City finishes behind Seward, Alaska, for 10Best Readers’ Choice ‘Best Small Town in the West’

Solvang (, affectionately known as “The Danish Capital of America,” has been voted as second-best in the “Best Small Town in the West” in the 2024 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, the results for which were publicly announced on April 10. The unique Southern California destination joined category winner Seward, Alaska, and third-place holder, Grants, New Mexico, in the top three spots.

In 2024, Solvang was nominated by a panel of experts and the 10Best editorial team for the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards in two different travel categories: “Best Small Town in the West” and “Best Main Street.” The travel awards contest and online voting launched for the “Best Small Town in the West” category on Monday, March 4, and online public voting ran through Monday, April 1. (Results for the “Best Main Street” awards category have not yet been announced.)

This screenshot from shows the entry for Solvang on the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice “Best Small Town in the West” category list.

No stranger to the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, Solvang was one of the 10 Best Historic Small Town winners in 2016 and 2018. In 2017, USA TODAY named Solvang as one of “10 great places to enjoy global Christmas traditions in the USA.” More recently, Solvang was nominated for the 2022 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards in two different categories, “Best Historic Small Town” and “Best Small Town Cultural Scene,” and secured seventh place in the 2022 winners’ listing for the latter category.

Solvang is the only California town represented in the top 10 winners’ list for 2024’s “Best Small Town in the West,” and jostled for first place among the top finishers throughout the voting period. The fourth through 10th place winners in the category are: Cody, Wyoming; Manitou Springs, Colorado; Gig Harbor, Washington; Bainbridge Island, Washington; Williams, Arizona; Durango, Colorado; and Ashland, Oregon.

The annual USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice awards feature the top 20 nominees in contests covering travel and lifestyle topics such as food, lodging, destinations, travel gear, things to do, seasonal family fun, and more. The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest launches new categories every other Monday at 12 p.m., revealing each category’s 20 nominees. After four weeks of digital voting, the contest closes on the 28th day at 12 p.m. Rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day. More information about the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards may be found at

Dog-friendly and ideal for kids, Solvang, known for its Danish-American vibe, architecture and design details, pastries and bakeries, and array of wine tasting options, also boasts dozens of unique boutiques, restaurants and gourmet food purveyors. Carefully curated indie booksellers and high-end home goods suppliers mingle with fairy tale-like children’s stores and museum gift shops. Solvang’s foodie destinations offer everything from elevated street cuisine – like locally-sourced fish tacos on hand-made tortillas, and comforting ramen noodles – to European-style pretzels and sausages, to Italian standbys or iconic Danish dishes, to elevated new-Californian fare in the form of MICHELIN-honored menus. Solvang visitors sip small-batch, locally-roasted coffee, shop for exotic, hand-bottled spice blends, or enjoy Tiki cocktails and craft beer, all part of an indulgent and one-of-a-kind, year-round shopping and playing escape.