4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations in San Diego

4th of July in San Diego is just one big celebration! Fireworks displays, parades, street fairs, and festivals are all part of the fun on the big day. Sadly, there will be no 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove this year due to funding issues; but there are plenty of other places and ways to celebrate 4th of July in San Diego! Here’s the roundup, from San Diego Bay to Rancho Santa Fe.

Annual Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show

Where: Multiple Locations along San Diego Bay
When: 9:00pm
Take in the largest fireworks display in the county! With fireworks launched from four barges placed around North San Diego Bay, they can be seen from multiple locations along the San Diego coastline.  Just find a place along the bay, set up a blanket and some hot chocolate, and get ready for the display! We recommend arriving early to reserve a spot.

Where to watch:

  • Shelter Island
  • Harbor Island
  • North Embarcadero
  • Marina District
  • CoronadoFerry Landing
  • Boating/On The Water

SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks & Celebration

Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
When: 10:00am to 10:00pm
SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack, starting at 9:40pm on July 4th. Entrance is required, and there are plenty of spots throughout the park to watch the display. You can reserve seats ahead of time via seaworld.com.

Ocean Beach July 4th Celebration

Where: Ocean Beach Pier (end of Newport Avenue)
When: 9:00pm
Spend Independence day picnicking, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand, and shopping along Newport Ave. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show launched from Ocean Beach Pier! Free parking will be available at the Main Beach Parking Lot as well as at the Pier Parking Lot. We do recommend arriving early to reserve a spot – head to obsandiego.com for more information.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Old Town San Diego 4th of July

Where: Old Town State Historic Park
When: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Although Old Town won’t be putting on a fireworks display, there will be a parade, crafts, and activities all throughout the day on July 4th. The activities will recreate an old-fashioned Independence Day just as it was celebrated on the frontier. You’ll also be able to compete in several contests, including cherry pit spitting or an egg toss, for handmade ribbons.

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Where: Various Locations on Coronado
When: 7:00am to 9:00pm; Fireworks at 9pm
Celebrate the 4th of July in the Crown City! Independence Day activities will include a parade down Orange Avenue at 10:00am, a concert in Spreckels Park at 4:00pm, and fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9:00pm. The fireworks display can be easily viewed from anywhere along the bay on Coronado Island.

Earlier that day, the Crown City Classic 4th of July Race will take place between 7am and 10am. This historic run through Coronado will feature a 12k and a 5k, and kicks off at Coronado Tidelands Park.

San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebrations

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014)
When: Starts at 10:00am, Fireworks at 9:00pm
Independence Day is one of the best days to come to the San Diego County Fair, because they pull out all the stops with food, fireworks at 9:00 PM, entertainment, and more! Fireworks are launched from the west end of the racetrack and are choreographed to a soundtrack played through the Corona Grandstand Stage sound system. The fireworks are visible from many areas of the Fairgrounds, with favorite viewing areas including reserved Terrace seating and 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand, Family Funville, and the Fun Zone.

SEE ALSO: Explore La Jolla Cove This July 4th!

Red, White, and Boom!

Where: LEGOLAND California (One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008)
When: 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Fireworks at 8:30pm
Take the whole family and spend the day enjoying over 60 rides, shows, and attractions at LEGOLAND along with some all-American picnic games like burlap races and water-balloon tosses. Then cozy up with a blanket and a picnic that evening, and watch the awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic music!

fireworks san diego la jolla

Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic

Where: 16948 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
When: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Pack a few blankets and chairs for Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic! The parade kicks off at 12:15pm, and will include floats, vintage cars, and equestrians. The picnic and concert will begin at 1:30pm, complete with a barbecue and live music by The Harmony Grove Band.

Poway 4th of July Fireworks

Where: Poway High School
When: 6pm – 10pm; fireworks at 9pm
The fireworks in Poway start at 9 p.m. at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.). The gates will open at 6 p.m. and the event will include games and a DJ spinning tunes; it costs $5 per person to get in and kids 11 and under get in free. Meanwhile, during the day, the Old-Fashion Fourth of July Celebration goes down from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.), a patriotic party, “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” That event includes western-style reenactments, free crafts, train displays and old-timey games. Free shuttles to the daytime fest will run from two locations: the Poway City Hall parking lot on Civic Center Drive, and the Poway Adult School parking lot on Twin Peaks Road.

Oceanside Fireworks

Where: Oceanside Blvd & Rancho del Oro Road, Oceanside, CA
When: July 3, 2018
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm, Fireworks at 9pm
You’re invited to the City of Oceanside annual Fireworks Show! Spectators are encouraged to arrive anytime after 6:00 pm, park in the business park nearby, bring a beach chair, and walk to the viewing area on Rancho Del Oro road. There will be live music as well as food trucks offering a wide variety of foods. The firework show will begin at 9pm.

Then, on Wednesday, July 4th at 10am, head to Oceanside Beach and Pier for more festivities! Main Street Oceanside will be hosting a variety of booths and activities in the plazas, parks, and parking lots from the Oceanside Pier to Tyson Street Park. The day will include kids’ crafts and activities in the Pier Amphitheater, with a wide range of food vendors. There will also be retail vendors of all kinds in both the Pier Plaza and in the parking lot south of the Pier Amphitheater.

Best Beach Activities for Families Visiting La Jolla

In the San Diego area, one of the best beaches to visit and bring your family to is La Jolla. There are a ton of activities that the area provides. No matter how old your kids might be, there is an adventure to be discovered at La Jolla. This article will discuss five beach activities that you can do at La Jolla with your family.

1. Beach Volleyball

For families who like a little bit of competition to go along with their fun, beach volleyball is an excellent activity to try. While bringing your own ball is a no-brainer, it’s also a good idea to bring your own net just in case. Packing a couple of Cobra volleyball nets means getting to play no matter what. Many of the beaches in and around La Jolla have designated areas for volleyball that include two permanent poles for stringing up a net, but sometimes the net isn’t there.

2. Building Sandcastles

There are actually quite a few sandcastle competitions in San Diego. Your family can start honing your skills early by building sandcastles at La Jolla. Even the humble castle should be considered a great achievement. It’s no easy thing making sand stand up on its own and hold its shape. Your family can experience a great team-building exercise as you hurry to and from the water to keep your sand moldable. It’s also a great way to encourage your child’s creativity.

3. Scuba Diving

One thing that La Jolla offers is scuba diving lessons. These you typically have to sign up for, so it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time to find out when the best time to sign up is. Once you’re in the program, however, you and your family can suit up and learn how to use the oxygen tanks and other equipment. Once you’ve been trained, you’re able to do a bit of scuba diving in La Jolla and look at some of the sea life of the Pacific Ocean. Children will likely love seeing the colorful fish in their natural habitat, but note the minimum age is 10 years old.

4. Sea Lion Watching

La Jolla has a lot of sea lions and seals on the beach at certain parts of the day. While you should never encourage your children to touch them–no matter how furry they might look–you can enjoy watching their antics. Usually, they like to just sleep around. However, once they’re active, sea lions can be quite fun to watch. They play, fight, and try to outswim one another. Your children will love watching sea lions on the beach.

5. The Children’s Pool

One part of La Jolla is an area where the tide is quite low and becomes shallow. This is a perfect area for children to swim and enjoy and has since been called The Children’s Pool. This area is almost considered family-friendly except that it does have some potentially dangerous wildlife. Sea lions and seals have been known to make the area their hangout spot. If the area is clear, however, The Children’s Pool is an excellent place for families to swim and look at sea life with their smaller children.

La Jolla is an incredible beachfront community offering an abundance of activities for families. Whether you like to swim and be active or just relax and watch the local wildlife, this beach is for you.

Snorkeling in La Jolla: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

There’s a reason (okay, maybe several) that the La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is one of the top ten places in the world for snorkeling. Together, the Park and Reserve span 6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands, from Scripps Park across La Jolla Shores all the way to Torrey Pines. From the seven sea caves to the variety of brightly-colored sea creatures, the Underwater Park and nearby La Jolla Cove have become destinations for snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world. Here are just a few reasons why snorkeling La Jolla Cove and the Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve should beat the top of your bucket list!

1. You never know what you might see.

La Jolla is home to an incredible variety of sea creatures and provides a rare opportunity to see marine life up close and personal. The warmer-than-usual water and protected cove attracts fish and mammals from all along the coast; snorkelers and divers have reported seeing Garibaldi, octopus, urchins, dolphins, sea turtles, leopard sharks, sea stars, shovel nose guitar fish, schools of fish big and small; and of course, playful seals and sea lions.

2. You can snorkel through some pretty magical sea caves.

Where else in San Diego can you actually swim through an entire sea cave? La Jolla Cove is home to seven caves, the biggest of which is Clam Cave (just offshore from Goldfish Point Cafe); when the tide allows, visitors can delight in snorkeling or kayaking through it to the other side. The other six are viewable from the water, and there is usually a plethora of marine life clustered near the caves at any time; which makes for some great snorkeling!

3. Leopard sharks: thousands of them!

Between the months of June and December, snorkelers can experience swimming among the largest annual gathering of leopard sharks along the coast of California. Each year, thousands of pregnant female sharks migrate to the beaches near La Jolla Cove, where the warmer, calm water helps their young develop faster. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t find anywhere else in California – it’s an absolute must-do if you enjoy snorkeling!

4. You can explore one of the region’s only underwater canyons.

Within the Ecological Reserve, the bottom takes a sudden and drastic 500-foot- plunge into the La Jolla Underwater Canyon (which reaches depths of up to 600 feet!). It’s exactly these unique features that make snorkeling in La Jolla such an incredible experience! Fun fact: a giant concrete map of the underwater park was completed in 2008 at La Jolla Shores; you can find it near the boardwalk between the restrooms and the children’s play area at the south end of Kellogg Park.

About La Jolla Underwater Park: it was created by the City of San Diego in 1970, and both the Ecological Reserve and the Marine Life Refuge lie within it. The Reserve is federally protected, and fishing or collecting of any kind is outlawed; because of this, marine life has flourished over the years – which makes for some fantastic snorkeling!

5. And there’s a secret underwater graveyard!

Two underwater canyons, two artificial reefs, and a kelp forest all span 6,000 acres underwater, making the Park and Reserve visually beautiful and geographically fascinating. There is one feature of the underwater canyon, however, that is especially unique: a secret underwater graveyard! Just beyond the coastline, about 100 yards out from the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club and 35 feet underwater, lies an eerie underwater memorial is unofficially known as “Tombstones.”

There are no bodies as the name implies, only several markers that are dedicated to fallen spear fishermen and members of the “Bottom Scratchers,” the first documented diving and spearfishing club in North America. Over time, markers have been placed for other fallen free divers and locals. The tradition began all the way back in the 1940s and has continued up to present day.

Snorkeling La Jolla Tour Information

So the next time you’re in La Jolla, we definitely recommend snorkeling around La Jolla Cove and the La Jolla Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve! You can venture out on your own if you feel comfortable doing so (rentals are available from shops at La Jolla Shores), or you can take a guided tour with experienced professionals. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try a combination kayak/snorkeling tour – it’s the best of both worlds!

Interested in more water activities while you’re here? Scuba diving and kayaking are also great ways to explore the underwater world of La Jolla!

things to do in la jolla

The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List

We won’t lie – summer in La Jolla is a beautiful thing! Endless hours of sunshine, warm weather, and seven miles of gorgeous, sandy beaches make our little village by the sea one of the best places to spend the summer in all of San Diego.

With so many things to do in La Jolla (not to mention the world-class dining options), you’ll definitely want to take advantage of absolutely everything while you’re here. So, we’ve put together the ultimate activities guide for things to do in La Jolla this summer; start ticking things off the list and get out there!

