There's a good reason why La Jolla is known as "The Jewel" of San Diego. From its gleaming beaches to its bistros and boutiques, La Jolla is most certainly a gem. There is a lot to experience in this coastal urban oasis, from the seafloor to the waves, caves, streets, and eats; it's a don't miss San Diego neighborhood.
Visit La Jolla Cove
Whether through a diving mask or from the beach, get a sea lion’s eye view of this dramatic notch in La Jolla’s coastline. The relatively protected waters of the cove make for a spectacular Instragrammable moment showing resident pinnipeds as they zip amongst kelp beds and bright orange garibaldi. Adventurous spirits can pick their way along the cliff-lined coastline where sea birds, seals, and sea lions roost, while others can watch from the beach or the adjacent park.
Explore the Sea Caves
La Jolla’s cliffs are pocked with sea caves that beckon to be explored. Sea Kayak tours from La Jolla Kayak start on the sandy La Jolla Shores. A short paddle later, you’re slipping along beside dolphins, seals, sea lions, and waving stalks of kelp. With calm conditions, you can paddle into the seven caves that each hide a dark world of their own. (Kayak tours can be arranged so you’re on the water at sunset.) Just one cave can be entered via land: At Sunny Jim’s Cave Store, you pass through a tunnel dug in 1904 that follows 145 dank steps to the water’s edge. The unique ocean view from inside the mouth of the cave is a perspective all its own ($5 for adults and $3 kids).
Stroll La Jolla’s Boutiques and Bookshops
Prospect Street winds its way through downtown La Jolla, packed with artisan boutiques, bookstores, and—because shopping has a way of working up an appetite—bistros. Start off by perusing the shelves of Warwicks, a family-owned bookstore that also stocks plenty of upscale knickknacks like wooden boxes, pins, and stationery. For luxe dresses and womenswear, stop into Alexia Maria, a boutique from a Mexican designer who’s been featured in the biggest fashion publications. At CJ Charles Jewelers, high-end watches and jewelry from brands like Cartier and Bvlgari beckon. Pomegranate La Jolla’s jewelry, apparel, and accessories offer fun, funky designs from independent designers.
Experience La Jolla’s Sports
Warm up with a half-mile jaunt along the La Jolla Coast Walk, a flat, easy trail that lets you spy the resident sea creatures (in tide pools and seal and sea lion rookeries) and take in the rugged peninsula. Want a closer look at what’s under the surface of the blue waters below? Swim amongst the harmless leopard sharks and other marine creatures that call La Jolla home with a snorkel tour with Hike Bike Kayak (July through September is the best time to see the sharks—mostly pregnant females taking advantage of the warm, food-rich waters). Rather be on top of the waves than below? Beginners and experts alike can sign up for one-, two-, or three- hour surf lessons with Surf Diva.
Ocean View Dining
Food & Drink
Some of San Diego’s best restaurants capitalize on La Jolla’s intoxicating scenery, pairing their menus (seafood is in no short supply) with seaside locations boasting unbeatable views. For sheer proximity, nothing beats the The Marine Room, where at high tide waves splash against the windows of this fine dining establishment. George’s at the Cove, perched right above La Jolla’s most famous nook, serves fine seafood, fish tacos, and craft cocktails, at its multi-level restaurant equipped with a generous patio. Brockton Villa Restaurant overlooks the cove as well, welcoming diners to a casual setting and comfort food for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Set on high ground a few blocks back from the beach, Cusp Dining and Drinks, offers diners a pulled-back view of La Jolla and the endless ocean beyond.
Electric Bike Tour of La Jolla and Mt. Soledad
Tours & Sightseeing
Let the electric motor do the hard work of showing you around La Jolla and up to the 824-foot summit of Mount Soledad, where perhaps the best view of San Diego is found. On this two-and-a-half-hour spin offered by San Diego Fly Rides, you’ll cruise through La Jolla Village, take in the rocky coastline and exquisite homes up to Windansea, then make the climb to Mount Soledad, and return to your starting point. Water and snacks are provided on these tours, which depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center
Catch a show at the La Jolla Music Society’s new home: a $78 million arts campus whose main features are a 500-seat concert hall and an additional performance space linked by a courtyard. Located in the heart of La Jolla Village, The Conrad is a neighborhood hub for arts and culture ranging from local performers to international stars such as Seal. Check the calendar for performances from San Diego Symphony and other notable music and dance artists from every genre.
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