Top Things to Do in La Jolla, California

things to do in la jolla california

Table of Contents

La Jolla, California offers a plethora of activities and attractions that will captivate visitors from all walks of life. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a lover of art and culture, La Jolla has something special in store for you. Join me as we explore the top things to do in this beautiful coastal town.

When it comes to La Jolla attractions, the options are endless. From the breathtaking beaches to the vibrant dining scene, there is never a dull moment in this picturesque destination. So get ready to dive into the heart of La Jolla, where adventure awaits at every corner.

Key Takeaways:

  • La Jolla, California offers a wide range of activities and attractions.
  • Outdoor adventures, exploring the beaches, and discovering marine life are some of the must-do experiences in La Jolla.
  • The dining, shopping, art, and cultural scenes in La Jolla are vibrant and diverse.
  • La Jolla’s landmarks, architecture, and outdoor recreational opportunities are not to be missed.
  • La Jolla provides a perfect setting for luxury experiences and special occasions.

Outdoor Adventures in La Jolla

La Jolla is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or someone who enjoys a leisurely adventure, there are plenty of exciting activities to indulge in. From exploring the stunning coastline and caves to hiking along scenic trails, La Jolla offers a variety of outdoor adventures.

Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Stand-up Paddleboarding

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of La Jolla’s coastline is through kayaking, snorkeling, or stand-up paddleboarding. You can rent equipment and embark on guided tours to explore the marine life and hidden gems of the area. Paddle through crystal clear waters, observe colorful fish and sea creatures, and discover secluded coves and caves along the way.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to hike through the enchanting trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This protected park offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and features unique native plant species. Enjoy a leisurely hike or challenge yourself with more advanced trails, all while immersing yourself in the serene beauty of the reserve.

Paragliding and Scenic Bike Tours

For the adrenaline junkies, La Jolla offers thrilling experiences such as paragliding. Soar through the sky and take in the panoramic views of the coast and the vast ocean below. If you prefer to explore on land, consider taking a scenic bike tour of the area. Ride along the picturesque coastal roads, feel the refreshing ocean breeze, and discover the hidden gems of La Jolla at your own pace.

la jolla outdoor activities

With its diverse range of outdoor adventures, La Jolla is the perfect destination for those seeking fun and excitement in a natural setting. Whether you’re kayaking through the sea caves, hiking along scenic trails, or experiencing the thrill of paragliding, La Jolla offers endless opportunities to create unforgettable memories.

Exploring the Beaches of La Jolla

La Jolla, California is renowned for its breathtaking beaches that attract visitors from far and wide. With a variety of sandy shores and picturesque coastal spots, there are plenty of things to see and do in this seaside paradise.

1. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is a must-visit beach destination offering a host of activities for beachgoers. The clear turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and spotting colorful marine life. Dive deep into the underwater world and discover a vibrant ecosystem beneath the surface.

2. Windansea Beach

For those looking to catch some waves or capture stunning photographs, Windansea Beach is the place to be. This popular surf spot has been attracting wave riders and photographers for decades. Take in the awe-inspiring ocean views or try your hand at riding the waves.

3. La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach is a family-friendly destination, offering a wide sandy stretch perfect for various beach activities. Build sandcastles, play beach volleyball, or simply soak up the sun while enjoying the refreshing ocean breeze. It’s an ideal spot for a fun-filled day with loved ones.

4. Children’s Pool

The Children’s Pool is a unique beach experience where visitors can witness adorable seals and sea lions frolicking in their natural habitat. It’s an incredible opportunity to observe these playful marine creatures up close and learn about their behavior and conservation efforts.

These stunning beaches are just a glimpse of the natural beauty and attractions that La Jolla has to offer. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or an unforgettable family trip, La Jolla’s beaches will leave you awestruck.

la jolla beaches

Discovering La Jolla’s Marine Life

La Jolla is a captivating destination known for its vibrant marine life and captivating underwater landscapes. Whether you’re an experienced scuba diver or a snorkeling enthusiast, La Jolla offers thrilling opportunities for you to explore the fascinating world beneath the waves.

