As the last of Thanksgiving’s leftovers are eaten and the calendar shifts to December, the holiday season is in full swing.
If you’re looking for a winter (no snow) vacation and hoping to stay in a quaint town from a Hallmark TV movie, you don’t need to travel too far.
Tripstodiscover.com, a website that offers suggestions and resources for planning a trip, published a list of the 21 best small towns to visit this Christmas, and only one California city made the list.
Solvang was listed as California’s Best City to Visit for Christmas, according to the website.
The tiny village in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County’s wine country is a sleepy town with European architecture and sensibility, and the town definitely goes out of its way at Christmas.
The city has dozens of boutiques selling traditional Danish items, including clogs and other knick-knacks, and that’s not even mentioning the world-famous Aebleskivers. In the winter, much of the city is decked out in festive lights and wreaths, and there’s a palpable holiday vibe as you stroll the streets of the quiet town.
Each year, Solvang celebrates Julefest, a month-long celebration that “harks back to a simpler time and holiday memories of days gone by,” according to the festival’s website.
The Yule Festival features a holiday parade, musical performances, and a nightly light show with Christmas music synchronized with blinking lights. There is also an annual ‘Nativity Spectacular’ production that has been running for almost 40 years, bringing artists together to tell the Christmas story.
The festival officially ends after the New Year when residents of the Santa Ynez Valley gather for a massive Christmas tree burning that serves both as a bookend for the holiday season and as an important demonstration about fire hazards.
With accommodation options ranging from cheap motel overnight stays to luxurious resorts, Solvang has plenty to suit every budget – but being only a 2.5-hour drive from Los Angeles, it’s also a great day trip. Just keep in mind that much of the city goes to sleep with the sun, so get there early to maximize your time.
So if you want to see why Solvang is called ‘A Very Charming Christmas Town’, head to the Danish capital of America and see what the hype is about.
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