Before moving back to the Bay Area, my husband and I did a short stint in Carslbad, CA right after our wedding. Justin was transferred down to San Diego right after we got back from our Honeymoon. It took me a little while to get adjusted to married life and being away from our friends and family and out of the city but this small beach town stole my heart. There were so many cute shops as well as great restaurants lining the beaches. I was able to sample a number of places before heading back up north and here are my recommendations for where you should eat, shop, and thing to do while visiting Carlsbad, CA.
1. Hana Restaurant: If you are a sushi lover like I am this place is a must! They have an all you can eat menu that is like no other. Unlike most all-you-can-eat restaurants Hana sushi is all made to order, so no food sitting under heat lights, or floating down a little river on sushi boats! The only catch is you can’t leave any food behind or you have to pay full price for it! They are all about conserving and preventing waste so as long as you can eat all that you order you will be fine! My husband and I would regularly go on the weekends for their lunch all-you-can-eat menu.
2. Carlsbad Chocolate Bar: This shop is like a little slice of heaven specializing in all kinds of chocolate treats, espresso drinks, and bottles of wine. I would stop in on my walks down to the beach with Lexie and Jackson, grab a latte to go and depending on the day maybe a pastry too! On the walk back sometimes I’d stop in for a bottle of vino and on the weekends grab a little chocolate treat for myself and Justin.
3. Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse: This place has an awesome ocean view and the food is delicious!! Situated right on Carlsbad Blvd. this restaurant was not only super close to our place but great for a date night or dinner with the parents when they came into town. They also have an all italian restaurant a few blocks away which is also delicious.
Would you believe me if I said that I didn’t really shop much while living in SoCal? Well it’s true! I spent more time working out, spending my day outdoors and running errands, taking care of the pups and my husband more than anything else.
1. Fashion Valley: It’s a Simon mall just like the Stanford Shopping center. I love that it is also an open air shopping mall and they really have all the best brands you would want to shop in one location.
2. The Forum at Carlsbad: Another outdoor shopping center I would visit. It was a lot closer than Fashion Valley and again had pretty much what I was looking for. I mainly shopped at Anthropologie, Nicole Miller, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
3. CC Gilmore: I absolutely loved the interior of this lighting, furniture, and floral shop. It’s coastal living at it’s finest. Besides big furniture pieces there were so many cute gift ideas, cards, and home goods items you could easily walk out with something every time you visited the shop.
There are so many beautiful beaches and outdoor trails, you can easily spend most of your day outside and not spend a penny. Just pack your lunch, bring some layers, a bottle of water and walk out your door!
1. Go to the Beach: If you’re traveling with your pup the one thing you need to know is that not all beaches are dog friendly. I hadn’t really thought of that because up North not all beaches are off-leash beaches but dogs are at least allowed on the sand. In SD it’s a little different. Very few are dog friendly and only one near Carlsbad is dog friendly and off-leash, trust me I found out the hard way! Del Mar Beach is dog friendly so I would take the pups for a walk during the day and enjoy the beautiful weather. Our favorite doggie shop also had a location in Del Mar so we would regularly stop in for some healthy dog treats before heading to lunch or home!
2. Gondola Ride in Coronado: One thing my husband and I did before leaving San Diego was go on a gondola ride in Coronado. It was such a lovely afternoon and a fun, relaxing, and romantic thing to do with your significant other when visiting San Diego. They have a few different packages but just think a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries on a gondola riding around Coronado. You can make a day of it by having lunch at one of the beach side restaurants then ending the day after your gondola ride with dinner and drinks at Hotel Del Coronado.
3. Hot Air Balloon Sunset Ride: Such a cool experience and definitely worth the spend. San Diego is absolutely stunning and even more so from a birds eye view. There are so many companies that do hot air balloon rides leaving from either Del Mar or Temecula. Both options are great and provide either champagne in the sky or wine tasting when you land. PS if you live in the SD area or are planning a trip soon the link is to a current Groupon with one of the companies in the area.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks Eat, Shop, Do city guide to Carlsbad, CA. Would love to hear from you where you like to go when you’re in Carlsbad or the San Diego Area!