Take a kayak tour of the La Jolla caves

If nothing else, this is the one activity you absolutely cannot miss during a visit to La Jolla. The seven sea caves that line the shore are millions of years old and carved from sandstone; they’re beautiful to look at, and even better, incredible to kayak through.

Guided kayak tours (you can choose from several local tour companies down at La Jolla Shores, where the tours start) will allow you to experience the whole enchilada, from paddling out and braving the waves to exploring Clam Cave, the biggest and one of the easiest ones to kayak through. On lower tide days, you’ll also get the chance to kayak into one or two of the smaller caves, but that may be an activity reserved for the braver members of your group!

la jolla things to do

Snorkel around La Jolla Cove

There’s nothing quite like getting up-close-and-personal with the marine life at La Jolla Cove. During the summer months, leopard sharks number in the thousands when they come here to hatch their young. The sharks are harmless, and the Birch Aquarium even hosts guided snorkel tours that take groups out to the most populated spots.

Other creatures you may see while exploring include Garibaldi, shovelnose guitarfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, stingrays, and all types of other fish.

Have a beach bonfire at La Jolla Shores

Need we say more? Beach bonfires down at the Shores are pretty much the epitome of an awesome summer night in La Jolla. There are several bonfire pits located on the sand along the shores at this beach, but fair warning: they do fill up very early on weekends. To secure a pit, you’ll probably need to get down there and stake one out around 11am. But hey, it’s totally worth it once you’re staying warm next to a roaring fire right on the beach.

For more information on how to have a bonfire, head here.

things to do in la jolla

Learn how to scuba dive

Interested in going one step further than snorkeling in La Jolla? Try your hand at scuba diving! There are a couple of different companies (such as SD Expeditions) that offer scuba diving certification and classes throughout the year. From beginner open water certification to advanced rescue diver classes, you’ll be able to customize your own experience and really get a feel for how it all works. Plus, the amount of marine life you’ll be able to see is incredible!

Venture into Sunny Jim Cave

Sunny Jim Cave is the only sea cave accessible from land in California; which is a pretty cool thing in and of itself when it comes to things to do in La Jolla. Adventurers can access the cave via The Cave Store, which has been there since 1903, and pay the $5 to head down 145 stone steps to one of the most unique views that you’ll see in all of La Jolla. There are six other sea caves, but most of them are inaccessible except for by kayak during low tide and calm waters.

 

Learn More About the Seven Sea Caves Here!

 

There has been much speculation regarding the origin of the cave’s name; though the most common theory is that it was named by Frank L. Baum for a British cartoon character!

Take one of La Jolla’s coastal hikes

There’s nothing better on a clear, sunny day than going on a great hike! There are a ton of great hikes in San Diego alone, but there are a few hidden gems right here in La Jolla. The Coast Walk Trail, which begins at the Cave Store, travels along the bluffs for a super scenic, easy walk.

The Scripps Coastal Reserve is a bit more of a rugged hike, but offers terrific views of the Torrey Pines Gliderport and beyond. Finally, there’s the Coastal Meander Trail, which starts at La Jolla Shores Dr. and heads down to a bluff overlooking Scripps Pier for sweeping ocean views.

Whichever hike you choose, you’re definitely going to be greeted with scenic panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and all of San Diego.

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Walk the sea wall at Children’s Pool

Walking along the sea wall down at The Children’s Pool is one of our favorite pastimes. If you walk all the way to the end, you’ll get a great perspective of looking back at La Jolla from the water; which is hard to do unless you’re out in a boat or kayak. Fair warning here: you most likely will get wet by doing this! But that’s really all part of the fun, right?

Hang out in an epic La Jolla hotel pool


There’s no better way to cool off during a hot summer day in La Jolla than spending it in a pool – much less a beachside pool! There are a ton of great hotel pools in La Jolla, from La Valencia to the Grande Colonial and La Jolla Shores Hotel & Restaurant.

Enjoy dinner with a view

La Jolla is home to a number of incredible fine dining restaurants along the coast, boasting great views. Prospect Street is your best bet for dining with an ocean view – George’s at the Cove, Eddie V’s, Crabcatcher, Duke’s La Jolla are all incredible fine dining restaurants and will make for an experience you won’t soon forget!

Paraglide at the Torrey Pines Gliderport

Adrenaline seekers, here’s an activity for you! Hang gliding or paragliding from the Torrey Pines Gliderport is an awesome experience that’s totally unique to La Jolla. You can take a tandem flight with an instructor (which is recommended for those who have never flown before) or learn how to fly one yourself. For the experienced flyers, there are even advanced clinics that take place every few weeks.

Bonus: Falconry classes are offered at the Gliderport during certain months of the year! This is seriously a must-do bucket list item if you happen to be in La Jolla when they’re happening. Check their page for the class schedule.

Experience a High Tide Dinner at The Marine Room

Each spring and summer, The Marine Room offers a series of High Tide Dinners, where guests can experience the magic of giant waves crashing up against the floor-to-mirror windows while they dine. This is truly one of the best restaurants in San Diego, and is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been. Their website lists the exact time at which the highest tide will be, so you can plan your reservation accordingly. Do reserve in advance, as these fill up way ahead of time!

things to do in la jolla

Check out the views from Mt. Soledad

If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy view, Mount Soledad should definitely be on your list. The mountaintop offers 360-degree panoramas of La Jolla, downtown San Diego, and even Mexico (on super clear days), and it’s totally free to go and park. Pro-tip: go just before sunset for an even more gorgeous view!

If you’re in the mood for some walking, take the 5-minute drive over to La Jolla Heights Open Space Park. It’s a short walk that will give you even more great views, plus a cute little bench to sit down on and take in the scenery. It’s worth checking out!

things to do in la jolla

Watch the seals at La Jolla Cove

We would be remiss if our list didn’t include a visit to the seals at La Jolla Cove. Though a bit odiferous, it’s great to see these creatures up close. You can usually find them sunning on the rocks just offshore from the Cove, or on the sandy beach and rocks at the Children’s Pool nearby. You can easily walk from the Cove to the Children’s Pool; stop to have a picnic or a drink of water at Ellen Browning Scripps Park to break the walk up a bit. Read up on how best to see these animals without endangering their safety before you go.

Take in the art galleries and museums downtown

La Jolla is a great place to experience a little arts and culture. Museums in downtown La Jolla include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (which is closed for renovations until 2019, but you can still check out the Edwards Sculpture Garden in the back), the Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla, Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and the La Jolla Historical Society.

There are also several incredible art galleries here, including Madison Gallery, Thumbprint Gallery, and the Legends Gallery which is home to a huge collection of Dr. Seuss’ art.

These spots are pretty gorgeous parts of San Diego, and as you can see from the list, there is definitely no shortage of awesome things to do in La Jolla!

Outdoor Movies in San Diego & La Jolla: Your Summer Nights Just Got Way Better

What better way to enjoy a balmy summer evening in San Diego than with some popcorn, a blanket, your friends, and a movie under the stars?! We can’t think of one, to be honest. Some of our favorite venues throughout the city are showcasing some pretty excellent films this season, and the ‘theaters’ range from sandy beaches to cozy, lantern-lit patios.

We’ve done the hard work and put together a big list of the best spots to watch outdoor movies in San Diego and La Jolla this summer; so sit back, relax, and start planning your epic summer nights.

Flicks on the Bricks

Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037).
When: 7:30pm, Thursdays in August

One of La Jolla’s most beloved traditions returns this August at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Get ready to enjoy classic films, complimentary wine, and tasty bites on the outdoor patio! This year’s program is focusing on La Jollans of Noir: Vintage Crime Thrillers Starring Actors with a La Jolla connection. With so many great films noir to choose from, this series focuses on films with La Jolla stars!

August 15 | Underworld U.S.A. (1961)

August 22 | Mirage (1965)

August 29 | Sudden Fear (1952)

Movies on the Beach

Where: Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave., Coronado 92118
When: Saturdays at 8:00pm

Experience a movie under the stars at the Hotel Del Coronado! Guests can snuggle up on one of the comfy Del Beach sand chairs, or, for the ultimate VIP movie experience, get cozy around a private beach bonfire with s’mores and a daybed. General admission tickets start at $20. Doors open at 7:00pm and the movie starts promptly at 8:00pm. We do suggest reserving your tickets in advance to guarantee seating.

The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

June 28 | Hook (1985)

July 6 | Top Gun (1986)

July 13 Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

July 20 | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

July 27 The Goonies (1985)

August 3 The Incredibles 2 (2018)

August 10 Back to the Future (1985)

August 31 The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Screen on the Green

Where: Museum of Art (Botanical Lawn) at Balboa Park
When: 8pm, Thursdays in August

Take a trip into the art world as you sit under the stars on the Botanical Lawn (east of the Museum) in beautiful Balboa Park. Grab a picnic, a blanket, and a few friends and enjoy a selection of films whose themes take inspiration from the Museum’s summer collection. Admission to the film series is free.

Note: alcoholic beverages are allowed in Balboa Park until 8:00p.m. Pets are allowed on the lawn, so feel free to bring Fido!

2019 Schedule TBA.

Summer Movies in the Park

Where: Various venues throughout San Diego
When: Dusk (approximately 15 mins after sunset); May 25-October

Summer Movies in the Park is one of San Diego’s longest-running outdoor movie series. It began in 2007 as a ‘take back our parks’ initiative, giving local residents a reason to visit their local county and city parks for a free and fun evening event. This year, the venues are all across San Diego County – from here in La Jolla all the way to Oceanside.

Summer Moves in the Park: La Jolla Venues:

2019 Schedule TBA. Check back later for details! For a complete venue lineup and film schedule, visit the Movies in the Park website.

Liberty Station Outdoor Movies

Where: North Promenade Lawn; Liberty Station
When: 8pm; 2nd Saturday of each month, May-October

Arts District Liberty Station presents its free outdoor film series once again this summer! These six curated films reflect the diverse arts and culture offerings at the growing ARTS DISTRICT at Liberty Station and appeal to film lovers of all ages. Evenings feature surprise pop-up performances or activities along with curated shorts preceding the feature film. So, bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great cinema! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early to set up your spot on the lawn.

2019 Schedule TBA.

Movie Nights at Stone Brewing Liberty Station

Where: Stone Brewing at Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Road)
When: 7:30pm; Tuesdays from June-Aug

Craft beer lovers, this is the film series for you! Every Tuesday this summer (June through August), bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great beer and even better cinema. Space is limited, so plan to arrive as early as 5pm to set up your spot on the lawn and have dinner in their garden before the show. For more information, see their website.

2019 Schedule TBA.  

 

Where to Have the Perfect Spa Day in La Jolla

Sometimes, we all just need a day off – to relax, recuperate, and escape the hassle and stress of everyday life. What better way to de-stress than with a massage, facial, or a manicure/pedicure? La Jolla offers plenty of ways to relax, from luxurious day spas to world-class hotel salons and spas. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots to have the perfect spa day in La Jolla, whether it’s with your girlfriends, Mom, a special someone, or a solo day out.

The Spa at Estancia La Jolla

The award–winning spa at Estancia La Jolla, which was recently enhanced, is meticulously decorated and designed for ultimate relaxation. The spa’s spacious lounge area has a luxurious, Moroccan décor with French doors that swing open to reveal a beautiful outdoor space, complete with a beautiful fireplace and a Zen garden for meditation. An added bonus: you won’t be smelling nail polish when you walk into the spa. The stand–alone canvassed “Nail Bungalow” funnels the noxious fumes away from visitors in an open–air environment, so you can fully sink into your experience.

