Local

A Guide to Santa Ynez

Eat, Drink, & Be Local

The picturesque Santa Ynez Valley encompasses six communities clustered closely together. From the charming, tiny gem of rural Ballard, to the bustling gateway city of Buellton, and the vintage western town of Los Alamos, you get a taste of the beautiful wine country we call home. Meander into the arts-infused wine-infused city of Los Olivos, the turn-of-the-20th-century township of Santa Ynez, or the northern European atmosphere of the city of Solvang and you'll encounter California Coastal cuisine and wine like never before.

Just two hours up the coast from Los Angeles, it feels like a world away of endless possibilities and you can surely experience them all, with the help of a local of course!

Holiday Festivities

There's plenty of holiday cheer in the Santa Ynez Valley during the month of December:

December 1 - Tree Lighting Ceremony (Santa Ynez)
December 3 - Tree Lighting Ceremony (Solvang)
December 4 - Julefest Parade (Solvang), Olde Fashioned Christmas (Los Olivos), Holiday Pop-Up Market (Los Olivos Tasting Room), Elverhoj Makers Market (Solvang)
December 10 - Candlelight Tours (Solvang)
December 11Elverhoj Makers Market (Solvang), Nativity Pageant (Solvang)
December 17Candlelight Tours (Solvang)
December 18 - Solvang Food Tours (Solvang), Elverhoj Makers Market (Solvang)
OngoingNisse Adventure (Solvang)

Please visit websites directly for more information and to purchase tickets. Tickets for certain events are very limited. 

Wine

We're proud to be surrounded by so many amazing wineries and winemakers. As our guest, you can experience the best the valley has to offer with our Tasting Passport featuring complimentary tastings.

Stolpman Vineyards | Gainey Vineyard | Sunstone Vineyard |  Zaca Mesa Vineyards | Lincourt Vineyards | Toccata | Lucas & Lewellen | Foley Estates Vineyard | Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates | Brick Barn | Grassini Family VineyardsBeckmen Vineyards

Reservations may be required.

Dining

From casual spots to five-star experiences, there are plenty of restaurants in the valley that are open for outdoor and indoor dining.

Within walking distance, our favorites include: S.Y. Kitchen, serving up modern Italian, Dos Carlitos, known for crafting rich Mexican flavors, and Panino and The Baker's Table for picking up a quick sandwich or salad for lunch.

A short drive away, in Buellton, you'll find Industrial Eats, a local favorite specializing in wood-fired pizzas among other creative dishes. There's also Hitching Post II, a must for steak. Bell's, located in Los Alamos, is our go-to for laid-back French food - or as they call it, Franch. Last, but not least, our sister property's signature restaurant, Mad & Vin, in Solvang, features farm-to-table California cuisine, craft cocktails, local wine, and beer.

Please contact restaurant directly for hours and dining options.

Hiking

Get outside and experience rolling hills, wild flowers that perfume the air, and breathtaking hiking trails that can give you a glimpse into our charming valley.

Grass Mountain is a great choice for those looking for a challenge with a 4.5 mile trail. For those who want to take it a little easier, our staff frequently hikes Refugio Ridge. You can take this slow and enjoy it with your family, or speed it up for a warm up before a day of wine tasting.

Lastly, experience the beauty of Nojoqui Falls, with a walk just a short distance on the trail to gaze at the falls.

Shopping

California history melds with modern-day wine tasting rooms, vineyards, art galleries, and upscale shops in our picture-perfect country town.

Los Olivos General Store and our neighbors at Santa Ynez General offer contemporary takes on classic small-town neighborhood stores, sourcing locally produced artisan items. Clairmont Farm grows lavender and sells the oil, known for its many healing qualities.

Enjoy an olive oil tasting at Olive Hill Farm or pick up a hand water-colored map at Honey Paper, our town's "hidden gem".

Outdoor Recreation

Plan an afternoon exploring our area by foot, bike, horse, or balloon!

Pedego Los Olivos is bringing a fresh kind of fun to wine country with multiple destination, semi-guided electric bike tours; rentals are also available. Our friends at Vino Vaqueros have access to vineyards that you can reach via horseback.

For the adventurous, soar over the valley in a hot air balloon with Skys the Limit Ballooning, and those looking for a wine-filled excursion, book a custom, private tour guided by Solvang Wine Tours.

Family Friendly

Come face to face with some furry friends or learn more about the history that surrounds the valley while exploring with your family.

Stop by Ostrich Land U.S.A to feed ostriches and emus pans of pellets - or simply just say hello! You can also get up close and personal with adorable miniature horses at the Quicksilver Ranch.

Go back in time to the unspoiled days of Old California on a quiet, blissful and rustic ride with Santa Ynez Valley Horseback Rides. Perfect for horse lovers of all ages and riding abilities.

Tour the Old Mission Santa Ines, which is proud to be the guardian of a rich collection of paintings, statuary, vestments, manuscripts, and artifacts.