Top Things to Do in La Jolla

La Jolla offers countless activities to dabble in. Whether you enjoy long walks, adventurous outdoor activities, fantastic shopping, or fine dining, you will always find what you’re looking for here in La Jolla!

Dining

From the famous fine dining of George’s at the Cove to the Brockton Villa’s award-winning french toast, you will be delighted by the incredible variety and pristine quality of La Jolla restaurants. If you’re seeking a more casual spot for a laid-back beach day, don’t worry, there are plenty of spots for grabbing a bite.

Enjoy cooking yourself? There are great local stores and the terrific La Jolla Open Aire Market (every Sunday) for picking your own produce. Learn more about the La Jolla food scene on our Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurants in La Jolla.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

La Jolla is known for its fine dining – and its confectionaries! There are several delicious spots to grab something sweet after dinner, from bakeries to gelaterias and ice cream shops.

  • Sugar & Scribe Bakery
  • Bobboi Natural Gelato
  • Haagen Dazs Ice Cream
  • Gelateria Frizzante

For more information on all of these, head to our dining guide!

things to do in la jolla

La Jolla Beaches

The soft sand and blue waters of the Southern California seaside are highly acclaimed for a reason. Whichever beach spot you choose here, you’ll have made the right choice! From family-friendly activities to beautiful spots to lay out, each La Jolla beach definitely has its own personality.

  • La Jolla Shores
  • La Jolla Cove
  • Windansea Beach
  • Shell Beach
  • Children’s Pool
  • Wipeout Beach
  • Boomer Beach
  • Marine Street Beach
  • Torrey Pines Beach
  • Black’s Beach

Activities

From kayaking and snorkeling to land activities like golfing at the world renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, you will find countless sun-soaking activities to take part in. Enjoy hiking? Get ready to the hit the trails because there are many great ones you’ll want to explore. For a more relaxing day with the family, the parks here act as the perfect spot for bringing a picnic and throwing a frisbee.

Outdoor

  • Hike into Sunny Jim Cave (lots of stairs, but an incredible view!)
  • Have a picnic at Ellen Browning Scripps Park
  • Take a walking tour of La Jolla’s murals
  • Visit UCSD (and check out the outdoor Stuart Collection)
  • Try stand-up paddle boarding or surfing
  • Take a Kayak Tour of the La Jolla Sea Caves
  • Go snorkeling around the Cove – and swim with the leopard sharks!
  • Watch the gliders at Torrey Pines Gliderport
  • Visit Mt. Soledad Veteran’s Memorial
  • Go whale watching
  • Take your own Architecture Tour of La Jolla (Geisel Library and the historic cottages in the Village are some of the best examples!)
  • Check out the local tide pools 
  • Watch a beautiful sunset from the shore
  • Hit the La Jolla Open Aire Market (every Sunday, 9am-1pm at 7335 Girard Ave)

Indoor

  • Spend the day at the Birch Aquarium
  • Enjoy one of La Jolla’s many museums
    • Museum of Contemporary Art
    • Map & Atlas Museum
    • Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
  • Check out one of the many art galleries
    • Madison Gallery
    • Thumbprint Gallery
    • Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery
    • National Geographic Gallery
  • See a play at world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse
  • Visit the Salk Institute (you’ll need to schedule one of their Guided Tours)
  • Visit the La Jolla Historical Society for a bit of local history

Cruise the Coast

The main attraction of La Jolla is, of course, the ocean. Enjoying the views from land is great, but why not get close and see it from the water itself?

La Jolla offers breathtaking sunset and dinner cruises that will have all those on land envious. Learn more about the cruises offered to you at our Dinner Cruises & Sunset Cruises Page. During whale watching season, they offer special Whale Watching Cruises – a spectacular event that you don’t want to miss out on.

things to do in la jolla

Shopping

Whether you’re seeking the perfect ring from Cartier, a fun & fresh outfit from Francesca’s or a day of window shopping, La Jolla has the shopping escapade you have in mind. From the big brand shops in the UTC mall to local shops of Ivanhoe, shopping lovers are spoiled for choice.

  • Girard Avenue Shops
  • Shops on Ivanhoe St.
  • Westfield UTC
  • Design District on Herschel Ave.

Local Events

Annual happenings like the Christmas Parade and theater shows keep life, including the nightlife, here interesting. Check out our calendar & blog to see what is coming up! And learn more about La Jolla events at our Events Page. Here are some annual events that you can look forward to every year.

  • Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (January)
  • La Jolla Concours d’Elegance: a world-renowned seaside car show (April)
  • Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla: explore some of La Jolla’s most beautiful gardens (May)
  • 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove (July)
  • La Jolla Rough Water Swim (September, unless cancelled)
  • La Jolla Art & Wine Festival (October)
  • La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival (December)

Comedy Shows

As we all know, laughter is the best medicine. Come get a dose of it at La Jolla’s top laugh-inducing spot, The Comedy Store, which has been around since 1977. This venues features all types of comedians, so you’re sure to find someone who will have you chuckling. Learn more about what this venue has to offer at our Comedy Store Page.

Take a Walk (or a Hike!)

There are several beautiful areas to walk through and enjoy the scenery in La Jolla.

  • Coast Walk Trail
  • Torrey Pines Trails
  • Scripps Coastal Reserve – Biodiversity Trail
  • Mt. Soledad trails
  • Fay Avenue Bike Path

For more information on hiking, head to our scenic hikes page!

Stay the Night

La Jolla hotels range from five-star extravagant experiences to historic bungalows by the sea. There are plenty of options to choose from, no matter what your style is!

  • La Jolla Shores Hotel
  • La Jolla Cove Suites
  • La Valenica
  • Grande Colonial
  • The Lodge at Torrey Pines
  • Estancia La Jolla
  • Pantai Inn
  • Empress Hotel
  • Hotel La Jolla
  • Redwood Cottages
  • Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla
  • Scripps Inn

Head here for more information on all of these hotels in La Jolla.

Whether you’re staying for a day or for the week, there plenty of ways to stay busy and enjoy your time in La Jolla! What are some of your favorite things to do here? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

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