One of the highlights of a visit to La Jolla is the chance to explore the legendary sea caves that line its picturesque coastline. These mystical caves, numbering seven in total, are a testament to the area’s unique geological history. As you venture into these hidden gems, you’ll be mesmerized by the natural formations and the beauty of the light filtering through the water. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful marine creatures that call these caves their home.

la jolla sea caves

The underwater world of La Jolla can be explored through snorkeling or scuba diving, truly immersing yourself among the marine diversity that thrives in these pristine waters. Just off the coast lies the La Jolla Underwater Park, a protected area teeming with an abundance of marine life. Swim alongside leopard sharks, playful sea turtles, and vibrant schools of fish as you discover the wonders of the Pacific Ocean.

But it’s not just beneath the waves that you’ll encounter fascinating marine creatures. The cove and shores of La Jolla are home to adorable sea lions and seals that bask in the sun and playfully interact with one another. Take a leisurely stroll along the coastline and witness these charismatic animals in their natural habitat.

La Jolla provides an unmatched opportunity to connect with marine life like never before. Whether you’re exploring the mystical sea caves, snorkeling in the underwater park, or observing the playful sea lions and seals, La Jolla offers a truly unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Enjoying La Jolla’s Dining and Shopping

When it comes to dining and shopping, La Jolla has something to satisfy every taste and style. From upscale seafood restaurants to cozy cafes, there are plenty of options to choose from in this coastal village. Indulge in fresh seafood with ocean views or savor international flavors prepared by renowned chefs. Whether you’re craving a refined dining experience or a casual meal with friends, La Jolla’s culinary scene has it all.

After a delicious meal, take a stroll down Prospect Avenue, where you’ll find a delightful mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and high-end designer stores. Discover unique treasures, browse exquisite artwork, and shop for the latest fashion trends. From luxury brands to local artisans, La Jolla offers a diverse shopping experience for visitors of all interests.

One of the highlights of shopping in La Jolla is exploring the charming streets of the village. As you walk along the sidewalks, you’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful architecture and lush greenery. Enjoy the pleasant ocean breeze as you browse through the shops, admiring the unique storefronts and displays.

Top Dining Experiences in La Jolla

  • George’s at the Cove: Enjoy panoramic ocean views while savoring a contemporary Californian cuisine.
  • The Marine Room: Dine right on the beach and experience the magic of high-tide dining.
  • Herringbone: Delight in locally sourced seafood dishes in a stylish and modern setting.

Must-visit Shops in La Jolla

  • Warwick’s: Browse the oldest continuously family-owned and operated bookstore in the United States.
  • La Valencia Hotel Boutique: Discover unique and handpicked items ranging from jewelry to home decor.
  • Gallery by the Sea: Explore a collection of artwork by local and international artists.

Whether you’re looking to indulge in a memorable dining experience or embark on a shopping adventure, La Jolla has everything you need to create lasting memories. Soak up the coastal ambiance, treat yourself to culinary delights, and find the perfect memento to take home from your La Jolla getaway.

la jolla dining and shopping

Exploring La Jolla’s Landmarks and Points of Interest

When visiting La Jolla, be sure to explore its iconic landmarks and points of interest. From breathtaking views to historical sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

la jolla points of interest

One of the top attractions in La Jolla is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, offering stunning panoramic views of the coastline. You can watch paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts take flight or even try it yourself for an unforgettable adventure.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

For a deeper dive into marine life and ocean discoveries, visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. This popular attraction showcases a wide range of exhibits, allowing visitors to learn about fascinating sea creatures and the importance of ocean conservation.

La Jolla Women’s Club

Immerse yourself in history and architecture by visiting the historic La Jolla Women’s Club. This beautifully preserved landmark offers a glimpse into the past and serves as a venue for various events, including weddings and cultural gatherings.