The women’s side of the spa offers a salt-water whirlpool with an outside rain shower and an indoor Eucalyptus steam room. The menu of facials, massage therapies, and body treatments is extensive and offers a little something for everyone.

What to try: The Ginger Renewal body treatment is a blissful 80 minute-treatment; let ginger’s healing and warming properties invigorate and nourish in this pampering head-to-toe experience with a head, back, neck and shoulder massage.

The Spa at Torrey Pines

Taking advantage of its seaside location, almost all of the treatments at the Spa at Torrey Pines (located in the Lodge) utilize marine and botanical-based products; particularly sage. Sage is known for its purifying and detoxifying properties and is the main ingredient in The Spa’s signature Coastal Sage Scrub, performed in the Vichy shower. Torrey Pines State Reserve, located just a few minutes’ walk from the resort, is actually home to seventeen different types of sage! All spa treatments and rituals were designed to focus on wellness and are performed to meet the needs of each individual.

In addition to 14 separate treatment rooms, the Spa features a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, dry saunas, herbal infused steam rooms, and aromatherapy inhalation rooms. A cardio/strength room features state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary cycles, and weight-training equipment. Yoga classes and guided nature walks through the Reserve are also offered. An outdoor pool and whirlpool take advantage of the year round temperate weather and beautiful views.

What to try: The Coastal Sage Scrub is definitely at the top of the list — a three-step experience that begins with a natural loofah cleanse and finishes with a luxurious application of their Lemongrass and Sage Lotion.

Cove Wellness

If you’re looking for something more than a traditional day spa/salon, look no further! Cove Wellness offers various purifying therapies that focus on the entire body, a synergistic approach to wellness and healthy aging by supporting the body as it strives to maintain its natural alkalinity and ideal weight. The Spa provides a wide range of unique services, including oxygen facials, specialty therapeutic massages, cleanses and whole body detoxes, cellulite reduction, lymphatic therapy, Reflexology, Hydrotherapy, and much more.

What to try: The Lymphatic Oxygen Facial coupled with the 4-step Signature La Jolla Detox makes for an incredible afternoon of rejuvenation.

La Jolla Cove Salon & Spa

La Jolla Cove Salon and Spa is situated in the heart of beautiful La Jolla Cove overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The salon and spa energy and creativity is determined to ensure every client that walks out of the front door has had the ultimate La Jolla Cove experience! They offer a wide array of hair services in addition to manicures, pedicures and gel nail polishes as well as spa services that includes facial and body massages.

What to try: For the best of both worlds, try the Cove Ultimate Package. It includes a manicure, pedicure, Signature Facial, and a 15-minute hand and feet massage.

Turn your relaxing day into a staycation! Spend the night at one of the many luxurious hotels in La Jolla and escape the hustle and bustle of the ‘real world’ for a little while. Where are your favorite places to unwind?

How to Explore Scripps Pier by Moonlight This Summer

Imagine – walking above the Pacific Ocean on a warm summer night, using only the moon’s glow as your guide while you explore one of La Jolla’s most fascinating landmarks. You can do just that during one of the Birch Aquarium’s Full Moon Scripps Pier Walks, which are held all summer long!

A working research pier still used by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the beautiful Scripps Pier is usually closed to the public. Every summer, however, visitors are invited to explore all 1,090 feet of this La Jolla treasure by moonlight. Attendees have full access to the pier and the chance to ask guides (naturalists from the aquarium and staff members from the Institute) all about the pier and how it’s used. A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most prominent landmarks!

scripps pier full moon walks

How it Works

Your Pier Walk evening kicks off with a video about the history of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As you head out on your walk from the Auditorium, you’ll learn about the 100-year history of data collection at Scripps. Once you arrive at the pier, you’re welcome to soak up the striking scenery by the moonlight, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, there are hands-on activity tables – where the staff may or may not ask if you’d like to dissect a squid or help dig through clumps of mussels.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Otherwise, the Birch Aquarium naturalists will be around to give you the 411 on subjects like shark teeth, the latest in plankton studies, and for the serious nature lovers, the unique donut-shaped brain of a squid.

An added bonus, especially for those with a penchant for photography: the event is timed perfectly so that you walk out of the Sumner Auditorium, down the campus hill, and right into the sunset ducking down beyond the pier. This is a rare – not to mention gorgeous – photo opportunity in La Jolla, so come camera ready!

Pier Walks 101

The pier walks are held twice a month from June through October. Tickets are $35 for adults ($30 if you’re a Birch Aquarium member), and can be purchased ahead of time on the Birch Aquarium website. The walks are from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Children must be at least 9 years old to participate, and attendees under 13 must be accompanied by a paid adult.

This year’s Pier Walk schedule:

June

  • Sunday, June 16th

Dates TBA!

The original Scripps Pier was built in La Jolla between 1915 and 1916 as a 1,000 foot long facility for acquiring clean seawater for campus labs and Birch Aquarium. Ellen Browning Scripps provided all of the funds necessary for its construction. Extensive repairs were made to the pier in the 20s and 40s, though major concerns about its structural soundness led to the pier’s complete rebuilding later on.

The Bottom Line

Today, the pier is a remarkable and beautiful structure that is rarely available to be explored. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seen-it-all local, a Full Moon Pier Walk is the rare VIP event that’s both exclusive and completely unique; you’ll be hard-pressed to find another working research pier to explore under the moon’s glow!

For a similarly unique adventure, head down the 145 steps at The Cave Store to explore Sunny Jim Cave. For the slightly less adventurous, walk over to La Jolla Cove to watch the sunbathing seals, grab a bite to eat, and take in the stunning views.

For more information on the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla or other things to explore while you’re there, head to the aquarium’s website.

Enjoy a 3-Course Mother’s Day Brunch at Flemings La Jolla

This year, treat Mom to a special 3-course Mother’s Day Brunch at Flemings La Jolla. They’ll be serving up a one-of-a-kind three-course brunch and all-day dinner menu designed to delight, with options curated especially for her – from Signature Eggs Benedict and Filet & Lobster to a Steak and Spring Vegetable Quiche. Even the little ones will be delighted by a special three-course children’s brunch menu. All entrées include a choice of one starter, sides to share, and your choice of dessert. Brunch starts at 10:00am on May 12th.

Starters

CAESAR SALAD
Hearts of romaine, parmesan, fried capers, crispy prosciutto

LOBSTER BISQUE
North Atlantic Lobster, spiced sherry cream

Entrees

SIGNATURE EGGS BENEDICT: choice of –

  • Sliced Filet Mignon with Hollandaise
  • Crab Cake with Tomato Hollandaise
  • Surf & Turf

STEAK & SPRING VEGETABLE QUICHE
6oz Filet Mignon, caramelized onions, asparagus, green peas, herbed goat cheese with tomato hollandaise

BARBECUE SCOTTISH SALMON FILLET
Mushrooms, barbecue glaze

FILET & LOBSTER
6oz Filet Mignon, North Atlantic Lobster Tail

Sides to Share

LYONNAISE POTATOES
Caramelized onions

FRESH ROASTED ASPARAGUS
Herb butter

Desserts

KEY LIME PIE
Fresh key lime, graham cracker crust, Chantilly whipped cream

CARROT CAKE
Three-layer cake with cream cheese frosting, topped with a drizzle of caramel

Beverages

BERRY MIMOSA

BUTCHER’S BLOODY MARY

BELLE GLOS PINOT NOIR BLANC

Flemings Steakhouse is located at 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122. To make reservations for Easter Brunch at Flemings La Jolla, visit their website or give them a call at (858) 535-0078.

Best Spots for Mother’s Day Brunch in La Jolla

Treat your mother to an incredible meal for Mother’s Day brunch in La Jolla by taking her out to these fancy spots! Delicious food paired with spectacular ocean views will definitely make it a day to remember. From unlimited buffets to specialty prix-fixe and à la carte menus, there’s definitely something for everyone on the list. Shower the mom in your life with love on Sunday, May 13th! Please note that a reservation is required for most of the restaurants on this list, unless otherwise noted.

Flemings La Jolla

When: Sunday May 12th; starts at 10am
Where: 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122
Cost: a la carte
Flemings will open early this year at 10am, so you can celebrate Mom all day! Treat Mom to a special 3-course Mother’s Day Brunch at Flemings La Jolla. They’ll be serving up a one-of-a-kind three-course brunch and all-day dinner menu designed to delight, with options curated especially for her – from Signature Eggs Benedict and Filet & Lobster to a Steak and Spring Vegetable Quiche. Even the little ones will be delighted by a special three-course children’s brunch menu. Reservations required; reserve online or give them a call at (858) 535-0078.

NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar

When: Sunday, May 12th; 10am-2:30pm
Where: 910 Prospect St
Cost: 3 courses for $45/person
Tell Mom you love her with the gift of food!  She deserves nothing more than to be treated to a special, 3-course, prix-fixe Sunday Brunch featuring a choice of starters, entrees, and desserts.  $16 bottomless mimosas and other drink specials will also be available. This is a lovely spot within the Grande Colonial Hotel, and has a cozy and historic feel. Top your meal off with a selection of specialty coffee drinks and pastries! Call (858) 964-5400 or make a reservation online.

The Marine Room

When: Sunday May 12th; 11am-7pm
Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive
Cost: å la carte
The Marine Room boasts one of the best (if not the best) views in La Jolla. Situated right on the water, every seat in the house has incredible ocean vistas; the sound of waves crashing against the windows can be heard anywhere you sit! This year’s a la carte menu features items in their signature contemporary French/seafood style: Ginger Sesame Cured Steelhead Salmon Crudo, Thai Style Butter Basted Lobster Tail, and of course, their Signature Maine Lobster Bisque. Top it off with one of their incredible desserts: the Spindrift Cobblestone Pie, Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake, and an organic Lavender Lemon Cake. For reservations please call (855) 203-8511 or make an online reservation.

George’s At The Cove (California Modern)

When: Sunday May 12th; 10am-2pm for brunch
Address: 1250 Prospect St
Cost: 3-course menu
Voted La Jolla’s best restaurant, George’s at the Cove is the perfect place to treat your mom to a special brunch. Mother’s Day is one of only two occasions throughout the year that they serve brunch, and this holiday, they have a very special 3-course menu planned. Head to California Modern, their signature fine dining experience, and savor dishes like Bay Scallop and Corn Fritters with Béarnaise, Lobster Quiche with peas and green garlic, Grilled Salmon with mushroom risotto, and Chilaquiles with soft egg and queso fresco. Because it’s so popular, make sure to get a reservation ASAP. Call (858) 455-1616 or book a reservation online.

The Shores Restaurant

When: Sunday May 12th; 9:30am-2:30pm
Address: 8110 Camino Del Oro
Cost: $68 per adult, $39 children 10 to 6 years, $6 per year children 5 and under (buffet style)
This ocean-view feast in the heart of La Jolla Shores shopping and dining district is a brunch to be remembered! Featured buffet items this year are Seasonal Berry Cheese Blintzes, Herb Seared Local Sea Bass, Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham, and Buchmann’s Ranch Cage Free Egg Station. There is a special Children’s Station for the little ones, which will feature kid-friendly dishes and sides. Finish off with a scrumptious dessert, like their Butterscotch Banana Cream Pie or Chocolate Raspberry Bars. Call (858) 456-0600 or make a reservation here.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

When: Sunday May 12th, 10am-4pm
Address: 1270 Prospect Street
Cost: $49 for adults (three-course menu)
This year Eddie V’s is pulling out all the stops for Mother’s Day! The 2019 brunch menu includes a three-course meal where you have a few different options for each course (however, with each meal you receive a basket of warm cinnamon rolls topped with a citrus glaze!). Dishes this year include Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Deviled Egg Trio, Pan-Seared Steak & Eggs, King Crab Omelette with Three-Citrus Hollandaise, and plenty more. Brunch cocktails are $9, and there will also be a children’s menu available. Call (858) 459-5500 or make reservations online.

