windmill in Solvang, CA

14 Free Things To Do In Solvang

Solvang, a charming Danish-inspired village nestled in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, offers many free activities for eager visitors to enjoy. From exploring unique architecture and sculptures to immersing oneself in nature’s beauty and discovering the town’s rich history, Solvang has something for everyone.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking fun-filled experiences, this list of 14 free things to do in Solvang is a must-read. So, when you find the time to draw yourself away from our comfortable and amenity-rich King Frederik Inn, you can use this list to answer the question of what to do in Solvang—easily. 

Walking Around Solvang

1. Unique Architecture And Sculptures

You can begin your adventure in Solvang by strolling through its picturesque streets. Without spending any money, you can marvel at the unique architecture featuring ornate timberwork, colorful facades, and enchanting windmills that transport you to a fairy tale setting. 

You’ll encounter captivating sculptures that showcase the town’s artistic essence during your walk. So put on your walking shoes and put your purse away while you enjoy this free sightseeing activity. 

2. Free Art Galleries And Art Walks

When looking for free things to do in Solvang, CA, consider visiting a few of the town’s art galleries and enjoying a few art walks. 

Art lovers won’t be disappointed after indulging in Solvang’s thriving art scene by exploring the numerous free art galleries. No matter which one you visit, you can expect to admire the works of local artists, ranging from traditional to contemporary pieces. 

If visiting an art gallery by Googling doesn’t sound enjoyable, why not embark on a comprehensive art experience by taking part in art walks? Walking around the town, finding galleries, and walking around in each will allow you to discover distinctive and diverse art mediums and souvenirs you can take home.

Downtown Solvang, CA
“Solvang, California” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

3. Iconic Landmarks 

No visit to Solvang is complete without visiting its iconic landmarks. During your stay, you can pose for photos with the famous Little Mermaid Fountain, a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless tale. You also shouldn’t miss the opportunity to stand beside the Giant Red Clog, a charming symbol of the town’s Danish heritage. 

And, of course, the windmills scattered throughout Solvang offer the perfect backdrop for memorable pictures with friends and family. They are perfect for Instagram and showing off your vacation in Solvang.

Enjoying Solvang’s Natural Beauty

4. Nojoqui Falls Park and Its Hiking Trails

When you think about Solvang, you might not realize this charming Danish town is home to the enchanting Nojoqui Falls Park. Nature enthusiasts will find solace in Nojoqui Falls Park, a serene oasis with lush greenery and picturesque waterfalls. 

When visiting this park, it’s not just the 164-foot cascading waterfalls that you can look forward to viewing. You can also embark on one of the scenic hiking trails at this park to witness the area’s beauty. 

Many of our guests at the inn have remarked on the park offering a peaceful escape for a day of relaxation and exploration, so consider adding it to your list of free activities to do in Solvang. 

5. The Picturesque Drive Along Alisal Road

Not every free activity in Solvang is going to involve walking. If you’ve rented a vehicle or have traveled with your car, why not enjoy an afternoon meandering along Alisal Road? 

If you decide to take part in this scenic drive, you can expect to be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscapes of Santa Ynez Valley. The rolling hills, vineyards, and majestic oak trees create a postcard-worthy backdrop that will leave you in awe.

6. Exploring the Santa Ynez River

Those looking for a blissful day outdoors can head to the Santa Ynez River and indulge in bird watching. Walking along the river’s edge, you can spot various avian species in their natural habitat. 

The riverbank offers free picnic spots, providing the perfect setting for a delightful family gathering amidst the beauty of nature.

Visiting Historic Sites and Museums

old mission santa ines in solvang
Mission Santa Inés. (2023, March 10). In Wikipedia.

7. The Old Mission Santa Ines 

History buffs will find delight in visiting the Old Mission Santa Ines, a significant cultural and religious landmark in Solvang. The Old Mission Santa Ines, located in Santa Ynez, California, is a historic gem that offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s past. 

This mission was established in 1804 by Spanish Franciscan missionaries. It features beautiful architecture, well-kept gardens, and exhibits showcasing the area’s Native American and Spanish heritage. 

For many, the Old Mission Santa Ines is an important cultural and religious site, and you’re in luck if you plan on visiting since it welcomes visitors to explore its rich history and tranquil surroundings. 

8. Elverhoj Museum of History & Art 

The Elverhoj Museum of History & Art in Solvang, California, is a captivating destination for art and history enthusiasts. Named after the historic Elverhøj Danish-American home, the museum showcases diverse exhibits, including local art and artifacts. 