Ellen Browning Scripps Park

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ellen Browning Scripps Park, a picturesque spot that offers breathtaking ocean views and lush greenery. Ideal for picnicking, strolling, or simply enjoying the outdoors, this park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Discover these remarkable landmarks and points of interest in La Jolla to enhance your visit and create lasting memories.

Taking Day Trips from La Jolla

La Jolla’s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring nearby attractions and embarking on exciting day trips. Whether you’re seeking cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or a change of scenery, there are plenty of options just a short drive away. Here are some fun things to do nearby when you’re in La Jolla:

1. Explore the Vibrant City of San Diego

Just a 15-minute drive south of La Jolla, San Diego offers a plethora of attractions and activities. Visit world-class museums like the San Diego Museum of Art or the USS Midway Museum, which houses a retired aircraft carrier. Enjoy a family day out at the famous San Diego Zoo or immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

2. Discover the Natural Beauty of Pacific Beach

Located just north of La Jolla, Pacific Beach is known for its beautiful sandy shores and vibrant atmosphere. Spend a relaxing day sunbathing, swimming, or strolling along the lively boardwalk. Enjoy delicious seafood at waterfront eateries or try your hand at surfing in the Pacific Ocean.

3. Visit the Pristine Coronado Island

Take a short drive across the iconic Coronado Bridge to reach Coronado Island. This picturesque island is famous for its white sandy beaches, including Coronado Beach, consistently ranked among the best in the United States. Explore the charming shops, cafes, and art galleries in the historic downtown area, and don’t miss a visit to the iconic Hotel del Coronado.

day trips from la jolla

4. Experience the Coastal Charm of Del Mar

Situated to the north of La Jolla, Del Mar is a quaint coastal town renowned for its beautiful beaches and prestigious horse racing events. Spend a leisurely day at Del Mar City Beach, known for its clear waters and pristine sands. Explore the unique shops and restaurants at the Del Mar Plaza, or catch a thrilling horse race at the famous Del Mar Racetrack during the racing season.

These are just a few of the exciting day trips you can take from La Jolla. Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in urban culture, enjoying coastal beauty, or trying new adventures, there’s something nearby to suit all interests and preferences. Make the most of your time in La Jolla by exploring the surrounding areas and discovering the diverse attractions that Southern California has to offer.

Engaging in Art and Culture in La Jolla

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art and cultural scene of La Jolla, California. This coastal paradise offers a plethora of artistic experiences that are sure to captivate and inspire.

Discover Contemporary Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. With its beautifully renovated building, the museum showcases a diverse range of contemporary art exhibitions. From thought-provoking installations to captivating paintings, you’ll find a wealth of artistic expression at this renowned institution.

Experience Innovative Theater at the La Jolla Playhouse

The La Jolla Playhouse is a hub of creativity and innovation. Known for its world-class productions and groundbreaking performances, the playhouse has garnered acclaim from theater enthusiasts across the country. Treat yourself to an unforgettable evening of theater and witness the magic unfold on stage.

Explore the Murals of La Jolla

Take a stroll through the streets of La Jolla and discover the captivating Murals of La Jolla project. This extraordinary outdoor gallery features large-scale works by contemporary artists, adorning building facades throughout the area. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and thought-provoking imagery that enriches the city’s cultural landscape.

Visit Art Galleries and Museums

La Jolla is home to a multitude of art galleries and museums, offering a wide array of artistic styles and mediums. Delve into the local art scene by visiting these galleries, where you can admire and acquire unique pieces created by both established and emerging artists. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of artistic expression that thrives in this coastal community.

la jolla art galleries

Experience Luxury and Special Occasions in La Jolla

La Jolla, California offers a range of luxury experiences and is the perfect destination for special occasions. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, celebrating an anniversary, or hosting a memorable event, La Jolla has it all. From breathtaking coastal views to high-end amenities, this seaside village provides a luxurious setting for unforgettable experiences.

