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Experience the Magical Christmas Celebration 'Julefest' in Solvang!

Solvang, California, is known for its Danish-style architecture and is the perfect destination for a festive Christmas celebration. Every year, the town of Solvang throws Julefest, a magical Christmas event that locals and visitors alike look forward to. From the moment you enter the town, you’ll be immersed in a whimsical winter wonderland. On the main street, you’ll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions that are decorated for the holiday season. Along with the beautiful decorations, you’ll also find carolers singing, photos with Santa, and holiday performances. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the holiday season, Julefest in Solvang is the perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit!



What to Expect at Julefest


Julefest is a fantastic holiday celebration that occurs every year in November and December in Solvang. On the main street of Solvang, you’ll find a variety of shops and restaurants decorated for the Christmas season. You’ll also find carolers singing, horse-drawn carriages, and holiday performances throughout the street. Julefest also includes outdoor markets, where you can purchase holiday decorations, handmade crafts, and traditional Scandinavian items. There are also Christmas tree lighting, dancers, and much more.


Entertainment During Julefest


You’ll find an array of entertainment options during Julefest. During the daytime, you can attend one of the lively holiday events at Solvang. Julefest is happening this year at the village of Solvang beginning November 24, 2023, with some new facets and fun-filled events; it runs throughout the festive season, through January 6, 2024. Here is the full schedule of events for this year:


Light & Music Show

Solvang Park

1630 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

November 24 – January 6

showtimes TBA

Every evening during Solvang Julefest, Solvang Park will come alive with all that sparkles and shines! Enjoy a 10-minute light and music display on the hour each night, right in the center of all of Solvang’s holiday magic. Light show times will be 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. There will be two show variations. The first will be played 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm. and the second will be at 6pm, 8pm.



Photos with Santa

Solvang Park

1630 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

December 2 (2pm-4pm)

December 9, 16 & 23, 12pm-4pm


Santa’s Village is open every Saturday leading up to Christmas Day. Come on out to Solvang Park to meet Mr. Claus with Christmas lists at the ready! Pictures with Santa are free to all. Don't forget your cameras or smartphone!


Candlelight Tours

Solvang Visitor Center

1637-1639 Copenhagen Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

December 8, 9, 15, 16

December 18 - December 23

5 pm

The popular Solvang Julefest Candlelight Tours will continue this year to provide special experiences for locals and visitors as they traverse the streets of Solvang, singing carols and learning about some Danish traditions along with Solvang history. Led by a costumed guide, all tour participants will receive an LED candle to hold during the tour. Advance purchase is required; ticket sales will start in November.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Solvang Park

1630 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

December 1st

5-6:30 pm

This is not part of the everyday light show! Watch as the City of Solvang’s tree is lit up for the Holidays. There will be dancers and music performances.


Julefest Parade

Solvang Park

1630 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

December 2, 11am

Celebrate this year’s Julefest Parade theme, “My favorite Christmas Movie,” as parade floats and entries travel along the village streets on this Saturday morning. Marching bands, horses, and more! Catch 400+ participants and 50+ contingents as they stroll and cruise down Solvang’s main avenues. Don’t miss this chance to bring more hygge (Danish coziness) to your holiday season and a free opportunity to meet Mr. Claus post-Parade.


Solvang Tree Burn

Mission Parking lot

1760 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

January 5, 2024

5pm


The Solvang Tree Burn is a powerful safety demonstration at the start of the New Year, heralding the end of the Solvang Julefest celebration. Free, live entertainment plus refreshments for purchase.



Artisanal Light Marketplace

Solvang Park

1630 Mission Dr.

Solvang, CA 93463

December 6

5 pm-7 pm

Fashioned after traditional European night markets, the Solvang Julefest Maker’s Market will feature a row of crafters and local artisans offering one-of-a-kind holiday gift ideas, seasonal treats, and more, at an open-air Christmas market under the stars, in Solvang Park.


Nisser Adventure

November 24 – January 6

anytime


Join in on the city-wide hunt for the mischievous Solvang Nisser (Danish for “gnome”)! This group of Nissers have hidden themselves throughout Downtown Solvang, and your help is needed to track them down. Find one, or find them all as you enjoy all that Downtown Solvang has to offer. Fun for the whole family!


All Julefest long, pop into the Solvang Visitor Center for a list of clues to the various hiding spots the Nisser frequents. Once you find each Nisser, head back to the Visitor Center to receive a special Solvang keepsake.



