Things to Do in La Jolla: A San Diego Guide

The best things to do in La Jolla are likely what many San Diego visitors picture when they think of America’s finest city.

Whenever my friends and family visited during our time in San Diego, it was often on their to-do list even if they’d visited California numerous times since.

Why is La Jolla so popular? La Jolla is so popular because the beaches are world-class, the views are tremendous, and the shopping’s got that luxe finish to it in La Jolla. You’ll have access to wildlife encounters, water sports, and some of the most delicious food in San Diego.

The list of things to do in La Jolla is long, and the San Diego County community pulls you in. Let’s explore all the reasons why and more with my local guide to La Jolla, Southern California’s seaside beauty.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, including links through the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I won’t recommend something I have not used/would not use myself, and any income earned supports the upkeep of this site.

Is La Jolla a separate city from San Diego?

La Jolla is not a separate city from San Diego, but it has special community status. That’s why you may see “La Jolla” rather than “San Diego” on address labels in these parts. The seaside destination about 12 miles north of downtown San Diego is centered around three main commercial districts: La Jolla Village, La Jolla Shores, and Bird Rock.

What is La Jolla known for?

La Jolla is known for beautiful beaches, marine wildlife like the La Jolla seals and sea lions, shopping in La Jolla, and fantastic views. It’s like a resort town within San Diego.

The funny thing is, it wasn’t always the luxe destination it is today. La Jolla was once home to a military shooting range on a plot of land known as Camp Calvin B. Matthews. When the population of the area grew, it was decided that a shooting range there was no longer appropriate. Makes sense.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla

A woman stands near the water on a La Jolla beach, one of the top things to do in La Jolla.

There are so many fun things to do in La Jolla, California. We lived in San Diego for seven years and never got tired of visiting. Visiting is all we could do, by the way. Home prices here were way beyond our budget.

Want to plot out your plan of attack for activities in La Jolla? Check out the map below:


Start with the best breakfast spots in La Jolla.

You don’t want to navigate La Jolla, CA, things to do on an empty stomach, right? I’m not even a breakfast person, but if there are any beach activities involved, breakfast (or brunch) always sounds like a good idea. Here are my favorite places to eat breakfast in La Jolla:

  • Brockton Villa: Come for brunch but stay for the views at this popular La Jolla breakfast and brunch spot. Come find me digging into some Coast Toast, their version of the fluffiest French toast you’ll ever experience. Reservations are available online via OpenTable.
  • The Cottage: This La Jolla mainstay has been serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch to the folks of La Jolla for over 25 years. It’s more than tradition that keeps this place going, though. It’s an extensive egg Benedict menu, too. A waitlist is available online if you’re worried about hanger kicking in before you get your brekkie.
  • Wayfarer Bread & Pastry: This bakery and coffee shop is La Jolla’s best spot for yummy pastries, smooth coffee, and more pastries. Do yourselves a favor and take a cinnamon bun or two to go, alright? They also have a weekly pizza night that I’ve yet to try, because pastries.

Find your favorite La Jolla beach.

People at the beach in La Jolla, one of the best things to do in La Jolla

When most people think of the beaches of San Diego and the best San Diego day trips, La Jolla’s sandy stretches likely come to mind. The seaside community is more than soft sand, though, and definitely more relaxed than what you’ll see in Pacific Beach.

The beaches here are as diverse as they are impressive, and doing some beach hopping is one of the best things to do in La Jolla. Here are my favorites:

