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Top Things To Do In Carlsbad

Known to locals as the “Village by the Sea,” Carlsbad is an iconic, affluent beach town famous for warm weather, white sand beaches and a variety of family-friendly attractions. Learn more about how Carlsbad Village, the downtown area of the city, offers a rare small-town take on the classic California getaway nestled between San Diego and Los Angeles.

$175 for Two-Hour Tandem Kayak Tour for Four with Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation ($350 Value)
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation
Carlsbad
4.8
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$350.00 $175.00
50% discount_off
$175 for Two-Hour Tandem Kayak Tour for Four with Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation ($350 Value)
One-Day Visit or Annual Membership at Women’s Museum of California (Up to 50% Off). Five Options Available.
Women’s Museum of California
San Diego
4.3
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$10.00 $5.00
50% discount_off
One-Day Visit or Annual Membership at Women’s Museum of California (Up to 50% Off). Five Options Available.
General Admission or Family Membership to The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park (Up to 50% Off). Four Options Available.
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
San Diego
4.5
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$10.00 $4.99
50% discount_off
General Admission or Family Membership to The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park (Up to 50% Off). Four Options Available.
Admission for One, Two, or Four to San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (Up to 40% Off)
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
San Diego
4.3
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$5.00 $3.50
30% discount_off
Admission for One, Two, or Four to San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (Up to 40% Off)
One or Two Cruises With Optional Drink Tickets from Cruise Newport Beach (Up to 63% Off)
Cruise Newport Beach
Newport Beach
4.5
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$25.00 $10.00
60% discount_off
One or Two Cruises With Optional Drink Tickets from Cruise Newport Beach (Up to 63% Off)
Whale-Watching and Dolphin Cruise for One, Two, Four, or Six from Newport Landing Whale Watching (Up to 63% Off)
Newport Landing Cruises
Newport Beach
4.4
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$34.00 $15.00
55% discount_off
Whale-Watching and Dolphin Cruise for One, Two, Four, or Six from Newport Landing Whale Watching (Up to 63% Off)
90-Minute Wine, Cheese and Crackers Cruise for Two, Four, or Six with Duffy of San Diego (Up to 56% Off)
Duffy of San Diego
San Diego
4.8
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$198.00 $87.00
56% discount_off
90-Minute Wine, Cheese and Crackers Cruise for Two, Four, or Six with Duffy of San Diego (Up to 56% Off)
Whale Watching & Museum Package with Newport Legacy (Up to 67% Off). Six Options Available.
Newport Legacy
Newport Beach
4.7
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$41.00 $15.00
63% discount_off
Whale Watching & Museum Package with Newport Legacy (Up to 67% Off). Six Options Available.
Four-Hour Temecula Valley Wine Tour for One or Two from Uncorked Tours (58% Off)
Uncorked Tours
Temecula
4.7
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$179.00 $80.00
55% discount_off
Four-Hour Temecula Valley Wine Tour for One or Two from Uncorked Tours (58% Off)

Carlsbad is synonymous with Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium and pristine, sandy beaches, but there is much more to the city than meets the eye. Explore Carlsbad Village, the Flower Fields, and more to learn about the best things to do in Carlsbad. Learn more about the best things to do near Carlsbad: 


  • Visit Legoland California to explore all things Lego including a water park, rides and more
  • Take a walk in the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch featuring 50 acres of radiant Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers
  • Explore Carlsbad Village, the downtown area of the city, including local shops, art galleries and restaurants
  • Meet more than 5,000 sea creatures in interactive exhibits at Sea Life Aquarium
  • Relax for a few days at South Carlsbad State Beach, a favorite among locals and tourists alike

Carlsbad feels like a small town, but it is also chocked full of tourist attractions for the whole family. With white sandy beaches, theme parks and plenty of natural Californian beauty, a vacation to Carlsbad is filled with adventure. Popular attractions near Carlsbad include the following:

