You may know Santa Ynez Valley as the home to Michael Jackson’s Neverland, or the filming location of the movie Sideways. But there’s so much more than that in this charming, rustic part of Central California. A weekend getaway in SYV, you’ll understand why numerous celebrities come here to escape the spotlight.
Here’s a breakdown of the six lovely towns that make up a charming and rustic Californian valley.
Reputation: A romantic B&B serving foodies’ dreams.
The 411: Ballard is the smallest town in Santa Ynez Valley with a population for 467. Don’t miss the most romantic B&B The Ballard Inn & Restaurant serving you the meal of life. If you’re road tripping, make sure to stop by and check out miniature donkeys that will make you gush.
Reputation: Remember that comedy-drama movie, Sideways?
The 411: Many travelers come to Buellton to see where Sideways was filmed. But for those who want to switch it up a little from all that wine in the valley, Buellton hosts quite a few breweries for beer fanatics. An Ostrichland is also where both kids and adults can have a field day with the wildlife.
Reputation: Bell Street is enough to make antique-lovers happy and winos jumping with joy.
The 411: The quiet yet intimate Los Alamos has a population of 1,890. Its main Bell Street contains seven blocks of lovely antique shops and small but personal wine tasting rooms. The town is as vintage chic as it gets as quite a few celebrities have opened wine tasting rooms on Bell Street, including Emilio Estevez, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson and Matthew Bellamy. 1880 Union Hotel is also where Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and numerous musicians shot their music videos. One thing not to miss in Los Alamos is a delicious brunch spot: Bell Street Farm (get the charcuterie, it’ll take you right back to the south of France!)
Reputation: A laid-back Wine tasting haven.
The 411: If you like to taste local vintage bottles in a mellow and easygoing setting, Los Olivos is the perfect spot. The town centers around an iconic flagpole, you’ll see Victorian homes and local business situated on Alamo Pintado Avenue and Grand Avenue. Horse trails, lavender farms, orchards and vineyards are all part of the rustic charm that keeps Los Olivos delightful and relaxing.
Don’t miss: Andrew Murray Vineyards Winery & Visitor’s Center, Firestone Vineyard & Winery, Gallery Los Olivos, Los Olivos General Store & Larner Wine Tasting Room, Stolpman Wine Tasting Room, Waxing Poetic.
Reputation: The sophisticated cowboy town.
The 411: Driving on Sagunto Street, you’ll see the fusion of modern chic blending in with horses parked by local cowboys. During the day, Santa Ynez is the perfect spot for cyclists to enjoy incredible landscape. Others can stroll alongside fashion boutiques, gorgeous galleries and outstanding restaurants that juxtapose Chumash Casino Resort which boasts non-stop entertainment late into the night.
Don’t miss: Chumash Casino Resort, Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Forever Posh, Gainey Vineyard, Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables, Santa Ynez Inn, Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, The Baker’s Table, Trattoria Grappolo.
Reputation: The Danish town you never knew existed in California.
The 411: Back in 1911, a group of Danish-American settled in Solvang. Since then, traditions and architecture has remained an integral charm of this community. You won’t need to make a trip to Denmark once you’ve been to Solvang. Streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants and decor that whisk you straight to the authentic Scandinavian culture.
Don’t miss: Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, Hotel Corque, Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery, Root 246, Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie, Tenley Fohl Photography, The Landsby, Wildling Museum, ZFolio Gallery.