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La Jolla, in Spanish, is roughly “the jewel” and is pronounced “La HOY-yah”. No one could argue that it is indeed the crown jewel of San Diego County. A seaside tourist and resort town for over 100 years, La Jolla is less than a half hour north of downtown San Diego and San Diego International Airport. The coastline here is both sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, making for a very diverse experience, no matter how you choose to spend your day.
La Jolla Accommodations
Best Western Inn by the Sea is just two blocks from the beach with ocean or village views.
Marriott San Diego La Jolla has a skywalk to the University Towne Centre Mall.
The beautifully restored Grande Colonial Hotel is the oldest (1913 and added to in 1928) hotel in La Jolla.
La Jolla Food
Enjoy dining in a California Modern atmosphere at Georges at the Cove restaurant. Grab a table at the open terrace for an incredible view. Call ahead for their complimentary limousine to pick you up from your La Jolla hotel.
For local surf and turf, it’s dinner at The Marine Room, a La Jolla tradition since 1941.
Planning a picnic at the beach? Stop by the Cheese Shop for freshly made delicatessen sandwiches to go.
La Jolla Activities
Prospect Avenue is the place to shop in La Jolla. Art galleries, upscale clothing boutiques and jewelry shops. Inland, about four miles from the beach, there’s the University Towne Centre mall with over 150 stores.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego features Pop Art of the sixties to current conceptual art. It also has an annex in downtown San Diego.
Take an architectural tour of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies or attend a Thursday afternoon seminar (held September through June).
Far from the commercial activities of SeaWorld to the south, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Stephen Birch Aquarium & Museum offers education and conservation.
University of California, San Diego (source: WikiTravel) Take a walk around the campus and observe a number of famous artworks and architectural structures such as the Geisel Library, named for the noted author Theodore Geisel (you may know him as Dr. Seuss). This library is truly outstanding and was used as a UFO in a movie. Seeing it at dusk is preferable. On one side of the library, a sidewalk is paved to look like a giant snake and leads you to a sculpture of a book. The UCSD campus has plenty of airy architecture which feels like its half outside. Look for "Stonehenge", which is a realistic sculpture of the English monument; the Sun God statue, bright, flamboyant and huge, but somehow camouflaged in a dark lawn; ask around. There's a Che Cafe and Porter's Pub, which should entertain some amount of counterculture. Next to Porter's Pub there's an outside glass blowing facility attached to a coffee shop, so you can sip coffee while watching people pouring glass. Adjacent is a blacksmithing and pottery workshop area and many other artsy endeavors.
There are excellent hiking trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve. For championship golf, La Jolla’s only public course, Torrey Pines Golf Course, was the home of the 2008 U.S. Open. The city of San Diego provides lifeguards to La Jolla beaches. Check with lifeguards prior to your ocean adventure. Locations for allowable activities (including surfing and diving) can change due to current weather and water conditions and signs aren’t always obvious.
The La Jolla beaches, from the north:
If you’re into clothing optional beaches, Black’s Beach has the obligatory steep hike or a long walk from neighboring La Jolla Shores Beach to the south. It’s a great beach for surfing and the high cliffs assist hangliders and paragliders. La Jolla Shores has smaller waves for novice surfing. Scuba diving classes and kayaking are offered here. A beach for the family, La Jolla Cove has calm waters for snorkeling and diving. Hike south just beyond the rocks and you’ll find tide pools in Children’s Pool. This is also a haven for local sea lions. Windansea Beach attracts expert surfers.
La Jolla Transportation
San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTA) provides a route north and south through the western area of La Jolla.
La Jolla Annual Events
- June through August
Festival of the Arts