La Jolla might seem like a sleepy beach town when you roll down from the 5 and see the beautiful ocean view and small businesses on Prospect, but there is actually enough to fill a day or even a whole vacation. Whether you’re looking for beautiful hiking, romantic sunset spots, art galleries, or just hanging on the beach, La Jolla has plenty to offer. Let us show you why we call it The Jewel! Here is what to do in La Jolla for 2017.
You should definitely not miss this geographic anomaly. Mt. Soledad sits about a thousand feet from sea level, but just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Originally a Korean War memorial, the mountain is now home to a beautiful war memorial open to any military personnel. Chat with one of the friendly docents about the memorial, and they will gladly show you around. Keep an eye out for Bob Hope, 5 presidents, and Jimmy Stewart! Brand new for 2017 is the memorial’s cross, which is pretty much the La Jolla Christ the Redeemer statue.
After you look around the memorial, take in the 360 views of La Jolla, San Diego, and the Pacific Ocean. On the best days, you can see all the way down to Mexico! Parking is limited, but you can drive. We recommend renting a bike to get to the top to save time and the headache of parking. Or hop on a tour to get all the info you need!
La Jolla Shores is the go-to beach in the area. The sprawling, sandy beach provides plenty of room for everyone even on the most crowded days. Next to the beach there is a huge playground for younger visitors, and there’s also plenty of grass for passing a soccer ball or a frisbee.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, try kayaking, but make sure you bring your bathing suit along if you want to do this because you will get wet! For the really really adventurous, try one of our surf lessons–new for 2017!
Home to some the most famous artists in the contemporary movement, The Martin Lawrence gallery should be on your list. Who said SoCal didn’t have culture? Drop by if you’re looking for a quiet afternoon of introspection. You will definitely recognize some of the pieces here. The artists include Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, among many others. For extra fun drop by during an auction, but be careful if you raise your hand to ask questions!
The Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of my favorite hikes in San Diego, and definitely my favorite in La Jolla. It’s not too difficult and ends on a beach with a beautiful view. If you want, bring some beach gear and spend the day! Afterwards, you could easily hit Torrey Pines or come back down to La Jolla to refuel!
The caves at the cove are one of the neatest geological features in the area. I’ve always loved the cliffs leading up to the water in California, but rarely do you get to go inside the cliffs. There are a couple of ways to do this in La Jolla. The easier way is to head to The Cave Store where you can pay $5 dollars to enter the caves via a long staircase (and it is pretty long). It is a very cool experience. The other way is to hop on one of the kayak tours and head to the caves via the water. I should note that it is illegal to go into the caves via kayak on your own. Make sure you’re with a tour!
We check out the cave store on a few of our tours. Join us and we can point the way!
The Birch Aquarium is the perfect place to see all the marine life you’d see in the ocean (and more) without hopping into that frequently chilly Pacific Ocean water! The laboratory that started the aquarium has been around since 1905, so you get science and history in one very fun package at this aquarium.
For 2017, the aquarium has some awesome features. You can go to their website in advance to check out feeding times for different animals. This is when the animals are at their most active and fun to watch! I also wouldn’t miss the tide pools. It’s the easiest way to get up close and personal with the animals.
Sunset at Bird Rock
Hopefully I don’t end up blowing up one of my favorite secret sunset spots when this blog goes viral, but this is the best place for a sunset in La Jolla. It is almost always very peaceful; I’ve only ever seen two or three people here when I go. It’s also in this adorable neighborhood of La Jolla called Bird Rock. There are some great restaurants within walking distance of the coast, so grab some food after the sun goes down. You can check this spot out on our Cali Dreamin’ Tour.
Going to the Children’s Pool (or Seal Beach, depending on who you ask) is probably the easiest way to see marine life up close and personal in La Jolla. Year round, seals hang out on this beach. In early spring, their birthing season happens, and you can see some adorable pups hanging on the beach. If you walk east on Coast Blvd, you can check out the sea lions down the way! Careful when hanging out near the sea lions, they’ve been known to bark at humans!
Tours are a great option for people who want information from a local, or for those looking to get a general overview of the area so that they can go back and visit their favorite parts later. There are plenty of options in the area including trolley tours, kayak tours (see above), and bike tours. Pick whatever you think is best for you based on your athleticism, comfort level, and what you want to experience. Most tour companies have new options all the time, so check their websites for 2017 updates.
So there you have it! Our choices for what to do in La Jolla in 2017. Check out our lifestyle blog for more information on the area and all things San Diego!
Author: Scott Nickley
Scott Nickley is a writer, actor, cyclist, runner, and cafe loiterer living in Los Angeles. You can find his work on the Fly Rides website and find him in the flesh following all cycling laws in your nearest bike lane.