One of the greatest privileges of living in California is the readily available access to different climates and environments within just a hour or so’s drive. We love to brag about being able to wake up for a morning surf before hitting the mountains for a day of snowboarding. I mean, how lucky are we that we don’t have to endure a snowy freeze to have access to a place as festive as Santa Claus’ North Pole?
In fact, the ideal merry getaway is just a few hours from Los Angeles right in the Santa Ynez Valley. For the holiday season, Solvang celebrates by putting on Julefest. The month-long event is so spectacular that Oprah Winfrey dubbed it as one of the most magical Christmas towns around the world.
“Solvang Julefest is an iconic holiday season ‘thing’ along California’s Central Coast,” Scott Shuemake said, who serves as the event’s leader. “It shines a twinkly light on Solvang’s Danish heritage. We’re so excited to be able to bring it back this year, for everyone looking for a little bit of a European holiday in Southern California.”
Julefest officially began on Nov. 27 and will run through Jan. 1, 2022. However, festivities really kick off on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. with the tree lighting ceremony at Solvang Park, which will include ballerinas, live entertainment and caroling. The Julefest Parade is set for the very next day, Dec. 4, to keep the celebration alive all weekend long.
The tree lighting and parade will be pretty special, but the fun continues the whole month. Santa’s Village is open every Saturday leading up to Christmas, as are candlelight tours and the Elverhoj Makers Market. What’s more, the Solvang Food Tour will take place Dec. 4, 11, and 18 for an afternoon of Solvang’s best watering holes, artisan shops and local history. The Nisse Adventure also occurs all through December and challenges visitors to find the mysterious Solvang nisse. Julefest will conclude on Jan. 7, 2022 with a ceremonial tree burn (supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, of course).
Solvang at Christmas time makes for a lovely day trip, but we highly recommend committing for the weekend. To get started, in-town experts curated a special itinerary for the perfect visit. The schedule is planned according to Dec. 3-to-5 festivities, but it is full of plenty of activities fit for all of December. See more below.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Saturday, December 4, 2021
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Drive safe! Kom igen!
Photography by: Central Coast Pictures / SolvangUSA.com; Vinland Hotel & Lounge