as far as the eye can see, are made only more attractive by the times in which we currently find ourselves.
Enjoy the Classics
The Santa Ynez Valley’s inns and hotels — including The Landsby, The Santa Ynez Inn, and Skyview Los Alamos, as well as the family-friendly Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, Flying Flags, Hamlet Inn, Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, Sideways Inn, and The Alamo Motel — are again unforgettable stays for a wide range of budgets.
The Santa Ynez Valley’s many incredible restaurants — including Bell’s Los Alamos, Bob’s Well Bread, The Gathering Table, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe, Pico, Plenty on Bell, S.Y. Kitchen, Full of Life Flatbread, Leonardo’s, Brothers at the Red Barn, Hitching Post II, and Trattoria Grappolo — are back to serving up their imaginative culinary creations to diners onsite.
And whether tasting along the scenic Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, in quaint downtown Los Olivos, the Santa Ynez Wine Trail, Sta. Rita Hills Wine Trail, or the Solvang Wine Walk, the Santa Ynez Valley has a world of wine waiting to be rediscovered.
Of course, never have we been more excited to enjoy open spaces. A horseback ride through the vineyards with Vino Vaqueros, a cycling tour along the region’s country roads, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore may just be what we need to feel free again.
Try Something New This Weekend
With leisure travel at a virtual standstill for much of the past year, it’s understandable that many entrepreneurs postponed plans for new or expanded business operations. But the Santa Ynez Valley continues to buck that trend, with no fewer than 20 visitor-related businesses opening their doors since the pandemic began. Here are the best new lodging properties, restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, and activities that are ready to welcome you to the Santa Ynez Valley this weekend.
Hotel Ynez — Located at the crossroads of Solvang & Santa Ynez and situated on two private acres, Hotel Ynez boasts 18 spacious guest rooms, extensive gardens, a pool, bonfire pits, and a rustic outdoor pavilion for nights under the stars.
The Winston — From the same Highway West Vacations team behind three other Santa Ynez Valley properties including The Vinland, Flying Flags, and Sideways Inn, The Winston has been renovated from head to toe and boasts 14 individually decorated rooms beneath the property’s iconic clock tower in the heart of Solvang.
Vinland Hotel & Lounge — Located in the heart of Solvang where Copenhagen’s charm meets California’s climate, the completely remodeled Vinland Hotel & Lounge boasts 82 rooms overlooking Hans Christian Andersen Park.
Zaca Creek Inn — Originally built by the founding Buell family of Buellton, Zaca Creek has recently been re-imagined and the Zaca Creek Inn boasts six unique suites each with its own distinctive charms and delights.
The Tavern at Zaca Creek — A seasonally-inspired California chophouse, The Tavern at Zaca Creek showcases the best of what Santa Ynez Valley has to offer by supporting local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. The allure of the original Tavern bar is captured by a spirits & cocktail program that highlights old and new alike.
peasants FEAST — As one of the first businesses to open in the Santa Ynez Valley during the pandemic (April 2020), peasants FEAST features seasonal comfort foods from longtime restaurateurs and husband and wife Michael & Sarah Cherney. Centrally-located in downtown Solvang.
Nella Kitchen & Bar — From Chef Luca Crestenelli and the hospitality team behind S.Y. Kitchen, Nella Kitchen & Bar features Italian-inspired dishes and quality foods simply prepared using only the finest locally-sourced ingredients. Located in Los Olivos, alongside the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn.
Bob’s Well Bread — The new Ballard location of this popular Los Alamos mainstay features the same signature special daily breads, homemade pastries, all-day breakfast & lunch, and bread & bakery take-away case that have made the pilgrimage to Bob’s a daily routine for many.
The Vaquero Bar at Coast Range — A Central Coast steakhouse and seafood restaurant with full bar, Coast Range & Vaquero Bar in Solvang is a collaboration between winemaker, sommelier, and James Beard Award winner Rajat Parr, and celebrated chefs Anthony Carron, Lincoln Carson, and Steven Fretz. While the steakhouse will open soon, The Vaquero Bar is ready to welcome you with incredible cocktails and bar bites in the heart of downtown Solvang.
Sear Steakhouse — An elevated and genuine farm-to-table Solvang steakhouse, Sear is the longtime vision of Demetrios and Karen Loizides who previously operated K’Syrah Catering & Events from the completely reimagined space. Sear is a partnership between the Loizides and mixologist Alberto Battaglini.
Clean Slate Wine Bar — Featuring limited production wines, craft beers, and small plates focusing on family farms, independent winemakers, and local producers. Highlights include 50 Wines by the Glass, 10 beers on draft, and small plates influenced by Spanish-style tapas, local farmers, and Chef Melissa’s Louisiana Roots.
Arrowsmith’s Wine Bar — A friendly European bar in the heart of Solvang, Arrowsmith’s is a “home away from home” run by two Europeans, specializing in small-batch local wines as well as a delicious worldwide selection of fantastic wine and European beer.
McClain Cellars — The McClain Cellars Winery, Barrel, and Tasting Lounge in Buellton is a tribute to the four pillars that keep the family focused, driven, and alive: family, friends, faith, and freedom. At McClain Cellars, they believe that every day is a gift to be enjoyed with those you love the most.
Stolpman Fresh Garage — Located in the garage and patio space adjacent to their Los Olivos tasting room, the Stolpman Fresh Garage features wines made from grapes that are natively fermented, un-crushed, and whole, served chilled in an open air setting.
Storm Wines — Rooted in the hills of the Santa Ynez Valley, Storm Wines emphasizes old world influences and new world techniques. The Mediterranean climate, diverse soils, and exciting new opportunities in this budding Central Coast wine region have combined to drive Ernst Storm’s passion for producing his wine and sharing it with visitors to the winery’s Los Olivos tasting room.
Grimm’s Bluff — Best known for their 246-acre ranch and vineyard in the Happy Canyon AVA, the new Grimm’s Bluff tasting room in Los Olivos showcases the handcrafted wines and Italian varietal olive oil produced from its certified biodynamic and organic vineyard.
Queen Cup Coffee — Skyler & Alyce Barrick’s love for great coffee and the motivation to share their life experiences with others in the community inspired them to create Queen Cup Coffee. Located next to The Lucky Hen Larder in Santa Ynez, Queen Cup Coffee opened in Jan. 2021.
Moke Experience — Solvang — A whole new way to see and experience Solvang and the surrounding areas, Moke Experience Solvang features a lineup of stylish, colorful, and sought-after electric vehicles that are a zero-emission alternative for visitors wanting to explore the valley in style.
Tin City Cider — A collaboration between two winemakers looking to fill their time following harvest and crush, Tin City Cider opened its second taproom location in late September 2020 in downtown Los Olivos. Together, they produce a full line-up of carefully crafted ciders made with the best California apples.
Enjoy Bagels + Sweets — The latest offering from Kevin & Amber Vander Vliet, who have operated Enjoy Cupcakes since 2009 and were motivated by a need to diversify during COVID-19. Features 8 unique bagel flavors, 8 cream cheese schmears, and 10 bagel sandwiches in addition to a full sweets line at their bakery facility in Buellton.
Book Your Visit Now
For more information, or to research attractions, book lodging and activities, and create a custom travel itinerary, visit visitsyv.com. For further details on traveling safely in the Santa Ynez Valley, visit www.visitsyv.com/traveling-safely-in-the-santa-ynez-valley/.
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” 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.