The Med at La Valencia Hotel

When: Sunday May 12th; 10am-2pm
Address: 1132 Prospect St
Cost: $89 per adult, $39 per child
Celebrate Mother’s Day at the “Pink Lady” and enjoy a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet! This year, Executive Chef Alex Emery and his talented team have created a whimsical menu featuring Valencia Orange French Toast, Spinach & Heirloom Tomato Quiche + Leek & Black Truffle Quiche, Assorted Tea Sandwiches, a Carving Station, Slow Roasted Herbed Cornish Game Hens, and a decadent dessert station, to name a few. Regular dinner service starts at 5:30pm. Online reservations are required.

Estancia La Jolla

When: Sunday May 12th; starts at 10am
Address: 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road
Cost: $75 per adult; $25 for children
Celebrate mom surrounded by Estancia’s beautiful botanical gardens at their Roses & Rosé brunch! Mom will receive a complimentary glass of rosé to toast her special day plus an expansive buffet prepared by Executive Chef Vincent Savignano. Dishes this year include Linguica-Potato Hash with poached eggs and parsley crema, Chicken & Waffles with sage-infused maple syrup, a complete Egg Station, a Carving Station, Paella Station, and Risotto station, plus plenty more. Reservations are required.

Cusp Dining & Drinks

When: Sunday May 12th; starts at 9:00 am
Address: 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive
From the food to the views, Cusp’s Mother’s Day Brunch is sure to impress Mom. Chef Ingrid Funes will be serving her regular brunch menu with a few decadent specials. Start the meal one of Chef Funes’ specials, like Crab Benedict with herb focaccia, roasted tomatoes and hollandaise, Brioche Fresh Toast with lime curd and blueberry compote, and Fresh Cinnamon Rolls. Classic dishes includes Greek Salad, Barbacoa Hash, and Housemade Pancakes with assorted toppings. In addition to brunch, guests are encouraged to take mom out to dinner, where Chef has a special surprise for dinner guests! Mother’s will enjoy a welcome glass of bubbly during dinner only. Reservations strongly suggested.

Our Favorite San Diego Brunch Spots

Nothing says the weekend like a leisurely brunch with family or friends, especially in gorgeous San Diego! From classic egg omelettes and Bloody Marys to pastries and house-made sweet treats, these local restaurants are serving up all the best breakfast fare. Enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning at one of these essential San Diego brunch spots – and maybe a mimosa or two!

Farmer & the Seahorse

10996 Torreyana Rd.
San Diego, CA 92121
Farmer & The Seahorse offers al fresco brunch with amazing views and live music every Sunday morning/afternoon. It’s a popular spot for brunch near La Jolla, as it’s just a few minutes’ drive north. Menu favorites include multi-grain pancakes, chilaquiles, and a Moroccan scramble. Also: try one of their flavored mimosas, which come with unlimited bottle service for $20. Guests can choose from five juices to accompany each bottle of bubbly: triple rosemary berry, pineapple mango, traditional orange juice, grapefruit, and blood orange. Farmer & the Seahorse offers mimosa bottle service on Sundays from 10am-2pm.

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Madison

4622 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92116
Madison on Park is a local favorite for dinner and now, with their new brunch menu, is a great spot to dine on the weekends. New brunch items include brioche french toast, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, paleo bowl, white bean shakshuka with carnitas, banana strawberry Nutella waffle and classic favorites like the beet waffle, avocado toast and waffled churro sticks.

Madison’s bottomless Mimosas are available by the glass or pitcher, and include the Black Magic mimosas with activated charcoal, the Blue Dream mimosa with blue-green spirulina and the Purple Rain Mimosa with aloe vera juice and butterfly pea flower. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am to 2:30pm.

Herb & Wood

2210 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Little Italy favorite Herb & Wood launched a brand-new brunch menu this past April, which is served on weekends between 10am and 2:30pm. Though known for its excellent dinner options, the new brunch menu is definitely holding its own! Menu highlights include the dutch baby soufflé pancakes, a Jamón Ibérico Benedict, and scallop ceviche. Brunch cocktails and a special brunch dessert menu are also available.

 

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TRUST Restaurant

3752 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92103
Since opening last spring, TRUST Restaurant has quickly become one of the city’s hottest gathering spots. Diners can people watch on the patio while digging into delicious brunch plates from executive chef Brad Wise and his team. Local favorites include the pancakes and fried chicken plate, spicy pork belly grilled cheese, and a seriously epic sticky bun – a show stopping cinnamon roll topped with cinnamon ice cream. Brunch is served on weekends from 9am to 2pm.

The Med

1132 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
If you’re looking for a little glamour with your brunch, our very own La Valencia in La Jolla is the perfect spot! Executive Chef Alex Emery’s renowned weekend brunch includes dishes like house-cured salmon, a brunch board loaded with pastries, cheeses and seasonal berries, local spiny lobster Benedict, and grilled flat iron steak and eggs. There are fruit flavored mimosas as well, plus six decidedly different Bloody Marys – standouts include the Sriracha and soy sauce crafted Shanghai, to the namesake Lady V with its impressive crab claw and bacon garnish.

Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Galaxy Taco

2259 Avenida de La Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
Still one of our favorite taco spots in La Jolla, Galaxy Taco does not disappoint when it comes to Sunday brunch! Yummy menu items include a tasty pazole verde with pork, blue and white corn hominy, radish and avocado; and pork huarache (pulled pork flatbread) with fried eggs and roasted tomatillo salsa. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, try the fresh cream, banana, lemon zest, and Mexican chocolate dusted waffles while sipping on bottomless Mimosa and Micheladas.

Brunch at Galaxy Taco is served on Sundays from 10am to 3pm.

Oceana Coastal Kitchen

3999 Mission Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
Panoramic bay views and alfresco dining make Oceana’s Sunday Champagne brunch well worth the splurge! Located at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, you’ll be able to feast on sushi, nigiri, and sashimi selections from the cold bar, in addition to fresh fruit, pastries, salads, and antipasto. Larger plated options, like salmon and prime rib, can also be ordered, plus breakfast favorites such as the Waffle Romanoff, a Belgian style waffle topped with Grand Marnier, strawberries, whipped cream, and maple syrup. Brunch hours are Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

 

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Craft & Commerce

675 W Beech St
San Diego, CA 92101
For some serious next-level indulgence, head to the newly revamped Craft & Commerce in downtown San Diego. Brunch offerings from executive chef Ted Smith range from the goat cheese and orange marmalade topped grilled toast (dubbed ‘The Orange Rides the Goat Toast’) to an old-school hearty fried chicken and waffle plate. Other menu favorites include an over-the-top foie gras breakfast burrito filled with marinated skirt steak. Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm.

Café 21

2736 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Lines for brunch are always out the door at this cozy Gaslamp Quarter restaurant (they have another location in North Park). Along with its popular mimosa and sangria flights, there are some new morning items worth the wait; with sweet and savory crêpes joining the menu’s cast-iron skillets, omelets, pancakes, and classic French toast with powdered sugar. Other brunch favorites include flavored pancakes like the tiramisu with espresso maple syrup, mascarpone cream, chocolate sauce and cocoa powder; shrimp corn cakes; and a fusion Eggs Benedict with cilantro cream sauce.

Bloody Marys are offered with a red, green or yellow heirloom tomato mix, while mimosa and sangria Flights are served on a tasting tree, with rotating weekly flavors. Brunch is served until 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Crown Room at Hotel Del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA
San Diego’s flagship fancy brunch is still running strong and remains a beloved favorite of locals and visitors, alike. Every Sunday, their Victorian Crown Room dining room fills up with food like King Crab legs, a gourmet Bloody Mary bar, sushi, egg dishes, french toast and much, much more. The regular brunch costs $93 per person for adults, $23 for children, but their Chef’s Table option has one seating at 10am and includes a garden tour, Champagne reception, specially plated courses and a reserve wine selection for $150.

 

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The Pearl Hotel

1410 Rosecrans St
San Diego, CA 92106
The Pearl Hotel’s new restaurant, Charles & Dinorah, is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Favorites include chilaquiles with two sunny eggs, black beans, farro and salsa verde; chicken fried steak with sausage gravy and hash browns; a Croque Madame with black forest ham, mornay, Irish cheddar and sunny side-up egg; and Nutella french toast with brioche and buckwheat pancakes with apple butter, both served with a house-infused cardamom maple syrup. Brunch hours are 10am to 3pm on Sundays.

Little Lion Café

1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd
San Diego, CA
Sunset Cliffs’ Little Lion Cafe is a brunch favorite for many locals in Ocean Beach and Point Loma — so much so that people forget they serve dinner, too! The granddaughters of the (now closed) Belgian Lion owners are serving up a rotating menu of superfood bowls, baked eggs in cream, savory lunch options, bruschettas, poached eggs and more in this cozy and super stylish restaurant. Another bonus: vegetarians, vegans and meat- eaters alike will all find something delicious to suit their needs. Don’t skip the vanilla latte and make sure you get there early on weekends to avoid crowds!

For other brunch and breakfast ideas, visit our favorite brunch spots in La Jolla or visit our restaurant directory!

High Tide Dinner at The Marine Room: Oceanfront Dining at its Best

Since it opened its doors in 1941, The Marine Room has been the benchmark for quality oceanfront dining in La Jolla. It brought first-class French-inspired cuisine to San Diego for the first time; and with it, an inclusion of all things nautical: even its seahorse emblem, which has remained the same for more than 75 years, has become synonymous with quality and elegance.

We were invited to experience what a High Tide Dinner at this special place is all about! Here’s an inside look at the magic behind one of La Jolla’s most beloved icons.

76 Years in the Making

Spindrift Inn was built in 1916 and for years served as the only lodging along La Jolla Shores. In 1935, the Inn, along with the La Jolla Beach & Yacht Club (now La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club), were purchased by Frederick W. Kellogg. It was actually his son, William Scripps Kellogg, who opened the restaurant we know today in 1941.

The opening day menu featured Fresh Lobster à la Newburg in a shell for $1.35; Rainbow Mountain Trout Sauté Amandine for $1.25, and martinis for just 35 cents!

Remarkably, it wasn’t until the El Niño storms of 1982 that the relentless tide forced its way through the windows and flooded the restaurant, resulting in a nine-month remodeling and restoration project. This included installation of even tougher windows; ever since, the glass has held and the windows have remained beautifully intact.

Not Your Typical Oceanfront View

Being situated on multiple levels, the views begin right when you step foot into the restaurant and make for a stunningly dramatic entrance. A short, winding staircase leads one to the main dining areas, where there are tables and elevated booths arranged with white linens and elegant tableware. Wall-to-wall windows give patrons a sweeping 180-degree panorama of the ocean, and waves can be heard crashing against the windows from nearly every table.

This really isn’t your typical ‘oceanfront dining;’ you are quite literally on the water, which, needless to say, makes those crashing waves all the more dramatic.

It’s interesting to note that this is the only restaurant of its kind in the area, and that is mostly due to present-day building restrictions. Because it was built in 1941, before local authorities were closely watching coastal development, the Marine Room’s construction was uninterrupted – and the result is breathtaking.

Mouthwatering Cuisine

Our dinner that evening was ordered from their specialty a la carte menu, created especially for the High Tide Dinners. We began with the signature lobster bisque, a wonderfully sweet rendition of the classic, and the crab cakes; paired cleverly with acorn noodles, the cakes were warm, moist, and perfectly flavored.