Indulge in a lavish picnic overlooking the pristine coastline, complete with gourmet delicacies and champagne, while surrounded by the beauty of La Jolla’s natural wonders. Immerse yourself in relaxation with a rejuvenating spa day at one of the luxurious hotels, where expert therapists will pamper you with a range of indulgent treatments.

For an unforgettable evening, treat your loved one to a romantic dinner at a waterfront restaurant. Enjoy exquisite cuisine prepared by world-class chefs, complemented by stunning sunset views and the gentle sound of the ocean. La Jolla’s dining scene offers a diverse range of options, from chic seafood eateries to upscale fine dining establishments.

When it comes to special events, La Jolla provides the perfect backdrop for weddings, anniversaries, and milestone celebrations. The combination of elegant venues, picture-perfect scenery, and renowned hospitality ensures that every moment is truly extraordinary. Whether you choose a beachfront ceremony or an intimate garden setting, La Jolla’s event professionals will help bring your vision to life, creating a memorable experience for you and your guests.

Explore Luxury Experiences and Create Lasting Memories

La Jolla’s allure lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its ability to provide exclusive experiences that cater to discerning tastes. Luxury hotels, boutique shops, and world-class spas are just a few examples of the upscale amenities that await visitors in this coastal paradise. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing retreat or a glamorous celebration, La Jolla is sure to exceed your expectations.

  1. Book a private yacht charter and cruise along the coastline, enjoying unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean.
  2. Embark on a private guided tour of La Jolla’s renowned art galleries, featuring works from local and international artists.
  3. Indulge in a wine tasting experience at one of the coastal vineyards, where you can savor award-winning varietals.
  4. Spend a day on the greens at one of La Jolla’s prestigious golf courses, offering challenging holes and breathtaking vistas.

La Jolla’s luxury experiences are a testament to the unparalleled charm and sophistication that this coastal enclave has to offer. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking an indulgent getaway, La Jolla is the epitome of luxury and refinement.

Discovering La Jolla’s Art and Architecture

La Jolla is a treasure trove of architectural and artistic wonders. From unique landmarks to beautiful buildings, this coastal town showcases the best of art and design. Explore the following highlights:

The Geisel Library

The Geisel Library, named after the beloved author Dr. Seuss, is an architectural gem located on the UC San Diego campus. Its futuristic design, featuring concrete towers and glass walls, is a sight to behold. The library’s distinctive appearance has made it an iconic symbol of knowledge and creativity in La Jolla.

La Jolla Woman’s Club

The La Jolla Woman’s Club is a historic building that showcases stunning Spanish Revival architecture. This architectural marvel, with its intricate details and charming courtyard, reflects the rich history and culture of the area. The building serves as a gathering place for social events and community activities.

Murals of La Jolla

To add artistic flair to the streetscape, La Jolla boasts a collection of outdoor public art installations known as the Murals of La Jolla. These captivating murals, created by renowned artists, adorn the walls of buildings throughout the town. Take a leisurely stroll and admire these vibrant works of art that contribute to the cultural landscape of La Jolla.

Immerse yourself in the captivating art and architecture of La Jolla, where creativity and beauty harmoniously blend.

Enjoying Outdoor Recreation in La Jolla

La Jolla offers a wide range of outdoor recreational activities that will satisfy any adventurer’s cravings. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, hiking lover, or water sports aficionado, La Jolla has attractions that cater to all interests.

Golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course

If you’re passionate about golf, a visit to the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course is a must. This stunning course boasts breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, challenging holes, and a rich history. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the beauty of nature and sea breezes.

Explore Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of La Jolla by hiking or biking through the scenic Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. This protected area features trails that wind through magnificent coastal bluffs and offer spectacular views of the ocean. Get lost in the tranquility of nature as you explore this pristine reserve.

Play Tennis on Public Courts

If you’re looking for a fun and active way to spend your time in La Jolla, head to one of the many public tennis courts available. Grab your racquet and challenge your friends or strangers to a friendly match while enjoying the pleasant California weather.

