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Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

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Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

Hi everyone,

we will be driving through the Santa Ynez area to visit some wineries and will be departing our Santa Barbara hotel Sunday morning to do so. We plan on taking the 154 to Solvang as a starting point. A couple of questions for anyone who can help:

1. Is it worth stopping in Cold Springs Tavern if we are not yet hungry for lunch? Does the site offer historical information we can make a quick stop to read/view?

2. Is there a stopping point around Lake Cachuma that we should look for, or is it pretty obvious that there are scenic stop off points on the 154?

3. Is there a central place to park in Solvang?

4. From Solvang, what is the best way to drive to Los Olivos? should we get back on the 154, take the 101, or is there a non-highway scenic route?

5. Is there a central place to park in Los Olivos?

Any other tips about driving through the area would be much appreciated, too. Thank you in advance for your help & expertise. We are excited for our trip.

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1. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

Yes, there's a way of getting to Los Olivos without getting back on the 101 and it's more scenic but you need a map.

There are several places to park in central Solvang. They are well-marked, but most visitors like parking near the Mission. When you drive into town, you'll see a little park on your right (the beginning part of the town is rather long, don't get excited and park when you see the first Danish structure - go up to near the little park and start looking for parking). Most of the parking is on your right (and when you get to the stoplight near the Mission, you'll be able to see the Mission, parking is signed).

To get to Los Olivos, you would continue up that same road you were on when you passed the park to the intersection a couple of miles past the Mission and make a left where the sign points to Los Olivos (someone else may know the actual street name). It is signed all the way to Los Olivos, where you park on the street as soon as you see a spot (Los Olivos is a lot of fun).

Newberg, Oregon
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2. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

Driving east from Solvang on Hwy 246 (Mission Drive) you go about a mile to the Nielsen's market shopping center, turning left at Alamo Pintado Road (there's a traffic light there) Going up Alamo Pintado, just follow the signs to Los Olivos. Alamo Pintado Road becomes Grand Avenue un LO. The main cross street (Alamo Pintado AVENUE) is home to Sides Hardware and Shoes (best food in LO), plus many shops and tasting rooms. Great place to spend a day and taste LOTS of wine.

It's about 10-15 minutes at most from Solvang to Los Olivos.

Edited: 3:43 pm, August 21, 2013
Newberg, Oregon
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3. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

Oops, can also answer a couple other questions. Solvang has a big public parking lot just off Missiion, a couple blocks east of Alisal Road, but there's plenty of street parking. In Los Olivos, street parking was readily available and we could park in front of any business we were visiting.

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4. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

thank you so much; this information is PERFECT! Sounds great :)

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5. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

Definitely worth it to stop at Cold Springs. It's such a cool place!

That whole area is so easy to drive through. Coming from New York, it's going to be a breeze for you. No problems parking anywhere in Solvang or Los Olivos.

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6. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

also, there are several spots to stop along the 154 if you are looking for those Scenic Viewpoint types of places. The water is VERY low right now (was just up there on Monday) so some places might be better than others.

There is a mandatory fee if you try to go into the Lake Cachuma park.

In Solvang I'd make the left off the 246 (Mission RD.) onto Alisal and go down 1 block and make the right at Copenhagen (one of the streets with the most shops) and look for street parking. If none is available there's a big parking lot on the next block, after 1st.

There are many ways to get to Los Olivos from there. If I'm on my motorcycle I'd take Ballard Canyon, from Buellton, which is just after the one mile long stretch of pines and the Ostrich Farm. It gives me a chance to stop at the Rusack estate tasting room.

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7. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

I would recommend stopping in Los Olivos first. Many of the tasting rooms typically open at 10 and close at 4 pm. Los Olivos Cafe is a great place for lunch.

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8. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

I agree that it will be less backtracking to stop in Los Olivos before Solvang - just continue on the 154 until you see turn-offs to the left for Los Olivos on Grand or Foxen Canyon. Los Olivos is tiny - basically an intersection of two short streets, so it's easy to find parking and your way around. There are many winetasting rooms there. Then take Alamo Pintado into Solvang (turn right when you hit the light at Mission Drive and then left at the next light on Alisal as mentioned above. You will pass wineries on Alamo Pintado as well. I love Cold Springs Tavern, but I don't think there's a tremendous amount to see if they are closed. On the weekends they are open for breakfast I believe, so definitely stop if they are open. From Solvang just stay on 246 back to the 101.

9. Re: Driving itinerary for Santa Barbara to Solvang and Los Olivo

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