9 Totally Free Date Spots for Couples in La Jolla

La Jolla is full of things to do, but that can mean that your purse can get a little empty! However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money for a perfect date. Here’s our favorite totally free date spots for couples in La Jolla! As always, we recommend that you call ahead to check for availability on tours or screenings, and for any accessibility options you require.

Outdoor Dates

Spend a morning or afternoon at one of La Jolla’s many sunny beaches with a picnic! Swimming, tanning and paying frisbee are all great additions to this free date option (if you own a frisbee already). You can also schedule a walking tour of Scripps Pier with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to learn more about what they do and catch some great ocean views from out above the water.

Go on a walking tour of the La Jolla Murals! Many of the murals are hidden in small areas of La Jolla, often out of the way of main traffic. Hunting out the murals will not only let you stretch your legs, but introduce you to new areas of La Jolla. (Hint: the murals also make for great Instagram photos).

Make sure to tour the gorgeous Salk Institute, especially if you’re an architecture fan. Just off of UCSD, the Salk Institute is a research institute that is beautifully designed with a focus on geometry, symmetry, and simplicity. Walking amongst the tall buildings and down angular hallways almost makes you feel like you’re in an alternate reality.

The Edwards Sculpture Garden (top image, from Facebook) at MCASD La Jolla is open from 11 am – 5 pm daily for free, no admission to museum required. Experience your art with fresh ocean breezes and grass under your feet! The selection is always changing, so even if you went a while ago you should consider going again.

La Jolla has many great hiking options in easy reach, which means barely any planning on your part! Check out Torrey Pines State Park (pictured above) which features a beach, trails of various difficulties, and a species of pine native only to La Jolla. Mt. Soledad is also a great hiking destination where visitors can see monuments to fallen U.S. soldiers from the Korean War, gaze up at a 42-foot cross, and enjoy panoramic views.

Keep an eye out for nature! When we’re caught up in the shopping and dining, we can forget that cities are included in “the natural environment” too. La Jolla’s great weather means we may not notice the seasons too much, but wildlife sure does. The La Jolla tide pools make for a great free date where you can find beautiful creatures and experience the the biodiversity our area has to offer. There’s also several types of animal attractions at the beach to enjoy from afar, including dolphin sightings, leopard sharks, baby seals, and more. You likely won’t be able to see all these things at once, though. November to March is the best time for tide pools because of the lower tides, while December to May is when baby seals are born and August and September is when most of the leopard sharks appear.

Image from Facebook.

Most of the time, you can find live music happening somewhere in La Jolla! If you aren’t interested in going to a bar or restaurant, there are often seasonal outdoor concerts like the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea (pictured above) in late summer. The La Jolla Music Society hosts a yearly SummerFest concert, and the Athenaeum has free mini-concerts every other Monday at noon from fall to spring (lasting about an hour), both of which make for a fun free date.

When the hot weather hits, La Jollans like to spend warm summer evenings outside on cool grass watching movies! There’s a vast array of outdoor screening events throughout the summer, but we can always expect the Library to always have a free movie series you can head over to.

Indoor Dates

La Jolla has a large number of art galleries open to tour, including the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery, Madison Gallery, Peter Lik Gallery, and more. The Athenaeum Arts Library on Wall St. also hosts rotating art exhibits that are open to the public, which typically feature a mix of sculpture and visual arts. It may not be the most romantic of venues, but depending on your interests, the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla could also be a really cool place for a free date.

Catch a free movie at the Riford Public Library on the last Tuesday of every month at 3 pm. If you’re concerned these are only for kids, most of them are classic movies that appeal to broad audiences! This date idea works best if you have more of a free form schedule, so it’s great for students, stay-at-home parents, or those that work non-traditional schedules or set their own hours.

Warwick’s bookstore on Girard often hosts authors on book tours to come and speak about or read from their books, and do book signings. Look on their schedule here and keep an eye out for you or your partner’s favorite writers! If you like these types of events, you should also check in with D.G. Wills bookstore and the La Jolla Riford library who also do author talks (and in the case of the library, other types of talks and workshops).

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