  • Swim, surf, paddleboard or fish along the white sands of the South Carlsbad State Beach
  • In early May explore the sprawling Carlsbad Village Faire, the largest street fair in the country
  • Learn about marine conservation and wetlands at the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center
  • Canoe, kayak or rip through the surf on a waverunner at the Carlsbad Lagoon
  • Spend a restful day sightseeing in the Alga Norte Community Park, the largest park in San Diego County

Your children will love Legoland California and the beaches, but you can’t miss the other unforgettable things to do with kids in Carlsbad. Become a Junior Beach Ranger, tour the city on an electric bike, get some air in Tony Hawk’s hometown skate park and wash it all down with an intergalactic pizza experience you won’t soon forget. Family-Friendly things to do near Carlsbad include the following:

  • With over 50 rides and interactive exhibits, Legoland California is the Lego-lover’s dream destination
  • Savor Carlsbad’s best pizza and intergalactic adventures at Pizza Port Empire
  • Pass the training course and receive your special ranger logbook when you become a Junior Beach Ranger at Cape Rey Carlsbad
  • Bring your skateboard and visit the Alga Norte Skatepark
  • Take an electric bike tour of the city with Pedego Electric Bike Rental

Once you have had your fill of the sun and sand, check out the relaxing indoor activities in Carlsbad. You can shop at the premium outlets or find a unique gift at the antique mall after you have learned about jewelry making, surfing and marine wildlife. Carlsbad things to do indoors include the following:

  • Cool off and learn about marine wildlife at the Sea Life Aquarium
  • Bring home a special memento of your trip from the Carlsbad Village Art and Antique Mall
  • Learn about gemology and jewelry making at the Gemological Institute of America Museum
  • Shop ‘til you drop at the Carlsbad Premium Outlets
  • Travel to nearby Oceanside for a visit to the California Surfing Museum

Carlsbad is a well-known tourist destination, but ask the locals and there are still many hidden parts off the beaten path. Some of the best attractions include a man-made labyrinth on a dormant volcano, a password-protected speakeasy, rare books and a little slice of Italy in the heart of downtown. Must-see places near Carlsbad include the following:

  • Lose yourself in the man-made labyrinth at Calavera Lake
  • Pick your own strawberries at the Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s farm
  • Check Instagram for the password to Carlsbad’s secret bar, The Charles Kenneth Speakeasy
  • Shop for rare books and sip tasty coffee drinks at the Lhooq/Exrealism Rare Bookstore
  • Transport yourself to Carlsbad’s own slice of Italy at Vigilucci’s Authentic Italian Market

While Carlsbad is known for its beaches, there is much more to do in the area than work on your tan or ride the waves. From exploring the caves and hiking a dormant volcano to movies, plays and other areas to adventure, there are plenty of fun things to do in Carlsbad. Exciting activities near Carlsbad include the following:

  • After you hang ten at the beach, grab lunch at Board and Brew, a surf-themed sandwich spot in Carlsbad Village
  • Hike Calavera Lake, a dormant volcano with bike trails and scenic views
  • Catch the newest blockbuster flick at Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas
  • Go see a play or live music at the New Village Arts Theater
  • Pack a flashlight and water and spelunk in the Carlsbad Caverns

As the sun sets, Carlsbad lights up with things to do at night at the many local bars and restaurants across town. With a secret speakeasy, dance parties, and tons of live music, there’s never a dull moment. Fill your glass and drink up the local culture in Carlsbad Village. Nighttime activities near Carlsbad include the following: 


  • Grab a drink and groove to live music from the house band at The Alley
  • Check out the swinging blues dance party at Firehouse North County Dance
  • Check Instagram to find out the daily password for The Charles Kenneth, Carlsbad’s exclusive speakeasy
  • During the summertime check out blues, soul, funk and more at the Carlsbad TGIF Concerts in the Parks
  • Sip tasty cocktails during karaoke at the Coyote Bar and Grille