SOLVANG, Calif. - Solvang, also known as the “Danish Capital of America,” announced that it will be temporarily closing one of the town’s main thoroughfares, Copenhagen Drive, for pedestrian use only.
This closure is in response to COVID-19. As businesses and eateries continue to reopen, tourists are returning to Solvang. By closing Copenhagen Drive to vehicle traffic, visitors will have the space to physically distance while strolling down the street.
Small businesses will also use the available space to spread out their normally indoor seating and merchandise in areas known as parklets.
“We’re leaving the space in front of most retail open, so storefronts will now have the option of moving some of their merchandise outside to allow for open-air browsing and shopping. The string lights add a sense of intimacy and warmth, which accompanies the general feeling that fresh air provides a safer environment for locals and visitors to enjoy Solvang’s downtown district,” said Scott Shuemake, President of IDK Events, Solvang’s current tourism marketing and events contractor.
The closure spans from Alisal Road in the east, to Second Street in the west. Cross-streets within that stretch, such as First Street, will remain open to traffic for local access, and Solvang’s horse-drawn trolley tours will be re-routed to avoid the new pedestrian promenade.
The closure of Copenhagen Drive is temporary and will last from Friday, June 5, until at least July 4.
The city said stores' parklets will also come with pop-up bicycle parking zones with locks to add convenience for locals.
Solvang Mayor Ryan Toussaint explained, “People visit Solvang for its Northern European-style architecture, its Danish appeal. We want everyone to enjoy Solvang, as they would Europe. While tourism is hindered due to the current events, we want to make it easy for locals to access this part of town to utilize the temporary installation.”
Solvang Brand Ambassadors will also be employed around the area to help sanitize surfaces, manage foot traffic and help visitors follow COVID-19 guidelines.
The Ambassadors will be available to answer questions about specific shops and businesses as well.
“One of Solvang’s biggest drivers is food and drink, and with the new social distancing guidelines for our hospitality businesses, those with small, indoor spaces would not be able to safely re-open. The closure of Copenhagen will allow these businesses to expand onto sidewalks, and even into parking spots in the street, providing outdoor seating in compliance with the new regulations,” explained Xenia Bradford, Solvang City Manager.
Any questions about the street closure can be directed to the City of Solvang at CityHall@CityofSolvang.com. More information about Solvang's response to COVID-19 can be found at www.solvangresources.com.