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30 Best & Fun Things To Do In Carlsbad (California)

The coastal city of Carlsbad is a popular tourist destination.

Renowned for its gorgeous white sand beaches and beautiful blue bodies of water, it’s a true paradise and haven for those seeking a relaxing trip that isn’t far removed from the conveniences of a big city.

It’s filled with natural wonders, ranging from preserved parks to lagoons, and it’s lively with history and culture.

Carlsbad is a destination hotspot for avid golfers, beachgoers, and outdoor enthusiasts, and it’s also a fantastic spot for wine aficionados and those passionate about environmental education.

And, of course, it’s the perfect getaway for families, with exciting options that will keep people of all ages occupied, entertained, and satisfied.

So, where should you go in this seaside city?

Here are our picks for the 30 best and fun things to do in Carlsbad, California.

1. South Carlsbad State Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach

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South Carlsbad State Beach is a beautiful three-mile stretch of white sand and warm surf, flanked by impressive cliffs and coastal bluffs.

It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular Carlsbad attractions, both among locals and tourists.

For the most part, South Carlsbad State Beach is a haven for water activities.

You can go shell collecting, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and more.

The beach is also quite modern, with facilities like Wi-Fi, electricity hookups, shower-equipped bathrooms, and even a market to make your trip here all the more enjoyable.

There are also over 200 campsites available to use if you plan to stay long at the beach this weekend.

Just be aware that these sites tend to fill up quickly, especially at peak periods, so you’ll have to plan well in advance to nab a spot!

The gorgeous golden sunsets are a must-see, too!

Address: Carlsbad Blvd. and Hwy 101, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

2. LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND California

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There’s probably no attraction in Carlsbad that is more hyped up than LEGOLAND California.

Filled with family-friendly activities and spread out over an immense 128 acres, LEGOLAND California is a resort, water park, and amusement park all at once, with live shows, educational programs, and many more things to see.

Interactive and hands-on, LEGOLAND California offers more than 60 unique themed rides and several additional attraction sites within its bounds.

The LEGO Legends of CHIMA Water Park is especially worth visiting, with incredible rides like Lion Temple Wave Pool and interactive exhibits like Build-A-Raft River and Build-a-Boat.

The main LEGOLAND theme park is separated into various sections, called “lands”.

Each one is themed and full of exploratory options.

Kids can test their athletic prowess at LEGO Ninjago World with Cole’s Rock Climb, Jay’s Lightning Drill, and Kai’s Spinners.

Then, in the Land of Adventure, they can battle mummies and monsters with laser blasters in the Lost Kingdom Adventure or get their adrenaline pumping at the 55-foot Beetle Bounce.

Children can also put their creativity to the test in the Imagination Zone by building things in LEGO CITY Space, LEGO DOTS Gallery, and LEGO FERRARI Build and Race.

But that’s not all!

At Castle Hill, you can go on a real submarine to see real sea animals in Deep Sea Adventure or soar on the thrilling indoor/outdoor coaster, The Dragon.

You can see Lego-built miniature versions of various cities in MINILAND USA.

And, of course, lovers of the Lego Movie can visit the section dedicated to its cast of quirky characters.

Finally, go on an adventure on the high seas on Pirate Shores, visit miniature city buildings and try out various occupations at Fun Town, and go on a tropical adventure through Explorer Island.

Address: One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

3. The Flower Fields

The Flower Fields

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If you’re looking for top vacation spots, you can’t go wrong with The Flower Fields!

For just six to eight weeks annually, from early March to early May, Mother Nature works her magic incredibly at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch.

Overclose to 50 acres, stunning Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers – a type of buttercup – bloom in full force in a vibrant burst of gorgeous colors.

This might just be one of Southern California’s top 10 seasonal attractions, heralding the arrival of spring.

As it’s such a limited event, the Flower Fields’ opening is further bolstered by numerous additional attractions and activities.

Photo ops, wagon rides, wine tastings, yoga sessions, and all sorts of additional exhibits are available, as well as a gift shop, special nursery, and various festivals.

Yes, that’s right – the venue hosts additional festivals throughout its brief opening time, such as Bluegrass Day, Kid’s Day, and even Zydeco Day.

Aside from the main attraction – that is, the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus display – there are also some other staples that you should check out!

