La Jolla is famous for a lot of things: it has an average temperature of exactly 70 degrees in the summer; the homes are among the most expensive in the nation; you can get up close and personal with sea lions; and Torrey Pines State Park for awesome hiking and the only Torrey Pine trees in the world!
La Jolla is an affluent community located 12 miles north of downtown San Diego, California, and is home to around 40,000 residents. This coastal community features beautiful bluffs and hillsides and seven miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean for world-class surfing and plentiful beach activities.
The Kumeyaay indigenous people resided in La Jolla over 200 years ago, long before Spanish settlers. The Kumeyaay called the La Jolla ‘mat kulaaxuuy’, which translates to 'land of holes', perhaps because of the seven caves along the coastline. Historians theorize that the name La Jolla comes from a misspelling of the Spanish phrase "La Joya," which translates to "The Jewel." That is why La Jolla is the Jewel City of San Diego.
A woman many consider to be La Jolla’s most important resident was journalist and publisher Ellen Browning Scripps who settled in La Jolla in 1896. When she inherited a fortune from her brother E.W. Scripps, she dedicated the last 35 years of her life to philanthropy. She commissioned numerous La Jolla buildings that are now historic landmarks, and her financial gifts were instrumental to the opening of the Scripps Memorial Hospital in 1924.
The community of La Jolla boasts acclaimed schools, a world-class shopping district, Michelin-star restaurants; and a bustling art community. In fact, in 1894, La Jolla has deemed an art colony because of all its galleries and festivals.
Read on for a collection of community information including the best beaches, attractions, and restaurants.
La Jolla is one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation, with the median housing price in La Jolla coming in at $2,225,000 in 2022, up 38.3% year-over-year. Nearly every neighborhood in La Jolla was designed as a master-planned community with guarded entries and clubhouses. Among La Jolla's coastal neighborhoods are: Bird Rock, named for a formation sitting off the coast where birds roost each day: La Jolla Farms and the Village, named after the La Jolla shopping center; Upper and Lower Hermosa; La Jolla Village; the La Jolla Shores; La Jolla Heights; Hidden Valley; Soledad South; La Jolla Alta; and La Jolla Mesa. In the center of the La Jolla community are the Muirlands and Muirlands West neighborhoods and the La Jolla Country Club.
Among La Jolla’s top attractions is something that nature gifted; the beaches. La Jolla is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and beach attractions in the world. Here are a few of the most popular beaches in La Jolla.
Black’s Beach is a secluded section of beach beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pines, is one of the most popular nude beaches in the world. The southern part of Black’s Beach is a well-known surf spot for its powerful surf breaks.
La Jolla Cove Beach offers an easy entry into the ecological reserve for snorkeling and diving where sunbathers have to fight the sea lions for a piece of sand. The Cove is protected by the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which is what makes it a magical place to see marine life. During low tide, the La Jolla tide pools are revealed.
La Jolla Shores Beach is a one-mile stretch of beach south of downtown La Jolla that is great for all-day sunbathing and water sports. La Jolla Shores is the only kayak launch spot in La Jolla and the perfect place to take a La Jolla kayak tour of the seven sea caves. For an extra adventure, come to La Jolla Shores Beach to swim with the leopard sharks. During the summer, La Jolla Shores beach has the largest collection of leopard sharks in the world.
Windansea Beach has been a famous surf spot in La Jolla since the 1960s. The distinguishing landmark at Windansea is a palm-covered shack that was built in 1946 by three surfers. The Surf Shack was officially designated as a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board in May of 1998.
Boomer Beach is a small, lesser-known hidden gem beach in La Jolla located west of Ellen Browning Scripps Park and south of the Cove. This beach is a very popular body surfing spot because of its powerful waves and the fact that surfing and boogie boarding are prohibited.
Wipeout Beach is located on the 700 block of Coast Blvd. and is a great spot for sunbathing. Low tide is a great time to visit this spot because of exposed tide pools. Be careful of the incoming tide and large waves!
Marine Street Beach is a well-loved La Jolla beach for its wide, white-sand shoreline that sits between two rock reef points: Little Point and Horseshoe. Surfers love Marine Street Beach because the surf is wild and unpredictable.
La Jolla is a town filled with unique attractions, which is why it is a top U.S. tourist destination with 35.1 million visitors each year.
Seven Sea Caves are created from 75-million-year-old sandstone bordering the La Jolla Underwater Park. Visitors can only reach it by kayak, swimming, or standup paddleboard with the exception of Sunny Jim cave which can be entered through The Cave Store on Coast Boulevard.
The Stuart Collection is a unique series of public art that is a must-see on the campus of UC San Diego. There is the Wind Garden, Trees sculptures, The Big Bear, and many other pieces of art by renowned artists.
The La Jolla Playhouse has sent many performances to broadway. The Tony Award-winning playhouse can be found on the UC San Diego campus.
The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is the only place in America where you can see the Torrey Pine tree and take a gorgeous hike high above the Pacific Ocean with sweeping views.
The Salk Institute is a designated historic site created by Jonas Salk to support and foster creativity. If you love architecture, you will love wandering through biomedical research facilities to appreciate the building’s bold lines and laboratories.
Museum of Contemporary Art is an evolution from the avant-garde art community that formed in La Jolla in the 1960s. Today, it is considered one of the best museums in San Diego. Among the museum’s collections are works by artists from the American minimalist movement, as well as many photos and paintings from post-war artists. There is also a sculpture garden that should not be missed.
Torrey Pines Golf Course is famous throughout the world as the site of the PGA Tours Buick Invitational and other tours. Torrey Pines Golf Course rivals Pebble Beach in beauty with its dramatic coastal views.
Torrey Pines Gliderport is located across the canyon from the course and attracts hang gliders and paragliders who want an adrenaline rush. Below you, as you soar through the air, is Blacks Beach.
La Jolla Sea Lions are famous in La Jolla where they can be found sunbathing, snuggling, and barking at each other on the rocks on the south bluff called Point La Jolla. Remember, they are wild animals so please keep your distance.
With so many great restaurants to dine at, both elegant and casual, it is difficult to name them all. Here are three amazing spots to dine in La Jolla.
The Marine Room sits at sea level and at high tide, the waves will come crashing right against your windows while you are fine dining. The Marine Room has remained one of the best restaurants in La Jolla since opening its doors in 1941 The seasonal menu includes a tasty mix of French and California-style seafood influences.
George’s at the Cove is one of the most iconic dining establishments in San Diego with a history of delicious food with an ocean view. It has received many accolades over the years including being named a Michelin Plate Restaurant.
Himitsu offers a unique menu of traditional sushi and nigiri and Japanese-style tapas. At Himitsu, guests will be offered a curated sake list. The Japanese restaurant has an outdoor patio in an incognito spot in town well suited to its name which means “secret” in Japanese.