Places to Eat (9)
Vigilucci’s is something of a North County institution. Restaurateur Roberto Vigilucci, a native of Milan, brought mouthwatering recipes from his homeland to Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse. The result? Fantastic food – and a spectacular view: a 180-degree panorama of the Pacific from most seats. A meal at sunset is always a special experience.
Hot pizza. Cold beer. Lively crowds. What more can you want from a classic pizza joint? Pizza Port serves this all up, plus a selection of home brews guaranteed to please the serious beer connoisseur. Just a few minutes from GIA, Pizza Port is great for getting together with friends and family.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Just down the block from GIA, Karl Strauss brews more than 30 different types of beers a year. They also serve up a selection of tasty pub food: lots of burgers, meatloaf, and the signature “beer burger.” A great place to relax after class.
Southern California is famous for its Mexican food, and Las Olas is a North County favorite. Ingredients are locally sourced and often organic, so the food is fabulously fresh. Just a block from the beach, Las Olas is in the heart of Old Carlsbad, a quaint downtown district filled with restaurants, shops, and cafés. So you can enjoy a stroll on the beach or do some after-dinner window shopping.
Lotus Thai Bistro
San Diegans agree: Lotus Thai Bistro is one of the best restaurants. It’s casual, inexpensive, and the food is always fresh. Order your entrées from mild to searing. Just as enticing – the lunch specials are a great deal. You’ll also find lots of vegetarian options. A favorite of GIA staff, too.
You can’t get any closer to the source when you dine at Dini’s. The restaurant is at the water’s edge, and your dinner practically jumped onto your plate. The menu is classic surf and turf with a few Mexican entrées. Spectacular sunsets are another attraction that draws locals. But Dini’s is more than the food. It’s the place to go for a night of serious fun. The bar is always packed, and you’ll probably spot a classmate sipping an Iguana, the restaurant’s own concoction.
Coyote Bar & Grill
The Coyote Bar & Grill is about enjoying Chipotle Chicken and Baby Back Ribs by a fire pit under the night sky, where you’ll be entertained by a band or karaoke. And late on the weekends, a DJ transforms the venue into a giant party. It’s a great destination for food and fun after studying all week.
Carlsbad Chocolate Bar
Adore chocolate? Dream of washing down a gourmet nibble with a cup of designer coffee? Then Carlsbad Chocolate Bar is your slice of heaven. And there’s more than just chocolate. Enticing counter displays are filled with mouth-watering cupcakes, cookies, and pastries.
Things To See (6)
The Flower Fields
Every spring Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. A rainbow of vivid colors that stretches 50 acres, the Flower Fields is a spectacular kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples. Stroll through the fields or take an antique tractor ride. A stunning sight not to be missed.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is a world-famous attraction – and for a good reason. It’s only one of four places in the country where you can see giant pandas. And there’s a lot more to the zoo than this cuddly couple and their kids. Monkeys, hippos, polar bears, and 4,000 other rare and endangered animals wait around every corner. Don’t miss Elephant Odyssey!
Exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture, glorious flower beds, and the Botanical Building make Balboa Park one of San Diego’s great treasures. Here you’ll find 15 museums and the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad (you can ride it). The Japanese Friendship Garden is a tranquil retreat, while the iconic Balboa Park Carousel charms children. Theater lovers: be sure to catch a play at the Old Globe Theater.
Shamu and friends are always ready to put on a show at SeaWorld. The famous aquatic park also features Shark Encounter, Dolphin Point, and Penguin Encounter – exhibits where you can see denizens of the deep up close. Little ones will love the Sesame Street Bay of Play. And there are plenty of watery rides to cool you off on a hot summer’s day.
The Oceanside Pier is one of the longest piers in California – 1,942 feet for strolling and people watching. Taking in the surfers and bathers from this unique vantage point is a visual treat. You can fish off the pier if you prefer quiet time (a bait shop rents fishing poles). And there’s a restaurant at the end of the pier if you want a casual bite in a unique setting.
Carlsbad State Beach
Carlsbad and nearby Encinitas boast some of the world’s best surfing spots. So here’s your chance to become a super rad dude or dudette. Take a lesson. Catch a wave. Hang Ten. You’ll know that you’ve officially arrived in “So Cal.” Volleyball, camping and beachcombing at low tide are also popular. Or grab a guitar and bongos for an impromptu jam session.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets
Polo Ralph Lauren…Tommy Hilfiger…Calvin Klein – you’ll find these and dozens of other chic shops at the Carlsbad Premium Outlets. If you get hungry, you can indulge in Godiva Chocolates, Haagen Dazs, and other treats. And it’s all just a short walk from GIA Carlsbad.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Torrey Pines is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see. Craggy cliffs tower over the majestic Pacific. Hiking trails wind their way through canyons and over mesas. Hummingbirds hover over flowering cacti. Salamanders scurry underfoot. This bit of paradise is great for walking, jogging, biking, and swimming.
La Costa Resort & Spa
Spa Magazine named it the #1 wellness spa in the nation. And it’s just a few miles from GIA. La Costa Resort and Spa boasts world-class golf courses and a slew of other luxurious amenities. It’s also home of the famed Chopra Center, where people come for healing body, mind, and soul. Kids will love the splash landing pools.
Del Mar Fairgrounds
The Del Mar Fairgrounds always has something going on: rock concerts, gem fairs, the San Diego County Fair, horse races, dog shows, and just about everything else. A GIA student favorite is Four O’clock Friday: a free concert with racetrack admission. The trendy haunts of Del Mar are only a mile away, making late-night entertainment a quick jaunt.