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20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad – Discover Carlsbad, California


20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad

Discover Carlsbad one of San Diego’s best kept secrets.

Spa-goers have flocked to Carlsbad since its mineral spring

was discovered in the late 19th century.

Today, you can visit the site of the original well, but you can do much

more than just “taking the waters”—Carlsbad’s spas offer world-class services.

Carlsbad is still a spa destination town: Carlsbad Mineral Spa

and the famous Omni La Costa Resort and Spa.

Now Carlsbad has even more world class attractions to draw people to our city.


Here is a list of the 20 best things to do in Carlsbad.

Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium, The Making Music Museum, Pedgo Bike Rental, Carlsbad Village, Spa La Costa, Leo Carrillo Park, New Village Arts Studio, Carlsbad Farmer’s Market, Carlsbad Flower Fields, Carlsbad Antique Mall, Aviara Golf Club, Batiquitos Lagoon, Carlsbad Lagoon, GIA Museum, Alga Norte Park, Carlsbad Premium Outlet Mall, The Crossings at Carlsbad and South Carlsbad State Beach.

Carlsbad, California, is called “The Village by the Sea.” It is small, affluent seaside resort community about half way between San Diego and Orange County. Carlsbad has the charm of an old European city and the atmosphere of a typical Californian coastal community. With seven miles of fine white sandy beaches and the near  perfect climate, the village is a popular weekend destination and a great place to live. Best things to do in Carlsbad, California with kids include Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium and South Carlsbad State Beach.

California Beach Dreaming – 20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad



South Carlsbad State Beach is a beautiful stretch of protected coastline with white sand, coastal bluffs, and warm water. One of the Top 25 beaches via TripAdvisor. The beach offers an array of outdoor activities to enjoy –  swimming, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving and snorkeling, fishing, shelling, and of course just hanging out.

Paddle Out in our local lagoons for a relaxing and peaceful experience on the water. Be one with nature. For the more adventurous type,jump on your board and head for the ocean for an exhilarating ride on the waves. Hang ten, baby. Carlsbad is all about the water. Not only is the ocean important to us but so is our miracle alkaline mineral water, fresh water lagoons and our newest desalinization plant which provides approximately 10% or regions water.

South Carlsbad State Beach is one of the top Carlsbad attractions. With uninterrupted views of Carlsbad’s sunset views, what more could you ask for.

WHERE TO GO20-best-things-to-do-in-carlsbad

  • For some great surf, head to Tamarack (near its namesake street), Warm Water Jetty (by the large Electric Power Plant) and Terramar (near the lagoon). These are popular with local surfers.
  • The Agua Hedionda Lagoon north of Cannon Road is home to a YMCA water sports camp, a private waterskiing concession and an experimental fish farming program.
  • South Carlsbad State Beach for overnight camping or day use. Plan and reserve ahead, and it can be among the most rewarding memories of a visit to San Diego.
  • Between Cannon Road and Batiquitos Lagoon, the bluffs are tall and steep, offering few safe routes to the beach.
  • South Carlsbad State Beach (better known as Ponto) has more well-defined peaks for surfing than the faster-closing beach breaks on the main stretch.

Local fishing in Carlsbad

  • Fishing off of Ponto Jetty in South Carlsbad State Beach

20 best things to do in Carlsbad

1. Discover Carlsbad Village 


Carlsbad Village is the heart of Carlsbad. It is located in the downtown village area of Carlsbad and is easily accessible on foot, which is, in fact, the best way to explore the area and all it has to offer. Carlsbad Village offers old world charms with new world conveniences. The Carlsbad Village Antique Mall boasts over 100 vendors selling countless treasures. Boasting an array of shops, restaurants, hotels, and many other services Carlsbad Village is the place to start your exploring.

Wine tasting is another great way to sample the village. Stop in at the Witch Creek Wine Tasting Shop for some of California’s best vintages or enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafés around the area. Visit the Carlsbad Mineral Spa on Carlsbad Boulevard, Alt Karlsbad Hanse House is a famous landmark in the village and the site of the first mineral water spa, dating back to the 1880s, and a good place to indulge in a mineral spa treatment or massage.

Carlsbad Village Association, 2788 State St., Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-453-7076

2. The Spa at La Costa – 20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad


At the Spa La Costa, you’re invited to immerse yourself into a world that redefines and transcends the typical “day spa” experience. Here, at our tranquil and secluded retreat, we provide you with the means to while away the afternoon, long before or after your treatment is complete.

3. Museum of Making Music – 20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad


The Museum of Making Music is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the music products industry. The museum was established in 2000 and features an array of special exhibitions and it hosts innovative concerts and educational programs, features that focus on providing cultural enrichment as well as preserving musical heritage.

