San Diego/La Jolla

La Jolla (pronounced: La HOY-yah) is an upscale beach neighborhood in San Diego that, while part of the city, is often viewed as its own distinct community. La Jolla is home to the University of California, San Diego campus, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous scenery.

38 things to do

All Places United States California



Black's Beach

Set against high cliffs, Black's Beach is the largest '''nude beach''' in the country. Technically, there are two parts of the beach. There is the southern part located within the City of San Diego, where nudity is not allowed (although this rule is rarely enforced) and the northern part located within Torrey Pines State Park, where clothing is purely optional. Black's Beach has one of the most powerful beach breaks in Southern California, making it a popular, but dangerous, surfing spot. To get down to the beach, you have three options. First, you can walk from La Jolla Shores, which is a long stretch. Second, you can go to the Gliderport and take a breathtaking path on the side of the cliff that goes straight down. Don't come in high heels, although it's a safe enough path for surfers to run by you with their surfboards. The top is a great spot to watch the sunset! Third, you can drive along the cliffs north from the Gliderport. Park in the last allowable spot, and take another breathtaking path down. The second path is less beautiful but takes you farther towards the unexplored parts of the beach. The second path forks at the very bottom of the cliff. If you take the fork, which goes into the canyon, you will arrive via a twisty path at the bottom of a hidden waterfall which is home to hummingbirds. It's a few hundred feet in and well worth the walk. The '''full moon drum circle''' goes on here each month. Look for it on a rainbowgathering website. It starts at dawn and goes till dusk. People bring tents and sleeping bags, though most go back up the cliffs. This is a no alcohol event, but feel free to bring wood, a drum, juice and a trashbag to clean up. For latest details, visit [http://home.earthlink.net/~scrollinfo/fullmoon.html this site].


Salk Institute of Biological Studies

Near UCSD is this architectural monolith; the structure for this noted institution is built out of unfinished concrete and perched atop the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Two symmetrical buildings stare at each other across a courtyard, the length of which runs a wide river which reverses into a pool and, through a small waterfall, down towards the dining hall seating area. The building is surrounded by a moat, and sports orange trees in the courtyard. In addition, many doors are deliberately unlabeled to encourage scientific exploration. The Salk gives tours, but you must schedule them (they are early in the morning).



Mount Soledad

A prominent landmark just to the east of La Jolla, overlooking much of San Diego. The top of the mountain is adorned by the '''Mount Soledad Easter Cross and Veterans Memorial'''. It is home to many rabbits and couples. Sunrise and sunset are the two favorite times to go here. The twisty roads leading to the hill are full of plant life and give access to multimillion dollar hobbit homes which look much smaller from the street than from down below, as they are on a sloping hill. There are a few hairpin turns and tight bridges that are worth finding.

SEE   —  Map

Children's Pool Beach

This beach is a favorite breeding spot for '''harbor seals'''. The beach is closed Dec 15-May 15 during breeding season, but you can still observe the seals from a safe distance. This beach used to be the children's beach, and there is an ongoing dispute between animal rights supporters and others who disagree about who should own the beach. Depending on the current turn of events, swimming may or may not be permitted. Occasionally, the seals vanish, but move a few hundred feet to the right, close to the cove itself.

SEE   —  850 Coast Blvd


La Jolla Cove

A very popular beach for swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling, set against beautiful sea cliffs. The bluffs above the beach are grassy, making a great spot for picnics. Keep in mind that La Jolla Cove is part of the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, so fishing, scavenging, or "swimming devices" (surfboards, boogie boards, inflatable mattresses, etc.) are ''not'' allowed. You may also find a very large number of sea-birds and animals flying, walking and lazing around the area in the daytime.

DO   —  1100 Coast Blvd

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

The public center for the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography (of University of California, San Diego), this award-winning aquarium has many fantastic exhibits, with oceanic species from all over the Pacific Ocean displayed, as well as sharks, a tide pool, a large kelp tank, and a coral reef (with actual living coral). The museum also has some spectacular views of the ocean and La Jolla as well as some nifty tide pools where you can touch tide-pool animals.