There’s an American flag measuring 300 by 170 feet made out of stunning blue, red, and white petunias, and there’s a greenhouse packed with jaw-dropping cymbidium orchids.

There’s also an interesting sweet pea maze to explore, and you can hop on genuine antique tractor-wagons loaned by the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum.

Address: 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

4. Museum of Making Music

Museum of Making Music

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Music-lovers seeking fun things to do in Carlsbad should look no further than the Museum of Making Music, a division of the non-profit National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

The museum was founded in 1998 and aims to celebrate and honor the impact and successes of all sorts of music-makers, from those who sell music to those who build instruments.

Unique exhibits, mixed with various programs and performances, create an informational and vibrant experience.

The primary focus of the Museum of Making Music is exhibiting three specific components of the industry of music.

These components are making instruments, selling or providing instruments, and using those instruments.

This means that the museum is packed with vintage instruments – more than 450 of them!

There are guitars, saxophones, drums, ukuleles, horns, synthesizers, and much more.

If you can’t touch them, then you can listen to how they sound via audio exhibits.

There are also all sorts of artifacts, technical gear, lighting, recording innovations, and hundreds of popular music audio samples.

Virtually all genres you can think of are covered, from rock to blues and from pop to hip hop.

There are even some cool areas where you can get your hands on real instruments and give them a try!

Address: 5790 Armada Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

5. Cape Rey

Cape Rey

Cape Rey

Cape Rey is a beautiful resort, one of the best of its kind in this part of California.

Sure, it’s not one of the more typical types of tourist attractions, but it’s a great way to kick back and relax while enjoying a wide range of things quintessential to the city.

Most rooms offer gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and all rooms have stunning New England-type decor.

Dining opportunities at Cape Rey are a great way to sample local coastal fare, using fresh ingredients sourced from the city.

The signature diner here is Chandler’s Restaurant and Lounge, which serves up SoCal fare.

There’s also the award-winning Ocean Crest Spa, a full-service establishment where you can get pampered to your heart’s content.

Cape Rey also has direct access to the beach, giving you a quick and easy way to get straight to the sand and surf whenever you want.

And, of course, there are all the typical resort facilities – pools, a fitness center, a bar and lounge, and more!

Address: 1 Ponto Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

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6. Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Village

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Carlsbad Village is the heart and soul of the city, a part of the trendy and happening commercial district.

Influenced by its rich history, the village is packed with quaint locally owned shops and stores that sell all sorts of merchandise and goods, ranging from houseware to jewelry and from second-hand items to historic antiques.

There are also lovely little cafes and bars where you can sip local wine or sample gourmet coffee.

Though it’s always worth a visit, this district is most lively on Saturdays and Sundays, especially in the afternoons and evenings.

So if you’re in town this weekend and are wondering what to do in Carlsbad, look no further than this haven of food, culture, and shopping!

Address: Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

7. SEA LIFE Aquarium

SEA LIFE Aquarium

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SEA LIFE Aquarium, situated within the expanse of LEGOLAND, is one of the most fun places to go among California’s many exciting attractions.

Here, you’ll find thousands of marine animals from species that hail from across the planet.

A sprawling interactive haven of education and beauty, the aquarium is suitable for people of all ages and offers experiences of all sorts, from feeding times to talks.

There are more than 650 species of animals here across 6,000 individual creatures, like seahorses, sharks, octopi, sea stars, sea urchins, and more!

SEA LIFE Aquarium has an easy-to-follow layout that brings you through all of its main attractions.

You can explore a lost ship in Shipwreck, get interactive at Sea Life Lab, walk through the lengthy Ocean Tunnel, and view eponymous animals at Ray Lagoon and Jellyfish Discovery.

SEA LIFE’s newest section, Sea At Night, lets you walk in a gentle simulated tide filled with bioluminescence under a simulated starry night sky.

Address: LEGOLAND California Resort, 1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

8. Carlsbad Food Tours

Carlsbad Food Tours

Carlsbad Food Tours

Are you a foodie looking for the best stuff to do to tantalize the tastebuds?

Carlsbad Food Tours offers exactly that!

The tours bring you through the city and its most historic and beautiful neighborhoods to sample foods from locally-owned food stores and eateries, where you can meet all sorts of artisans and chefs face-to-face.

