Get to Know: Carlsbad

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Population: 113,952

Location: Known as the “Village by the Sea,” Carlsbad is nestled along the Pacific Ocean 35 miles north of San Diego and 90 miles south of central Los Angeles. 

Transportation: Grab a shuttle from the San Diego International Airport to Carlsbad for as little as $33 each way, or take the Coaster train up from downtown San Diego. Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport is also a gateway for charter or private flights. In September, Cal Jet Elite began direct service between Carlsbad and Las Vegas, and will soon roll out flights from San Jose, Phoenix, Cabo San Lucas, Oakland, and Sacramento. 

Vibe: With its beaches, miles of hiking trails, and three shimmering lagoons, Carlsbad is an ideal location for those wishing to rejuvenate through the outdoors. “Carlsbad is a great option for corporate groups that are shifting their focus toward well-being and balance,” says Director of Group Sales Tamara McGiboney. “Here, their minds can be freer and they can enjoy the surroundings away from the hustle and bustle of city centers.” All of Carlsbad’s hotel properties feature outdoor event spaces, with easy walking or shuttle access to Carlsbad Village, a charming hub of trendy restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Must-Sees & Dos: Rent kayaks, paddleboards or jet skis on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, a 400-acre nature preserve with guided bird and wildlife tours. Next, prepare to be dazzled by the Gemological Institute of America’s displays of precious minerals and jewels. The GIA overlooks The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, which provide a spectacular burst of color during each spring’s bloom. Carlsbad also features championship golf courses, whale watching tours, LEGOLAND California, and the SeaLife Aquarium. And of course, who can overlook Carlsbad’s 7 miles of pristine beaches? If your group is feeling adventurous, take advantage of surfing lessons or paddle boarding excursions. 

Hotels & Venues: With 4,400 hotel rooms and more than 300,000 square feet of event space, Carlsbad offers a wide variety of options for meeting planners. Omni La Costa Resort & Spa boasts 110,000 square feet of event space, including 46 meeting rooms and an 18,000-square-foot ballroom. The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, overlooking the Batiquitos Lagoon wildlife sanctuary, features 78,000 square feet of event space. Smaller groups can check out Cape Rey, a Hilton Resort; Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa; Hilton Garden Inn; Four Seasons Residence Club; or the Beach Terrace Inn. Other unique venues include the Museum of Making Music, Leo Carrillo Ranch, and hangars at the McClellan-Palomar Airport.

Restaurants & Breweries: Dining options include the award-winning The Land & Water Company, a 100 percent sustainable and traceable restaurant located in the historic Twin Inns; and the newly opened Campfire , serving up wood-fired American fare and cocktails. Enjoy one of the best steaks and ocean views at Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse, or New England-inspired cuisine at the Green Dragon Tavern, based on the original Green Dragon Tavern in Boston during the American Revolution. The restaurant includes private meeting and event spaces and a museum featuring Revolutionary War memorabilia. Finally, discover what makes San Diego County one of the leading craft beer destinations at one of Carlsbad’s seven breweries, such as Barrel Republic, Pizza Port, or Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

How the CVB Helps:Visit Carlsbad can connect you with hotels, restaurants, and off-site venues,” says McGiboney. “We can help find activities for your team like brewery tastings or ropes courses on the beach. We can also do site visits to show you around Carlsbad and help with things like airport transfers.” 

Kathleen Schaffer is the fiery force behind some of LA’s most memorable events.