5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-438-5996

4. Carlsbad Food Tours – 20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad


Walking tour in Carlsbad

Take a culinary and history tour of the village of Carlsbad with Carlsbad Food Tours. Facilitated by gourmand tour guides with a love and passion for Carlsbad and its best eateries, tours wind their way through Carlsbad’s most scenic and historic neighborhoods where you will learn about the history of the village and get to taste some of the best food on offer.

Tours take you to locally owned and operated specialty food shops as well as ethnic and local eateries where you can meet the chefs and artisans and sample their wares. Visit Carlsbad’s Urban Wineries to sip award-winning wines grown in California and stop in at favorites such as Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, Caldo Pomodoro Italian Restaurant, Café Topes, Witch Creek Winery, Gaia Gelato, and Chocolate Bar (always a winner!). Tours are available 1:30am – 3:00pm, ticket prices include all food and wine tastings.

Carlsbad Food Tours Videos

1778 Callisia Court, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-990-0690  – 760 215-9433


Indulgence Food Tours: Enjoy some Carlsbad’s newest and tastiest eateries: Barrel Republic, The Goods, Cicciottis & Park 101.

 5. Pedego Carlsbad – 20 best things to do in Carlsbad

Pedego Carlsbad offers a unique and fun way to see and experience the coastal town – on an electric bike! Bikes a very popular way to check out the town. Simply call to book your tour, hop on your bike, and go.

355 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-729-2453

“Must See Places to Visit in Carlsbad, CA & Destination

6.  Walk the City Tours


Walking tour in Carlsbad

Carlsbad has long been a place to gather, relax, and heal.  The kick-back beach culture, along with a rich and varied history, makes the city the enchanting spot it is today.


  • St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
  • The Albert Cohn House – El Norte
  • Home of Luther Gage, Father of the Carlsbad Flower Fields
  • Historic Twin Inns & secret speakeasy
  • Carlsbad Mineral Water and Spa
  • Famous Mineral Water Hotel
  • Magee Park
  • Stroll down historic State Street
  • Carsbad Train Depot & Visitor’s Center
  • Killian Building

Schedule your tour today:

Walk the City Tours

 7. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch


For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of north San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, also is one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in southern California.

The Flower Fields History20-best-things-to-do-in-carlsbad

Today, the fields are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920’s. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee’s small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called “Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs”. The name “Tecolote” came from the owls that nested on his property.

Carlsbad Flower Fields are noted for being one of the most beloved spring traditions in the area, the ranch opens annually in March for six to eight weeks showcasing the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus

Carlsbad Flower Fields

5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-431-0352  Photo: The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

8. LEGOLAND California – 20 best things to do in Carlsbad

legoland 20-best-things-to-do-in-carlsbad

LEGOLAND California Resort promises fun for all ages, especially kids. Located in Carlsbad, CA the theme park is home to over 60 rides, attractions and shows.  And don’t forget about the fantastic themed LEGOLAND Hotel, a great place to stay while you are in town.

One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-918-5346

 9. Sea Life Aquarium


Sea Life Aquarium is a family-friendly interactive sea aquarium located on Legoland Drive in Carlsbad. The aquarium is home to more than 5,000 sea creatures, including clownfish, octopus, rays, sea horses, and sharks. Children are given the opportunity to touch some of the animals, including crabs and sea stars.

Legoland California Resort, One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-918-5346

10. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park


Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park is a municipal park that sits in a 27-acre canyon and one of the best things to do in Carlsbad, California. Opened in 2003 and designated as a Historic National Landmark, the park is a former working ranch that was at one time owned by actor Leo Carrillo. In addition to the beautiful natural landscape, the park includes a reflecting pool, old windmills, adobe buildings, and other historic buildings.

The park is home to many plants such as birds of paradise, bougainvillea, and agave as well as various kinds of trees. There are also many peacocks that walk around the park and add to the unique ambience.

11. New Village Arts Theatre


New Village Arts Theatre is a performing arts theater that presents dramatic and musical productions.  It is an intimate theater with a total of 99 guest seats.  They hosts productions arranged by a local ensemble group. This group is made up of 14 actors, designers, directors, and stage managers. Every show is fantastic, season tickets are available and are a must have for locals.

2787 State Street # B, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-433-3245  Photo: New Village Arts Theatre

“Top Romantic Things to Do at Night in Carlsbad”

12. Discover Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market


Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market is a weekly Wednesday farmers’ market that offers fresh organic produce, flowers, handmade arts and crafts, locally prepared hot and cold food, and plants.