Where to Stay for Julefest


There are many hotels to choose from in Solvang, including the Wine Valley Hotel. The Wine Valley Hotel has a variety of fantastic rooms and suites to choose from, along with amenities like a spa, pool, and restaurant. This hotel is the perfect place to stay during Julefest!


Another hotel to consider is the Solvang Inn and Cottages. Solvang Inn and Cottages is located near the heart of Solvang and in an area with great shopping. This hotel also has a variety of fantastic rooms and suites to choose from, including a pool and free breakfast with your stay.

Kronborg Inn is another family-friendly hotel to consider. With 39 spacious, nicely decorated air-conditioned rooms around a sunny courtyard with a pool and spa with massage and facial. Kronborg Inn is on the Strip and near the beach. Wildling Museum and Solvang Festival Theater are cultural highlights, and some of the area's attractions include OstrichLand USA and Apple Lane Solvang. Global Gardens and SAARLOOSons are also worth visiting.


Mirabelle Inn and Restaurant is a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of Solvang. The hotel is comprised of 13 newly remodeled luxurious rooms offering five-star amenities. Enjoy the town like a local and take walking tours of the owner’s organic vineyard, Coquelicot Estate, and complimentary tasting room passes.


Shopping Experiences at Julefest


If you love to shop for unique gifts, you’ll want to visit the shops in Solvang during Julefest. In addition to the shops along the main street, you’ll also find more shops in Downtown Solvang. Here, you can find shops full of Scandinavian antiques, handmade soaps, and other unique items. Solvang is the perfect place to get amazing gifts for your friends and family!


Solvang is home to many fantastic shops, such as Scandia. Scandia has been a part of Solvang since 1912, and has a wide selection of handmade Scandinavian items, including ceramics, jewelry, and textiles. If you’re looking for handmade soaps and candles, you’ll want to visit The Mole Hole. The Mole Hole is located at 1656 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463 and has a variety of soaps, candles, and even toys. For a full list of shops in Solvang click here.



Restaurants to Visit During Julefest


If you’re hungry after visiting the shops and attractions in Solvang, you have a wide variety of restaurant options. You’ll find many casual restaurants in Solvang great for family dining. You’ll also find plenty of food trucks, serving everything from hot dogs to tacos, at Julefest. If you’re looking for a place to grab some drinks, you can visit one of the many bars. There are also many wineries in the area, where you can sample delicious wine and enjoy a beautiful view. Don't forget to stop by a danish bakery while you are at Solvang! To find a full list of restaurants in Solvang, click here, and for danish bakeries, click here.


Here are some local favorites to get your tour started:

  • Birkholm's Bakery & Cafe

  • Danish Mill Bakery

  • Mortensen's Bakery

  • Old Danish Food Farm/Fudge Kitchen

  • Olsen's Danish Village Bakery

  • Solvang Bakery


Other Attractions


There are lots of fun things to do in the nearby areas, no matter what time of year you visit Solvang! Take family photos in the Giant Red Clog or play at Sunny Fields Park castle. The HCA Skate Park offers a healthy activity for kids. You can take a Surrey bicycle out for a spin as a group or go on a trolley tour. For a taste of nature, visit Ostrichland & Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch.


If you’re looking for other attractions at Solvang, you can visit the mission at the Mission Santa Inés. Find ongoing events like 3rd Wednesday Specials, Weekly Wednesday Farmer’s Markets, and the nearby Chumash Casino Resort offering 24/7 gaming.


You can also visit the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden, which is about 15 minutes drive from Solvang. Santa Barbara Zoo and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum are also activities that are a short drive to Solvang.

Helpful Tips


Whether you’re visiting Solvang for the first time or you’re a regular, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:


  • Be sure to visit Solvang during the weekend, as some shops and attractions are closed during the week.

  • If you want to visit the wineries, you’ll want to visit them on Saturdays, as some are closed on Sundays.

  • You can find ATMs at Rabobank, Copenhagen Liquor, Solvang Market on Mission Drive, and Red Viking Restaurant on Copenhagen Drive.

  • Some restaurants open as early as 6 am and most bakeries open at 7 am.

  • Parking is FREE throughout the village and in parking lots on Alisal Road, Copenhagen, and Mission Drives.

  • The visitor center is located at 1639 Copenhagen Drive and it is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. You may also call 805-688-6144 to speak with a local expert.



 

Disclaimer: This article contains some affiliate links.

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