Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, the seaside town of Carlsbad offers a nice balance of activities and relaxation for a perfect weekend getaway. You can find plenty of family fun at Legoland and the Museum of Making Music, while couples will enjoy fine dining at West Steak and Seafood, strolling on the beach and shopping at the “village by the sea.”
Where to Stay
West Inn & Suites
Begin your stay at the West Inn & Suites, a boutique hotel that offers both luxury and convenience and serves as an ideal home base for a weekend in Carlsbad. Guests are offered a complimentary shuttle service to/from Legoland, only a few minutes away. A variety of shops, restaurants and golf courses are also nearby and beaches are within walking distance. With two excellent restaurants are on site, Bistro West and West Steak & Seafood, you don’t have to drive anywhere and can relax more fully. Further relaxation can be had in the heavenly beds at West Inn & Suites, which are super comfortable with luxurious sheets and bedding. In the morning, a hearty and generous breakfast buffet is offered complimentary to guests.
Where to Eat
Bistro West is the more casual of the two restaurants on the West property and features chef-driven comfort food. Both restaurants enjoy farm fresh ingredients with produce harvested daily from the West Organic Farm (located just two miles east of their location). Chef Eugenio Martignago and his team know how to take these ingredients and give them a gourmet touch – cooking them perfectly and arranging his dishes in artful presentations. The restaurant has a contemporary feel and the menu offers a variety of delicious dishes from pizzas and pastas, to braised meats and fresh seafood.
West Steak and Seafood
This award-winning restaurant is sophisticated and intimate, without being pretentious – the food is top-notch and the service is warm and friendly. The dishes at West Steak and Seafood are very impressive in both taste and presentation. Locals know this is the place to come in Carlsbad for fine dining. Executive Chef, Eugenio Martignago is from Italy and has cooked with some of the finest chefs in the world. He uses his creativity with dozens of organic vegetables (harvested daily from their farm) and turns them into mouth-watering specialties that change with the seasons. The quality and freshness of ingredients doesn’t get any better with Chef Martignago hand-picking his daily selections before heading to the kitchen. Popular menu items include a stuffed zucchini flower with truffle goat cheese and mushroom sauce and an heirloom tomato Caprese salad.
What to Do
Just about everything is made out of tiny LEGO bricks at this LEGO-themed amusement park, which caters to families with young children. Older kids can find some thrills on a few roller coasters, including the Dragon Coaster, based on the Knight’s Kingdom LEGO set. Kids can earn their driver’s license at the Driving School and will also enjoy driving boats, balloons and fire trucks. A model village of famous global landmarks made from millions of LEGO pieces at Miniland, should not be missed, which features a new Star Wars exhibit.
LEGOLAND is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through December 14, 2011.
Holiday Snow Days at LEGOLAND® California – Nov. 19 through Jan. 2
LEGOLAND® California is gearing up for the biggest, brightest and coolest holiday celebration ever with Holiday Snow Days. The celebration begins Nov. 19 when snow falls for the first time ever at the family theme Park and continues with the lighting of the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas tree and concludes with the annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party. New this year, Fun Town is transformed into a winter wonderland with a snow play area where families can build a snowman using LEGO carrots and other fun LEGO elements and throw snowballs at targets. Along with the snow-filled fun, Holiday Snow Days feature festive entertainment including carolers, elves, strolling magicians; Santa and his holiday helpers; an enchanting holiday musical; and nightly fireworks Dec. 26 through 31. All Holiday Snow Days activities are included in the price of LEGOLAND California admission ($69 for adults; $59 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60+.)
Museum of Making Music
Founded in 1998 by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the Museum of Making Music had provided a history of music and cultural enrichment through special galleries and interactive exhibits for over 10 years. The museum is logically arranged into galleries in chronological order. Each gallery features historic milestones, popular music and instruments from each time period. Visitors will find hundreds of vintage instruments, audio and video clips and hands-on opportunities to play with some of the instruments. This educational experience is nostalgic, fun and entertaining.
Liz Laing is a writer, Web designer and photographer who lives in Los Angeles. Her latest projects may be followed on LizLaing.com.