Santa Barbara and the Central Coast: Places to Explore

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Solvang

You'll know you've reached the town of Solvang when the architecture suddenly changes to half-timber buildings and windmills. The town was settled in 1911 by a group of Danish educators—the flatlands and rolling green hills reminded them of home—and even today, more than two-thirds of the residents are of Danish descent. Although Solvang has attracted tourists for decades, in recent years it has become more sophisticated, with galleries, upscale restaurants, and wine-tasting rooms. Most shops are locally owned; the city has an ordinance prohibiting chain stores. To get your bearings, park your car in one of the free public lots and stroll around town. You can pick up maps and walking-tour information at the visitor center on Copenhagen Drive. Before you depart, be sure to sample the breads and pastries from the town's excellent bakeries.

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