Stay and play in Carlsbad Village 

Christine Davis
Executive Director
Carlsbad Village Association

Aerial view of Carlsbad Village at sunset. Photo Credit: Fly By Photography

Every time I sit down to write the Village Beat article, I glance back on what I wrote the previous year for a bit of inspiration and, of course, to make sure that I don’t repeat myself (too much.) But during this search, it quickly became obvious that there was no chance of a repeat performance. The whole concept of “Stay & Play” during the past two years was barely even possible and looked very different than it does right now. Thankfully, for this article, I can happily say that our downtown is thriving, our hotels are filling, our restaurants are humming with activity, and our retail shops are bustling with energy. The idea of the beloved “staycation” is back! And the great news is that Carlsbad Village is the perfect destination to Stay & Play.

Let’s all agree that eating is a big part of any staycation. From relaxed and casual dining to unique and on-trend experiences, there is something in the Village for everyone. Our venerable businesses, who have been here 25 years or more, are nestled right along side the newcomers on the block. Longtime favorites like Pollos Maria and Lola’s 7-Up Mexican Market & Deli serve up authentic south-of-the-border comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just like you imagine it would be. Consider them your home away from home. Hennessey’s, a downtown icon that goes back as far as the imagination it seems, makes a pub burger that will have you coming back again and again. Lunch on their outdoor patio on a sunny afternoon is hard to beat. If trendier options are your flavor of the day, Le Papagayo and Park 101 must be on your list. With creative menus, cocktails and craft beers as far as the eye can see, these two will surely impress you. With nearly 100 restaurants in Carlsbad Village, there are simply too many to showcase.

While playing in the Village, don’t forget to take a break to enjoy a latte or a cold brew coffee at one of the 18 coffee houses that call downtown home. To satisfy that sweet tooth, you won’t have to look hard to find a frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelato, smoothie, or shave ice eatery.

What would a staycation be without lodging? Look no further than the coast. Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort, Beach Terrace Inn, and Tamarack Beach Resort offer beach views, beach access and the beach lifestyle. Just a few hours on one of these properties and you will be glad you stayed. The experience of going to sleep and waking up with the sound of the ocean in your ears cannot be matched.

Carlsbad Village has a heartbeat all its own. With one of the most temperate climates in the country and seven miles of pristine beach, this walkable and bike friendly coastal enclave has a built-in recipe for success. One of the best ways to take it all in is on a Pedego electric bike. Consider a Pedego rental less exercise and more luxury, allowing you to cruise the streets, experience the boardwalk, and get from coffee shop to dinner on the town without buying a drop of gasoline or breaking a sweat. But before you turn in your electric bike rental, be sure to scoot over to Barrio Glassworks, a public glassblowing studio and retail gallery. Be prepared to spend some time here watching live glassblowing demonstrations that will leave you speechless.

Bringing home a gift from Carlsbad Village is easy as can be. Trove Marketplace, representing over 60 vendors, offers home décor, clothing, jewelry, antique and vintage goods, and so much more. Finding something unique and genuine and wonderful here won’t be hard.

And finally, during your Stay & Play getaway, we hope you will visit us at the State Street Farmers’ Market for the finest, freshest, most local produce, artisan goods, and international cuisine anywhere. It truly is a local experience not to be missed. We are open every Wednesday from 2:30pm to 7:00pm.

For Stay & Play inspiration in Carlsbad Village, visit