From art galleries and trendy boutiques to world-class golf courses and stunning beaches, La Jolla's attractions please travelers from far and wide. Each district is uniquely different, yet all are similar with respect to one important facet: top-notch quality.
While La Jolla is most well known for its incredible shoreline, the city's upscale business district is hardly modest. Located on the eastern side of La Jolla, law firms, financial institutions and tech industry outposts dominate this district, along with modern shopping centers and a wealthy residential area. The world-famous
Perhaps the most notable establishment in this region of La Jolla is the
Another popular site in the vicinity is
La Jolla Village
Known to locals as "the Village," La Jolla's downtown area, though geographically tiny, is jam packed with enough shops, restaurants, hotels, salons and galleries to draw hordes of wealthy patrons from around the region and around the globe. Girard Avenue is widely acknowledged to be La Jolla's main drag (home to everything from surf shops like
If neither art nor shopping are your cups of tea, La Jolla Village also features the
After a day of patronizing the arts and spending some cash at upscale boutiques, travelers need not venture out of the Village for a delectable meal.
Perhaps the most memorable of La Jolla's districts is the Shoreline. La Jolla is home to one of the most spectacular waterfronts in Southern California, complete with remarkable caves, cliffs, beaches and sunsets. Children young and old gather in droves for unbelievable seal watching at
La Jolla's beaches are eminently welcoming to surfers, sunbathers, snorkelers, scuba divers and swimmers, and all of these activities make for superb means by which to enjoy this geographically dramatic stretch of coast. Feel at home in the chop? Treat yourself to a surfing lesson courtesy of
Travel a short distance north from La Jolla Cove and see marine life up close at
Even though La Jolla's beaches and caves are heralded throughout Southern California, one of the coastline's most popular attractions has nothing to do with sand or surf.
After so much activity, complete the day by dining just above the waters of the Pacific.
La Jolla offers dozens of galleries, unique restaurants and historic buildings that draw visitors from all over the country each year.
Athenaeum Music and Arts Library In La Jolla Village, visit the large and diverse Athenaeum Music and Arts Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Grab lunch at the popular Harry's Coffee Shop. Tour Rimac Arena and browse the shops on Girard Avenue.
Sherwood Auditorium Catch a performance of the Athenaeum Mini-Concerts series, admire the textiles at La Jolla Fiber Arts or visit the Sherwood Auditorium. Dine at Humphrey's La Jolla Grill or Roppongi.
The Grande Colonial Explore the stretch of galleries along Prospect Street. The Images of Nature, the French Impressionist-focused Cosmopolitan and Aja Arts & Antiques, which showcases a vast selection of Oriental rugs, are all good choices. The The Grande Colonial Hotel, a historic landmark, is just across the street. Sigi's and Melange, two dining options, are also nearby.
Birch Aquarium Visit the Birch Aquarium where visitors can view incredible displays of marine life. Further down the road, you will find the UCSD campus. The campus is home to the beloved La Jolla Playhouse. A short drive away is the Salk Institute. Enjoy seaside dining at The Shores.
Siminic Gallery The Simic Gallery features New Renaissance works, while Carlton Gallery hosts sculptures with an Asian flair. Other notable art venues include Fingerhut and the O'Bernier Gallery. All are located within walking distance of one another. Dine at Top of the Cove or George's At The Cove.
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With numerous establishments perched on cliff tops overlooking the famous La Jolla Cove, this city's restaurants are well known both for their unforgettable views and delicious cuisine. Many La Jolla restaurants have had great success combining spectacular ambiance with creative culinary innovations.
Several top-notch eateries shine in the business district of La Jolla. Donovan's Steak & Chop House pleases customers with an elegant dining room, vast wine list and premiere red-meat entrees. Bully's is another sure bet for great steaks, fine wines and a true taste of old La Jolla. For a dining experience both more modern and more laid back, hit Rock Bottom, a restaurant and brewery popular for its eclectic pub-grub menu, house-made beers and a lengthy Happy Hour.
To cash in on the epic ocean views throughout the city, hotels in La Jolla tend to house top-notch restaurants, bars and clubs on their upper floors. Humphrey's La Jolla Grill, located on top of the Radisson features dramatic panoramas, sumptuous cuisine and live entertainment. Clay's, perched on the 11th floor of Hotel La Jolla, has full-length windows overlooking the city and the Pacific, as well as upscale American entrees and live jazz.
La Jolla Village
Known to locals as "the village," La Jolla's downtown hosts some of the finest eateries in Southern California. This section of town is most trendy, ranging from quirky cafes to happening nightlife. Only in La Jolla would one find artwork for sale in a coffee shop. Harry's offers exactly that, welcoming the morning crowd with homemade breakfast specialties and innovative works of art. Mission Coffee Cup is another informal diner, also praised for its fresh-cooked American breakfasts. While the ambience is not particularly notable, it's always crowded with locals for one simple reason: the food is just plain delicious.