For the entrees, we ordered the Lobster tail, which was melt-in-your-mouth delicate; and the Ahi Tuna (recommended by our server), which did not disappoint with a side of sticky black rice, avocado, mango, and an unusually evocative white port hibiscus infusion.

Dessert was a lovely finish to the meal: the Spindrift Cobblestone Pie, which has been on their menu for years and remained a consistent favorite. The pie comes with espresso and vanilla ice cream, toasted hazelnuts, and a perfectly flavored Maker’s Mark bourbon sauce for just the right amount of kick. It wasn’t too sweet or too heavy, which is perfect on the palate after an incredibly flavorful three-course meal. We definitely did the right thing going with seafood for our main dishes – everything was cooked to perfection.

Wall of Waves

During dinner (reservations are held from 5pm to 10pm), it’s common to see kayakers, scuba divers, and even the occasional seal or sea lion trying to snatch up the last of their meal. A floodlight is angled directly onto the water, illuminating sea life several feet outward and enhancing the up-close view of crashing waves.

Between courses, we took nearly every opportunity to photograph the waves crashing against the windows; there is something to be said for having that kind of entertainment to accompany your meal! High tides typically range between 4 and 5 feet above sea level, so the 6-foot to over 7-foot high tides during summer are reason enough to make this a memorable experience.

That evening, the peak tide was reported to be 6.7 feet at 9:52pm. We arrived around 8:00 and were able to see the progression towards the larger and more impressive tide. Once night fell, two seals made an appearance; our waiter noted that over the years, several seals have situated themselves right on their property for days (even weeks) at a time!

The magic of The Marine Room is more than just the waterfront views. It’s the ambiance, the attention to detail, and the tireless hospitality that truly place this restaurant in a class of its own.

Other opulent dining experiences throughout the year include Mother’s Day and Easter Brunch and special Father’s Day dinners. High Tide Breakfasts are held every October through March, and High Tide Dinners are from April through September. The Marine Room is located at 2000 Spindrift Dr. in La Jolla Shores. To make a reservation call (858) 459-7222 or visit their website!

Exploring Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, & Dining

Balboa Park

This historic San Diego park is a must see, no doubt about it. Built in 1986 and majorly re-vamped in 1915, Balboa Park holds over 100 years of Southern California life and culture. It’s home to seventeen award-winning museums, more than fifteen green promoting gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo and (if you can believe it) much more! Here’s the basic layout of what you’ll find, events to look out for and information to help you plan the ultimate trip.

Museums

Whether you’re a lover of science or art, trains or sports…there’s a museum for everyone, even the typical non-museum goers. Some of the most applauded favorites include:

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Museum of Man
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Mingei International Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts
Timken Museum of Art
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego History Center

As for prices and packages, there are multiple options. If you’re a resident, did you know you can go for free? On each Tuesday of each month, Balboa Park hosts “Residents Free Days,” where different museums offer free admission to San Diego residents (you’ll need ID confirming your residency) each week.  Find out which museums are free on which Tuesdays here.

If you’re not a resident or you’re interested in going on a day other than a Tuesday, you can :

• Pay for admission at each museum individually (prices vary)

• Purchase a Go San Diego Card for discounted admission to more than 40 San Diego attractions – including Balboa Park!

• Purchase an Annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass: This pass gives you entry into all 17 museums for an entire year. And this isn’t Disneyland; there are no blackout days.

**It’s important to note that with any of these options, special exhibits aren’t included, such as the Natural History Museum’s King Tut or Museum of Man’s Torture Exhibit.**

Balboa Park Gardens

If you enjoy botany or simply looking at beautiful flowers, there’s plenty to see here. Walk through the Botanical Building to transport yourself across the world. Not only is the inside captivating, but the outer design is very striking and in many classic Balboa Park photographs.

Just outside its main doors are plants known for housing caterpillars. They blend in well, but look carefully amongst the green leaves and you’ll find them; you may be surprised at just how darling a yellow caterpillar can be! One of the best parts about this spot though? It’s free.

As far as larger gardens go, the other two main ones are the Rose Garden across the road from the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is lovely, especially the coy fish it features in its shaded pond. It’s good to note that it’s the only garden that charges a fee.

The other smaller gardens you’ll find sprinkled amongst the park; we recommend walking and exploring to let yourself surprisingly stumble upon them. Go far enough? You’ll find trails around the park’s edges, the most intricate and steep going along Florida Street to Morley Field.

All of the gardens at Balboa Park:

    • Old Cactus Garden
    • Alcazar Garden
    • Botanical Building & Lily Pond
    • Native Plant Garden
    • Casa del Rey Moro Garden
    • Desert Garden
    • Children’s Peace Garden
    • Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve
    • Memorial Rose Garden
    • Japanese Friendship Garden
    • Marston House Garden
  • Palm Canyon
  • Trees for Health Garden
  • Veterans Memorial Garden
  • Zoro Garden

San Diego Zoo

The world famous San Diego Zoo is famous for many reasons, some of the top being the pandas and Australian koalas, of course. There’s so many wonderful things here that we gave it its own page. Learn more about this zoo and what it has to offer at our San Diego Zoo page.

The Old Globe Theatre

You were transported to Asia in the Japanese Friendship Garden. You experienced Australia taking in the zoo’s koalas. Now, let’s take you over to Europe by putting you in the recreation of England’s Old Globe Theatre. We think Shakespeare would be proud the Old Globe created right here in San Diego, still performing his plays to this day.

You’ll find more than just Shakespeare, though. Famous Broadway and locally written plays are performed here, as well. Watching a play here is a brilliant way to experience theatre the way it was back in Shakespeare’s time, a great way to transcend time.

Events

There’s a constantly updated calendar for Balboa Park. Between all the museums, the theatre and zoo, there’s always something going on. We want to highlight two particular noteworthy events, one that’s weekly and one yearly.

International Cottages Sunday:

Every Sunday from noon to 4 pm, head to the international cottages located on the lovely stretch between the Organ Pavillion and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Each of the cottages represents a different country and is filled with cultural decor, educational information and folks (usually from and) very knowledgeable about the country.

On these Sunday afternoons, they have samples of treats from that nation. For example, head to House of England for tea and samples of tea cakes, House of Spain for Spanish cookies and House of Iran for a savory treat so magical….you just have to eat it to believe it.

There’s also a lawn program included. Every Sunday, one of the nations’ cottages puts on an afternoon of cultural performances and entertainment. It rotates throughout the year, so you’ll enjoy Filipino dancing one week and witness Ukrainian performances the next!

December Nights:

Each year at Christmas time, usually the first weekend of the month, Balboa Park features December Nights. To say this event wows is an understatement. Attendance is at over 350,000 folks a year, and that’s just across 2 days.

These high numbers are drawn by the museums offering free admissions (certain ones at certain times), endless food booths (not free), cultural cuisine hosted by the International Cottages (also not free), no-cost performances in the Organ Pavillion, stages hosting performances around the entire park and so much more.

We find that it’s good to go in with some knowledge, but, when it comes down to it…you’re going to discover things you had never heard about simply arriving in-person. Show up and let the event sweep you off your feet.

In Conclusion

Balboa Park truly does have something for everyone. As with anywhere, the earlier you come for parking the better and the weekdays are less busy than weekends. However, because it is such a vast space and there are so many lots as well as street parking along the sides, even if there’s some hunting, you’ll be able to find a spot! Learn more about San Diego and it’s nearby downtown at our Downtown San Diego & Gaslamp Page.

Enjoy a Handcrafted Easter Celebration at Flemings La Jolla

This Easter Sunday, April 21st, create unforgettable moments with family and friends over a three-course brunch at Flemings La Jolla! Complete with favorites like Brioche French Toast, their signature Filet Mignon Eggs Benedict, and a Spring Vegetable Quiche, plus dessert entrees like Flourless Chocolate Cake and beverage options including a Berry Mimosas, there is truly something for everyone this weekend! Brunch begins at 10:00am.

You can choose from the three-course brunch, their full dinner menu, or a three-course Filet & Lobster menu – also available all day.  Even the little ones will be delighted by a special three-course children’s brunch menu.  All entrées include a choice of one starter, sides to share, and your choice of dessert.

Starters

CAESAR SALAD
Hearts of romaine, parmesan, fried capers, crispy prosciutto

LOBSTER BISQUE
North Atlantic Lobster, spiced sherry cream

Entrées

SIGNATURE EGGS BENEDICT: choice of —

  • Sliced Filet Mignon & Hollandaise
  • Crab cake & tomato Hollandaise
  • Surf & Turf

SPRING VEGETABLE QUICHE
Caramelized onions, asparagus, green peas, herbed goat cheese with tomato hollandaise

STEAK & SPRING VEGETABLE QUICHE
6oz Filet Mignon, caramelized onions, asparagus, green peas, herbed goat cheese with tomato hollandaise

BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST
With strawberry sauce & maple syrup on the side

SALMON COBB SALAD
Hard-boiled eggs, danish blue cheese crumbles, bacon, tomatoes, creamy honey-lime vinaigrette

Sides to Share

LYONNAISE POTATOES
With caramelized onions

FRESH ROASTED ASPARAGUS
With herb butter

Dessert

NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
Classic preparation, topped with caramel & fresh citrus

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
Strawberry sauce & Chantilly whipped cream

Beverages

BERRY MIMOSA
BUTCHER’S BLOODY MARY

Flemings Steakhouse is located at 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122. To make reservations for Easter Brunch at Flemings La Jolla, visit their website or give them a call at (858) 535-0078.

Where to Go Whale Watching in San Diego

Where to Go Whale Watching in San Diego

We are in the throes of the perfect time to go whale watching in San Diego! Every winter, more than 20,000 Pacific gray whales travel 10,000 miles round-trip (the longest migration of any mammal on earth) from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California. That makes San Diego, with its 78 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, the perfect place to watch.

The best time to watch for gray whales is from December through mid- to late April, depending on the year. To see a blue whale, wait until the spring and summer seasons. That’s when several hundred Blue whales migrate into southern California waters to feed on huge quantities of krill. Dolphins, Finback whales, Humpback whale, Minke whales, and other whales may also be viewed then.

There are plenty of boat tours that will take you out on the water for a close-up glimpse, but if you’re looking to stay dry and just take it easy, here are some great ways to go whale watching in San Diego and in and around La Jolla.

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Western Overlooks at Cabrillo National Monument

The gray whales have been known to pass right by the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument – the heights and incredible panoramas from the park’s Whale Overlook and Old Point Loma Lighthouse offer the best viewing of the San Diego coastline. Bring binoculars if you have them: they can make things much easier! If you don’t have any, a limited number of binoculars are available at the Visitor Center during whale season. Just ask for them at the information desk.

Luckily, it’s possible to see the whales anytime during daylight hours – they swim 24 hours a day.

Where to Look

Look west from the park overlooks, toward the ocean and San Diego Bay. The whales are migrating south towards mainland Mexico, so they will be moving from the north (right) to the south (left) as you look from the park. Expect them to be moving at a steady clip of about five miles per hour, and although some whales swim close to shore, most swim in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about three-quarters of a mile out) to the horizon.

Later in the spring, the gray whales will migrate north again, but they are generally too far out in the ocean to see from the park.

 

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, the State Reserve is comprised of 1,750 miles of hiking trails, Torrey Pine trees, and indigenous wildlife. Its beautiful coastal wilderness coupled with easy, family-friendly paths and hiking trails, makes for a perfect place to whale or dolphin watch in La Jolla.

