Things to Do in Santa Ynez Valley

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The Santa Ynez Valley is a great romantic destination, but this place is not just for couples. It is also the best destination for wine lovers and all those city-dwellers who love to taste bucolic life every once in a while.

Situated in Santa Barbara County, California, the Santa Ynez Valley can be easily reached via road. When driving from Southern California, you can either take the mountain route via Hwy 154 or the costal route by continuing driving on Hwy 101.

Both routes are exquisite and offer breathtaking views, ensuring your drive is just as pleasant and refreshing as your stay in this beautiful valley promises to be.

Wineries, Villages, and Townships

Wine tasting and touring is the biggest attraction—but mind you not the only attraction—of Santa Ynez Valley. Stroll through amazing vineyards and enjoy the many flavors of Santa Ynez wine, which is famous all over the world.

Santa Ynez Valley has 4 distinct American Viticulture Areas, which together produce over 1 million wine cases every year, including well-known wines like Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinto Grigio,, and Sauvignon Blanc. The valley has 120 plus wineries, many of which are family-owned. The best part of wine tours here is that you get to enjoy exquisite wines in a friendly, pleasant atmosphere.

Santa Ynez

Visit the place where it all began here—the township of Santa Ynez. Surrounded by small hills and rows of grape wines, the town of Santa Ynez, offers visitors a great mix of rich history, breathtaking beauty, and amazing culinary delights. There’s something here for everyone: exquisite wine tasting rooms for wine aficionados, fascinating 1880s-era building facades and art galleries for history and art lovers, and hot air balloon ride and a challenging hike for those who love a little adventure.


Small in size and pedestrian-friendly, Solvang personifies bucolic life. The town has over a dozen highly-impressive wine-tasting rooms close to each other.  A wine aficionado’s paradise, Solvang became all the more famous after “Sideways”, a famous Hollywood movie, was shot here.


Popularly known as “The Home to Original Split Pea Soup”, Buellton has much to offer tourists than just pea soup, which, by the way, is absolutely amazing, and if you are here, don’t forget to visit the world-famous Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant, from which the town gets it above-listed name. Along with exquisite wineries, there’s an ostrich farm, a botanic garden and much more.

Los Olivos

Enjoy the best of relaxing and rewarding village life in Los Olivos, a captivating little town in the serene Santa Ynez Valley. There are many world-class wineries and restaurants here to make your trip a memorable one.  


You can visit Ballard on the way to Los Olivos. Main attractions include churches, a world-famous and award-winning inn and wine-tasting room, and studios.

Los Alamos

Surrounded by ranches and vineyards and much liked by visitors for its old-time rustic feel, Los Alamos is situated at northern entry to the valley. Its main thoroughfare boasts of quaint shops, wine tasting, a huge antique mall within a historic train terminal, a charming art gallery, a café, many restaurants, and much more.


Many famous events are organized in Santa Ynez Valley all round the year, the most famous ones being the following:

Solvang Danish Days

Danish Days is California’s world-famous Danish heritage festival held in the third week of February every year. You must attend it if you wish for a total Danish immersion experience.  The even honors the early establishment of Solvang by Danish-Americans and includes, among other things, three parades, folk dancing, music, live history exhibits, and authentic Danish food. Of course, the event features wine tasting so that visitors can savor the taste of premier wine of this region. There’s also a beer garden where visitors can taste local brew.

Hidden Gem Winemaker’s Event

This is another annual event popular among visitors. You’ll get to taste wine gems which you are not likely to get elsewhere, so don’t miss it.  

Solvang 3rd Wednesday

You get to enjoy attractive discounts at many wine-tasting rooms, stores, and restaurants on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. So make the best of the 3rd Wednesday special and enjoy premium wines and great food.  

Summer Pass

If you love wine, you got to be here between May 1 and August 30, because that’s when the annual Summer Wine Tasting Event is held in Santa Ynez Valley. Enjoy wine tasting at some of the best boutique wineries in the valley. You can taste wine at each of the thirteen Association wineries.

Winter Pass

If you missed the Summer Pass or if you liked it so much that you want to relive it but don’t want to wait for 12 whole months, you should come here between October and January. Take part in wine-tasting adventures and enjoy some of the best wines that California offers.

Historical attractions, Outdoor activities and much more

There are many historical attractions, museums in this part of the world. If you love outdoor activities, you will find much to do in Santa Ynez Valley.  

Elverhoj Museum of History & Art

Situated in Solvang, this is a community museum which helps you become familiar with the history of this region.

The Mendenhall Museum

Here you will find amazing petroliana collections, which include gasoline pumps, road signs, and globes. The museum, which is a private collection, also boasts of racing memorabilia, race cars, license plates, and many other kinds of miscellaneous antiques.

Cachuma Lake

This picturesque lake, set in the middle of miles of wilderness, is a great place to relax and unwind. It is perfect for a day excursion.

Gaviota State Park Beach

Popular for camping, surf fishing, picnicking, and swimming, is another great outdoor destination in the Santa Ynez Valley. Love hiking? Climb up to Gaviota Peak and enjoy the breathtaking views of surroundings.

Nojoqui Falls

A favorite destination for family outings, the fall is scenically located and a perfect place to get away from the civilization for a short while.

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