Last Updated on August 18, 2022 by Paroma
Are you curious about visiting Solvang, the Danish Capital of USA (and one of the prettiest small towns in California) with your pup? Then I am here to help you make a terrific day trip or weekend getaway out of it with this dog friendly Solvang guide. In this dog friendly guide to Solvang, you will find all the info that you need on dog friendly Solvang hotels, restaurants, wine tasting and more to enjoy this fairy tale California town to the max with your puppy!
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WHY VISIT SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA WITH YOUR DOG?
“Solvang” translates to “sunny fields” in Danish. One look at this city, in the heart of Santa Ynez valley in California’s beautiful wine country, and you will understand why. This city, built by Danish educators in 1911, stands on 9000 acres of sun-kissed land adjacent to the historic Mission of Santa Ines.
Built to preserve good old Danish cultures and heritage, it is considered America’s Danish Capital and was named by Sunset magazine as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the Western United States”.
Turns out that Solvang is incredibly dog friendly and many businesses welcome canines with open paws:-) So without further ado, here is a dog friendly Solvang guide, listing Solvang attractions that welcome dogs, pet friendly hotels, restaurants and wineries.
Having visited Solvang twice, I am going to entice you with all the amazing dog friendly things to do in Solvang that is guaranteed to make you wanna visit with your pup, so let’s get going!
DOG FRIENDLY HOTELS IN SOLVANG
Starting off this dog friendly guide to Solvang with several pet friendly hotel options in and around Solvang. We’ve now been to Solvang twice-once as a day trip from Paso Robles, and the second time for a three night stay to explore more of the Santa Ynez valley.
Solvang has many dog friendly hotels to choose from. These include Royal Copenhagen Inn, and Wine Valley Inn. These are all located on or around Mission Drive which is the heart of the town.
During our second visit to Solvang in 2020, ended up staying at the Royal Copenhagen Inn, right on Mission Drive. This dog friendly Solvang hotel charges $20/night per pet and has free wifi as well as free continental breakfast (delivered boxed to your doorstep as a no-contact method).
DOG FRIENDLY SOLVANG GUIDE: BEST THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR DOG IN SOLVANG
Solvang is like a picture postcard town come alive, right from the colorful sleek houses (a la minimalist Danish architecture) to windmills, bakeries selling Danish and other Scandinavian delights along with the delightful windmills that added a touch of whimsy and made this place stand out amidst the familiar California landscape. There is also a permanent Jule Hus (Christmas House) store to give you the holiday feels anytime you visit!
EXPLORE SOLVANG VILLAGE (MISSION DRIVE)
Mission Drive is the main street that runs through Solvang Village and this is where you can find all the attractions (businesses, hotels, tasting rooms, windmills and the whole nine yards) that attract visitors.
You can simply Google “Solvang windmill” to take you to the most bustling part of town, aka “The Village” where you can park and walk down the main street/Mission Drive to take in the sights of the many attractions of Solvang.
You will be greeted with rows of colorful European style homes (built in the Danish architectural style of clean, geometric lines), antique stores, clock and watch shops, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and many quirky boutiques. Most of these businesses are dog friendly and bakeries/wineries have outdoor seating for dogs to join in.
STOP BY THE LITTLE MERMAID FOUNTAIN AND HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN MUSEUM (DOG FRIENDLY MUSEUM)
Besides feverishly snapping photos of the several windmills all around, do stop by the Little Mermaid statue (a replica of its famous sister in Copenhagen) and the Hans Christian Andersen museum, arguably Denmark’s most famous literary figure. Known mostly for his fairy tales or fables/short stories for children, this museum atop a bookstore is free to enter and best of all dog friendly!
The museum hosts Andersen’s many memorable literary works like the Snow queen, Little Match girl, Little Mermaid and so on, as well as a replica of his home in Odense, Denmark, his portraits and a bust. Being a big fan of H.C. Andersen’s work (although for children, his stories always had a dark, grim undertone or tragic ending), a visit to this museum was definitely the highlight of our dog friendly Solvang trip.
ENJOY DOG FRIENDLY WINE TASTING IN SOLVANG VILLAGE
Solvang Village has a bunch of dog friendly wineries/wine tasting rooms such as Presidio winery, Carivintas winery and the one which we visited, aka Wandering Dog Wine Bar.
This tasting room , dedicated to the memory of one of the rescue dogs of the owners, is made for dogs and humans to have a good time. Dogs are welcome inside while humans choose one of several tasting options (I went for a pouring of five red wines for $15).
At Wandering dog the tasting fee is forfeited upon purchase of one of their bottles. During our visit, we found the person behind the counter to be incredibly friendly who explained about the grape and its source for every pouring.
Since I am the only one who loves a drink in that party of four (no wine was ever offered to Babu except for the odd poser photo, FYI) we did not try out other wine bars to keep my reasonable sobriety intact.
