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Things to do in Carlsbad + Northern San Diego County

From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Carlsbad + Northern San Diego County. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Carlsbad + Northern San Diego County attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.

Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Carlsbad + Northern San Diego County to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Carlsbad + Northern San Diego County.

  • Anne Halsey Smith

    Years as agent: 28. Other specialty: India. Consulting fee: From $500. ahalseysmith@ggtravel.com More
  • Carlsbad Ranch

    In the spring, take in the 53 acres of ranunculus blooms at Carlsbad Ranch—one of the most overwhelmingly colorful sights you’ll ever see. More
  • Chopra Center for Wellbeing

  • Del Mar Plaza

    Situated along the Pacific Coast, Del Mar Plaza offers 50 upscale restaurants and shops, including the Frustrated Cowboy for western gear and Ooh L... More
  • Kit Carson Park

    Set in a verdant valley, this public park is named after the scout who assisted Captain John C. Frémont during the government exploring expeditions... More
  • Legoland

    A celebration of the famous childhood toy, LEGOLAND California was the first amusement park of its kind to open and the first in the United States.... More
  • Lou's Records

    A mainstay on Highway 101 since its opening in 1980, Lou’s Records carries more than 150,000 CD’s and 50,000 LP’s. Housed in a single-story, gray-c... More
  • Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA

    Located on 20 acres in Ecke Sports Park overlooking the ocean, the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA is one of the largest and most active YMCAs in the co... More
  • Richman Gallery

  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    White rhinos, Sumatran tigers, and California condors are among the 3,500 residents at this renowned safari park, an 1,800-acre extension of the Sa... More
  • Self-Realization Fellowship

    Spiritual seekers find refuge at Self-Realization Fellowship’s temples, ashrams, and meditation centers around the world. Its Mount Washington site... More
  • Fpo_car_007_standard_thumb

    Spa at Four Seasons Resort Aviara

  • Spa at Rancho Valencia

    Located about 25 miles north of San Diego, the 16,000-square-foot Spa at Rancho Valencia Resort has four terra-cotta-and-adobe casitas that house 1... More
  • Stone Brewing Co.

    Located in Escondido, the Stone Brewing Company was founded in 1996 by beer enthusiasts Steve Wagner and Greg Koch. The brewery produces more than ... More

Explore things to do in California for more options.

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