  • Boomer Beach: You’ll find this small patch of sand on the western side of Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Despite its proximity to La Jolla Cove around the corner, this one lacks the tourists that make its neighbor so crowded. You’ll need to scramble down to the shore, but once you’re there it’s a popular body-surfing spot.
  • La Jolla Cove: This small bay is a hub of activity for locals and visitors here to swim, snorkel, and kayak. If you have your snorkel, this is a great spot to catch marine life like Garibaldi fish and leopard sharks. Enjoy easy access and all of the amenities that make this one so popular.
  • La Jolla Shores Beach: This is the community’s most popular swim and sun beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s also a point of entry for the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, 6,000 acres of rocky reef, kelp bed, sand flats, and a submarine canyon made for underwater exploring.
  • Marine Street Beach: This wide, sandy beach is known for being a hyper-local beach. Here’s the thing, though. Folks here can’t tell whether you’re native or not because San Diego is transient as heck. Do what feels right. That said, the surf here can be dicey. If you’re not a great swimmer, stick to the sand.
  • Windansea Beach: This popular beach is a well-known surf spot for experts willing to navigate its underwater reefs. I mean it when I say this one isn’t for beginner surfers. On calm weather days and at low tide, it’s a nice sunbathing spot for lazy travel days without crowds.

Snorkel with leopard sharks in La Jolla Cove.

Let’s dig into something I mentioned in your beach roundup about La Jolla Cove. The small beach may not look like much, but just underneath the surface, you’ll find schools of leopard sharks during key times of the year.

We booked a tour with La Jolla Kayak for our own underwater adventure. There’s no guarantee that you’ll see leopard sharks even when it’s the season for it — that’s June through September — but we were still disappointed that we fell into that camp during our tour.

Did you know you can get seasick from snorkeling, by the way? It turns out a good amount of ocean churn and rough wave action is enough to make me feel pretty green.

In any case, seeing the leopard sharks remains on my bucket list for San Diego, but it may be a while before I try it out again.

Surf at your favorite La Jolla beach.

A man surfing a wave, one of the best things to do in La Jolla

Now that you’ve developed some expertise about the best beaches in La Jolla, surfers who feel confident about being out on the water should explore La Jolla’s best surf spots:

  • If you’re a beginner, start at La Jolla Shores. The reliable beach breaks and predictable waves make this way less scary than some of the other options. It’s also where you’ll start if you’re in San Diego for surf lessons.
  • If you want to show off your skills, hit Windansea. Conditions here are much less predictable, but if you’re an expert as you say you are, you’ll know when to go for safe surf.
  • If you want to work for those waves, trek to Black’s Beach. You’ll need to hike with your board to get here, but Black’s is known for some of the most reliable waves in San Diego. It’s also a spot for naked folks, but I’ll get into that later.

Note: You don’t need to surf at all to enjoy La Jolla surf spots. I don’t surf, but always have fun watching the surfers do their thing out on the water.

Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

There are two separate locations for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, but you’re here for fun things to do in La Jolla. (The other one is in downtown San Diego if you’re curious.) The downtown La Jolla museum is the art organization’s flagship museum.

Exhibits are constantly changing, but expect to see things that break the mold in the world of contemporary art. There’s no set time period here and featured artists come from all over the world.

Explore the La Jolla Tide Pools.

A woman poses at the La Jolla Tide Pools, one of the top things to do in La Jolla

The La Jolla Tide Pools are a great place for marine life spotting of the smaller sort. If you time things right, you should be able to catch glimpses of scurrying hermit crabs, barnacles, aquatic snails, and a variety of sea anemones.

San Diego tide pooling is best from December to March when the pools are uncovered by low to minus tides. As I had to Google what the heck a minus tide was, I’ll share it with you here. A minus tide is basically a tide that’s lower than average or an extremely low tide.

Can’t say I don’t learn things myself by doing these guides for you all!

Bop around downtown La Jolla.

What is there to do in downtown La Jolla? There is so much to do in downtown La Jolla, from eating your way through La Jolla’s best restaurants, browsing the art boutiques, or hunting for La Jolla murals. La Jolla downtown is also home to quite a few cultural offerings like the La Jolla Playhouse and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

If you’re dining in La Jolla, ask about validated parking. Many eateries will validate your parking at nearby garages and paid lots if you’re dining in. You’ll save quite a bit of cash that way, which is definitely a welcome thing once you see the cost of La Jolla dining.

Grab lunch at one of these La Jolla spots.

