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Carlsbad Activities & Events

20 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Carlsbad, California

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Carlsbad California Videos; Things to do in Carlsbad

  1. Take a Stroll through Carlsbad

 “The Village by the Sea”

Carlsbad Alkaline and Mineral Water Spa

This is what you see in the fairy-tale-like pictures of Carlsbad Village. Surrounded by old world type buildings like this Victorian style home. You can spend hours, a day or your whole trip discovering this quaint area. However, here is what we suggest you do:

  • Stroll in the old European-like streets
  • Enjoy a delicious cafe latte at Baba Coffee
  • Shop in galleries on State Street and Carlsbad Blvd.
  • Get a picture in front of the Twin Inns.
  • Take a break of walking and enjoy lunch at Cicciotti’s Italian Restaurant.
  • Check out the Ocean Tide and see what gifts you can find.
  1. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch®

a close up of a flower

Explore Carlsbad: California’s Historic Beach Town for Flower Photography

The rolling hills of North San Diego County transform 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.

  1. Chill out at a one of our relaxing outdoor spaces  


Outdoor Seating Restaurants & Cafe’s

Carlsbad has many outdoor ephemeral spaces created as a fun place for everyone. Our top choices this year are:

  • Crackheads is a gathering spot to relas while sipping local craft beer in the lounge chairs or come by on the weekends for live musical acts or entertainment. Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Choice Juicery specializes in cold pressed juice, craft almond milks, super-food smoothies and smoothie bowls! – A cool place to hang out and try to figure out what words can be found in the Robot Mural Waterfall. 430 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Park 101 is Carlsbad’s unique answer to community dining, lounging, and sipping in style in the heart of the Village. It is a family friendly multi-level, plaza-style complex. 3040 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 920 
  • 264 Fresco Rooftop Bar an Lounge: 264 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  1. Discover the best new restaurants in town


Cool Eateries in Town:

Carlsbad is a foodie town with some great restaurants calling Carlsbad home

  • Cicciotti’s Trattoria is casual Italian dining cooked by a Published Author & Chef Gaetano Cicciotti. Cicciotti’s Trattoria serves classic Italian pasta like fettuccine Alfredo which you might find in Italian restaurants, but you won’t find Italian restaurants that cook fresh Italian food the way Gaetano Cicciotti does.
  • The Goods new eats in Carlsbad, is an artisan doughnut bakery, that specializes in delicious doughnuts including Brown Butter, S’mores, Strawberry Cheesecake and Tahitian vanilla.  The Barille family of Carlsbad has built a loyal following for the house-made cinnamon rolls at Carlsbad’s favorite breakfast place Cafe Topés. Now they’re hoping to do the same with doughnuts. The Goods is a hands-on family enterprise with Mom Jacquie coming up with the idea and Dad Joseph building it.
  • Froglanders: Delicious French Crepes

Chic New Dining with Drinking Oasis:

a dining room table in front of a building

  • Jeune et Jolie: Owner John Resnick and Chef Andrew Bachelier opened Jeune et Jolie, a nouvelle French restaurant just a block north of their first restaurant, Campfire, in Carlsbad Village. The name Jeune et Jolie come from their daughters, 4-year-old Elsie June Resnick and 15-month-old Margot Jolie Bachelier.
  • Clara: A chic new dining and drinking oasis, craft cocktails in a lush and eclectic setting.
    Clara’s executive chef is lauded San Diego Chef Alex Carballo (Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Moto Deli). Bartender Seth Marquez (Campfire, Sycamore Den) is behind Clara’s innovative beverage program.
  • Campfire restaurant cooks virtually all of its dishes over an open flame. Campfire is a return to the origins of cooking and hospitality.  A celebration of the spirit of our name in which we gather around a fire, create honest food, and share it with friends.
  • Nick’s on State: Upscale Classic American comfort food, 2742 State St Suite 100, Carlsbad, CA 92008.
  1. Explore the area’s nightlife scene 


  • Compass 300 Carlsbad Village Dr Ste 202, Carlsbad, CA 92008-2990
  • Coyote Bar & Grill Carlsbad – combines a Southwestern theme, hip cuisine and live entertainment.  300 Carlsbad Village Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Alley – Dancing & cocktails seven nights a week until 2am! DJ, Karaoke & live band nights.  421 Grand Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Beer Tasting:

  • Barrel Republic – a self-pour beer bar in Carlsbad – 2961 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Wine Tasting:

  • Witch Creek Winery – San Diego’s oldest Urban Winery originally founded in 1993. 2906 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Carruth’s Winery2727 State St #110, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Napatini – A fairly new wonderful bistro of fine wines in downtown Carlsbad. 3088 State St #100, Carlsbad, CA 92008
  1. Take the car on a day trip to the Spa


Do you have a car and are wondering if there is anything else to see nearby Carlsbad? The answer is YES! Here are a few daytrips just a couple of minutes or hours out of town that you will very much enjoy!