Residence Inn La Jolla

A very pleasant suite-style hotel. It is in a quiet area of La Jolla, very close to the University of California at San Diego. The rooms are spacious, with full kitchens. It includes a pool and hot tubs located close to the rooms. There are BBQ grills in the small common patio between the buildings. Within walking distance there is a nice shopping center with several restaurants and grocery stores. Free high speed internet access.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 587-1770 —  8901 Gilman Dr

La Jolla Shores

In north La Jolla, this beach has some of the gentlest waves of any beach in San Diego. The beach is notable for being near the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus and it contains the Scripps Pier. This is one of the only beach boat launching areas in La Jolla, so it's a popular spot for kayaking and surfing.

DO   —  Map


The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Rustic alpine-style hotel adjacent to the PGA Championship Torrey Pines Golf Corse. This is a high-end resort and spa. The A. R. Valentien restaurant, named for the California artist, overlooks the 18th hole of the Torrey Pines golf course. Works by Valentien are on exhibit throughout the dining room.


Windansea Beach

This beach has no facilities, but is notable for playing host to a great number of talented and famous surfers. The simple "Surf Shack" structure there has been designated a historic landmark. There are huge, smoothly sculpted rocks on this beach that are fun to climb on and look at.

DO   —  in south La Jolla

University of California, San Diego

A combination of a small liberal arts college and a large research university, UCSD has a good reputation locally and offers some interesting sights. You can take a walk around the campus and observe a number of famous artworks and architectural structures.


Torrey Pines State Beach

Stretched along Torrey Pines State Park and set against gorgeous cliffs, this beach is one of the most beautiful around. A salt marsh at the north end of the beach empties into the ocean. The beach is also a popular one for surfing and body boarding.

DO   —  north of La Jolla

Westfield UTC

An outdoor shopping mall located just outside of La Jolla, in the University City area. Basically anything you'd find in your average suburban shopping mall with the addition of an ice skating rink, called '''[http://www.icetown.com/ Ice Town]'''.


Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine

Situated on 11 acres, 419 recently remodeled rooms, spacious VIP suites, wireless high-speed Internet, and 32,000 square feet of flexible function space.


Marine Street Beach

A local beach with some rough and dangerous surf. This is a great spot for body surfing and body boarding. No facilities are available here.

DO   —  in south La Jolla

Shores Restaurant

Offering seasonal cuisine, oceanfront views and a great selection of wines. Award-winning chefs, delicious American comfort food.


Grande Colonial Hotel

A landmark, historic hotel overlooks the shores of the Pacific Ocean and ideally located just steps away from the beach.

SLEEP   —  910 Prospect St

Torrey Pines Golf Course

A stunning seaside public golf course noted for hosting the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open every January or February.


Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

A rancho style conference and vacation resort located adjacent to the University of California at San Diego.


Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

A nonprofit, membership library which sponsors art exhibitions, concerts, lectures, and art classes.

SEE   —  +1 858 454-5872 —  1008 Wall St

The Cave Store

Built on top of a sea cave, this gift shop offers tours of a small cavern open to the ocean.


Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

Bluff-top Hilton hotel overlooking the famous Torrey Pines golf course.


La Valencia

A Luxury Spanish-style hotel, famed for its views of the La Jolla Cove.

SLEEP   —  +1 858 454-0771 —  1132 Prospect St

The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla

Bed and Breakfast steps from the beach. Comfortable rooms and suites.

SLEEP   —  7753 Draper Ave

Su Casa Mexican Restaurant

An exceptional, and very vegetarian friendly Mexican establishment.


Porkyland Restaurant

Mexican restaurant specializing, naturally, in pork.


Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla

Permanent and changing contemporary art exhibits.


Brockton Villa

Well known for their breakfast and lunch menus.


Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

No bikes, dogs, food and beverages allowed.


La Valencia Hotel

Best known for their Sunday Brunch.


About San Diego/La Jolla

Seals at La Jolla Cove
Seals at La Jolla Cove


Source: wikivoyage