  • Din Tai Fung: There was a lot of excitement when this Taiwanese restaurant arrived in La Jolla and the hype is legit. Soup dumplings are the endgame here, so don’t leave without trying at least one. They also have a large menu of less soupy dumplings, buns, and entrees that will leave you feeling quite content. Reservations are available online.
  • Parakeet Cafe: If you’re looking for a healthy meal, this is an excellent option with a menu of ethically-sourced, fresh ingredients. You’ll leave satiated and feeling good. Any of their bowls are wholesome and delicious, but if you’re feeling a little indulgent and looking for a heartier breakfast, their chilaquiles don’t quit.
  • Shore Rider: If you’re looking for a casual spot after your day of fun in the sun, consider this surf-inspired eatery. You can never go wrong with a platter of fish ‘n chips, but I’m a big fan of their wahoo bowl for a meal packed with fresh ingredients and flavor.

Have your lunch at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Perhaps La Jolla’s most important former resident was Ellen Browning Scripps, a journalist and philanthropist behind many of the community’s most recognizable buildings. That includes the Old Scripps Building of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Fun fact: The Old Scripps Building became a National Historic Landmark in 1982 following years of restoration efforts in order to allow the site to stay put. It was up for demolition otherwise in 1977.

As thanks, you can visit the lovely Ellen Browning Scripps Park, a green space with lovely views of the sea below. It was one of the first places I ever visited on my very first trip to San Diego, so this spot is pretty close to my heart.

Take a drive up to Mount Soledad.

The top of Mount Soledad, one of the best things to do in La Jolla

Mount Soledad, 822 feet tall, is one of the highest points in San Diego. Take a drive up or a hike up to see some of the best views in the city from the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

The cross that sits at the top has been in litigation since it was placed there in 1913, as it was a religious symbol on government land. Following the purchase of the land by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association in 2015, that point is now moot. The cross still stands.

Take a self-guided historical tour of La Jolla.

If you love a good historical home, the La Jolla Historical Society has put together several self-guided walking tours that give visitors an overview of the area’s architectural styles. They have one dedicated entirely to La Jolla’s Craftsman-style beach cottages, for example, a design that was super popular in the late-19th to early 20th century.

Visit the seals and sea lions of La Jolla.

Chubby marine life at the Children's Pool, one of the top things to do in La Jolla

You don’t need the famous San Diego Zoo to see wildlife in La Jolla.

Once a literal children’s pool, or a beach for children that offered safe swimming, the Children’s Pool cove is now protected land. It has been claimed by the local harbor seals that frequent La Jolla. This is a La Jolla must-see whether you’re traveling with kids or not.

You can watch the critters for free from afar, sometimes swimming in the shallow waters but more likely sunning themselves on the sand. Pay attention to posted signage, and don’t get too close.

Note: I’ve seen dum dums get yelled at by disembodied voices coming from above on more than one occasion.

If you love what you see here, the cliffs near La Jolla Cove are a great spot for La Jolla sea lions. I’ve also seen jackwagons completely disregard rules around nature-spotting and harass these beautiful creatures while watching them from above. Don’t be a jerk. Observe from a safe distance, ideally not at eye level with the animals.

Kayak into the sea caves of La Jolla.

If you’re up for a kayaking adventure, there are a number of guided tour operators available for you to choose from. La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks runs tours to all seven La Jolla caves, in addition to independent kayak rentals for experienced kayakers.

Want to browse a few more options? Check out my top picks below:

Explore the caves of La Jolla on foot.

Exploring the cave systems from whatever vantage point you’re able to should be on any La Jolla to-do list.

There are seven sea caves in La Jolla with roots in a dramatic bootlegging history just begging for some exploration: White Lady, Little Sister, Shopping Cart, Sea Surprise, Arch Cave, Sunny Jim Cave, and Clam’s Cave.

Fun fact: The Kumeyaay, the local Native American tribe, referred to La Jolla as land of holes, perhaps in reference to the seven sea caves in the area.

