La Jolla Visitor Information

With its dramatic coastline and panoramic views from Mount Soledad, sightseeing is one of the most popular activities in La Jolla. Otherwise you'll find a community rich in heritage and culture along with some of the best beaches in the country!

Things to do and see in La Jolla

The Village

The streets of Prospect, Girard, and Hershel encompass The Village; a bustling business district offering world class dining, one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, jewelry shops and romantic, old world hotels. Shopping in La Jolla tends toward the unusual and upscale; designer fashions, expensive jewelry, ethnic artifacts, priceless antiques, oriental rugs and exotic cars. Prospect Street is ground zero for fine-dining, but don't overlook the excellent options in UTC, Bird Rock and the La Jolla Shores. The most popular offerings are fresh seafood and Mexican cuisine, but you can find anything from scrambled eggs to sushi among the many and varied eateries throughout La Jolla. The surrounding residential community is a charming mix of turn-of-the-century Spanish architecture, eccentric modern designs and everything in-between.

Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial 

Rising over 880 feet from the ocean to become a prominent landmark just to the east of La Jolla. 360-degree panoramic views overlook La Jolla, and much of San Diego including downtown, with vistas all the way to Mexico. The top of the mountain is adorned with the Mount Soledad Easter Cross and Veterans Memorial, with 6 concentric walls of black granite engraved with thousands of names, photographic etchings and remembrances of war veterans from all branches of the US Military. Sunrise and sunset are two special times to visit.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla

The museum has a permanent and changing collection of more than 3,500 post-1950 American and European works, including paintings, works on paper, sculptures, photographic art, design objects and video works. $10 general admission, age 25 and under free.  700 Prospect Street, 858 454 3541. Th 11am - 7pm, F-Tu 11am - 5pm, closed Wednesdays.

Athenaeum Music and Arts Library

The library, devoted exclusively to music and art, has an outstanding and ever-expanding collection of books, periodicals, reference material, compact discs, videocassettes, DVDs, sheet music, and librettos. The Athenaeum also presents an eclectic, year-round schedule of art exhibitions, concerts (classical, jazz, and new music), lectures, studio art classes through its School of the Arts. 1008 Wall St. La Jolla, CA 858-454-5872

University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego is in fact six colleges in one campus, a unique situation in the UC system, patterned after Oxford and Cambridge. Artworks and sculptures are sprinkled throughout, and architecturally interesting structures abound, notably the Geisel Library, named for the noted author Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss). This library is truly outstanding and was used as a UFO in a movie.  9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92037  (858) 534-4414

Salk Institute of Biological Studies

This biological research campus, with a scientific staff of more than 850, is world renowned as architecturally significant. 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 river, into a pool and through a small waterfall. There are early morning tours, scheduled in advance.

La Jolla Playhouse

The La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, and Mel Ferrer. The Playhouse’s repertoire has included forty-four world premieres, twenty-four West Coast premieres, and seven American premieres, and has won more than three hundred honors, including the 1993 Tony Award as America’s Outstanding Regional Theatre.  2910 La Jolla Village Dr. 858-550-1010

Birch Aquarium at Scripps  

This award-winning aquarium by the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has many fantastic exhibits with oceanic species from all over the Pacific Ocean, as well as sharks, a tide pool, a large kelp tank, and a live coral reef. Free for children age 2 and under.  2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 858 534-3474. 9am-5pm. every day,

Torrey Pines Gliderport 

The Gliderport has been the learning place for history’s aviation greats. It was first established as a soaring site in 1928 and today is home to and the place to watch hang gliding, paragliding, scale models, and sailplane flight. If you have ever wanted to taste a gliding flight, the Gliderport offers Tandem flights year round.  2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr. La Jolla, CA 858-452-9858

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve 

More than 2000 acres of coastal land preserved the same as before San Diego was developed – with the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, coastal vegetation, spectacular hiking trails, miles of unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds.

Torrey Pines Golf Course 

Featuring two of the most picturesque championship courses in the world, Torrey Pines is a well-known PGA course and hosts the Farmers Open in February. Expert instruction, tournaments, and advanced golf packages. (Book well in advance) 877-581-7171

Scripps Park

The most photographed spot in San Diego according to AAA Magazine, and a very popular spot for weddings. This large park overlooks spectacular coastline, is adjacent to La Jolla Cove and several Beaches and is host to free summer concerts and a 4th of July fireworks display. (Coast Boulevard off Prospect in the Village of La Jolla)  

La Jolla Caves

You can descend a tunnel in the basement of the old Cave Store to or rent kayaks to visit Sunny Jim's Cave that opens to the ocean. Here you'll find a variety of native sea birds nesting on the cliffs and sea lions sunning on the rocks below. 1325 Cave St.  858 459-0746.

