Everyone falls in love with La Jolla at first sight. Its charm lies in the town. Travelers who come here won’t find any bright neon-lit nightclubs or gigantic hotels.
They will find instead that La Jolla has the charm of a quiet Mediterranean isle, with small shops and magnificent homes overlooking enchanting coves and wide sandy beaches that are an invitation to bask in the sun.
Greater La Jolla also offers an extravagant array of shopping spots and shopping centers, such as University Towne Centre, plus excellent restaurants and lots of cultural activities. It is also the home of world renowned scientific and high-tech institutions.
La Jolla, which is known to La Jollans as “The Village”, is a little enclave in San Diego. It is part of the city, yet a separate community. It even has its own La Jolla postmark instead of San Diego’s. The Village is a great place to explore. A drive along its winding streets affords a glimpse of splendid homes perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean, interspersed with modest cottages often hidden in lush foliage. The cottages are evidence of earlier times when La Jolla was a turn-of-the-century resort.
Today, La Jolla is considered to be one of the most prestigious residential areas in the country. La Jolla property values are $250,000 to $15 million.
Because of La Jolla’s breathtaking natural beauty, people have been coming here since the 1880’s. In days gone by, it was a long trip over dusty roads from San Diego, and it often took a good part of the day. Now, it is only a 20-minute drive from
Downtown San Diego via interstate 5, exiting on Ardath Road. You can also get to La Jolla via a longer and slower but more interesting route by taking Mission Boulevard through Pacific Beach to La Jolla Boulevard.
For a spectacular 360-degree view of La Jolla and beyond, drive to the top of Mount Soledad. You can get there via Nautilus Street or Hidden Valley Road.
Central La J olla…on foot
Along Coast Boulevard
The best place to begin a walking tour is along Coast Boulevard at La Jolla Cove.
La Jolla Cove is a favorite spot to swim, scuba dive, snorkel and sunbathe, and the water is calm and clear. You are likely to find the beach packed in summer and reasonably crowded on warm days throughout the year. Hardier natives swim here all year-round, and lifeguards are assigned on an annual basis.
Stretching southward from the cove is a wonderful broad grassy area called Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Surrounded by graceful queen palms which are nearly 100 years old and dotted with Torrey pines, this park is ideal for picnics and get-togethers or simply for sitting on a park bench and enjoying the ocean view. .
On the outside of the cove, seaward, is famed Boomer Beach, the expert body surfer’s paradise. At high tide, the waves boom in to shore, thus giving the beach its name. Only seasoned surfers ride here, because the price for mistakes is high. Cuts and scrapes are frequent for surfers who don’t pull out of the wave before it breaks on the shallow, jagged bottom.
Just to the south is the Seal Rock Marine Mammal Reserve, located at the foot of Jenner Street. You can enjoy watching the seals bask in the sun, but keep your distance and do not feed the animals.
A walking tour of La Jolla’s shopping and dining district can begin almost anywhere. But the place to begin or conclude such a worthwhile tour is definitely on Prospect Street. Prospect Street offers an incredible variety of restaurants, shops, galleries and boutiques that display everything from whimsical novelties to the works of famous artists, from the classic look to trend-setting, contemporary fashions.
One thoroughfare not to miss while discovering La Jolla proper is Girard Avenue. And most of the stores you’ll want to see are in the first two blocks on Girard Avenue. This important avenue is the home of the who’s who in the world of fashion, jewelry, art and more.
South La Jolla is more of paradise on earth. The homes overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean are dreams come true. Many are enhanced with tall, majestic, swaying palm trees and well-manicured lawns. The pace is slower than that of the Village of La Jolla, which is an attraction in itself.
En route to south La Jolla is Windansea Beach. It is the most renowned big wave surfing spot on the West Coast. Surfing is good year-round, with the big surf coming in the fall. If you have a pair of binoculars, this is a good place to use them because when the swells are big, the surf breaks a half mile out.
South La Jolla’s Bird Rock with its nice residential district and commercial zone along La Jolla Boulevard should definitely be discovered. Here you’ll find numerous first-class restaurants, small boutiques, galleries and a handful of motels.
North La Jolla
Picturesque North La Jolla boasts of beautiful palm tree-lined streets, elegant shoreline homes and one of San Diego County’s most popular beaches. Don’t miss north La Jolla!
Swimmers, surfers and sunbathers flock in droves to nearby La Jolla Shores during the summer because it’s San Diego’s most beautiful and well equipped beach. It is outstanding because of its length (nearly two miles), its gradually sloping beach, year-round lifeguard service, public restrooms with showers, swings and jungle gyms for children, surfboarding year-round and beach rentals. Adjacent to the beach is a large parking lot and Kellogg Park, a fine grassy place for picnics.
By following the winding La Jolla Shores Drive to the top of Torrey Pines grade, you will find yourself in the vicinity of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), one of the top 10 research universities in the nation. Its faculty includes many Nobel laureates. The nearby Jonas Salk Institute is home to cutting edge research.
If you’re a hang gliding and paragliding enthusiast, don’t miss the Torrey Pines Gliderport at Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. They have the equipment and training staff here. Even if you aren’t one to participate in the sport, you’ll find it amazing watching the gliders take off from here for a thrill of a lifetime!
A bit farther is the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course, site of the annual Buick Invitational Golf Tournament held each February. Just beyond the golf course is the famous Torrey Pines State Reserve, 1,700 acres, high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Below is nationally known Black’s Beach, San Diego’s only “bathing suit optional” beach.
La Jolla which has the charm of a Mediterranean isle, is a destination not to be missed. Discover fascinating restaurants and shops along Prospect Street and Girard Avenue. Marvel at the magnificent homes. Enjoy miles of exciting beaches. It’s all here in enchanting La Jolla!
Information & Facts About La Jolla
La Jolla is a part of the City of San Diego although it maintains its own postal identification. It is located on the Pacific Ocean, 14 miles north of San Diego with an approximate population of 35,000. There are many caves, cliffs and beaches along its picturesque coastline.
Some say the name “La 1011a” was derived from the Indian word
for “cave”, Others contend it is a version of “lajoya”, Spanish for “jewel”. Artifacts found in the area indicate the presence of Indian settlements near the shores over 3,000 years ago.
A historic view of La Jolla is found in the book “La Jolla Year By Year”, available in bookstores and at the Athenaeum Music and Art Library.
Information courtesy of First American Title Company