You’ll need to hit the water on a guided kayak tour to explore all but one. Sunny Jim Cave is accessible via The Cave Store for a fee. There are 144 steps on the way down — and on the way up.

It’s worth the trek, I promise.

Walk the La Jolla Coast Walk Trail.

The La Jolla Coast Walk Trail is a short but scenic walk along the bluffs of La Jolla’s coastline. It’s just 0.6 miles each way, but you’ll get some of the best views from here of the water below and some of La Jolla’s most impressive properties. Stop at benches along the way if you’d like a contemplative moment with yourself and the sea.

Take that Instagram pic at Scripps Pier.

The view from Scripps Pier, one of the most iconic things to do in La Jolla
Photo courtesy of Jordan/500px.

Perhaps one of the most photographed spots in San Diego, the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, or more simply, the Scripps Pier, was made for sunset photos, no filter needed.

Hang out on the beach underneath the pier for the most striking views.

While the pier itself is closed to the public — this is a working pier, with scientists working diligently to do important work around the marine life here — watch for Sunset Scripps Pier Walk events offered by the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a fantastic place to go under the sea without even dipping a toe in the water. It’s also a great research center run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

For tide pooling with an educational spin, don’t miss the tide pool display. Your interactions with aquarium staff and critters like hermit crabs and starfish come with a stellar ocean view.

Swing on the Hidden Swing.

A man swings on the Hidden Swing, one of the fun things to do in La Jolla.

La Jolla’s Hidden Swing has been on social media so hard that it’d be tough to call it super “hidden” at this point, but if you arrive on a weekday, you may just have the thing to yourself anyway. Find the short trail to the swing at the back of the parking lot for the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

We only saw one other group there during our visit, not counting the randoms who set up hammocks across two of the trees up there. The swing is replaced from time to time due to overuse, so if you’re not able to find it on your trek, it may be in transition.

Watch the daredevils at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

This glider airport has been San Diego’s hub for paragliding and hang gliding since 1930. It was built for motorless flight, and that’s how it’s remained. Today, take flight lessons, book flights, or just watch the daredevils leap from the cliffs as your organs attempt to leave your body.

It’s not for me, but if it is for you, tell me all about it!

Hike to the vistas of Torrey Pines.

A sign welcomes visitors to Torrey Pines, one of the best things to do in La Jolla.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of my favorite attractions in San Diego, in part thanks to all you can do there to pass the time.

For fans of flora, the reserve is home to the rare Torrey pine, a critically endangered tree that’s only found in the reserve, along the coast of northern San Diego County, and on Santa Rosa Island of Channel Islands National Park.

If you’re up for hiking in La Jolla, there are several trails to choose from on a day trip here:

  • The easy Guy Fleming Trail is a 0.7-mile loop to beautiful ocean vistas. In the winter months, keep your eyes peeled for migrating gray whales.
  • The 1.4-mile Razor Point Trail and 1.2-mile Yucca Point Trail both offer more scenic views and easy access to additional loops that will take you on different paths in the reserve.
  • The 2.3-mile Beach Trail will take you all the way down, predictably, to Torrey Pines State Beach. The steep descent will lead you to a beautiful patch of beach, perfect for a breather.

Try to find the infamous Black’s Beach.

The Beach Trail is also a starting point for access to Black’s Beach, San Diego’s (in)famous nude beach that is also quite popular with (not nude) surfers.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to access Black’s Beach from here during high tide, although there are alternative routes that include the Torrey Pines Gliderport if you’re really interested.

It’s also important to keep in mind that nudity is technically prohibited on San Diego beaches, but do with that information what you will. On our trip here, we did indeed see naked folks sunning their buns on the beach. It all felt more European than anything else, but I can confirm that you will see all the things if you make this adventure a priority.

See La Jolla’s quirky side at the Mushroom Beach House.

The Mushroom House, one of the most interesting things to do in La Jolla

The historic Mushroom Beach House, also known more simply as the Mushroom House, is the stuff of legend, but the real story is more innocuous. The domed guest house was built in 1965 for Sam Bell of Bell’s Potato Chips & General Mills fame.

