10 Best Things to Do in Solvang with Family

Updated: June 3, 2022 | Has affiliate links

Solvang is a beautiful destination in Southern California. We love taking our family to Solvang and enjoying the town and the many attractions perfect for families. We enjoyed Solvang when our children were small but also now when they are teenagers…they just love going to Solvang. So, come along with me as we explore my favorite things to do in Solvang with family.

Coming to Solvang from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and even from Santa Barbara, will quiet your soul. We love visiting for the day and simply strolling through the streets and sampling the food. However, in this article we will focus on specific things to do with kids in Solvang, California. Let’s put on some comfortable shoes and let’s start exploring a few beautiful things to do in Solvang with family.

1. Sunny Fields Park

The Sunny Fields playground is one of the best things to do in Solvang with family
The Sunny Fields playground is shaped like a castle and features a Viking ship
Photo by CityOfSolvang.com

In Danish, Solvang means “sunny field.” Sunny Fields Park (click for location) has a playground shaped like a wooden castle. The playground’s design makes it look like it belongs in Denmark, putting it high on the list of things to do in Solvang with family. This is the perfect place for doing Solvang with toddler.

The playground features a Viking ship, gingerbread house, puppet show theater, medieval towers, and little houses ideal for playing hide and seek, along with the traditional slides, swings, and monkey bars. The park has a baseball field, a volleyball court, a walking path, and sheltered picnic areas with grills. Misters help cool off park visitors on hot days.

2. Solvang Trolley

The Solvang Trolley waiting for customers
The Solvang Trolley waiting for customers
See my photos of Solvang

The Solvang Trolley is a replica of a 1915 Honen trolley pulled by Belgian draft horses. The trolley takes visitors on a 25 minute guided tour through downtown Solvang, making it one of the fun things to do in Solvang with family.

The trolley tour is narrated by costumed guides who talk about Solvang’s history, architecture, and attractions. The guides also tell Danish folk tales and talk about Danish culture. The tour gives families an orientation and overview of Solvang’s downtown, making it easier to decide where to explore afterwards.

3. Mission Santa Inẻs

Large palm tree in the Santa Ines Mission garden
Large palm tree in the Santa Ines Mission garden
See my photos of Solvang

Founded in 1804 as the nineteenth California Mission, Mission Santa Inẻs stands out because its Spanish colonial design contrasts with the Danish architecture. The Mission, one of the educational things to do in Solvang with family, is called the Hidden Gem of the Missions.

Mission Santa Inẻs (click for location) houses a museum and a church. The museum’s collection includes the largest collection of early California church silk vestments, paintings and statues, music manuscripts, and bells dating back to the 1800’s. The church has murals that depict early Mission life. Self-guided tours of the museum, church, and gardens are available.

4. Elverhøj Museum of History & Art

The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art building
The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art building
photo by LittleT889

The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art is a multi-purpose museum, documenting Solvang’s history, celebrating Danish culture, and promoting fine art. The museum’s exhibits and events make it one of the cultural things to do in Solvang with family.

The museum has one of the largest collections of Danish art and artifacts outside Denmark. The museum uses photographs, videos, artifacts, and models to tell the story of Solvang’s history. Exhibits feature traditional Danish folk art and artifacts from a 1870’s Danish rural one-room house. Local artists often exhibit their works at the museum.

5. Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Tools used for making wooden shoes at the Hans Christian Andersen museum
Tools used for making wooden shoes at the Hans Christian Andersen museum
See my photos of Solvang

Located above The Book Loft bookstore, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum celebrates the life and works of the Danish fairy tale author, whose works include The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, and The Little Mermaid. The museum’s small size, just two rooms, makes it one of the ideal things to do in Solvang with family.

The museum features original letters and first edition copies of Andersen’s books. An exhibit explores Andersen’s relationship with Danish singer Jenny Lind. A collection of paper cuttings Andersen made while he wrote his stories tell their own story. A display inspired by Andersen’s The Princess & The Pea features multiple versions of the book.