You’ll be sightseeing while learning about the history of each location, and you’ll get to stop and try all sorts of food along the way.

The main tour offered by the company is the Taste of Carlsbad Food Tour, a three-hour adventure around the downtown area.

There are a total of six tastings, including local takes on Italian and Mexican cuisine, filling breakfasts, and some delicious California wine.

You’ll also get to eat some Old World dishes made with recipes spanning back generations from eateries like Caldo Pomodoro and Cicciotti.

Then, you get to finish off with desserts or savory sweets!

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, don’t fret!

The Encinitas Food Tour offers are suitable for your needs.

You’ll get to sample vegan doughnuts, artisan bread, tempeh tacos, and chocolate!

You’ll also visit Modern Times Far West Lounge, one of the city’s greatest plant-based establishments for culinary delights.

Finish it all off with some delicious craft beer tastings!

Address: Carlsbad, CA, United States

9. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

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History buffs often consider the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park one of the top things to do in Carlsbad, and for good reason!

It is named after actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo, the man behind the role of Pancho, Cisco Kid’s sidekick.

But Carrillo wasn’t all just for the fame.

He used his connections and influence to forge a name for himself in the world of politics and was a huge supporter of developing public recreational and cultural resources.

He even spent 18 years of his life serving the California Beaches and Parks Commission.

So, where did this ranch come from?

At the height of his career, Carrillo wanted to recreate an Old California working rancho, which he felt was a culturally important part of history that had been slowly disappearing.

He purchased 840 acres of land – which would grow, in its time, to 2,538 acres – and built 18 buildings for the purpose of keeping the ranch working as authentically as possible.

Shortly after Carrillo’s death, part of the ranch’s expansive ground was left to the city under the Quimby Act.

In 1985, the city began work on developing a public park on the 10.5 acres of land they were given.

This was expensed to 27 acres shortly after, and the park was named in Carrillo’s honor.

There’s a lot to see and do at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park.

Trails are well-marked for ease of sightseeing and self-guided exploration.

You can cross Old North Bridge to see the weir complex or gain information and education from the First People and Native Plants Interpretive Sign.

A botanical walking tour guide gives you the chance to know exactly which plants you’re seeing along the way.

You can also visit the Caretaker’s Cottage to view all sorts of historic and informational exhibits.

Next, travel down Palm Lane and appreciate the stunning rare Toyon Trees.

Then, head into the breathtaking Hacienda Compound, which greets you with an unusual ornamental gate.

You can proceed to explore the main house of the park, fitted with authentic or replicated furnishings and decor from its period.

You can also visit Deedie’s House, the Cantina, the Carriage House, the Feed Shed, several windmills, all sorts of adobe outbuildings, and tons of ponds and gardens!

Address: 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92009, United States

10. Craftsmanship Museum

Craftsmanship Museum

Craftsmanship Museum

The Craftsmanship Museum is one of the most unique places to go in the city.

Its aim is to preserve and exhibit a diverse range of handmade items, with a permanent collection totaling hundreds of items made from wood and metal.

Each item is displayed alongside information that explains when, why, and how each item was carefully made.

Most items have also been restored to their original or near-original conditions, an effort performed lovingly by volunteers.

You can see all sorts of fun objects at the Craftsmanship Museum.

There are displays dedicated to automobiles, woodworking, metalworking, machine tools, and historic aircraft.

Real diesel and vintage steam engines are displayed, encased in glass, and there are miniature radial engines and ship replicas to view.

There are actually over 400 fully functioning, extremely intricate mini-engines available to peruse at the Craftsmanship Museum!

In order to create them, craftsmen performed months of work to ensure the efficient movement of each piece.

Some even required the use of tiny or miniature tools in order to work at the smallest parts of each engine.

It’s really quite an impressive display of mankind’s capabilities!

Address: 3190 Lionshead Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92010, United States

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11. State Street Farmers Market

State Street Farmers Market

State Street Farmers Market

The State Street Farmers Market at Carlsbad Village, also known as the Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market, occurs weekly on Wednesdays.

It’s one of the most interesting Carlsbad attractions for shoppers and tourists who want to get in touch with the local market scene.