La Jolla Cove

A small beach tucked between adjacent sandstone cliffs. Extraordinarily beautiful, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California, and is within a short walk of Prospect St. and The Village. Water visibility at the Cove can sometimes exceed 30 feet, making it a popular location for scuba divers and snorkelers. La Jolla Cove lies within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which helps to ensure that marine life remains plentiful.

Children’s pool

A favorite breeding spot for California gray seals. The beach is closed Dec 15-May 15 during breeding season, but you can still observe the seals from a safe distance on the sea wall. Occasionally, the seals move a few hundred feet to the right. From December to March, you'll also have a good chance of spotting California gray whales spouting just beyond the kelp beds during their annual migration from Alaska to Mexico. (850 Coast Blvd. near La Jolla Cove)

La Jolla Shores

A popular, family friendly sandy beach approximately one mile long, north of The Village. In summer, waves at this beach are usually the most gentle of all San Diego beaches, good for surfing and swimming although rip currents may still be strong at times. Kellogg Park, a grassy area, is located behind the main lifeguard station and is ideal for picnicking. A wide cement boardwalk parallels a portion of the beach between the park and the sand. 8200 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla

Windansea Beach

La Jolla is perhaps best known for its beautiful scenery and surf breaks created by underwater reefs. Sandstone rocks act as partitions along the beach offering a secluded atmosphere for sunbathing. At the waterline, much of the beach is steep and experiences shorebreak, so swimmers should exercise caution. Surfing can be excellent, but this popular surf break is very concentrated and can become quite crowded. Novice surfers may wish to consider Tourmaline Beach or La Jolla Shores instead. 6800 Neptune Place, La Jolla, CA

Black’s Beach

A scenic two mile long, sandy beach just north of La Jolla shores, situated at the base of the Torrey Pines cliffs that are up to 300 feet high. Access from above is somewhat difficult due to the lack of improved stairways. The safest access is from adjacent beaches to the north and south, but can sometimes be obstructed by high tides. The cliffs are unstable and slides have occurred without warning, so it is best to stay well away from them. During certain swells, Black’s has some of the best surfing on the west coast. Although not officially sanctioned, there is a section of Black's Beach dedicated to nudism.

Tourmaline Beach

Officially named Tourmaline Surfing Park, this wide, sandy beach sits at the base of Tourmaline Street immediately south of Bird Rock in La Jolla and stretches to the Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Typically the surf is more gentle, good for both swimming and surfing. There is a public parking lot with restrooms as well.

Bird Rock

Located at the southern border of La Jolla and Pacific Beach. The rocky stretch of coast is lined with multi-million dollar homes, with nearby local businesses and restaurants. The small, quiet parks at Bird Rock, come with spectacular views of the beautiful houses overlooking the many reefs, surf breaks and small coves of the rugged shoreline. La Jolla Hermosa Park is at the intersection of Camino de la Costa and Chelsea Avenue, and Calumet Park on Calumet Avenue at Colima Court. These parks tend to be very quiet and uncrowded — a great place for an afternoon picnic. There are access stairs to the shoreline at the North Bird Rock vista point on Camino de la Costa, and at the foot of Bird Rock Boulevard.

Tide pools

Much of La Jolla has a rocky coastline, creating good conditions for viewing marine life at low tide. A 1.0 foot tide or lower is OK, but you will have a better chance of seeing more marine plants and animals when the tide is minus. If the weather is stormy or the surf is otherwise high, it is best to postpone visiting the tide pools until calm weather, since you won't see much, even at low tide.
Bird Rock: The south end of La Jolla north end of Pacific Beach. Hermit crabs and sea snails are very common here. On a good low tide, you will have a chance to see sea urchins and brittle stars or maybe an octopus.
Shell Beach/Hospital Reef: South of Scripps Park and Children’s Pool. Fairly good tide pool but it must be a very low tide.
Dike Rock: Just to the north of Scripps Pier near Black’s Beach. Here you may have a good chance of spotting a star fish or an octopus on a good minus tide.
Please avoid stepping on the marine life, carefully turn rocks back over after examining, do not remove attached animals, and return others to the same tide pool where you found them!