Resort Spa:

  • La Costa Omni Resort & Spa
  • Park Hyatt Aviara Resort
  • Westin
  • Sheraton
  1. Visit the Carlsbad Art or Barrio Glassworks 

a glass with a blue vase on a table


  1. Rent a bike to explore further

biking carlsbad


Pack a lunch, rent a bike with and head on the cycling paths on Carlsbad Blvd/Hwy 101/PCH.  Are you ready for a whole new kind of fun? Pedego electric bikes go farther and faster, empowering you to see more in less time.


  1. Get in touch with nature at the Batiquitos Lagoon

Batiquitos Lagoon


  1. Have a drink on a terrace 

a close up of a beverage on a table


Step outside at Park 101 to enjoy the fresh air while sipping a watermelon mimosa.


  1. Cool off at the beach on a hot day 

Carlsbad California


Carlsbad has 7 miles of beautiful beaches, come explore and find your perfect beach.


  1. Soak-up some Carlsbad Street art, history & architecture

a street sign in front of a building


You can learn all about art, history, architecture and more with short or long visits to the famous landmarks in town. Visit an Victorian home, a mineral spa, a  surf museum, the Carlsbad barrio area and immerse yourself in local culture.

  • Twin Inns
  • Catnap Mural
  • Alley Artwall & Senor Grubby’s Artwall
  • Carlsbad Mineral Spa
  • Old Train Station


  1. Go to one of Carlsbad’s many events & festival

a couple of people posing for the camera

 Carlsbad festivals. From beer to music festivals, and from comedy to historical fairs therefore Carlsbad should be one of your goes to festival towns. Here is a list of the most notable ones:

  • Oktoberfest
  • Farmer’s Market – Every Wednesday’s 3-7pm
  • Carlsbad Street Fair – May & Nov “World’s largest one day street fair”
  • Art & Rhythm – Free Community Event
  1. Enjoy a Unique Shopping Experience – 20 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Carlsbad, California

Shopping Options:

  • Carlsbad Premium Outlets features a collection of the finest brands for you, your family, and your home. Include a shopping stop during your next trip to the San Diego area.
  • Arnelle’s – Women’s Clothing Shop – 2940 State St., Carlsbad, CA 92008
  • Shoppes at Carlsbad – 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92008-1204
  • The Forum – 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA 92009
  • Village Fair Restaurants and Shops– 300 Carlsbad village Drive, #108, Carlsbad CA 92008
  • Ocean Tide Interiors – 2928 State Street, Carlsbad, CA 92008


  1. Dine in an upscale Carlsbad restaurant 

jeune et jolie

Carlsbad city has some amazing fine-dining cuisine. From traditional French style to locally sourced modern inspiration, you can splurge on a whole variety of great eats, though recently the restaurants are especially drawing from local food traditions. We recommend:

  • Via Vai– enjoy delicious authentic Italian pasta with a glass of wine of course.  2907 State St, Carlsbad, CA
  • Paon– Innovation in plating using local cuisine and game.
  • Polo Steakhouse– Fine dining, farm to table
  1. Eat Grubby’s at 1 am 


Once all the bars in Carlsbad close for the night, there’s one more thing you have to do. This is Carlsbad, after all, so stop by Senor Grubby’s for some late-night Al Pastor taco. The sports bar is a favorite with locals and open until 2am Friday-Saturday. Even the late-night partiers want that proper Carlsbad taco.

  1. Spend a day at the Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch in Carlsbad

an old brick building with grass in front of a house

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 ambiance.


  1. Attend a Foodie Block party at the Carlsbad Farmer’s Market

Carlsbad Farmers Market

Imagine a block party where most of the people attending are chefs, gourmet food makers, or hopeless foodies. Now imagine that these people are lined up all on one street, with their best selection of delicious local food and products. Well, that’s the Farmer’s Experience. The street is closed to cars, and State Street restaurants set up booths offering tasty treats paired with some musical and artistic selections. Click here to find out more.

  1. Take in a Hollywood style Musical 

New Village Arts

New Village Arts is an award-winning professional theater in the heart of Carlsbad Village. Located in the historic Bauer Lumber Building, New Village Arts presents six main stage theater productions each year, ranging from classic musicals to modern favorites and exciting new works.

New Village Arts Theater

20: Take a Stroll on the Beach at Sunset – 20 Fun & Exciting Things to do in Carlsbad, California

stroll on the beach

Best Places to Sunset Watch in Carlsbad California are at the beach, the sun is at its best when setting in the Pacific Ocean. The contrast between the blues and greens of the water and the orange, yellow and reds of the sunset make a rainbow of colors.

Best Places to Watch Sunset in Carlsbad

Carlsbad California


For more things to do in Carlsbad check out this great blog:

Written by Cherimarie Poulos founder/owner of  Carlsbad Food Tours.  Eat Like a Local!

Carlsbad Food Tours

We offer a 3 hour guided walking tour of the village featuring tastings from local eateries, and insights into Carlsbad’s art, history and architecture.

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