Solvang is a quaint Danish town in Southern California. Strolling through its streets lined with Scandinavian buildings, dotted with windmills, and decorated with flags, you nearly forget you’re a mere 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang is surrounded by rolling hills and gnarled oak trees. The towns of Buellton, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez are close by, as well as a seemingly endless assortment of wineries.
If you prefer traveling with your dog along, Solvang is a delightful place for a day trip or weekend getaway. There are plenty of dog-friendly places throughout the Santa Ynez valley and it’s close enough for an easy road trip, but gives you the feeling of being far away. In Solvang, the main things to do are try the food, sample the wine, and enjoy the scenery, all of which can be done with your pup in tow.
Here’s your travel guide for what to do with your dog in Solvang, California.
Start your day with breakfast at Fresco Valley Cafe. The cafe is tucked away off the main section of town in Atterdag Square.
Fresco Valley Cafe serves fresh, organic food, along with beer and wine, on their seasonally changing menu. They even have a dog menu and a spacious, dog-friendly patio. Plus, the staff is kind and accommodating as well. You can’t go wrong with their breakfast classics. Grab a traditional breakfast plate full of eggs, bacon, and toast, to get you started on your adventures.
Fresco Valley Cafe is open daily until 3:00 p.m. The restaurant is located at 442 Atterdag Rd, Solvang, CA 93463.
Next, take a stroll through Solvang and see the shops. Some shops are more pet-friendly than others, but there’s no shortage of places to peruse where your dog will be welcome. There are all kinds of places to see, from Scandinavian souvenir shops to toy stores and food shops to wine bars.
Make sure to pop into The Vinhus, where they have a wide selection of local and international foods and dogs are welcomed. Make sure to stock up on some snacks, you’re going to need them later once you head out to the wineries. The Vinhus is located at 440 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463.
Make sure to also stop and relax at some of the town’s green spaces, where you’ll find water fountains for both humans and dogs.
There are a few parks around town, such as the small Solvang Park, a triangular, grassy area shaded with trees and dotted with benches. Solvang Park is located right along Mission Drive in the center of town.
Another green space in Solvang is Hans Christian Andersen Park. The large park, located at the edge of town, is full of trees, grassy areas, and walking trails. Hans Christian Andersen Park is located at 633 Chalk Hill Rd, Solvang, CA 93463.
Go Wine Tasting
Now it’s time to head out of town and visit a couple wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Zaca Mesa Winery, out on Foxen Canyon Road, has a patio area, complete with a giant chess set, and plenty of tables with valley views. Oh, and great wine, of course. Dogs are welcome on the patio, so just grab a glass of wine inside and settle in with the dog outside.
Zaca Mesa Winery is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The winery is located at 6905 Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441.
Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, also out on Foxen Canyon Road, has a patio with seating, as well as a large grass area and picnic tables with views of the hills. Remember the snacks you got in town? Now’s the time to enjoy those along with a glass of local vino. Here dogs are also allowed in the outdoor areas.
Fess Parker Winery is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The winery is located at 6200 Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441.
After a few wineries, it’s time to get back to town. If you’re ready for another tasting, there are plenty of wine bars around.
Stop by the Wandering Dog Wine Bar near the center of town. They’ve got friendly staff, lots of wine and beer for you, and treats on hand for your pup.
The Wandering Dog Wine Bar is open from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday; 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday; 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday; and closed on Tuesday. The wine bar is located at 1539 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463.
For dinner, try the Solvang Brewing Company. The restaurant is right along the main road in town, Mission Drive.
Solvang Brewing Company has a dog-friendly patio and a wide selection of bar food — everything from burgers and sandwiches to tacos and Scandinavian fare. Plus, there’s a generous selection of wine and beer, naturally. There may even be some live music as well!
The Solvang Brewing Company is open daily until midnight on weeknights and 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. on weekend nights. The restaurant is located at 1547 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463.
Spend the Night
If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat, stay at the Royal Copenhagen Inn. The Scandinavian-styled inn is conveniently located along Mission Drive right in town. Plus, they’ve got pet-friendly rooms.
However, not all the rooms are dog-friendly, so be sure to call ahead and see that an appropriate room is available. The rooms are clean and spacious, so it’s a great place to pause for the night. Plus, they’ve also got some fun amenities like a pool, game room, and secret garden.
The Royal Copenhagen Inn is located at 1579 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463.
Grab a Pint
At some point during your time in the Santa Ynez Valley, you may have had your fill of wine and will be seeking a beer break.
If delicious beer is what you seek, head on over the Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in Buellton. They have a wide variety of tasty brews, many with locally inspired names (and great food, too). Grab a pint of the classic Hoppy Poppy IPA or Danish Red Lager and enjoy in the dog-friendly outdoor area.
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is open daily until 9:00 p.m. at 45 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427.
Transportation: Getting to Solvang and Getting Around Town
To travel to Solvang, you’ll need to drive. There isn’t much public transit nearby, and you’ll want your own car to explore the area as you please. Plus, with your dog along, it’s the easiest way to go. (The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner does run along the coast between San Diego and San Luis Obispo — which is a great trip for another time. The closest stop on the route to Solvang is in Lompoc, which is about 30 miles away.)
Solvang is located about three miles from Highway 101 along Highway 246, which doubles as Mission Drive through town.
To get to Solvang, take Highway 101. If you’re coming from Los Angeles, you’ll take Highway 101 North. If you’re coming from San Francisco, you’ll take Highway 101 South. Get off the 101 at exit 140A for CA-246 toward Lompoc/Solvang.
Alternatively from Los Angeles, you could also take Highway 101 North and then take CA-154 W/San Marcos Pass Road, which splits off near Santa Barbara.
Whichever route you take to get to Solvang, it will be beautiful. It’s one of the most scenic areas of California.
Once you’re in Solvang, you won’t need your car to get around town. As home to just about 6,000 people, Solvang is a pretty small town. You can get pretty much anywhere you’d like to go in Solvang on foot.
However, once you’d like to venture out and visit some wineries, you’ll need your car again. The wineries are spread throughout the Santa Ynez Valley, and the best way to get to them with your pet is in your own car.
Even a short trip to the Santa Ynez Valley feels like a real getaway. Exploring the idyllic valley and rolling hills is remarkably calming, and flavorful food and drink abound. So the next time you’re looking for a quick jaunt outside Los Angeles with you pet in tow, look no further than Solvang. Cheers!