A Festive Taste of Denmark in Solvang, California

Posted December 7, 2009 by Jamie Moore

Solvanggingerbreadhouseexterior-def Escape SoCal's big city holiday shopping hordes with a weekend getaway in the charming Danish village of Solvang. This little Santa Barbara County town is home to more than 150 boutiques and specialty stores with everything from clogs to hand-blown glass ornaments. Find the perfect holiday gift at an artsy shop. See a 10-foot gingerbread house at a Danish bakery. And get in on Danish Christmas craft-making at a museum. A parade, twinkling lights, roving carolers, and a nativity pageant add a festive feel during Winterfest in December.

Artistic Pony: Baubles and beads and other beautiful things fill the shelves at this shop, a gift-giver's dream. More than 40 local and California artists sell their one-of-a-kind pieces here. Find colorful hand-blown Christmas ornaments or bracelets made of organic moonstones and Murano glass. Don't miss the whimsical clocks designed by a book illustrator who says time should be something we look at and smile—A great reminder during the harried holiday season.

Olsen's Danish Village Bakery: After a long day of boutique hopping, this tiny Old World bakery is the perfect spot for a break. In December, Brent Olsen, a fourth-generation Danish baker, builds a towering 10-foot gingerbread house out of 250 pounds of dough. The scent alone is enough to convert even the most dedicated Grinches. Visit any time of year, though, for the almond custard kringle, big enough for two and, according to Los Angelenos, absolutely worth the two-hour drive. You can get coffee, a roll with cheese, and a pastry for around $7.

Elverhoj Museum of History & Art: As you'd expect, the pieces in this museum reflect the Danish culture and the Danish-American experience. What's surprising, though, is the setting: a home built in the style of large 18th-century farmhouses in northern Denmark. During the holidays, the Scandinavian architecture and the handmade Danish ornaments on the 12-foot Christmas tree are stunning.

To search for flights and compare prices to Santa Barbara, which is home to Solvang’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: SolvangUSA.com)

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