The tramway used to get there back in the way no longer exists, but intrepid hikers are still able to access views of the house with a two-mile hike along the sand. I want to emphasize that part about trekking along the sand. That mileage feels more aggressive when your feet are sinking, but a glimpse of this thing is still worth it in my humble opinion.

Visit the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market.

You’ll find that most San Diego neighborhoods boast an outdoor market or two, but La Jolla goes big.

Held every Sunday from 9am-1pm, rain or shine, visitors can expect live music and over 150 vendors selling local produce, handmade gifts, and unique items you won’t find elsewhere in the city.

The market is held at the corner of Girard Street and Genter Avenue.

Sneak a peek of the Munchkin House.

The Munchkin House, one of the most unique things to do in La Jolla

La Jolla is home to a number of myths and legends, but unfortunately, most have been disproven.

One such tale suggests that the actors who played the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz moved into Munchkin-sized houses near Mount Soledad. They then went on to appear in Breaking Bad. I’M KIDDING.

You can see one of the purported mini-homes for yourself at 7477 Hillside Drive. It’s an optical illusion, as the home is built on a hillside, but popular among La Jolla attractions nonetheless.

Take a bike tour.

La Jolla is super walkable, but it’s also popular for cyclists, too. If you need a rental, Bike & Kayak Tours is a good option. (They obviously offer kayak rentals, too, as La Jolla is an excellent place to kayak, as you know.)

I’ll caution drivers about the same later, but if you’re biking, wear a helmet and do your best to be cautious around the vehicle traffic in La Jolla. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, so you have lots of drivers who may not be super familiar with the area all on the road at the same time as you.

Intersted in less work and max scenery? Check out the options below for La Jolla ebike tours:

Cruise under La Jolla’s Troll Bridges.

You don’t have to pay any kind of troll toll at these lovely stone bridges in the hills of Mount Soledad. They’re actually meant to resemble mini versions of Cabrillo Bridge, my mother’s favorite thing in San Diego after Balboa Park.

Find one of the bridges on Puente Drive and another on Kearsarge Road as you explore the mansions of the neighborhood. I marked both on your Google map for you. These are best experienced with a buddy, as parking can be tricky here.

Golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Torrey Pines Golf Course is one of Brian’s favorite places. San Diego residents get a deep discount on the championship courses, so you better believe he used that resident status for good when we lived here. If you’re visiting with a golf fan, you won’t find a more impressive golf experience than what you’ll get at Torrey Pines.

The burgers at The Grill at Torrey Pines are lauded as well, but I haven’t tried one, as I’m never invited on the golf outings. Don’t feel sad for me. I don’t want to be invited.

Attend the Farmers Insurance Open.

The Farmers Insurance Open is a big deal for golf pros and golf fans alike, and a reason why San Diego is on the map as a golf destination.

Held annually at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, this PGA tour stop brings out the biggest names in golf on one of the hottest tickets in San Diego.

That is indeed Brian up there, looking on during the tourney on one of his “work trips” to the event. The insurance world sure is a magical one!

See the fancy rides at the La Jolla Concours D’Elegance.

This event with the very fancy-sounding name is La Jolla’s annual car show, typically taking place in the spring each year.

Automobile enthusiasts can expect both classic and exotic cars on display, alongside an air show featuring vintage airplanes, Champagne tastings, and, quite possibly, caviar dreams.

Grab a drink at a La Jolla speakeasy.

Whether you’re looking for things to do in La Jolla at night or seeking an afternoon cocktail, it doesn’t get much better than a fun speakeasy.

When you enter La Jolla’s best speakeasy Raised by Wolves, you’re treated to all kinds of rare bourbons and fancy whiskies that I know very little about. Those in the know will know there’s more than bottled booze at this place, though.

There’s a speakeasy accessible through a swinging bookshelf that will basically take you between the pages of Harry Potter.

Transport yourself to a different world at this place, seriously, and get yourself a fancy cocktail or three. Reservations are recommended and available online.