This museum’s mission is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Solvang and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley. That’s why it is a must-visit for anyone interested in the area’s rich history and artistic expression.

What’s even better is that the museum offers free admission, making it accessible to all. So add exploring this museum to your list of free activities in Solvang.

9. Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Are you eager to discover the enchanting world of Hans Christian Andersen, the renowned Danish author whose fairy tales have captured hearts worldwide? If so, you must try to visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Solvang. 

This museum is a treasure trove of literary offerings, and the best part is that entry is free, allowing everyone to indulge in the magic of Andersen’s stories.

Free Tastings and Farmers Market

10. Free Wine Tastings

Solvang is known for its outstanding wineries, and many of them offer free wine tastings. So you can expect to savor the region’s finest wines and experience Santa Ynez Valley’s unique flavors without spending a dime. 

When visiting Solvang, wine enthusiasts should explore the following wineries: 

  • Rusack Vineyards: this winery is a 10-minute drive from downtown and offers a delightful tasting tour and lunch overlooking picturesque vineyards amidst rolling hills. 
  • Rideau Vineyard: at this winery, people can expect an awe-inspiring outdoor location amidst gardens and an exquisite wine-tasting experience alongside guided tours. 
  • Sanger Wines Tasting Room: for a quick yet satisfying stop, Sanger Wines Tasting Room in the village on Mission Drive serves the finest red wine from Santa Ynez, including the renowned Cielo Rubio. Yum!

Whether it’s scenic views, guided tours, or top-notch wine, these wineries ensure a memorable trip to Solvang.

glass of wine in a wine tasting room in Solvang, CA

11. Experience of the Solvang Farmers Market 

When you find yourself in Solvang on a Wednesday, make sure not to miss one of its top attractions – the local farmers’ market. This exciting market is held in the afternoon between two-thirty and five-thirty in the afternoon on First Street. 

Like other markets, this one offers a delightful array of fresh fruits, vibrant flowers, artisanal cheese, and delectable nuts, among other local specialties you won’t often find elsewhere. 

Ultimately, you won’t regret visiting as it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge in the region’s finest produce and support local vendors while immersing yourself in the town’s lively atmosphere.

Free Events and Festivals in Solvang

12. Danish Days

The Danish Days festival is one of the best free activities to participate in when visiting Solvang. Danish Days is a vibrant annual festival celebrating Solvang’s Danish heritage and cultural traditions. With a rich history dating back to 1936, the festival honors the town’s Danish founders and showcases their contributions. 

You can expect a colorful array of events at this festival, including music, dance, traditional Danish cuisine, parades, and cultural activities. Danish Days offer a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the town’s lively community spirit and experience the charm of Solvang’s Danish roots.

13. The Solvang Summer Bandstand Concert Series 

The Solvang Summer Bandstand Concert Series is a not-to-be-missed musical event held during the summer months in Solvang. Taking place in picturesque outdoor settings, the concerts offer a delightful mix of musical genres, including jazz, rock, classical, and contemporary, so there is something for everyone—including you—to enjoy. 

If you plan on attending one of the concerts, you must gather at the designated bandstand area to enjoy the soul-stirring melodies every Saturday evening from five to eight in the evening. 

Our visitors at The King Frederik Inn have often commented on it being the perfect opportunity to listen to good music with friends and family.

14. Julefest

Julefest in Solvang is a magical free Christmas holiday celebration in the heart of the town. This festive event is open to the public and offers many free activities for visitors of all ages. This festival is held in winter, so you must book a stay in advance to enjoy it. 

Julefest features enchanting holiday lights, cozy Christmas markets, quaint horse-drawn carriage rides, and visits with Santa Claus. You can also expect Danish music, dance, and delicious seasonal treats when attending this festival.

Unwind and Enjoy the Scenic Beauty Of Solvang For Free When Staying At The King Frederik Inn

outdoor seating around the pool at King Frederik Inn, a hotel in Solvang, CA
Outdoor seating around the pool at The King Frederik Inn.

Whether sitting by a park, sipping coffee at a quaint café, or watching the sunset over the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang offers countless opportunities to unwind and appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

As you now know, Solvang is a treasure trove of free activities, blending art, culture, nature, and history into a delightful experience for every visitor. So, pack your things and book a room at The King Frederik Inn so that you can enjoy an unforgettable journey in the enchanting Danish village of Solvang. 

You can contact us, and we will help you make a reservation and tell you more about our many amenities, including complimentary breakfast, a spa pool, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable rooms. 

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