The Beach Trail (3/4 of a mile) or the Razor Point Trail (1.4 miles) are probably your best bet for some action. Much of the Beach Trail, as the name implies, does indeed hug the beach. Razor Point is a longer loop and gives you more time on the trail, and never strays far from views of the water. Much of the path also overlooks the beautiful, jagged cliffs the area is known for.

Take a Kayak Tour

This is a popular one – many people have reported whale sightings during their La Jolla kayak tours. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the whales, and it’s safe to say there’s no better way to experience the migration.

There are several companies at La Jolla Shores that offer specific Whale Watching kayak tours on a daily basis (weather permitting). Depending on the tour, you may also get to explore the seven sea caves along the shoreline.

According to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, gray whales generally travel alone or in pods of two or three but more may be seen traveling together during peak migration season (Mid-January), so keep an eye out for large pods. Fun fact: adult gray whales can be up to 45 feet long and weigh up to 33 tons!

Book a Boat Excursion

If you want to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures, a whale watching San Diego tour around San Diego harbor is your best bet. Book a tour through any number of whale watching companies in the area; most are located near Point Loma or San Diego Bay.

Book a discounted tour with the Go San Diego Card here:

San Diego Whale Watch is one of the more popular ones, but any one of them will get you out on the water. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins (particularly the common dolphin, the most prevalent) – they have been seen during blue whale and gray whale season, as well as sea lions! Additionally, Hornblower Cruises offer San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours starting December 9.

The tours are 3.5 hours and each ride features informational narrative by an onboard naturalist about the marine life you’ll see. Each yacht has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, plus a snack bar featuring food and a full bar. Cruise-goers often spot whales, sea lions, dolphins and other types of marine life!

What to Look For…

The Birch Aquarium has some great guidelines for what to expect to see when you’re grey whale watching:

The Blow or Spout

When warm, moist air exhaled from the whales’ lungs meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates what we call a blow or spout. A gray whale’s blow can spray up to 15 feet high, and each blow is visible for about five seconds. Anticipate that the whale will dive for three to six minutes, then surface for three to five blows in row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for three to six minutes again.

The Flukes (Tail)

Before making a deep dive, a gray whale often displays its 12-foot wide fan-shaped flukes or tail. The weight of the tail above the whale’s body helps it to dive deep, so you’ll see it surface just before they go under. Fun fact: a whale’s fluke has no bones; it only connects to the body and tail muscles by banks of tendons.

Knuckled Back and Footprint

If the lighting is right, and if the whale is close enough, it’s possible to see the back of a gray whale during and after the blow. It’s generally shiny and black or gray, with a knuckled ridge along the spine. After the whale submerges you may note an elongated, smooth oval of calm water, known as a footprint, where the whale has been.

Breach and Splash

Gray whales occasionally hurl themselves out of the water and plunge back in with a tremendous splash. This is called breaching. Scientists don’t know exactly why they do this, but it’s incredible to watch. Sometimes other whales in the area will copy the behavior, so keep your eyes open!

If You Do Spot a Whale…

Remember that they are migrating south – so once you’ve spotted a whale, you can expect that it will surface again to the south. After watching an individual gray whale for a while, you will be able to anticipate its unique rhythm of breaths and dives and where it will surface next.

Where To Have An Incredible Easter Brunch In La Jolla

Delicious food and quality time with loved ones is what Easter is all about – and Easter Brunch La Jolla comes with that, plus incredible ocean views! Celebrate Easter weekend at one of these world-class La Jolla restaurants. Some are offering a buffet this year, while others will be featuring a prix-fixe menu. Please note that a reservation is required for most of the restaurants on this list, unless otherwise noted.

Fleming’s Steakhouse La Jolla

When: Sunday, April 21st; starts at 10am
Address: 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego CA 92122
Create unforgettable Easter moments over a three-course brunch at Flemings La Jolla, with favorites like Brioche French Toast and a Spring Vegetable Quiche. Choose from their full dinner menu, or their three-course Filet & Lobster menu, also available all day. Even the little ones will be delighted by their special three-course children’s brunch menu! Reservations are required. Call (858) 535-0078 or reserve online.

Nine-Ten La Jolla

When: Sunday, April 21st; 10:00am to 2:30pm
Address: 910 Prospect St La Jolla, CA 92037
Cost: 3 courses for $35/person
Nine-Ten’s Easter celebration is a world-class event! Chef Jason Knibb and Pastry Chef Jose Alonzo, III, will prepare a special Easter Sunday Brunch three-course menu featuring a choice of starters, entrees, and desserts. $16 bottomless mimosas and other drink specials will also be available. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 858.964.5400 or reserve online here.

The Marine Room

When: Sunday, April 21st; 10:00am to 4:00pm
Address: 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, California 92037
Cost: $82 for adults, $45 for children
Enjoy a fabulous brunch with one of the best views in La Jolla! The Marine Room is perched on the water and offers up incredible French/American cuisine. This year their Easter buffet will feature a seasonal menu that includes Coronado Island Sea Bass Ceviche, Truffle Eggs Benedict, Spindrift Seafood Crepes, and more. For reservations please call (855) 203-8511 or make a reservation online.

la jolla shores

La Jolla Shores Restaurant

When: Sunday, April 21st; 9:30am to 2:30pm
Address: 8110 Camino Del Oro, San Diego, CA 92037
Cost: $68 per adult; $39 for children 6 to 10 years, and $6 per year for children 5 and under
Enjoy Chef Percy’s brunch on the beach and you’ll find something to satisfy every taste with a buffet that features favorites like Kings Hawaiian French Toast and Hazelnut Crusted Petrale Sole, along with Buchmann’s Ranch Cage Free Egg and Linguini Station, Herb-Roasted Colorado Leg of Lamb, and more. Call (858) 456-0600 or make a reservation online.

the med la jolla

The MED Restaurant

When: Sunday, April 21st; 10:00am to 2:30pm
Address: 1132 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Cost: $89 per adult, $39 per child
One of the most show-stopping and popular brunches you just have to attend is Easter at THE MED. The ocean view restaurant boasts a food smorgasbord full of action stations and whimsical dishes. Guests can choose from items such as quiche, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, a seafood selection of fresh shucked oysters, crudo, crab claws and jumbo shrimp, fresh salads and crudité, as well as action stations such as omelets, meat carving and dessert. They will also have three Easter Egg Hunts for little ones that day: at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, with a special visit from the Easter Bunny at those times as well. Make reservations online or give them a call at (855) 818-6887.

CUSP Dining & Drinks

When: Sunday, April 21st 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Address: 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla CA 92037
Cusp’s Easter Brunch is a family pleaser with classic dishes for all ages. Take advantage of Chef Ingrid Funes’ new brunch menu, featuring classic a la carte dishes like caramel french toast, a variety of Benedicts, and fresh salads. There will also be decadent specials like Prime Rib, Red Velvet Pancakes and House Cinnamon Rolls! Guests will also enjoy complimentary valet. Located on the top level of Hotel La Jolla, Cusp boasts panoramic views of La Jolla Shores, a beautiful backdrop for this special occasion. Reservations strongly suggested. Call (858) 551-3620 or make reservations online.

Itinerary for a Perfect Day at La Jolla Cove

La Jolla, California is famous for its mouthwatering brunches, gorgeous views, the Birch Aquarium, and, of course, its beautiful beaches. And one of the most recognizable is definitely La Jolla Cove! It’s beautiful, safe for children, great for snorkeling, and one of the few places you can truly see the local sea lions in action. Instead of coming for just an hour or two, why not make a day out of it? We’ve put together an itinerary for a fun, carefree way to do just that.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast – with a view.

To fuel up for an exciting day, we recommend grabbing a great meal and cup of coffee at Harry’s Coffee Shop. This is a beloved local gem that’s been a family-owned business for more than fifty years, since its founding in 1960. Soak in the friendly, local atmosphere as you tuck into waffles (our favorite), eggs, or fluffy French Toast. You can even grab a cheeseburger, if that’s what you crave at 7am; they’re served all day!

Head to La Jolla Cove to watch the sea lions.

From the sidewalk above the cliffs at La Jolla Cove, you have a great vantage point of the sunbathing seals and sea lions. If you want a bit more up-close-and-personal view, head down onto the sandy beach via the staircase to the left. Look for a series of small sea caves, which make for great photo ops!

Take in the view from Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Head up the steps and onto the green of one of La Jolla’s best parks, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. It’s a lovely place to play frisbee, fly a kite, and shake the sand from your toes; or just to throw down a blanket and check out the gorgeous panoramas (including the seals and sea lions down below).

From here, it’s an easy stroll to your next destinations within the downtown Village!

Take a break for lunch.

Downtown La Jolla Village offers some great restaurant options. Take in your midday meal at a casual spot like the Coffee Cup or The Cottage (both beloved by locals for their fabulous brunch and lunch options), or head to an upscale venue with a patio for people-watching like NINE-TEN Restaurant inside the Grande Colonial Hotel.

Take a stroll along the Historic Coast Walk.

In our opinion, no visit to La Jolla is complete without a stroll along the beautiful Historic Coast Walk Trail! The trail begins at The Cave Store (where you can venture down to Sunny Jim Cave before you walk), and takes you along the bluffs over to La Jolla Shores.

While you’re at The Shores, you can rent equipment from a local spot and go kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or snorkeling.

Enjoy Happy Hour by the sea.

Coming back after your exhilarating stroll, a refreshing drink may sound like the very best thing! There are some amazing happy hours to choose from in La Jolla; whether you’re in the mood for drinks with a view (we love Catania) or you want something a little cozier and more quiet.

Locals’ tip: For something a bit more tucked-away, try the We Olive & Wine Bar! They have a terrific patio in back with an ocean view; it’s rarely crowded, and makes for a relaxing spot to enjoy a glass of wine while you watch the sun set.

Stroll the art galleries or tour the eclectic Murals of La Jolla.

After sipping a glass of wine or a martini, enjoy the downtown Village art scene as the sun goes down. La Jolla is an art lover’s paradise! Walk the numerous art galleries along Girard Avenue or Prospect Street, or take a walk and discover all the hidden murals throughout La Jolla. There are now about two dozen of them scattered throughout the Village; many of which are tucked away in small corners and on the sides of buildings. On certain days of the month, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library offers free guided tours – be sure to check it out!

If you’re looking for more public outdoor art, check out The Stuart Collection at MCSASD La Jolla. Although the museum is temporarily closed for a new exhibit installation, the gardens are open and free to the public – and make for a great sunset-watching spot!

Grab some dinner.

The beauty of dining here is the variety! You can enjoy fine seafood spots like The Hake and Crabcatcher, or brewery-inspired restaurants like Karl Strauss and Public House La Jolla. To dine with a view, check out Duke’s La Jolla and George’s at the Cove. Both of them are waterfront and have gorgeous views of the coast! Spice things up with a yummy cocktail (the Hake just redid their cocktail menu) and catch some live music later at The Manhattan.

Check out our complete Restaurant Guide for more ideas!

End the day with some comedy.

The Comedy Store, which has been hosting well-known comedians since its opening in 1977, is a great place to sit, relax and let yourself be entertained after a long day. We recommend checking it out and booking tickets ahead of time. It’s a wonderful way to end a great day, and some pretty famous comedians have come through here over the years – including Jim Carey, Bill Hicks, Whitney Cummings, and countless others.

Spend the night in a luxurious hotel.

If you’re staying the night, try one of La Jolla’s five-star hotels (we love La Valencia and the Grande Colonial), or check out one of the cozier and more quaint B&B’s (The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, Redwood Hollow Cottages, and Scripps Inn are our favorites).

