Carlsbad Village is about two hours south of Los Angeles in Carlsbad, California, and it offers visitors a surprising combination of upscale restaurants and shops with a beach town vibe. Surf shacks sit comfortably near posh spas, and travelers to the area love having the easy access to the best of coastal living.
As is my habit, I parked the car in one of the many free parking areas and set out on foot to explore Carlsbad Village. Even during the week, the restaurants were attracting a good number of patrons, and since it is December, the shopping areas were jumping (and already very festively decorated).
They’ve done a remarkable job of sprinkling green spaces into the more built up places. There’s even a park with picnic spots next to the shopping plaza. It’s a nice change from being surrounded by cement and cars that surround most malls. And, of course, you always seem to get a glimpse of the ocean as you walk north or south along Carlsbad Blvd.
If you are traveling with kids, the Village Faire Shopping Centre has more than 30 boutique shops and galleries, but also houses the Carlsbad Children’s Museum (and LEGOLAND is just a short drive away).
As a singleton, this would be a great place for a weekend away. You could choose to have a beach day, go out to one of the many great restaurants, including the Ocean House which is located in a 19th century Victorian building, and then spend the next day wine tasting, visiting a spa or shopping. You could do it as a day trip if you are based closer to San Diego, but there’s so much to do that if you are coming down from Los Angeles, you should seriously consider giving yourself a special overnight excursion.