The extremely reputable market is even listed among the Certified Farmers’ Markets of San Diego County!

All manner of items is available for purchase at State Street Farmers Market.

There’s hot and cold food that is freshly prepared, tons of organic produce and flowers, beautiful handmade crafts and artwork, and baked goods of all sorts!

Cheese, nuts, yogurt, California brews, and food vendors ensure there’s always something to nibble on, and vendors change regularly so there’s always something new.

You’ll even be serenaded occasionally by live entertainment at free concerts hosted by the market.

Address: 2907 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

12. The Magee House and Park

The Magee House and Park

The Magee House and Park

The Magee House and Park was built in 1887 on Beech Avenue by a man named Samuel Church Smith, who was one of the founders of the Carlsbad Land and Water Company.

The house, constructed in the craftsman architectural style, is furnished with turn-of-the-century decor and furniture.

This lets you step back in time to see what life was like for early settlers in the area.

Today, the house is the headquarters of the Carlsbad Historical Society, which also preserves the home for its continued historic heritage and value to the community and tourism.

There are all sorts of exhibits and things to see within, such as displays of local culture, economy, customs, and the lives of the people who lived in the Magee House.

One of the key features of the Magee House is its huge rose garden, which boasts a whopping 225 bushes for an impressive 15 different rose families.

It’s one of the best that the city has to offer.

Tranquil and calming, the gardens are home to the beautiful L. John Simons Twin Inns Gazebo, which is perfect for sitting and relaxing.

Address: 258 Beech Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

13. New Village Arts

Are you an avid consumer of the performance arts, wondering what to see in Carlsbad, California?

Look no further than New Village Arts, an intimate and professional theater that attracts over 20,000 guests annually and is staffed entirely by local staff, musicians, actors, and other performers.

Their performances get rave reviews and are well-loved by the community!

New Village Arts has only 99 seats, so it’s truly a close and intimate experience.

Award-winning shows of musical and theatrical varieties are regularly scheduled, so check out what’s playing when you’re in town this weekend!

Address: 2787 State St, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

14. Aviara Golf Club

Aviara Golf Club

Aviara Golf Club

Golfers seeking things to do in Carlsbad, California, should take a trip to Park Hyatt Hotel to visit Aviara Golf Club.

Offering incredible verdant views of the Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve and designed by Arnold Palmer, this club is an 18-hole, par-72 course spanning 7,007 yards.

Its greens are uniquely sculpted with beautiful rolling hills, fantastic water and bunker challenges, and tons of wildflowers.

In addition, if you’re a newbie looking to learn or a seasoned golfer looking to pick up new tips, Aviara Golf Club is also the home of one of the US’ oldest golf academies, Kip Puterbaugh Aviara Golf Academy.

Daily lessons and courses are available to try out.

It’s not surprising since Carlsbad is renowned as the country’s capital for golf manufacturing, especially with numerous prestigious brands headquartered in the city.

So if it’s golf you want, head on over!

Address: 7447 Batiquitos Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

15. Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation

Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation

Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation

The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation is an organization dedicated to the preservation of coastal habitats for a diverse fauna, encompassing lagoons, wetlands, and other similar environments.

With the threat of development, many natural spaces like these are in jeopardy, and that’s why the foundation exists.

Managed by the California Department of Fish and Game, the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation is situated on Gabbiano Lane and boasts a large marine conservation area.

The Batiquitos Lagoon spans an impressive 610 acres, with an additional 55,000 acres of a drainage watershed basin that includes not just this city, but the likes of Encinitas and San Marcos as well.

It’s one of the best natural, tranquil tourist attractions in the city.

It’s one of the few tidal wetlands remaining preserved, and it’s home to all sorts of birds, fish, and wildlife.

Those looking to get some exercise can walk, jog, or run on the simple 1.6-mile trail, and those seeking some adventure can travel on the open water and nature trails, for which you can opt to get a guided tour.

You can also bring your dog along, as long as it’s on a leash!

Address: 7380 Gabbiano Ln, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

16. GIA Museum at the Gemological Institute of America

Gemological Institute of America

Gemological Institute of America

The GIA Museum at the Gemological Institute of America was founded around a century ago and has made a name for itself as one of the most important authorities on gems, diamonds, pearls, and all manner of precious stones in the world.