Uncovering the Roots of the Chumash People of Southern California

Long before there was the Hotel del Coronado, Hollywood, or Disneyland, Southern California was home to an indigenous population of people known as the Chumash. Researchers have uncovered many clues about the lifestyle of the people that lived along the southern coast. One thing scientists have not fully uncovered, however, is where those indigenous people came from. The original assumption was that thousands of years ago, they migrated from Asia via the glacier ice cap before it melted.

An obvious approach to unveiling the history of a state is to look at what the settlers named the state. When Spanish explorers first came to the coast, they named the place after a Black Amazon woman named Queen Calafia. She was the queen of an island called California, in a fictional novel that was popular in those days. This fact gives some insight as to how the natives looked. Finding clues as to where they came from, however, is a much more complicated assignment.

One might wonder how it is possible to link a modern group of people to a tribe from hundreds or thousands of years ago. This has been a challenging task for researchers for some time now. Fortunately, new technological advances have enabled scientists to gain more insight into the migration of native Californians. The most powerful advance in science is DNA testing. Testing the DNA on a fossil is difficult, but not impossible. Once the DNA of a fossil is abstracted, it can be compared to the DNA of a living person. Once a match is found, then the living person has an idea of where their ancestors came from.

One group of native Californians is the Chumash tribe. Although there are no longer any full-blood Chumash people left, modern DNA testing – much of which is being done with home kits like those reviewed at YourDNA – links the remaining descendants to earlier natives in the Americas. Recent studies have shocked the Chumash culture by showing that the migration of these people came from the Alaska area instead of Asia. The DNA tests showed strong matches between a fossilized jaw bone found near Alaska and Chumash people living today in California.

The remaining people of the Chumash tribe were surprised to learn that their roots are now being traced back to somewhere that is thousands of miles away from where they have been for multiple generations. These groundbreaking studies challenge everything scientists have thought about the origin of Native Americans who once lived in Southern California. Not to mention, the Chumash tribe, through DNA tests, have now learned that their ancestors and current relatives could very well be all along the coast of this continent. This discovery would not have been possible without DNA tests.

Learning this new information about where the Chumash culture started gives researchers a new area to look into in regards to human migration worldwide. While this newfound evidence does go against the theory of an eastward migration, it does support the theory of mankind having a common ancestor. None of this evidence is 100 percent proof of anything, but it does point scientists in the right direction. Also, it gives us a better understanding of cultural origins and why they have so many similarities. As more of these tests are done we can expect to have more light on who came from where.

5 La Jolla Hotels That Won’t Break the Bank

La Jolla is known for its fine dining, beautiful beaches, and five-star hotels; but staying here for more than a few days can definitely start to add up! If you’re heading to the Village or La Jolla Cove with family or just want to stay in a more low-key spot, we’ve found a few La Jolla hotels that won’t break the bank. Though rates aren’t guaranteed, these places are typically more affordable than other hotels in the area; however, it’s always a good idea to call the hotel ahead of time to double check the rates.

Cormorant La Jolla (Opening Soon!)

1110 Prospect Street, La Jolla 92037

The La Jolla Inn has recently come under new ownership and is being remodeled and rebranded as Cormorant La Jolla, a Boutique Hotel! The Cormorant is looking to fill a boutique hotel niche in the Village, advertising itself as ‘low-key luxury,’ and is set to open sometime in 2019. Guests will enjoy expansive coastal views from their ocean-view balcony rooms and rooftop sitting area, with easy access to nearby shopping, dining, recreation, and attractions along historic Prospect Street. Stay tuned for more details!

The Shoal at La Jolla Beach

6750 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla 92037

After a massive multi-million dollar renovation of the La Jolla Travelodge, The Shoal at La Jolla Beach announced its grand opening last December as one of La Jolla’s newest boutique hotels. Originally built in 1956, this latest renovation is the most extensive upgrade in the property’s history. Completely transformed from a traditional Travelodge to a luxurious boutique hotel, The Shoal is primed for both business travelers and vacationers. Rebuilt from the hotel’s original structural bones, The Shoal was redesigned with a focus on environmental sustainability and upscale comfort.

The Sands of La Jolla

5417 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla 92037

The Sands of La Jolla is a family-owned and operated boutique hotel that recently remodeled all of its rooms and suites. Though it’s a bit closer to the Bird Rock neighborhood, it’s easily walkable to downtown La Jolla and is just a few minutes’ walk from nearby La Jolla beaches like Windansea Beach (surfers love it because it’s also close to Tourmaline, a surfing hotspot). All rooms have balconies or patio, and there’s a heated pool and outdoor lounge onsite. Rates stay between $93 and $129, depending on availability. Check the website for more information.

La Jolla Village Lodge

1141 Silverado St, La Jolla 92037

At the edge of downtown La Jolla and tucked away in the business district, this 30-room 1950s-era motel was recently restored in period mid-century style with custom-built tables and chairs, teak headboards and new mattresses. Rooms have kitchenettes and the motel’s roof deck gives long-distance views. There’s a continental breakfast in the lobby each morning, as well as free parking onsite. Rates are usually between $110 and $139, again depending on which site you book through and whether or not it’s a weekend. Check website for more info.

Sheraton La Jolla

3299 Holiday Ct., La Jolla 92037

The Sheraton is not located in downtown La Jolla, but is directly next to The Shoppes at La Jolla Village Square and is about a ten or fifteen minute drive to the downtown area. This hotel is nice in that it’s a bit more spacious than the hotels directly in the Village, and features several acres of tropical garden-like area with a koi pond. They have two fine dining restaurants on site, as well as a heated pool and Fitness Center. There are 252 rooms, so there’s a better chance you’ll be able to reserve one here if the others are sold out! Rates are usually much cheaper than those in downtown La Jolla, and hover between $99 and $110. Check their website for more info.

Whether you’re staying next to La Jolla Cove, Torrey Pines, or La Jolla Shores, there’s a Southern California hotel for you! For more information on hotels and where to stay in La Jolla, including luxury hotels (like La Valencia and Estancia La Jolla) head to our Hotels Page.

legoland california

10 Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND California This Year

LEGOLAND California is one of San Diego’s most popular theme parks, and provides families the unique opportunity to experience all things LEGO – in one place! Located in Carlsbad, California the entire park is themed around the colorful LEGO bricks. Each section of the park (there are 9 different areas) comes with its own theme – from Ninjago World to MiniLand USA, which features LEGO-sized reproductions of certain areas of the US, in addition to a waterpark, aquarium, and its very own LEGOLAND Hotel. Here are ten reasons to visit LEGOLAND California this year!

1. It’s more than your typical amusement park.

LEGOLAND California has more to explore than its rides – including a Waterpark, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the official LEGOLAND Hotel.

The Waterpark: The LEGOLAND Waterpark is impressive, especially with the recent addition of the Chima section which includes more slides and the Lion Temple Wave Pool. Head to the park to experience Riptide Racers, the Wipeout Lagoon, Build-a-Raft River, Duplo Splash Safari, Joker Soaker, Pirate Reef, Orange Rush, Soak n Sail, and the Splash Zoo; each one offers a different set of rides, splash zones, and epic water adventures for you and the little ones!

You can upgrade your LEGOLAND ticket to include the Waterpark for $30.

Sea Life Aquarium: The aquarium at LEGOLAND is an interactive guide to the life of the sea, combining active hands-on learning with fascinating educational talks and up-close encounters with sea creatures, including sharks, octopi and rays. The newest exhibit, Sea at Night, allows you to stroll in a gentle surf under a starry sky – during the day! Walk, jump and splash in a simulated bioluminescent tide with the little ones. Any LEGOLAND ticket can be upgraded to include SEA LIFE Aquarium admission for $25.

2. You can get discounted tickets any time of year.

The Go San Diego Card, is a multi-attraction pass that gets you big discounts at the top attractions in San Diego. With the all-inclusive pass, you’ll have access to more than 40 spots in San Diego – and that includes LEGOLAND – at discounted prices! 1-Day admission tickets to LEGOLAND California start at $89.99.

3. The LEGOLAND Hotel (and Castle) is truly magical.

The LEGOLAND Hotel recently expanded to include a brand-new LEGOLAND Castle, which offers a totally different (and awesome) overnight experience. The original hotel boasts themed rooms, each one completely unique – choose from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO Ninjago, or LEGO Friends. There is nightly children’s entertainment, and a free breakfast buffet every morning of your stay. The Hotel is located right at the entrance to LEGOLAND, so when you wake up the park is quite literally at your front door.

The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is a new castle-themed wonderland. The hotel features 250 LEGO Castle themed rooms with your choice of Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard, plus a new themed restaurant called Dragon’s Den for all your dining needs. There is a special kid’s area that features LEGO building tables and scavenger hunts daily. There is also a pool area, entertainment courtyard, and playful surprises around every corner; every part of the hotel is interactive, and your little ones will get a kick out of exploring every nook and cranny!

4. Kids go for free all year long in 2019.

You heard that right! This year, LEGOLAND California turns 20 years old, and in honor of such an epic occasion, kids 12 and under can enter the park completely for free. If you have little ones, we can’t possibly think of a better reason to check the park out this year!

5. Kids can bring minifigures to trade at the park.

Have your kids bring their old LEGO minifigures to the park (including all the parts and accessories), and they can trade them for new ones right at the Park! Every LEGOLAND employee – they’re called Model Citizens – has a name badge with minifigures fixed onto it. If your little one wants one of the Model Citizen’s minifigures, he or she will gladly trade with them. You’ll also find trading posts throughout the park that offer tons of of mini-men to trade for, and if your child doesn’t have a minifigure for trading, there are plenty of shops throughout the Park where you can pick one up.

6. The park is fun for all ages – even younger kids.

Unlike many theme parks in California, there are a ton of rides and attractions with no height or age restrictions. Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise are great for babies to enjoy, and there are baby-friendly splash pad areas in Pirate Shores and Heartlake City. Toddlers will love the Coastersaurus, Duplo Play Town, and Mia’s Riding Camp, which is a cute carousel.

Preschoolers will get a kick out of the Royal Joust, which takes little ones on a LEGO horse ride through the “countryside.” Junior Driving School is a can’t-miss attraction for kids 3-5, too. Bonus: there are plenty of areas in line for your younger ones to stay entertained and play with LEGO blocks while you stand in line – just scoop up the kiddos before you get on the ride!

7. The whole family will love MiniLand USA.

You’ve likely seen photos of it online, but MiniLand USA is one of LEGOLAND’s most fun attractions. Built with a whopping 32,496,352 LEGO bricks, the area features real-life attractions and famous spots throughout the U.S. See the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the capital building in Washington D.C., Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Grand Central Station in New York, and the strip in Las Vegas all in one day!

8. LEGO fanatics will really get a kick out of the LEGO factory tour.

If you’ve ever wondered how a LEGO brick is made, this self-guided tour will show you from start to finish. The tour features different displays of machines that are used to make LEGO bricks, and you even have an option to get a special item engraved by someone at the end. This is a fun stop that offers a bit of a break in between the other rides and attractions.

9. The park makes it easy to skip long wait lines.

LEGOLAND offers a Reserve-n-Ride system, which allows you to hold a spot in line for their most popular rides without physically having to be in the actual line. To set up a Reserve-n-Ride, visit their website or head to the kiosk just inside the gates. When you purchase the pass, you’ll get to choose between reducing wait times by 25%, 50%, or 95% for $35, $55, and $100 per person, respectively. When you pick up your pass you’ll receive a device that allows you to make a reservation for one ride at a time, from anywhere in the park. When it’s your time ride the device beeps to let you know, and you’re on your way!