See a show at the La Jolla Playhouse.

The La Jolla Playhouse has been putting out excellent theater since its founding in 1947. (Gregory Peck was one of the original founders, so you know this play is legit.) It’s a great place to catch musicals and plays destined for Broadway, established comedy acts, and immersive experiences.

Eat dinner with the ultimate ocean view.

La Jolla knows how to do special occasion dining, and The Marine Room is a prime example of that. On top of a spectacular menu of fresh, local seafood — their signature lobster bisque is worth the visit alone — diners are treated to views that are almost as spectacular.

I’m talking waves crashing up against the glass spectacular, and sunset views that will allow you to forget about the bill, if only for a moment.

Reservations are highly recommended and available online via OpenTable.

Have a glass at La Jolla’s best wine bars.

  • Elixir Espresso & Wine Bar: Caffeine. Wine. Meat and cheese boards. All of my vices can be found here. While most come here for a coffee fix, don’t miss out on their wine options and also the cheese. It’s a great place for a sip, a nibble, and a gab with your gal pals.
  • LJ Crafted Wines: This Bird Rock wine bar offers wine tastings, cheese boards, and a variety of small plates to go along with your sips. To really sound like you’re in the know, don’t assume that the “LJ” in the name refers to La Jolla. It’s actually a playful nod to owner and winemaker Lowell Jooste.
  • We Olive & Wine Bar: I came across this retail shop by accident on a stroll with a friend and my mom, so you know I was looking to impress. As my mom loves artisanal everything, the shop part of this stop did the trick. The upstairs is even better because that’s where you’ll find the wine tastings.

Get fancy at La Jolla’s best restaurants.

I wanted to highlight The Marine Room for its extra special ambiance, but this place has no shortage of fine dining options if you’re seeking romantic things to do in La Jolla. Here are a few of our favorite special occasion eateries among La Jolla restaurants:

  • Catania: Snack on pizza and fried arancini from your rooftop perch in style at this Italian restaurant. If you’re here for something fancier — this is La Jolla, after all — they have a diverse menu of seafood options, too. It doesn’t get much better than a whole roasted branzino. Reservations are recommended and available online via OpenTable.
  • Duke’s La Jolla: The food at Duke’s is Hawaiian-inspired and certainly allows for some wanderlust as you imagine yourself on the islands to nibble on some poke tacos. They know what they’re doing, too, as this chain is found throughout the Hawaiian islands. Reservations are recommended and available via OpenTable.
  • NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar: This award-winning fine dining restaurant in the Grande Colonial Hotel has a menu dependent on the seasons. That makes every visit an exciting one. In my mind, you can never go wrong with risotto, a standby on the menu, or their delicious brunches. Reservations are recommended and available online via OpenTable.
A woman eats brunch in La Jolla, one of the top things to do in La Jolla.

Go to the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival.

Are you looking for free things to do in Jolla? The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival is a free event held on Girard Avenue each fall to celebrate artists from across the United States and Mexico.

The wine times, one of my favorite outdoor activities, happen in the outdoor beer (and wine) garden, keeping the event generally family-friendly. No, the wine isn’t free, but the live music is. You could also watch people drink wine, although that sounds creepy as I read it back.

How to Get Around La Jolla

As with most of San Diego, it’s just easiest to get around La Jolla by car despite some maneuvering with parking around the beach. If you’re renting a car, you can check prices before you go with an aggregator like Hotwire or Priceline. I’m not loyal to any one rental car company, because I like the deals.

When driving, keep in mind that bicycles, particularly beach cruisers, are a common mode of transportation around here. Be cautious. On that note, if you’re able to bike around La Jolla, you’ll see a lot of like-minded people doing the same.

There is also a bus line available if you really want to get on location on public transportation. MTS Bus 30, which originates at the UTC Transit Center, takes riders to numerous stops along La Jolla Shores Drive. Route maps and schedules are available from the Metropolitan Transit System.