6. Ostrichland USA

Ostriches looking for food from visitors
Ostriches looking for food from visitors
See my photos of Buellton

One of the more unusual things to do in Solvang with family, Ostrichland USA has over 100 ostriches and emus whose antics and personalities enthrall visitors of all ages. Located on a ranch between Solvang and Buellton, Ostrichland simulates the desert environment that ostriches and emus normally live in.

Ostrichland USA encourages visitors to feed the birds, referred to as “Buellton’s Favorite Pets,” who have been trained to eat out of a bowl. In the spring and summer, families can see baby ostrich and emu chicks. A shop sells ostrich and emu feed, ostrich eggs, and souvenirs.

7. Nojoqui Falls Park

Nojoqui
Nojoqui Falls is tall and impressive for Southern California even though it is only trickling during the summer
See my photos of Solvang

Located in Goleta, less than three miles from Solvang, Nojoqui Falls Park is home to several picnic areas with barbecue grills that easily accommodate large families. The park’s crown jewel, making it one of the awesome things to do in Solvang with family, is an 80 foot tall waterfall that’s accessible from a short trail.

Nojoqui Falls flows with water from Nojoqui Creek. The pool at the bottom of the falls is shallow, allowing kids to wade to a shaded spot at the base. A small playground sits near the park’s entrance. A playing field allows families to play soccer or frisbee. Natural play opportunities at the park include trees with hollow openings ideal for playing hide-and-seek.

8. Enjoy Great Ice Cream

Delicious McConnell's ice cream being served at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor
Delicious McConnell’s ice cream being served at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor
See my photos of Solvang

On a nice day, enjoying delicious ice cream or gelato is one of the things to do in Solvang with family to cool off. Two downtown Solvang shops, the Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor and Café Dolce, scoop up delicious ice cream and gelato.

The Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor, owned by the same family that operates the Solvang Trolley, serves McConnell’s Ice Cream. McConnell’s, a Santa Barbara family-run company, uses Central Coast produced milk, cream, nuts, and fruit along with gourmet vanilla and chocolate to make their ice cream.

Café Dolce serves fantastic gelato and sorbet, along with ice cream from Grover Beach based Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. Café Dolce also offers a wide variety of delicious beverages, including coffee drinks, juices, smoothies, and boba tea. The food menu features a variety of tasty breakfast options, along with mouthwatering sandwiches and paninis.

9. Swedish Candy Factory

Making Danish Polkagris at Swedish Candy Factory
Making Danish Polkagris at Swedish Candy Factory
Photos by Swedish Candy Factory

Families will enjoy watching candy makers create sweet treats at the Swedish Candy Factory. The factory makes and sells Polkagris, a Swedish hard taffy that comes in a number of different flavors. Watching Enjoying freshly made Polkagris is one of the delicious things to do in Solvang with family.

The Swedish Candy Factory is the only shop making Polkagris in the U.S. The factory uses a 150 year old traditional method of making Polkagris with no artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or preservatives. The factory also makes hand dipped chocolate items and sells candies and snacks from Sweden along with Stafford’s Chocolates from the San Joaquin Valley.

10. Ingeborg’s Chocolates

Chocolate covered apples and strawberries
Chocolate covered apples and strawberries
See my photos of Solvang

Ingeborg’s Chocolates makes and packages their Danish-style caramels, truffles, marzipans, molded chocolate sets, and other products at their Solvang shop. Chocolate lovers will put a stop at Ingeborg’s on the top of their list of things to do in Solvang with family.

Ingeborg’s makes their chocolates using recipes that founder Ingeborg Larsen brought to America from Denmark. The factory, located in the back of the shop, makes over 70 different products. The shop also sells candies imported from Denmark. Ingeborg’s also has a fountain with stools where visitors can enjoy ice cream and coffee drinks.

Is it Worth Visiting Solvang with Kids?

Absolutely! Whether it’s the Solvang Trolley, a picnic at the park or simply the yummy ice cream, Solvang has lots to offer for families visiting for the day or spending a few days in town. We certainly love it every time we get to visit.

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