VISIT OSTRICHLAND: AN OSTRICH FARM RIGHT OUTSIDE SOLVANG
This is something which we totally lucked out on is spotting an ostrich and emu farm as we drove out of the village and where Babu was allowed (they seem to allow small sized dogs in). Essentially the birds roam around in acres of open field behind a sturdy, tall fence and you can buy ostrich food ($1/bowl) to feed them.
Ostrich are aggressive and hungry(much like me who is “hangry” most of the time), so it is important to read all posted rules to have a pleasant experience.
Babu was so surprised with this “fowl acquaintance” (pun intended) that he did not know how to react and stood with a puzzled expression on his face on the other side of the fence as we fed the birds. Bottom line is that if you have a small dog who does not get super excited, he/she may be allowed in. It’s always good to ask at the front desk to make sure before you purchase your tickets, much like what we did.
DINE AT ONE OF THE MANY DOG FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN SOLVANG
Dog friendly Solvang obviously has several restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal al-fresco with your pooch. We started off with some yummy Danish pastries (not to be confused with the American “Danish”) and coffee from Birkholm’s Danish bakery and cafe that we enjoyed with Babu at their adjacent outdoor seating.
Other notable bakeries with outdoor seating are Olsen’s Danish village bakery and Mortensen’s Bakery, both of which have yummy traditional danish baked goods and other pastries along with an impressive line of hot beverages.
For lunch, visit Fresco Valley Café, which has a beautiful dog friendly patio. Judging by the number of dogs there, this dog friendly restaurant seemed to be a great hit with pet parents. Portions are on the larger side, but flavorful and there are several vegetarian options.
Finally, they also have a menu exclusively for dogs (how awesome is that?) where the meat is unseasoned for your dog’s safety. We ordered chicken off that menu (came in bite size chunks) and Babu lapped it up! Another dog friendly restaurant in Solvang with outdoor seating is Chomp Burgers which is right next to the little Mermaid statue.
For dinner, definitely check out First & Oak, a charming restaurant in the Mirabelle Inn in Solvang. Their patio dining allows dogs and they serve delicious seasonal fare from California! Reservations are highly recommended to dine here.
DOG FRIENDLY WINERIES IN SANTA YNEZ VALLEY (OUTSIDE SOLVANG)
Solvang is blessed to be nestled in the Santa Ynez valley, which abounds in wineries big and small, many of which are dog friendly. I highly recommend stopping by these following wineries for a dog friendly wine tasting!
1)Sunstone winery: Wine tasting does not get any better than at this dog friendly Santa Ynez winery, a private family owned winery where you can taste some delicious estate wine in the shade of a Tuscan style chateau, flanked by lavender fields and vineyards. A pour of 6 wines (red and white) costs $20.
2) Shoestring winery: This Solvang winery is currently allowing guests to buy either a glass or bottle of wine to enjoy in their open space surrounding the tasting room. They also have horses and goats on their property!
3) Roblar winery and vineyards: This dog friendly Santa Ynez winery allows wine tasting in their 40 acre vineyard in a shaded patio overlooking a beautiful garden. They also have a food menu to go along with their wine.
For those of you pet parents with several wine lovers in your group (after all, wine is best enjoyed in good company), here is a complete list of other dog friendly wineries by the Solvang Tourism board.
PLANNING A DOG FRIENDLY SOLVANG TRIP? HERE ARE THE FAQs
WHERE IS SOLVANG?
Solvang is just an hour away from Santa Barbara, the beautiful dog friendly California beach town that everyone raves out and from Los Alamos, another trendy town in Santa Ynez valley. Little over two hours drive south will take you to Los Angeles, which is also very dog friendly.
Owing to its proximity to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, it can easily be covered as a dog friendly Southern California day trip from either cities. All these towns and cities are excellent winter destinations in California and should be on your winter vacation list for sure!
If you’re traveling to Solvang from San Francisco, it will take you about 5 hours to cover the 304 miles or so along US-101S which is the fastest route. It will be a longer, but prettier road trip if you go down Highway-1 since you will be passing through Santa Cruz, Carmel and Big Sur along the way-all of which are incredibly dog friendly.
ARE DOGS ALLOWED AT SOLVANG?
Yes, Solvang is extremely dog friendly. This entire post is all about the best dog friendly things to do in Solvang and that includes pretty much everything in Solvang village-dog friendly hotels, dining, wine tasting, museums and then some. Because of the weather, al fresco dining with dogs is not a problem at all. In short, don’t leave Fido behind when traveling to Solvang!
IS OSTRICHLAND DOG FRIENDLY?
Yes! We visited with Babu and all they asked was that he remain on leash at all times. Small,well behaved dogs are welcome in Ostrichland. For larger dogs, please ask before you purchase your ticket. As long as your dog has a calm temperament and won’t go nuts seeing the big birds, you should be fine.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SOLVANG WITH DOGS
Solvang is inland and so gets really hot during summer.I recommend November-May (late fall to spring) for the best experience. Winter does get rainy so please be mindful of that.
Solvang is a really popular destination for Socal residents and this town gets a lot of visitors over the Christmas break. Please arrive early on weekends or holidays to avoid crowds.
HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY IN SOLVANG WITH DOGS
You could explore Solvang village as a day trip from Santa Barbara (which is also very dog friendly). For a more leisurely experience, I recommend staying overnight since there are many dog friendly things to do in the pictersque anta Ynez valley where Solvang is located.
I hope you enjoyed reading this dog friendly Solvang guide and are making plans for your own trip!Dog or no dog, visiting Solvang should definitely be on your list to partake of Solvang’s charming European ambiance and relish a slice of beautiful Denmark in California, minus the costly transAtlantic flight fare. Follow my blog for more dog friendly California adventures right here.
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31 thoughts on “A Dog Friendly Guide to Solvang, California, The Danish Capital of USA”
I used to live in Southern California and Solving was one of my favorite spots. You’ve presented it in a whole new light. Great photos and tips and I must say my favorite was Babu at the ostrich farm (those are some cranky birds!)
Did you find the stores still Dog Friendly with the lockdown in place? We were considering a stop there on our way home but would hate to make the detour if dogs are no longer allowed. Thanks for the great write-up!
Hi Nicole, yes we did. However, things can be different right now (Dec-Jan) in SoCal due to added restrictions. In general, any store not selling food that is open to walk ins (mentioned here) right now should also be good for dogs.
I wasn’t aware of that city but now I really want to go visit to see the architecture and museum. It’s so hard to find dog-friendly museums and I love Andersen’s stories.
What a beautiful, quaint, little town! I absolutely love your photos. I had never heard of this town and I definitely think it should get more attention. Thanks so much for sharing.
What a charming town and how nice that it’s dog-friendly. I like the “Wandering Dog Wine Bar”, kinda like a cat café for dogs, but for wine tasting lol. Fantastic post and photos.
What a lovely place, and how wonderful that it is dog-friendly. The “Wandering Dog Wine Bar” is one of my favorites; it’s like a cat café for dogs, but for wine tasting. Fantastic pics and post.
What a Delightful place! I’ve never heard of it but would love to visit on day. I can’t believe they let Babu near the ostrich farm, LOL! Thanks for sharing about this Wonderfully dog friendly city.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
What fun! I love the emu and ostrich farm you found. I can’t believe they let dogs out there. The photos are fantastic.
Wow what a hidden gem! I’ve always wanted to visit Denmark, but it seems we have a quaint Danish town in California to provide a little tidbit. I love that it is so dog friendly! Makes sense though, as Europe is quite pet friendly as well.
This looks like a unique town to visit! Thank you for sharing your trip. That was a fun tour!
I went to Solvang as a teenager, I loved it! Your photos are lovely and it looks like you had a wonderful time.
What a place! None of our dogs were ever urbanites, though. The places to explore for them are in nature.
One of my favorite places to eat in Miami Beach, FL also had a pet-friendly menu in addition to wonderful people food so excited to hear there is something similar here in California.
This sounds like the ideal get-away from rush and bustle of modern life. I love the European charm of the buildings. Going to a wine tasting and being able to take my dog Soldier with me is definitely a plus.
This post brought back some great memories! I live in D.C. now but am originally from CA and spent a lot of time in the Central Coast during college. I remember that ostrich farm! Solvang is such a hidden gem.
I had no idea there was such a place as Solvang in California. I’t beautiful!
It’s been decades since I’ve been to Solvang so I enjoyed seeing it through your pictures again. It really looked beautiful decorated for the holidays. The trip to the ostrich farm had to be a highlight for your little man 🙂
What a gorgeous place! It’s amazing. We have a tiny town here full of Danes called Dannevirke. Nowhere near as stylish or amazing as your visit. It’s no good I need to come and visit and maybe sneak into your backpack when you travel with Babu!!
Your pictures make it seem so alive and fun (and I love the mention of shopping too!!!) Thank you for a fabulous post!
You have done your work well because now I want to go there so badly!!!!
It sounds like you guys had a wonderful trip! It’s always nice to happen upon a fun and pet-friendly place to visit. How awesome that Babu was welcome at the ostrich/emu farm too! I know my adventure cats would have LOVED that!
This is great information! We live in San Diego, so Solvang would make a fun get-away for us with our dog Bailey. He loves road trips!
Wow, never heard of this town. It’s on my list for the next time I visit California!
I always love a dog friendly place and this town is beyond charming! Babu is adorable!
While I don’t have a dog I have many friends who do. And I love to hear about places like this.
We’re living in Cali for another year, and this is now def on the list of to-gos before we head out! Love the look of this lil Danish town, and the hubs and I looooooove some good wine-tastin’! Can’t show him this post, tho, or it’ll be reason 538,939 for his let’s-get-a-dog argument. ?
Omg look at your sweet little doggo!
I’ve been to Solvang once and I loved it. Especially all the pastries and the horses and carriage.
This place looks so cute!! I’d never heard of it before!
What a great little town! I’m a huge fan of Danish architecture, so I’m definitely going to have to add this to my next roadtrip map!
You definitely have to visit Amanda!