The museum is situated on Armada Drive and is packed with all sorts of cool crafts, fascinating exhibits, and fun programs.

Exhibits at the GIA Museum regularly change, but each one is as interesting as the last.

You’ll learn how rough pearls and gemstones are turned into all sorts of jewelry or works of art by master crafters.

There are also particularly unique sights you won’t see anywhere else in California, such as instruments made from various types of stones, a collection of hand-carved skulls made from gems, and a stunning formation of green malachite and blue chrysocolla that looks like Atlantis.

Do note that you must call in advance to schedule a tour of the museum, so if you’re adding it to your list of what to do, make sure you plan ahead!

Address: 5345 Armada Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

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17. Pedego Electric Bikes Carlsbad

Pedego Electric Bikes Carlsbad

Pedego Electric Bikes Carlsbad

Are you looking for some activities that will help you to see the very best of this California city?

Check out Pedego Electric Bikes Carlsbad!

This is a great way to get around town and see all the sights that it has to offer, and you can add some of them to your list of where to go after your bike adventure.

The electric technology equipped in Pedego Electric Bikes’ bicycles allows you to travel up to 20 miles per hour.

The company has become quite popular for its numerous fun tour options.

There’s the Oceanside Pier and Harbor Tour, where you’ll get to explore the many city neighborhoods and view the house used in the filming of Top Gun.

There’s also the Dalai Lama Tour, which brings you through the coastline along Historic Highway 101 as you learn about the town’s history.

Music lovers will enjoy the Rock and Ride Tour, a coastline adventure where you’ll blast music through a provided headset while riding on through.

If you’re looking for romantic things to do, definitely try out the Couples Romantic Picnic Tour, where you’ll be able to traverse a whopping seven miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and cobalt lagoons before settling down for an intimate picnic.

Address: 2978 Carlsbad Blvd #130, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

18. Green Dragon Tavern & Museum

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum is one of the newest museum attractions in this part of California, and yet it’s already starting climbing its way to the top.

This fun site is popular with locals and tourists alike, preserving all sorts of artifacts and exhibits from early American history.

The museum showcases a wide range of displays, documents, and memorabilia related to local development and culture, as well as several items from the colonial era, the Revolutionary War, and more.

Better yet, the museum is a replica of the genuine Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, which dates back to the 1770s and is where the founding fathers met to discuss all sorts of secret information.

Boasting a 22,000 square-foot expanse, Green Dragon Tavern & Museum is also a tavern and coffee house, in addition to just being a museum.

They serve great refreshments and are a nice way to relax and wind down after a day of exploring the city.

Sample their flatbreads or French dip sandwiches as you lean back and bask in history.

Address: 6115 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

19. Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

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If you’re a shopaholic seeking things to do in Carlsbad, California, then you should definitely check out Carlsbad Premium Outlets.

Featuring over 90 designer and high-end stores, this mall features a Tuscan architectural style and a gorgeous central courtyard outfitted with flowing fountains.

Many shops at the Premium Outlets offer year-round sales.

You’ll find brands like the Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Barneys, Cole Haan Outlet, Adidas, Michael Kors, and Vans selling their wares.

Don’t worry about getting hungry, as there are numerous eateries like Ruby’s Diner, Panda Express, Subway, and Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill to fill your stomach.

If you’re here at the right time, the mall may even be hosting a special event!

Address: 5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

20. Carlsbad Strawberry Company

Carlsbad Strawberry Company

Carlsbad Strawberry Company

The Carlsbad Strawberry Company is an exciting U-Pick establishment that offers the chance to have fun picking fresh strawberries in your bucket as you eat your way through the farm.

From March to July, this is one of the city’s most enjoyable, whimsical points of interest, and there are other fresh produce options that you can pick in addition, like sunflowers!

Here during the fall season instead, from September to November?

Don’t worry!

The U-Pick experience at the location turns to pumpkins, allowing you to choose your own Halloween gourd.

You can also participate in other seasonal events, like exploring the haunted corn maze in search of a secret saloon, trying out some apple-shooting cannons, rushing through a sunflower maze, and heading out on some tractor rides.

Address: 1050 Cannon Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

21. Carlsbad Aquafarm

Carlsbad Aquafarm

Carlsbad Aquafarm

Carlsbad Aquafarm is the only aquafarm in all of California.