Best La Jolla Hotels

We lived in San Diego, so we didn’t have much need for seeking out the best hotels in La Jolla. We’d spend the day doing our La Jolla activities then head back to our house in North Park when we were done. 

That doesn’t mean I’ll leave you hanging here. As you peruse my picks, note that La Jolla is one of the most expensive areas of San Diego to stay in on your vacation. If that doesn’t scare you off, you may as well start with La Valencia Hotel, a Kardashian hot spot.

Not feeling quite so luxe? Here are a few more La Jolla hotels from, my preferred booking site:

  • Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa: Let’s just say you’re here to treat yourself and treat yourself good. This hotel was built for pampering with multiple on-site restaurants, a beautiful pool, and yes, that spa.
  • Grande Colonial La Jolla: Stay a short walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the best of downtown La Jolla at this highly-rated option.
  • Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines: Looking to burn through those Hilton points? This one is a touch more affordable than most hotels in La Jolla with easy access to golf and scenic views.

For apartment-style listings, I’ll still start with as they have apartments now, then peruse Vrbo. Check out some highly-rated options below:

  • The price point on this beach house might seem wild, but it becomes a lot more affordable once you see that it’s perfect for groups. Enjoy three full bedrooms steps from Windansea Beach.
  • This cute dog-friendly studio has all of the amenities you’ll need on a short trip to La Jolla. Enjoy outdoor dining, a well-equipped kitchen, and easy access to the beach.
  • I love the design of this Spanish casita. If you’re craving access to the water and downtown La Jolla, this one fits that bill. Seriously, you need to check out the tile work.

La Jolla Visit FAQs

Is it worth going to La Jolla?

It’s worth going to La Jolla for some of the best beaches in San Diego, the incredible marine life excursions, and the dining scene in the seaside community.

What is the difference between La Jolla and San Diego?

The difference between La Jolla and San Diego comes down to vibes. La Jolla is like a luxe cousin to San Diego, despite the high cost of living in both. That said, La Jolla is technically a part of San Diego despite the unique address anomalies.

What is the nicest part of La Jolla?

The nicest part of La Jolla is La Jolla Shores thanks to its proximity to the community’s best beach. There is no “bad” part of La Jolla, though. Downtown La Jolla and La Jolla Village offer great amenities for shopping and dining.

What is the best time of year to visit La Jolla?

The best time of year to visit La Jolla is any time of year. San Diego (and La Jolla by extension) is a yearround destination. That’s what makes it such a desirable vacation spot.

If you’d like to avoid tourists, skip travel over the winter holidays and much of the summer. Spring is great if you want a side of wildflowers with your San Diego travel.

Did I miss any La Jolla things to do? What’s on your list for what to do in La Jolla on your own visits to this fantastic destination? Share it all with me in the comments!

Ready for La Jolla Places to Visit?

Your Flight: I use a variety of tools to find cheap airfare, but if you’re looking to book during a particular period of time, especially during busy times (e.g. school breaks), you should use Skyscanner.

Deals to the San Diego area are tough to come by, as it’s such a desirable vacation destination, but they do happen if you’re able to watch flights for a while. Another strategy is following the major airlines to catch good deals that may come up for your city.

Adventurous folks may love subscribing to Going, formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights. You’ll get all kinds of deals in your inbox throughout the year. Who knows? You may get a sweet flight alert to San Diego that way.

Your Accommodations: I recommend and as your main options for accommodations in San Diego, and Vrbo as our Airbnb alternative. Hostelworld is great for budget travelers.

If you’re looking for more specific accommodation suggestions for La Jolla, scroll up!

Etc.: For general travel goodies, visit my Favorite Things page. For more information on planning your travel, visit my Travel Tools page.

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Agnes Groonwald

Agnes Groonwald is the creator of Travel on the Reg, a travel/humor blog for regular people who travel in a regular fashion. She has been to 50/50 U.S. states and explored 30+ countries, most often as a digital nomad. She's all about sharing the honest truth about travel, real experiences, and all the quirky stuff about her favorite (and not so favorite) places.

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