Solvang Julefest 2023
Solvang’s Month-long Holiday Celebration, Danish Style
Solvang’s Danish-style holiday celebration begins November 24, 2023, with some new facets and fun-filled events; it runs throughout the festive season, through January 6, 2024.
It’s almost time for Solvang’s annual Julefest celebration extraordinaire! Held in one of the “Most Magical Christmas Towns and Villages Across the World” (according to Oprah Daily), Solvang Julefest is a month+ of lights, celebratory events, and holiday cheer, which runs November 24, 2023 – January 6, 2024. Join us for lots of family fun, seasonal music, holiday shopping, culinary delights, wine & beer, and more. Skål!
Insider Tip: Don’t miss our Tree Lighting weekend, December 1 – 3, 2023, filled with holiday experiences the whole family will enjoy!
Solvang Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 1, 5-6:30pm
Help us kick off this holiday season with Solvang’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place in the center of downtown Solvang, in Solvang Park (First Street & Mission Drive).
The Tree Lighting includes various elements including dancers and ballerinas, other live entertainment, and caroling. The Solvang Christmas Tree will illuminate closer to 6:30pm.
Solvang Julefest Parade
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.
Participate in the Julefest Parade! There is NO CHARGE to participate; please complete and return the 2023 Solvang Julefest Parade application.
December 6, 5pm-7pm
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.
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn
January 5, 2024, 5pm (weather permitting)
Supervised by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and one of the largest fire safety demonstrations along the California Central Coast, 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.
Be sure to join the fun of our ongoing Julefest events like our hunt for Danish gnomes (Nisser), visits with Santa in his village, evening candlelight tours of quaint Solvang, and our daily light and music show in Solvang Park (see ongoing events below).
Light & Music Show
Daily, November 24 – January 6, showtimes 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.
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.
November 24 – January 6, anytime / at your leisure
Join in on the city-wide hunt for the mischievous Solvang Nisser (Danish for “gnome”)! This group of Nisser have hidden themselves throughout Downtown Solvang and we need your help tracking 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.
Photos with Santa / Santa’s Village
Saturdays, December 2 (2pm-4pm), 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.
December 8, 9, 15, and 16, plus December 18 through December 23, 5pm. 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 required; ticket sales will start in November.
Solvang Trolley Christmas Light Tour
Enjoy the magic of the holidays in a Trolley Tour
Solvang Trolley invites you to tour the Christmas lights through the Santa Ynez Valley! Featuring fresh hot chocolate, and a jolly good time!
Tour dates: Tues Dec 12, Thurs Dec 14, Fri Dec 15, Sat Dec 16, Tues Dec 19, Thurs Dec 21, Fri Dec 22 Sat Dec 23
Tour times: 6:00pm and 7:30pm
Seating is limited, so please reserve in advance!
Planning to stay with us this holiday season? Be sure to book lodging in advance! Research some of our many hotel options, here.
For more information, including travel itinerary ideas and inspiration for things to do, where to eat and drink, and places to stay, follow our adventures on Instagram and Facebook: @SolvangUSA and facebook.com/VisitSolvangUSA.
*** Please Note: Always check status of events and all event updates prior to making travel plans.
Solvang Julefest is sponsored in part by Visit the Santa Ynez Valley.
Thank you to 3CE, our local renewable energy provider, for sponsoring the electricity for our Christmas Tree for the entire month.