The following trio of café-style lunch spots is all about gourmet versatility. Whether you crave a hearty panini or a sweet little tart, they've all got you covered. Go to Girard Gourmet and grab a luscious salad, an inspired sandwich or a decadent dessert. Or go on in to Come On In, a delightful bakery styled to evoke the French countryside, which is popular among the daytime village crowd thanks to its coffeecakes, scones and muffins (and meal-sized lunch plates). The Living Room Coffeehouse serves a nice mix of pastries and lunch items as well, complete with a lively atmosphere of eclectic décor and jazz music.
In the evening hours, Roppongi sets the standard as one of La Jolla's most notable trend-setting storefronts, offering a cutting edge menu of Asian fusion meals. Other favorite Asian restaurants include Yen's Wok On Pearl and Royal Thai Cuisine. For something less exotic but perhaps more relaxed, stop at The Spot. Serving steak and ribs, this establishment draws a huge thirty-something crowd on weekends. If you like your meaty dinners preceded by a serving of chips and salsa, look no further than Su Casa, home to everyone's traditional south-of-the-border favorites.
Although La Jolla Village boasts the city's most trendy eateries, dining along La Jolla Cove is a memorable experience for travelers of every stripe. Several restaurants line the cove, each offering spectacular views of the Pacific. Trattoria Acqua offers gazebo dining, with modern pizza and pasta entrees. George's At The Cove and the Crab Catcher, both perched on the cliff above the water, feature splendid views from their respective terrace-dining facilities (as well as fresh seafood entrees).
When you tire of old seafood standbys, Azul La Jolla's brand of Mediterranean cuisine might fit the bill—and with yet another breath-taking view of the ocean. Perhaps the most sophisticated venue along the shoreline is Top of the Cove, where contemporary French cuisine, live piano music and elegant décor attract the most discriminating of La Jolla locals.
For something a tad cozier, grab a table by the fireplace or out on the front patio at Cody's, a neighborhood favorite whose simple charm does not detract from the elegance of its cuisine. Finally, if you've had a long and active day and crave nothing more than a big gut-busting burrito, pop into Alfonso's, a classic Mexican restaurant well-known for its icy-cold margaritas and grill-fresh carne asada.
La Jolla's entertainment scene consistently caters to a remarkable range of tastes. Art patrons are astounded by the extensive list of prestigious galleries, while night owls relax at casual comedy clubs. Meanwhile, La Jolla's cooperative weather allows for numerous outdoor adventures. Whether you prefer upscale culture or outdoor action, this seaside community will prove itself worthy of your entertainment buck.
La Jolla's streets are absolutely full of distinguished art galleries. The community celebrates an extensive array of artistry, yet most galleries seem to favor contemporary pieces. Quint certainly does, featuring paintings in oil and watercolor, as well as photography and sculpture. Nearby Carlton Gallery is strictly devoted to nothing but sculpture, though it has been known to spotlight Asian artists in particular. Alcala Gallery is home to quite a collection of 20th century paintings as well, many of which were produced here in California. If American art is not your thing, give Cosmopolitan Fine Art a try. They specialize solely in French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.
While art is well represented in La Jolla's cultural atmosphere, music is certainly not neglected. A variety of venues bring music to La Jolla's residents and tourists. Athenaeum Music and Arts Library has a vast collection of books and other pieces devoted to the musical arts. This establishment also hosts concerts such as the Mini-Concerts-At-Noon, a weekly presentation featuring classical musicians and touring ensemble groups.
During the summer months, the waterfront is home to Concerts by the Sea. Located at La Jolla Cove, this annual series presents live music in an incomparable locale. If you are a strict adherent to the tenets of the world of classical music, you will adore concerts presented by the La Jolla Chamber Music Society.
Theater & Film
The La Jolla Playhouse is the most popular theater in this community. Originally founded by Hollywood stars and located on the UCSD campus, the theater is now known for championing new playwrights. Meanwhile, in the film world, film critics and other cinephiles flock to La Jolla by the busload each year for the annual San Diego International Film Festival.
Research Institutes & Exhibits
Who would have thought that this community, so revered for its arts scene, would also be famous for its world-renowned scientific institutions. Salk Institute, named for the famed curer of Polio, draws spectators from near and far. In addition, the highly-respected Scripps Institute of Oceanography offers incredible displays of marine life at Birch Aquarium, located along the La Jolla shoreline.
Sunny La Jolla abounds with outdoor activities as well. See a panoramic view of San Diego County from Mount Soledad, or climb through mysterious caverns in the La Jolla Caves. Golf fanatics can't miss the luxurious Torrey Pines Golf Course, the only public course on the PGA circuit. Lastly, adventurous souls may view La Jolla from the sky with an airborne experience at Torrey Pines Gliderport.