January 30, 2023

Things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, the best of

FILED IN: California, Travel

If you’re lookin for the things to do in Santa Ynez Valley that don’t involve food or booze, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve also detailed where to stay in SYV, the best restaurants in the area & where to drink. There is also an SYV guide on my instagram with quite a few places if you like that format!

Shop small

Head into Santa Ynez Valley Opportunity Shop if you are a fan of thrifting. I found some gems (picnic basket, fabric, dress, earrings) for such a good deal! I highly recommend parking at one end of the Main Street in SY and walk around to explore.

If you’re looking for some beautiful vintage jewelry or just feel like playing dress up, stop by Designs in Gold in Solvang. Downtown Solvang is the perfect size to pop into a few spots if you’re in the mood for a bit of shopping.

Los Alamos also has some wonderful shops on Bell Street. This is the old school main street and is easily walkable. We popped into Keanes Eclectic after lunch at Bell’s and found a few treasures to bring home. Just across the street is Elder Flat – a lovely curated farm store & Sister’s – an eclectic mix of found and new home and gift items!

Get outside

If you want to see some cute animals, drive by (or stop at) Quicksilver Ranch to see the mini horses or Ostrichland USA for ostriches! I actually haven’t been to either before, but have driven by and ogled at those cuties! Recently, I did go to Vega Vineyard and Farm and they have a wide array of adorable farm animals.

I would highly recommend a beach day at Gaviota Beach in the off season when it isn’t open for camping. I am not sure if this was because of the pandemic or the season, but it was wonderful and peaceful with only a few other people.

Visit Nojoqui Falls!

Get creative

I highly recommend taking a class at Community Clayworks in Buellton. We booked ours through Airbnb experiences and it was a 2 hour class on the potter’s wheel. There are also a bunch of classes listed on their website.

Things to do in Santa Ynez Valley (only) in the Fall

Obviously everything I listed above can be done in the fall, but this is something you can ONLY do in the fall. If you find yourself in the SYV area in the fall before November 1st, go to the Solvang Pumpkin Patch!

Since the area is all about food and wine, I haven’t done a TON of other activities, but I am definitely branching out!


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Growing up near Pasadena, CA, my creativity blossomed as I delved into the LA food scene, food styling, photography, and storytelling. Now, I curate content centered around food, beverage, and travel, while indulging in hobbies like thrifting. Italy holds a special place in my heart, where I found love and embarked on a new chapter in Bologna. Join me on this creative journey of food, travel, and love.