March 30th, 2017 at 4:00 pm


Southern California is a big, beautiful place where you’ll find surfers, snowboarders, international cuisine, history, architecture, you name it.

There’s certainly something for everyone in Southern California, and everyone has their own personal perfect.

We spoke to Ron Sanford, manager of our Carlsbad office, to hear about his favorite places in Carlsbad and to get an insider’s scoop on where both locals and visitors should spend their time.

Let’s start with the one thing everyone loves: food.


Carlsbad is a laid-back coastal community that takes pride in its beautiful ocean views and local businesses, so it’s no surprise that many of the restaurants Ron frequents are locally owned with killer ocean views and outdoor seating.

Breakfast | Start your day at Al’s Cafe on a positive note. Located in the Village, this mom-and-pop restaurant has an old-time-diner vibe and a relaxed atmosphere that matches its location.

Lunch | Though Compass has brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night menus, Ron suggests heading here for lunch. Their patio is dog-friendly, they have craft brews on draft, and serve delicious classic American bar foods.

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Happy Hour | Coyote Bar & Grill has Happy Hour specials every Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m on wines, beers, margaritas, well drinks, and appetizers. Sunday through Thursday late-night Happy Hour begins at 10 p.m., drinks only.

In the mood for karaoke? Coyote has karaoke every Monday and Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. If you’d rather be entertained, live music can be enjoyed almost any other night.

Dinner | If you’re in the mood for sushi, one of Ron’s favorite places to try is Blue Ocean, a modern Japanese eatery located in Carlsbad Village. If you’re in the mood for something a little less fishy, he suggests 83 Degrees, a bar and restaurant that takes pride in its homemade recipes and wide selection of beers.

For a cocktail with a view…

A few of Ron and agent Lynnell Honda‘s favorite oceanfront bars include:

Dini’s By The Sea | Be sure to snag an “Iguana,” Dini’s own unique tropical drink.

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Vigiluccis | Featuring pastas, veal, seafood, and prime steaks, this local eatery has been in San Diego since 1994. Plus, it boasts some killer sunset views.

Chandler’s | Farm-to-table, local cuisine that is handcrafted and accompanied by ocean views awaits you at Chandler’s. Perfect for brunch, dinner, or even dessert.

Shop local

Carlsbad is teeming with local businesses, so be sure to stop at one of Lynnell’s favorite gift shops and boutiques:

Gypsy | This local boutique has pieces thoughtfully selected for the “wild and free-spirited babe.” Shop their accessories, active wear, handbags, clothing, and more in store or online.

Mermaids | This women’s boutique features all the coastal home accents, jewelry and accessories, apparel, body products, and more that you could hope for. Most of their vendors are from local companies and artists.

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Live music

Coyote Bar & Grill | Karaoke, dancing, food, and live music. What more could you want?

Hennessey’s Tavern | Locals, live music, patio seating, and a rooftop bar, plus Irish hospitality.

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Boar Cross’n | While listening to live music, challenge your partner to a game of pool.

Bring the kids

If you can’t get a sitter, or have children visiting from out of town, there are tons of kid-friendly attractions in Carlsbad. If you don’t have the time or budget for Legoland, head to the strawberry fields, where you can pick your own berries, spend a day outside in the sun getting exercise, and then enjoy your sweet reward.

Agua Hedionda Discovery Center | Learn anything and everything related to water, wildlife, and environmental issues. A great way to get the kids outside and learning about the environment, there are tons of things for them to see, touch, and do.

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A hidden gem

Lake Calavera Trail | Hiking and bicycle trails, diverse plants and wildlife, and an extinct volcano make this wildlife preserve especially unique. It’s one of the more extensive trails in Carlsbad and connects to other trails.

Plan it: Weekend Getaway

If you’re only in Carlsbad for 48 hours or less, here are a few things you definitely can’t miss:

Carlsbad Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch | Nearly 50 acres of colorful flowers are fully in bloom and open to the public from March to May every year. Check their website for prices and specific dates.

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Fish tacos | If you’re in San Diego, there are few places you can find better fish tacos. You can enjoy them in a sit-down restaurant, at a walk-up street stand, or even while fine dining. Grilled or fried, be sure to grab a few while you’re in town, paired with an ice-cold Pacifico beer.

What’s your perfect Saturday afternoon in Carlsbad?

“Anything near the water! I love to drive along the coast for miles and miles of waves or walk the boardwalk. Stand-up paddle-boarding in the lagoon is always a good time too,” Ron said.

For more information about the coastal community of Carlsbad, homes for sale, or REALTOR® career opportunities, contact our Carlsbad real estate office.

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