Farmers’ market allows consumers to buy directly from farmers and helps to support the many small farming operations in the area. Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market also free concerts performed by local musicians.

2788 State Street, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-453-7076

13. Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall 

Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall is an antique and vintage collector’s paradise.  With more than more than 100 dealers and multiple products, the Art & Antique Mall promises to delight all visitors

2752 State St., Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-730-9494  Photo: Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall

“What is There to Do in Carlsbad, CA”

14. Golfing

Aviara Golf Club – 20 best things to do in Carlsbad


The Aviara Golf Club is based at the Park Hyatt Hotel with magnificent views over the tranquil Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve and offers an outstanding green and tee layout. Residing in what is known as the “Golf Manufacturing Capital of the World,” the Aviara Golf Club, designed by Arnold Palmer, features a par 72, 18-hole course made up of more than 7,000 yards of uniquely sculpted landscapes with rolling hillsides covered in native wildflowers and great bunker and water challenges.

7447 Batiquitos Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-603-6900 Photo: Aviara Golf Club

“Best Things to Do in Carlsbad, CA for Locals & Tourists”

The Crossings at Carlsbad


The Crossings at Carlsbad is a 6,835-yard public golf course and event facility. The 18-hole course sits between the Pacific Ocean and the nearby foothills and offers spectacular views. Covering an area of more than 400 acres, the course blends in with the natural habitat of the California coastal environment, and visitors can often see many kinds of wildlife here.

15. Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center


Batiquitos Lagoon is a 526-acre coastal salt marsh with tidal mud.

The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center is dedicated to preserving and educating the public about the Batiquitos Lagoon. This lagoon, a coastal wetland and nature reserve maintained by the California Department of Fish and Game, has been designated as the Batiquitos Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area and is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands along the southern coast of California.

7380 Gabbiano Lane, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-931-0800

“Bucket List in Carlsbad”

16. Carlsbad Lagoon


The Carlsbad Lagoon is a water sports center that offers a variety of activities and equipment rentals, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, stand up paddleboards, and wave runners. There are also speedboats available for rent. The center has trained instructors who can teach visitors how to do a variety of fun water activities including water skiing and wake boarding.

The center offers several programs such as Camp H2O, which is a summer youth camp. Here children learn about many kinds of water activities as well as educational topics such as oceanography. The camp also includes games and barbecues on the beach.

4215 Harrison Street, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-434-3089

17. GIA Museum

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Museum is devoted to researching and educating the public about the field of gemology, gemstones, and jewelry making, important activities in this area as the Gemological Institute of America is headquartered in Carlsbad. The GIA Museum features a variety of exhibits.
5345 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-603-4000

You are reading “What to Do in Carlsbad, CA “

18. Alga Norte Community Park

Alga Norte Community Park consists of 32 acres and is San Diego County’s largest state park. It features shaded picnic areas with barbecues, several basketball courts, three ball fields, a shaded playground, and an off-leash dog park.

The park’s aquatic center includes a 56-meter competition pool, several diving boards, a 25-yard instruction pool with 12 lanes, a children’s splash pool, and a fitness room.  This is a great place for swimming lessons for the kids.

6565 Alicante Road, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-268-4777

 19. Carlsbad Premium Outlets – 20 best things to do in Carlsbad


Carlsbad Premium Outlets is a shopping destination that features more than 90 high-end designer stores such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Cole Haan Outlet, and Calvin Klein, among others. The mall was designed around a central courtyard with fountains that have an Italian style.

5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-804-9000  Photo: Carlsbad Premium Outlets


Created by well-known golf course designer Greg Nash, the course is appropriate for all levels of golf enthusiasts, from beginners to advanced players.

5800 The Crossings Drive, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-444-1800  Photo: The Crossings

20. Beer Tasting with a Brew Meister in Carlsbad

San Diego is known as the Beer Capital in the US, we have so many

breweries & pubs to chose from.

Some local favorites include:

Indulgence Food Tours

Barrel Republic

Draft Republic

Pizza Port

83 Degree

Karl Strauss Brewery

20 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad, CA

  • LEGOLAND California
  • South Carlsbad State Beach
  • Carlsbad Village
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Carlsbad Food Tours
  • Pedego Carlsbad
  • The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
  • Legoland
  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
  • New Village Arts Theatre
  • Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market
  • Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall
  • Aviara Golf Club/ The Crossings Carlsbad
  • Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center
  • Carlsbad Lagoon
  • GIA Museum
  • Alga Norte Community Park
  • Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course
  • Carlsbad Premium Outlets
  • Beer Tastings

20 Best Things to do in Carlsbad

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