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Experience a Cowboy Christmas in Solvang

by Eugenia Lazaris

Dec 13, 2022

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Solvang, the picturesque Danish village just outside of Santa Barbara, is known for giving visitors to the California coast a unique experience. From Danish architecture and handicrafts to artisanal foods and local wines, Solvang is a great place for family travelers to spend anywhere from a few hours to several days exploring the village’s unique blend of California and Danish heritages.


At Christmastime, the fun goes into overdrive with holiday events like the month-long Julefest and Cowboy Christmas, bringing holiday magic to Santa Ynez Valley. Throughout the month of December, SYV Horseback Rides welcomes guests to experience the North Pole at River View Park, where guests find the stables transformed into a rustic winter wonderland with fun holiday activities for the whole family.


The festivities include a range of free and paid activities. Admission, which runs $20 for adults and $14 for children aged 3–14 (children under 3 are free), includes a punch card with five punches. Each paid attraction uses a differing number of punches, such as Santa’s Petting Zoo (three punches), Christmas Carnival Games (one punch per game) and the Tipsy Ornament Horseback Challenge (12 punches). Additional punch cards can be purchased, and some activities award prizes to winners, such as the Jr. Reindeer Games Obstacle Course Challenge.


Free activities include the Mechanical Horses, Tiny Tots Barn Play, Decorating the Courtyard Tree and Finding “Cowboy the Elf.” Guests can also write letters to Santa, watch the North Pole Live Cam and shop in the North Pole Mercantile. On Saturday evening, families can enjoy live music.


Cowboy Christmas runs weekends (Friday–Sunday) until Dec. 18 and then daily until Dec. 23. The event is ADA accessible and food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages from Santa’s Speakeasy, are available. There will also be plenty of hot chocolate to keep you warm in the evenings while you get in the Christmas spirit by the bonfire.


Tickets can be purchased at the door when there is space available, so it is best to purchase your tickets online ahead of time. You will also be asked to complete an Agricultural Waiver prior to admission, so be sure to bring that along as well.


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