It aims to protect the natural ecosystem by farming seafood hand-in-hand with USC’s Wrigley Marine Lab for local produce.

Its farm tours are among the best Carlsbad attractions, with each tour lasting an hour of educational and entertaining experiences.

Each tour beings with a half-hour Guided Farm Discovery Walk, which teaches you about the equipment and techniques used in home-growing mussels, and oysters.

This includes the growth, husbandry, and harvesting of these shellfish.

You’ll get to touch and hold mussels and oysters in touch tanks while learning about sustainable farming practices.

Next, you’ll enjoy a ten-minute shucking class.

This class is led by a demonstration that shows you how to shuck farm-fresh shellfish as you look out over the farm’s lagoons.

You’ll get to sample your oysters with hot sauce or lemons if desired, and there’s water available to wash them down.

Finally, you’ll get 20 minutes of oyster tasting time, where you can enjoy consuming freshly harvested oysters.

You can also decide to purchase some mussels and oysters to bring home!

Address: 4600 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

22. Carlsbad Village Alley Art Wall

The Carlsbad Village Alley Art Wall is one of the most artistic things to see in the city, a part of the strong local art scene.

Created by local artist Bryan Snyder in collaboration with numerous muralists and native artists, the art wall is a vibrant expression of skill, talent, and creativity.

Most interestingly, one sectioned-off portion of the Carlsbad Village Alley Art Wall is labeled the Youth Practice Wall.

Here, young kids can hone their creativity and express their artistic vision with their choice of paint!

Address: Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

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23. Icon Helicopter Tours

Icon Helicopter Tours

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Icon Helicopter Tours is a fun way to explore California from above.

The company itself typically specializes in aerial cinematography, but it also offers a myriad of interesting tour options to choose from.

The most extensive option is the hour-long Iconic Tour, which brings you above San Diego to see numerous county sites before landing at a super cool secret mountain location.

Other tours include the half-hour Explorer Tour, which cruises over the Del Mar racetrack, Glider Port La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove, and the Torrey Pines golf course.

There’s also the Sunset Tour, which lets you sip champagne as you watch the sun go down from a bird’s-eye view and the 2-hour Winery Tour where you get to taste authentic California wine throughout your flight experience!

Address: 2100 Palomar Airport Rd #107, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

24. Carlsbad Visitor Center

Carlsbad Visitor Center

Lowe Llaguno / Shutterstock

Overwhelmed by the many options for things to do in Carlsbad, California?

You can’t go wrong with starting at its Visitor Center!

Housed in an 1887 building that was once a railroad depot of the Arizona Eastern Railway, this ornate building has served the community in many ways over the decades.

It’s been a post office, express office, telegraph office, and general store.

The depot officially closed in 1960.

Today, the historic structure has been put to use once more as the town’s Visitor Information Center.

Here, you’ll find all sorts of educational and informational material on the city and San Diego County.

It’s a great starting point if you’re not sure where you’d like to go or what you’d like to do, and you’ll get to learn about the history of the depot at the same time!

Address: 400 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

25. K1 Speed Go Kart Track

K1 Speed Go Kart Track

K1 Speed Go Kart Track

Looking for some fun tourist attractions for the adrenaline junkie within?

Check out K1 Speed Go-Kart Track‘s California branch!

It’s perfect for older children and the rest of the family, offering a full motor racing experience without the risk of real-life racing.

Themed races are held regularly at K1 Speed Go-Kart Track, such as Junior Leagues and Teen Cups.

The establishment can also be rented for special events like parties or team building events, if that’s up your alley.

If you’re arriving in a large group, be sure to call ahead and pre-book your slot to be guaranteed a go on the track.

Address: 6212 Corte Del Abeto, Carlsbad, CA 92011, United States

26. Beer Tasting

Beer Tasting

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California is known for its wine, but don’t forget that craft breweries for all sorts of great beer are also rampant.

This city is no exception!

Beer tours and tastings are commonplace.

Places like Burgeon Beer Company, Culver Beer Co., Barrel Republic, and Arcana Brewing Company are among the most popular.

Not sure what to do or where to start?

Go on a tour with Scavengers Beer & Adventure Tours, which operates all week long for groups of two to 25 people.

