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Insider’s Guide to a Weekend Getaway in the Santa Ynez Valley

If you’re looking for a Los Angeles staycation getaway, look no further than the Santa Ynez Valley. Turns out, it’s a lot more than just wine country (though it should be noted that Mother Nature practically handcrafted this precise climate for its grape-yielding power). After just two hours northbound on the 101, you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from for a weekend away from the city. Consider this your chance to take a breather–whether you’re in town for an evening, a weekend, or an artist in residence (maybe you’re writing the next Great American Novel on a vintner in Los Olivos). Wherever your time in the Santa Ynez Valley takes you, be sure to leave time for wine tasting, horseback riding, shopping, fine dining, and some good old-fashioned R&R.

Keep reading for the insider’s guide to the Santa Ynez Valley. This roundup of Santa Ynez Valley hot spots is curated by a local, and I promise it’ll make your big city staycation or your relaxing weekend away that much sweeter.

I can’t wait to see where your adventures take you, but for now, let this be a start.


Santa Ynez Valley Wineries & Wine Tasting:


When I said that the Santa Ynez Valley was destined to be one of the great wine countries of America, I meant it–seriously, it’s as if Mother Nature orchestrated it all. From the six unique communities of Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Ballard, and their distinct American Viticultural Areas, the weather and temperatures here couldn’t be a better fit for growing grapes.

Visit the Santa Ynez Valley to enjoy the perfect tasting flight for any season, a vineyard tour on horseback, or a quick happy hour with your favorite, locally-crafted bottle.

Here are some of my favorite wineries:


Brave & Maiden

649 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Folded Hills Winery

2323 Old Coast Hwy, Gaviota, CA 93117



795 W Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427


Four Brothers

2935 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441



2939 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441


Can’t Miss Restaurants in the Santa Ynez Valley:

What staycation is complete without brunch? Or a later afternoon lunch date? Or a romantic dinner over a carafe of locally-bottled wine? You get what I mean.

Food is one of the most incredible ways to experience a new place–and when you’re vacationing in the Santa Ynez Valley, the restaurants and cuisine are not to be missed. Around here, there’s something for everyone. Comfort food, California style brunch, casual spots for a quick bite, and places that welcome sitting down and staying awhile. Whatever you’re in the mood for, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’re sure to find dozens of options throughout the Santa Ynez Valley.


Ellen’s Danish Pancake House–A locals favorite for breakfast!

272 Ave Of The Flags, Buellton, CA 93427


Enjoy Bagels & Sweets

270 E Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427


Hitching Post 2–Good for kids and adults… Lunch above the Ostrich farm and drink wine!

406 E Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427



3360 Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441


Leonardos Ristorante–Just tell me you’ll go! It’s honestly the best Italian food I’ve ever had!

632 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463


Santa Ynez Valley Hikes For All Skill Levels:

You’ll need to find something to do in between wine tasting and noshing, right? Get the blood pumping and discover an incredible vantage point of the greatest Santa Ynez Valley vineyards from a higher elevation. There are hikes and trails available for everyone here, regardless of your age and skill level. Enjoy the views and enjoy the Santa Ynez Valley from a brand new angle.


Nojoqui Falls – This hike is great for beginners!

Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272


Lovers Loop at Figureoa Mountain

5100 Figueroa Mountain Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Grass Mountain

5100 Figueroa Mountain Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Gaviota Wind Tunnels–A must!

Hollister Ranch Road, Gaviota State Park, Goleta, CA 93117


Santa Ynez Kid Approved, Family Friendly Activities: 

Who said that your quick trip to the Santa Ynez Valley couldn’t include the kiddos? Whether your day is packed with California wine tasting, hiking in the SoCal sun, or some much-needed relaxing, there’s one thing you know for sure–no matter where you are, your littles have refined tastes. Ensure everyone’s happy with these family friend, kid approved activities in the Santa Ynez Valley. Don’t let the wineries fool you. This place can be your family destination for years to come if you’re looking for a breather from the city…but only if you know where to look.


Folded Hills Farm Stand–Head here after your hike at Nojohi Falls.

2323 Old Coast Hwy, Gaviota, CA 93117


Quicksilver Ranch–Don’t miss the Miniature Ponies!

1555 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463


Ostrichland USA–Need I say more?

610 E Hwy 246, Solvang, CA 93463


Santa Ynez Valley Breweries:

There are few better ways to wrap up a hike than to toast over cold brews with good friends. I’m manifesting this for you by rounding up some of the best breweries in the Santa Ynez Valley. And even though you’re in wine country, don’t think for a second that the Santa Ynez Valley can’t serve up some incredible craft beer. Promise it’ll hit the spot (and I promise I won’t steer you wrong here!).


Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co–Two locations within the Santa Ynez Valley to choose from.

45 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427

2363 Alamo Pintado Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441


Firestone Walker Brewing Company

620 McMurray Rd, Buellton, CA 93427


Solvang Brewery–Be warned that the shops and restaurants in Solvang close early, but the brewery stays open late. Consider this your permission slip to order another round.

1547 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463


Santa Ynez Valley Small Batch Coffee Shops:

Turns out, Seattle and Portland might have some competition when it comes to the title of “coffee stronghold of the West Coast.” The Santa Ynez Valley is home to dozens of small batch, artfully crafted coffee shops. Whether you’re on the lookout for an oat milk latte, matcha, or a pour over, you’re sure to find it here. Consider these spots your next backdrop for your latte foam art Instagram moment.


Good Seed Coffee Boutique

1607 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463


Queen Cup

1095 Meadowvale Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Pony Espresso

3558 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Corner House Cafe

2902 San Marcos Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441



Santa Ynez Valley Bakeries & Pastries: 

Whether it’s too early for lunch or too late for breakfast, you may find yourself needing a light bite during your stay in the Santa Ynez Valley. Start with this roundup of local gems serving sweets, pastries, and baked goods—perfect for an afternoon on the go or a breakfast meeting turned friend date.


God’s Country Provisions

252 E Hwy 246 suite c, Buellton, CA 93427


Bob’s Well Bread

2449 Baseline Ave, Ballard, CA 93463


The Baker’s Table

3563 Numancia St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Santa Ynez Valley Shopping & Locally Owned Boutiques: 

Need a souvenir? A “treat yourself” moment? An early start on holiday shopping? A little retail therapy? Whatever you’re on the lookout for, the Santa Ynez Valley has no shortage of charming storefronts and welcoming promenades for every kind of shopper. No matter what kind of small town meets big city shopping you’re hoping to find, there’s a shopping experience for everyone in the Santa Ynez Valley.


Plenty Boutique

1110 Faraday St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Wild Poppy Boutique

1095 Meadowvale Rd G1, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Devine Supply

1050 Edison St Suite D, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Heritage Goods and Supply

1623 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463


SY General Store

3630 Sagunto St suite a-2, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Best Santa Ynez Valley Happy Hours:

A good happy hour is balm for the soul. Great deals, even better company, and the environment to match. What’s not to love? Whether you’re kicking off your Santa Ynez Valley staycation with a few rounds of your favorite craft cocktail or wrapping it up with some street tacos for the road, consider a Santa Ynez happy hour the perfect bookend for a trip away to wine country.



1576 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463


Succulent Cafe

1557 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463


S.Y. Kitchen

1110 Faraday St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar

3544 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460


When it comes to exploring a new place, few things are better than experiencing it through the eyes of a local–especially when it comes to the Santa Ynez Valley.


Where are you headed first? I can’t wait to hear which spots from this list make your next visit

(and every visit to come) unforgettable.


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