Carlsbad is a popular San Diego vacation destination with 7 miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, absolutely stunning especially at sunset. Carlsbad also has some of San Diego’s best resorts; Omni La Costa Resort, Park Hyatt Resort, and the Grand Pacific Palisades, Carlsbad Beach Inn, just to name a few. The list of the top things to do in Carlsbad is long but here are a few suggestions from a local’s perspective.
Beaches – Fun Times in Carlsbad
Seven miles of California coastline meanders through Carlsbad, providing visitors with three beaches to choose from: Carlsbad City Beach, Carlsbad State Beach better known as Tamarack Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach aka Ponto. Each beach offers a variety of water activities, including surfing, swimming, fishing and sunbathing.
Carlsbad offers a variety of cultural attractions. The arts are a part of Carlsbad, as is evidenced by the art-related activities and facilities the city has to offer, including the New Village Arts Theater, the Carlsbad Music Festival and the William D. Cannon Art Gallery. For fun times in Carlsbad visit our more than 20 museums and historic sites are within driving distance of Carlsbad.
Art in the Village
Celebrating the dynamic art culture in Carlsbad Village and the surrounding areas, the event attracts thousands of residents and a diverse selection of fine artists in mediums such as oil painting, watercolors, photography, mixed media, new media, classical and contemporary sculpture, as well as artisans who work in the mediums of jewelry making, woodworking, furniture, pottery, and hand-painted clothing and accessories.
Now Showing at the New Village Arts Theater – American Hero’s
Speaking of fun times in Carlsbad, we just went to see American Hero’s last night, loved the show & you will too!
Cost: $45 – $48 | Get tickets
New Village Arts Theatre
2787 B State Street, Carlsbad, 92008
Culinary Delights with Carlsbad Food Tours
Indulge Yourself & Enjoy the Best Taste of Carlsbad, “The Village by the Sea” in northern San Diego
Carlsbad Food Tours is Carlsbad’s original and only food tour. Our tour partners are passionate, and our guides are fun, local, and knowledgeable. We create unique experiences that allow people to connect through food.
Museum of Making Music features
You’ll hear a lot of it during your visit. From the marches and rags of the early 1900s, through the evolutionary sounds of jazz, folk, rock ‘n roll and pop, to the cross cultural expressions of today’s connected world.
It’s the soundtrack of our lives, and it’s also part of a much larger story… the story of how an industry—the music products industry—supplies the world with the instruments, products and gear that we all use to make music.
And it’s a story we think you’ll enjoy! When you step into the galleries (and back in time) you’ll see outstanding examples of musical instruments, many of them displayed in vintage music store settings. You’ll also hear some familiar tunes in audio and video clips, have many hands-on opportunities to pick up and play a variety of instruments, and discover the innovative ways that the music industry has grown over the years. It’s an insider’s view of the world of making music—and it’s all here at the Museum of Making Music!
Don’t miss a beat! Visit the Museum of Making Music today and discover a world of music and music making.
Museum of Making Music – fun times in Carlsbad
5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, 92008
- More Fun Times in Carlsbad – Kids Free in October
This October, the San Diego Museum Council (SDMC) and ScholarShare present Kids Free in October, which provides San Diegans and tourists alike the opportunity to visit more museum destinations than ever before. In its seventh year, this annual program provides free admission for kids 12 and under at 43 art, cultural, and science museums in San Diego County.
Kids Free in October is an opportunity for thousands of families to enjoy museum experiences each year—nearly 20,000 kids participated in the program in 2016. From learning about dinosaurs and military heroes to astronauts and artists, kids get to explore cultural destinations and attractions across the county. Families may be surprised to learn how many museums are located across the San Diego region—from the California Surf Museum in Oceanside down to the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
This program can bring savings of up to $30 for a family of four. Free admission is available for up to two kids for every adult ticket purchase. To participate, download the Kids Free in October coupon. Simply present the coupon at the participating museum’s admissions desk.
