10 Things to Do in La Jolla That You Shouldn't Miss

October 29, 2017 Roger Rusk

Topnotch golf courses, art galleries and seals share the dramatic oceanside landscape of La Jolla, an affluent community 15 minutes from downtown San Diego. Swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers dip into La Jolla Cove, where the protected waters shield an abundance of bright orange Garibaldi fish and sea caves indent the cliffs. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the family-friendly Birch Aquarium and the acclaimed La Jolla Playhouse deliver breaks from the sun.
Restaurants in La Jolla

1. La Jolla Cove

1100 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-3600
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 10 reviews

La Jolla Cove

San Diego's most desirable spot for swimming, diving and snorkeling. The water is calm and the cove is ecologically protected. There is also a world famous dive site that is located in the La Jolla ecological preserve.

Reviewed By Lauralanglois - Hudson, New Hampshire

Favorite place for watching the seals and sea lions. At high tide in the evening, the sea lions will come up HIGH on the rocks, and you can literally get 10' away from them, but don't get too close! The place smells like sea lion, but that's part of the fun.

2. Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial

6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive South, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037 +1 858-459-2314
Excellent
70%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial

Reviewed By SeminarTrekker - Sacramento Valley

Great view of the San Diego Metroplex. Also a Midway stop between Mission Bay/Pacific Beach area and La Jolla. Features memorials of veterans including former President Teddy R.

3. The Sea Caves

Channel Islands National Park, CA +1 805-658-5730
Excellent
87%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 34 reviews

The Sea Caves

Kayak into a series of sea caves in the Channel Islands; each cave has its own special features.

Reviewed By Robert B - Port Hueneme, California

This is a must for adventure seekers. Just a short ride offshore in the Channel Islands National Park is Anacapa Island. With its rocky shoreline, thousands of birds, and, the best, sea caves that you can take a kayak into. Go with a guide-some are really hard to see even when you are a few feet away. Don't try padd;ing from the mainland-too far and busy shipping lanes.

4. Torrey Pines Gliderport

2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-1004 +1 858-452-9858
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Reviewed By Dean A - Orlando, Florida

There's plenty of free parking. It's just a few minutes from Interstate-5. If you want a nude beach; the north area of the beach below the flight area is the nude beach section. It's natural to have families and couples there.

5. La Jolla Playhouse

2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92093-5100 +1 858-550-1010
Excellent
76%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 189 reviews

La Jolla Playhouse

Theater on the UC San Diego campus.

Reviewed By Ray Q - Pasadena, California

There’s a reason why some blockbuster Broadway hits start out here: audiences appreciate and respect the art of live theater and the productions here are always excellent. Even for me, this theater is worth the drive from Los Angeles! I always leave with a smile on my face. Go support live theater and especially this great company and venue.

6. Windansea Beach

6800 Neptune Place, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92083
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 485 reviews

Windansea Beach

A famous beach for surfing.

Reviewed By gzau - San Diego, California

Windansea Beach is famous for surfing. It gives you good beach access and there is a huge there. It is a great Beach for taking photos especially around sunset. It is popular but there is parking on street.

7. Salk Institute

10010 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-1099 +1 858-453-4100
Excellent
77%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 188 reviews

Salk Institute

Reviewed By TNTGL - Anaheim, California

Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine for polio and gave his discovery away - freely. His Salk Institute now houses 1100 researchers looking into an array of ills from Alzheimer's to autism. In the early 1960's, he commissioned Louis Kahn to create an inspiring place for science to take place.

The Salk Institute provides an hour-long tour that lets you see one of Kahn's architectural masterpieces with a docent who, in our case, was also an architect. Parking is a bit tricky, but just keep going on the road beside the institute until you come to a gravel lot on your right and stick to the Salk parking, then make your way back.

A surprising "feature" of the online tour registration was the lack of any automated email indicating that you've indeed been signed up. I ended up emailing a week before the tour to confirm we were on the list - so you might want to keep a copy of your page once you make the reservation. The group is small - about 15 people - and the pace is leisurely, with a few flights of stairs to climb up and down as you visit some of the lab spaces.

I'm still not sure if I actually LIKE the architecture or not, but it was thought provoking to hear about his designs and see them, and the view out to the ocean is stunning, of course. There is a serenity to the space that surprised me, and it was less intimidating and of a more human scale than I had expected.

I felt that the time for the tour was just about right, with plenty of opportunities for photos.

8. La Jolla Shores Park

8300 Camino del Oro, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

La Jolla Shores Park

Mile-long beach features gentle waves during the summer months, making this spot a prime spot for novice scuba divers.

Reviewed By SMC41818 - Somerville, Massachusetts

One of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s counterpart back east might be Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Cape Cod. Been here almost a week. Today there seems to be a fair amount of military helicopters in this area. Not really bothersome just interesting!

9. Ellen Browning Scripps Park

1133 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037-3638 +1 858-538-8085
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 157 reviews

Ellen Browning Scripps Park

Reviewed By ElleLaJolla - La Jolla, California

The beauty of this century-old park is that it is just a large expanse of grass near the Cove but one that people use in myriad ways. There are some very old trees that provide a bit of shade in summer.

Every day the scene changes. Families bring blankets and sandwiches and fly kites, play soccer or throw a ball. Newlyweds come for photo ops, a tai chi group goes through its forms, yoga moms with their babies in strollers come together to practice their postures. In summer there are free concerts on Sunday (when and if there is merchant funding) and the locals bring their lawn chairs and picnic baskets and catch up with their neighbors. Scuba divers use part of the lawn as their staging area, a homeless artist offers her paintings for sale, a game inventor showcases his hybrid tennis game and allows people to participate. It is a very popular spot for weddings.

What is especially wonderful about this park is the wide diversity of people. They appear to come from all parts of the globe, and either live in the area or are visitors. The concrete "board walk" along the cliff edge of the water is filled with tourists and locals enjoying the beautiful ocean views, watching body surfers catching big waves or sea lions frolicking in the water or on the rocks down below. At sunset it becomes a magical place as everyone gathers to watch the sun go down.

10. La Jolla Caves

La Jolla, San Diego, CA +1 858-459-0746
Excellent
55%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 601 reviews

La Jolla Caves

Seven elongated fissures in the cliff walls that can be entered during low tide.

Reviewed By 860SusanB860 - Rockwall, Texas

I am always intrigued by the power of water and how it changes our landscape. This sea cave is an interesting natural phenomenon that was formed over thousands of years. The views from up above are fabulous! We watched kayaks maneuver close to the caves but the waves were pretty strong and we did not see anyone get too close. Sea lions and sea birds sit and laze on the rocks nearby. This stop is well worth a visit if in La Jolla - the views are priceless.

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