Since Solvang is next door neighbors with Santa Barbara, it seems logical to kill two birds with one stone when it came to my bucket list (#12- Visit Solvang, CA).
I’ve wanted to visit Solvang for several years. From what I could tell, it seemed almost like a theme park for Quasi-Euro-Pride Americans like myself. I’m not Danish (I don’t think?) but it’s close enough to the Dutch heritage and it’s in California. Danish architecture, Danish food, Danish arts and culture, how fun! Then I married someone who is very much Danish so it seemed like something we should do, and to instill some Danish-pride in our daughter… right?
Blake & I debated back and forth about whether we wanted to wait til “Danish Days” in September, Solvang’s yearly festival but then reasoned traffic, timing, and mingling with thousands of tourists wasn’t all that appealing. Enjoying and experiencing Solvang seems much more feasible when you’re not fighting crowds… not to mention Solvang is already a Danish town founded on Danish money so ….. how much more Danish can it get?
Solvang is an extremely quaint little tourist town. I was telling Blake I think it’d be fun if there were more cultures out there that successfully pulled off similar towns. I mean, other than ‘Chinatown’ type districts. Imagine travelling to a city that was a minature replication of Kyoto, or Paris?
I think the downfall of Solvang is that the Danish culture, besides the architecture, isn’t all that remarkable. I don’t mean that to be rude, but I was hoping to come across Danish crafts, Danish art, Danish music, and all that but besides the mediocre restaurants (no authentic Danish restaurants received more than a 3 star rating on yelp) and bakeries (all selling the same Danish butter cookies in buckets) there wasn’t much anything Danish inside the stores. We browsed a lot of stores boasting a Danish business name & product…. i.e. a wine & cheese shop that sold the double-salted licorice…… but inside most of the goods were either from California wineries or imported in from France. I suppose if you love to shop trinket stores and buy things that say “SOLVANG!” imported from China, then you’ll be right at home.
I don’t want to talk it down too much. I think the town itself is lots of fun to just hang out in and get ice cream and stroll shady streets, and pose with different statues. I even ran into an old co-worker/girlfriend who was there on a timeshare with her family for the week! Small world.
Not a lot of pictures, but…. I guess that means you’ll have to check it out for yourself 🙂