Water Sports Galore

La Jolla’s coastal location makes it the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding and glide along the calm waters, or catch some waves while surfing. Fishing enthusiasts can embark on a deep-sea fishing adventure to catch their own dinner. The possibilities for aquatic adventures are endless in La Jolla.

With its breathtaking landscapes and pleasant climate, La Jolla is a paradise for outdoor activities. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely round of golf, a thrilling hike, or an adrenaline-pumping water adventure, La Jolla has it all.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of La Jolla’s outdoor attractions and create unforgettable memories.


La Jolla, California is a vibrant coastal destination that offers something for everyone. The stunning beaches are perfect for relaxation and water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Nature enthusiasts can explore the breathtaking hiking trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or witness the thrill of paragliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. The marine life in La Jolla is truly fascinating, with opportunities to snorkel or scuba dive in the sea caves and swim with leopard sharks in the La Jolla Underwater Park.

Aside from its natural beauty, La Jolla also boasts a thriving dining scene, with a variety of restaurants serving up delicious cuisine ranging from fresh seafood to international flavors. Shopaholics will enjoy exploring the boutique shops, art galleries, and designer stores in the village, while art and culture enthusiasts can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and catch a show at the renowned La Jolla Playhouse.

With its luxurious amenities and stunning architecture, La Jolla is the perfect destination for special occasions or a pampering retreat. From romantic waterfront dinners to indulgent spa experiences, La Jolla offers a touch of elegance and luxury. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, or simply a relaxing getaway, La Jolla has it all. Plan your visit to this beautiful seaside village and create memories that will last a lifetime.


What are the top things to do in La Jolla, California?

La Jolla offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including exploring beautiful beaches, engaging in outdoor adventures, visiting landmarks, enjoying dining and shopping experiences, and exploring art and culture.

What outdoor adventures can I do in La Jolla?

In La Jolla, you can enjoy activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, paragliding, and taking scenic bike tours.

What are the best beaches to visit in La Jolla?

La Jolla Cove is great for swimming and snorkeling, Windansea Beach is popular among surfers and photographers, and La Jolla Shores Beach is perfect for family-friendly activities. You can also observe seals and sea lions at the Children’s Pool.

How can I explore La Jolla’s marine life?

You can explore the seven sea caves along the coast, go snorkeling or scuba diving in the La Jolla Underwater Park, swim with leopard sharks, and observe resident seals and sea lions.

What dining and shopping options are available in La Jolla?

La Jolla offers a diverse culinary scene with upscale seafood restaurants and casual eateries. The village is also a shopper’s paradise with boutique shops, art galleries, and high-end designer stores.

What landmarks and points of interest should I visit in La Jolla?

Don’t miss the Torrey Pines Gliderport for breathtaking views and paragliding, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps for marine life exhibits, and the historic La Jolla Women’s Club and Ellen Browning Scripps Park for their beauty and history.

What day trips can I take from La Jolla?

From La Jolla, you can easily visit the vibrant city of San Diego, the famous San Diego Zoo, the beaches of Pacific Beach and Coronado Island, and the charming coastal town of Del Mar.

What art and cultural experiences are available in La Jolla?

La Jolla is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Murals of La Jolla public art project, and several art galleries and museums for you to explore and enjoy.

Can I experience luxury and special occasions in La Jolla?

Absolutely! La Jolla offers a range of luxury experiences such as high-end picnics, waterfront dining, and spa days at luxury hotels. It’s also a perfect destination for weddings, anniversaries, and other special events.

What art and architectural treasures can I discover in La Jolla?

You can marvel at the unique architectural landmark of the Geisel Library, explore the beautiful Spanish Revival architecture of the La Jolla Woman’s Club, and admire outdoor public art installations like the Murals of La Jolla.

What outdoor recreational activities are available in La Jolla?

In La Jolla, you can golf at the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, go hiking or biking in the scenic Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, play tennis on public courts, and enjoy water sports such as stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and fishing.