This touring company brings you to all the renowned local spots for good beer, often pairing it with some great food and tidbits!

Address: Carlsbad, CA, United States

27. The Discovery Center at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

The Discovery Center at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

The Discovery Center at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

The Discovery Center at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation is a lovely ecological reserve filled with all sorts of fish and a beautiful 400-acre lagoon.

Here, you’ll find all manner of native flora and fauna, including the rare and fascinating jumping mullet fish.

The lagoon itself offers a number of water activities, from motorboating to paddleboard yoga and from kayaking to fishing.

The Discovery Center’s primary goal is the education of the next generation relating to the importance of water sources, the lagoon, and their continued protection.

Kids will get to play in all sorts of interactive exhibits, such as a bee aquarium, archaeological dig, petting pool, marshland trail, and aquaponics.

There are also other places to visit onsite, with some of the best being Fairyland, Butterfly Corner, Sanders Pond, and Reptile City!

Popular exhibits at the Discover Center include wildlife photos of 20 bird species native to Agua Hedionda Lagoon, some incredible 100,000-year-old Mastodon bones, and the fascinating tale of the Robert Kelly History Exhibit.

Address: 1580 Cannon Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

28. Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course

Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course

Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course

Few things are more fun to do in this part of California than playing golf, and Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course offers exactly that!

All of San Diego County draws golfers and golf enthusiasts in as its year-round sunny weather promotes an awesome time out on the green.

If you don’t have a lot of time to play a course, why not try Rancho, a par-3 course near the ocean on El Camino Real Boulevard.

Rancho boasts an 18-hole course but short yardage that allows for a relatively short, few-hour game.

If you want to get a few practice shots in, you can head to the driving range or the putting green.

And, if you get hungry, a grill offers all sorts of snacks, sandwiches, and drinks!

Address: 5200 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92010, United States

Visiting Napa Valley and Los Angeles? You might want to check out these top things to do in Napa Valley and some of the best things to do in Los Angeles!

29. Copper Creek Falls and Mine

Copper Creek Falls and Mine

Copper Creek Falls and Mine

Copper Creek Falls and Mine is one of the more unusual places to visit in the area, but that only adds to the fun!

Essentially, these are ruins, overgrown today and a mere shadow of their past.

Back in the era of World War I, this was a thriving and lively copper mine.

Situated near San Elijo, Copper Creek Falls and Mine is filled with scattered stone ruins and mounds of copper tailings, oxidized and coated in patina, dating back to the early 1900s.

The original dam, built and used by miners for lode cleaning, can still be seen amongst the rampantly overgrown vegetation.

This was once one of the biggest active copper mines during the First World War and was important to the effort.

It’s not too hard to find Copper Creek Falls and Mine.

You can start at San Elijo Road and make your way to the abandoned industrial property, then follow the trailhead sign that leads you to the falls.

The trail is maintained well and, though a challenging walk, is well worth the trip.

Address: 1055 San Elijo Rd., San Marcos, CA 92078, United States

30. The Crossings at Carlsbad

The Crossings at Carlsbad

The Crossings at Carlsbad

This city once again proves itself to be the capital of golf manufacturing with The Crossings at Carlsbad.

The 6,835-yard expanse of the facility and public course is one of the nicest things to do in Carlsbad for a scenic golfing experience.

Flanked by foothills and with a clear view of the Pacific Ocean, this 18-hole, 400-acre course blends the natural coastal environment with carefully manicured green.

Greg Nash is the mastermind behind the design of The Crossings, and it’s a suitable course for people of all levels.

The cart path totals about seven miles, and electric carts make the journey easier and faster.

There’s also a clubhouse to lounge in with 28,000 square feet to its name, including banquet facilities, a shop for golfing supplies, a restaurant, and more.

Address: 5800 The Crossings Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008, United States

Looking for more thrills around California? Why not check out some of the things to do in Oakland?

Start Planning Your Trip To Carlsbad

Carlsbad is a fun destination for a holiday, packed with all sorts of potential adventures and many historic and modern hotspots.

Whether your favorite Carlsbad attractions are about nature, the arts, food, drink, golf, or history, you’re sure to enjoy your trip to this storied and beautiful city.

Happy travels.