Participating organizations include:
1. Barona Cultural Center & Museum
2. Birch Aquarium at Scripps
3. Cabrillo National Monument
4. California Center for the Arts Museum
5. California Surf Museum
6. Coronado Museum of History & Art
7. Fleet Science Center (Galleries only)
8. Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
9. Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
10. Heritage of the Americas Museum
11. Japanese Friendship Garden
12. La Jolla Historical Society
13. Living Coast Discovery Center
14. Lux Art Institute
15. Maritime Museum of San Diego
16. Marston House Museum & Gardens
17. Mingei International Museum
18. Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
19. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
20. Museum of Making Music
21. Museum of Photographic Arts
22. New Americans Museum
23. Oceanside Museum of Art
24. San Diego Air & Space Museum
25. San Diego Archaeological Center
26. San Diego Art Institute
27. San Diego Automotive Museum
28. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
29. San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
30. San Diego History Center
31. San Diego Model Railroad Museum
32. San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
33. Serra Museum
34. The New Children’s Museum
35. The San Diego Museum of Art
36. The Water Conservation Garden
37. Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center
38. Timken Museum of Art
39. USS Midway Museum
40. Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
41. Visions Art Museum
42. Warner-Carrillo Ranch House
43. Women’s Museum of California
Save the date for the Kids Free in October kick-off event, Museum Mash Up, on Sunday, October 1 from 10 AM – 1 PM at The New Children’s Museum Park. More than 10 museums will be on-site offering hands-on activities, entertainment, and more. Enjoy performances by the San Diego Symphony, the Water Conservation Garden’s Ms. Smartyplants, and a drumline from the Museum of Making Music. Plus, we will have Kids Free coupons at the event that you can use to go explore The New Children’s Museum while you are there. A win, win!
Mission Federal Credit Union also sponsors Kids Free in October, in part. Families can pick up a printed Kids Free in October coupon at any of their branch locations throughout San Diego starting on September 27. As a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative, Mission Federal Credit Union is committed to providing financial services to the San Diego community.
Additional support for Kids Free in October is provided by the California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program. The program is presented in partnership with the San Diego Tourism Authority’s Kids Free campaign. To find out about other great family-friendly deals this October, check out their website Kids Free San Diego.
One of the best-known attractions in Carlsbad is Legoland California, a theme park built around the popular children’s building blocks theme. Featuring more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, Legoland also features a water park, restaurants, and shops. San Diego offers several theme park options, including Sea World, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Belmont Park, the city’s only beachfront amusement park. So many fun times in Carlsbad & San Diego County.
Carlsbad hosts a series of sporting events, including the Carlsbad Marathon and the Carlsbad Triathlon. Skateboarding is another favorite sport in Carlsbad. Spectators flock to Carlsbad’s La Costa Resort and Spa each year to watch women’s professional sporting events: the KIA Classic Open tennis tournament. Carlsbad is also within an hour’s drive of several professional sports teams, including the San Diego Padres.
Carlsbad Hiking Trails
Skip the gym. Carlsbad, literally, has miles of trails (38 miles, to be precise, with plans for another 20 miles) for any level of outdoor enthusiast. Have a look online before you go as some are unpaved, hilly or rugged for a more intense calorie burn while others are perfect for leisure walks and kids. Try the diverse Aviara trail, 6 miles of golf course, lagoon and other scenic views.
Explore one of the few remaining tidal wetlands in California. Most of the Batiquitos Lagoon trail is stroller and wheelchair friendly. Remember that since it is an ecological reserve, dogs must be leashed, horses and bicycles aren’t allowed, and disturbing plants and wildlife is prohibited.
Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
Kids will love the plethora of peacocks roaming around. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was once owned by Leo Carrillo, the actor who played Pancho in The Cisco Kid. Adobe buildings, windmills and more adorn this gorgeous park, that’s free to enter and a great place to experience California history. To have a look inside the buildings, you’ll need to take a guided tour, but feel free to roam the grounds on your own. The terrain is rugged so make sure to wear appropriate shoes.