Solvang is a quaint Danish town in central 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 northwest 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 one night getaway. There are now plenty of dog-friendly places throughout the Santa Ynez valley; it’s close enough for an easy road trip, but gives you the feeling of being far away. Here’s how to have the perfect dog-friendly day in Solvang.
Above: Fresco Valley Cafe
Start your day with breakfast at Fresco Valley Cafe. Located in Atterdag Square, the eatery serves fresh, organic food, along with beer and wine. They even have a dog menu and a spacious patio, and the staff is friendly and accommodating.
Above: Taking a rest at Solvang Park
Next, take a stroll through town and see the shops. Some shops are more pet-friendly than others, but there’s no shortage of shops to peruse. Make sure to pop into Vinhus, where they have a wide selection of local and international foods and dogs are welcomed. Stock up on some snacks, you’re going to need them later. Stop and relax at the park, where you’ll find water fountains for both humans and dogs (there’s the small Solvang Park and the larger Hans Christian Andersen Park).
Above: Stop by Vinhus to stock up on cheese
Now it’s time to head out of town and hit up a couple wineries. Zaca Mesa, 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. Fess Parker, also out on Foxen Canyon Road, has 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.
Above: Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyard
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. They’ve got lots of wine and beer for you and treats for your pup.
Above: A picnic area at Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard
For dinner, try the Solvang Brewing Company. They have a dog-friendly patio and a wide selection of bar food — everything from burgers and sandwiches to tacos to Scandinavian fare. You can’t go wrong, really. Plus, a generous selection of wine and beer, naturally.
Above: The Fess Parker grounds
If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat, stay at the Royal Copenhagen Inn. It’s conveniently located right in town and has pet-friendly rooms (just make sure to call ahead to make sure one is available). They’ve got some fun amenities like a pool, game room, and secret garden.
Above: IPAs at Figueroa Mountain
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 a seat in the dog-friendly outdoor area.
Above: The Santa Ynez Valley
Even a short trip to the Santa Ynez Valley feels like a real getaway. Exploring the idyllic valley and abounding hills is remarkably calming, and flavorful food and drink abound. So the next time you’re looking for a quick jaunt outside the city with you pet in tow, look no further than Solvang.