10. The LEGOLAND app is a great way to streamline your experience.

Download the LEGOLAND app before you arrive for access to an interactive map, up-to-date ride wait times, height restrictions for rides, directions, and even a car finder to help you keep track of where you’ve parked. It’s a great way to important information right at your fingertips, which can come in handy for a long day of exploring.

It’s Grunion Run Season! 5 Things to Know Before You Go

They flop around, surf the waves, and make sweet love under the moonlight: the season of the grunion run has begun! On beaches all throughout Southern California, you’ll get the chance to experience these strange little creatures up close; and La Jolla has some of the best seats in the house. Just grab your flashlights, a few beach chairs and, if you don’t mind staying up late, get ready to watch them run!

So, What Is a Grunion Run?

Each spring, from April to May or June, thousands of these little silvery fish wash ashore to partake in a strange mating ritual under the moonlight. While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves half-way in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves around the females to fertilize their eggs. The females will lay anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. Then, as the next round of waves wash in, the fish simply float back to sea. Some may call them the original bodysurfers!

1. Grunions runs are unique to Southern California.

That’s right – because grunions are only found off the coast of Southern California, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, and in Northern Baja, Mexico (just north of Punta Abreojos), we Californians are the sole witnesses of this incredible event every year.

2. They usually ‘run’ on wide, sandy beaches.

Ergo, La Jolla is the perfect grunion run destination! La Jolla Shores, to be exact. If you’re a newbie and you want the full experience, we recommend going with the expert naturalists at the Birch Aquarium during, or just after, a full moon. They host guided visits of grunion spawning areas at La Jolla Shores throughout April-June, which includes a full rundown on these mysterious creatures as well as a demonstration of hatchlings emerging from their eggs in a vial of seawater.

Birch Aquarium Grunion Run 2018 schedule:

Wednesday, May 2: 11:00pm – 1:00 am
Thursday, May 31: 10:30pm – 12:30am
Friday, June 1: 11:00pm – 1:00am

3. You can even catch the grunions – but only during specific periods.

If you’re in the market for some fresh seafood, you may want to check out a grunion run this year! While April and May are off-limits to fishing or catching the fish while they’re onshore (this is their prime mating period and are therefore protected), you are allowed to do so in March and June – and only with your hands. No nets, buckets or other gear is allowed, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Additionally, people over 16 need a fishing license to participate, and while there is no official bag limit, it is illegal to waste them. Digging holes in the sand as traps is also forbidden.

4. For the best runs, look for the fish after new or full moons.

These silvery little fish are most likely to surface after the highest tides during a full moon, and the largest numbers of grunions usually wash up about an hour after the ‘run’ begins. Try to avoid using flashlights, as the illumination can scare away the fish, and if you do, limit their use to times after the waves have receded. Do remember to tread carefully; you never know what you may be stepping on, and the vibrations of your feet will often scare the little guys away.

5. Though unlikely, be prepared for a no-show.

As with any creatures, there is an element of luck to our ability to witness them; and while grunion can hit the beach by the thousands, they can also decide not to show up at all. It’s disappointing, but not altogether unusual. And, at the very least, you’ll be enjoying a peaceful moonlit walk along the beach – what could possibly be more Southern Californian than that?

A few grunion run tips and things to remember:

  • Do not touch or or interfere with spawning during closed fishing season (April and May).
  • Walk quietly and don’t shine a flashlight directly on the water
  • Leave your furry friends at home
  • Wear waterproof shoes, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Same goes for clothing, as well.
  • What to bring: a flashlight, a beach chair, a bucket to put your grunion in, and a fishing license if you are planning to take them.

Above all, have fun – and happy grunion running!

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in La Jolla

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate no matter where you are, but there are plenty of ways to make it special right here in La Jolla – and it even falls on a Saturday this year! Get in the green spirit by dining on some corned beef and cabbage, drinking green beer, or sham-rocking the night away this Saturday, March 17th at one of our favorite spots in La Jolla.

Hennessey’s Tavern

Hennessey’s Tavern in La Jolla will be offering food and drink specials all day on March 17, from 8am to close. Dine on Irish treats like Sheppard’s Pie and Irish Bread Pudding. Guinness, Coors, and Blue Moon will be available on tap, and shots of Irish whiskey including Jameson will be $5. 7811 Herschel Ave., La Jolla.

Cusp Dining & Drinks

Head to the 11th floor of Hotel La Jolla, where Cusp Dining will be offering Bubbly Around the Clock! Glasses of bubbly with a hint of Irish spirit will start at 4pm for just $4, and go up $1 every hour. 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla.

Nautilus Tavern

Enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day-themed menu that includes a grilled pastrami sandwich and corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, plus green beer and great specials on Jameson, Guinness, and other cocktails throughout the day. 6830 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes will get into the Emerald Isle spirit by serving up their festive Shamrock Cupcakes from March 4th – March 17th. The decadent Belgian dark chocolate cake is studded with mint dark chocolate M&Ms and a rich green mint frosting, and topped with a bright green shamrock. 8855 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla.

Pacifica Del Mar

Pacifica’s bustling Ocean Bar will be celebrating by pouring their specialty Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita and Green Flash Cocktail, both naturally green in hue and totally delicious! 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. 

St. Paddy’s Day Swim

What better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s than with an early morning swim? Each year, the La Jolla Cove Swim Club hosts its annual St. Paddy’s Day Swim beginning at La Jolla Cove. Head down there on March 17 from 9am – 11am for a fun free swim. The club will provide coffee and muffins for participants afterwards. 1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

Experience the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade west of the Mississippi this year! Join the Irish Congress of Southern California for the 39th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival on Saturday March 16, 2019 starting at 10:30am at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street. Join more than 30,000 attendees in the annual celebration and parade, followed by an Irish Festival in Balboa Park (Sixth and Maple). The festival will feature live entertainment on three stages, plus Irish Step Dancers and a full afternoon line-up with Irish Folk singers and bands. There will also be craft booths, a Celtic Food Village, other food booths, a Beer Garden, and a kids zone.

Limited-Time Burger & Wine Pairing Dinner at Flemings La Jolla

From now through March 12th, savor a mouthwatering burger and wine pairing special at Flemings La Jolla for just $25!

The Pairing

It’s the classic burger and wine pairing, taken to a whole new level. Enjoy Flemings Prime Burger, a combination of USDA prime beef, Wisconsin cheddar cheese, and peppered bacon, accompanied by a glass of Paraduxx By Duckhorn, a Proprietary Red Blend from Napa Valley with rich layers of black raspberry and blackberry pie, finished with notes of cinnamon, vanilla bean, and brown sugar.

The pairing dinner will be available exclusively in the bar at Flemings, now through March 12th for $25 per guest.

About Flemings La Jolla

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in La Jolla is the ultimate steakhouse destination for food and wine lovers seeking a stylish, lively, and memorable dining experience complemented by attentive and knowledgeable service. Here, you’ll find a passion for steak and wine, reflected in an exceptional menu of hand-cut steaks, an award-winning wine program, and seasonal menu selections showcasing locally-inspired chef dishes courtesy of Chef Partner Matthew Cook, who has been at the helm of the Flemings La Jolla team for several years.

About Duckhorn Wines

Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent forty years establishing itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.

You can make reservations online, or via phone by giving Flemings La Jolla a call at (858) 535-0078.

Quintessential Festival 2019: Celebrate All Things San Diego!

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club presents the 6th annual Quintessential Festival this April 27th, from 1pm – 5pm. Celebrate the true ‘quintessence’ of San Diego with craft beers from local breweries, wineries, and distilleries, along with fantastic food, music, and – most importantly – the amazing people that make San Diego America’s Finest City!

The inspiration for this community event stems from the Rotary Club’s desire to build a collaborative event that brings people together from throughout San Diego and raise awareness and funds for the great projects Rotary is doing locally and globally. Last year’s event drew approximately 750 attendees, and this year they intend to drive attendance in excess of 1,000!

Food, Beer, & Fun

This year’s festival will be held at the Nobel Park and Recreation Fields (8810 Judicial Dr, San Diego 92122). Proceeds from this event benefit over 45 local charities and non-profit groups supported annually by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club.

Attendees will get exclusive access and unlimited samples from more than 30 of San Diego’s finest craft brewers, distilleries, and wine and spirit companies. There will also be plenty of live music, complimentary bites from local vendors, and a few dog-friendly events for your four-legged friends.

A Few of This Year’s Participating Breweries

  • Abnormal Beer Co.
  • Alesmith Brewing Company
  • Alpine Beer Company
  • Ballast Point
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Green Flash Brewing Co
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company
  • Mikkeller Brewing
  • Modern Tims Beer
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Saint Archer Brewing Company

Food Vendors

  • Aloha Poke Company
  • Bread & Cheese Catering
  • Doggos Gus
  • Nibble Chocolate
  • Simply Cheddar

For a complete list of participating craft breweries, visit their website! Tickets are $30 and can be purchased ahead of time online.

About the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club

Chartered in 1986 during the formative years of the La Jolla Golden Triangle region (San Diego County), the Rotary Club associated with the growth and dynamics of this renowned area has become one of Rotary International’s most highly accomplished clubs.

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club is an organization of approximately 100 enthusiastic men and woman united in fellowship providing a broad range of humanitarian service and building lasting goodwill locally and globally.

Unabashedly self-proclaimed as the “most dynamic Rotary Club in the world” La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary is consistently one of the top-performing clubs not only in the San Diego/Imperial Counties District, but indeed in the world. The club consistently develops projects to improve health, well-being and self-sufficiency in our surrounding communities and beyond.

Dr. Seuss – ‘The Lorax Tree’ and other La Jolla Inspiration

Theodor Geisel, affectionately known as Dr. Seuss remains one of the most renowned children’s book authors of our time. Theodor and his wife, Audrey Geisel, moved to La Jolla in 1948. They bought an observation tower high atop Mount Soledad which Dr. Seuss would use as his office.

Theodor Geisel at work in his studio. Photo courtesy of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, LP

Dr. Seuss at work in his office overlooking the La Jolla coastline.

Overlooking the picturesque view of the La Jolla coastline and the famous Monterey Cypress trees in Ellen Browning Scripps Park, Dr. Seuss would find the inspiration for many of the his most beloved and popular stories. It was during his time in La Jolla that he would write 48 books including “Horton Hears a Who!,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Sign for Ellen Browning Scripps Park home of The Lorax Tree

Sign for Ellen Browning Scripps Park – home of famous ‘The Lorax Tree’.

The “Truffula Tree” a.k.a The “Lorax Tree”

Dr. Seuss famously said that his favorite of all of his books was The Lorax. Calling it straight propaganda, he was notoriously upset about the billboards, homes and condos that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. Written at the age of 67 and published in 1971, The Lorax is the story of the ambitious Once-ler who builds a huge, thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them.

The 'Truffula Tree' a.k.a The 'Lorax Tree' prior to it's collapse in June of 2019.

The ‘Truffula Tree’ a.k.a The ‘Lorax Tree’ overlooking the La Jolla Cove hotel prior to it’s collapse in June of 2019.

The real-life inspiration for the fictional Truffula species in the book is called the Monterey Cypress. Formed by the wind and unique to the California coast, one tree in particular is said to have inspired this environmental story about letting the trees grow.

The 'Truffula Tree' a.k.a The 'Lorax Tree' overlooking the coves of La Jolla prior to it's collapse in June of 2019.

The ‘Truffula Tree’ a.k.a The ‘Lorax Tree’ overlooking the coves of La Jolla prior to it’s collapse in June of 2019.

Estimated at 80-100 years old, the famous tree known simply as ‘The Lorax Tree’ fell in June of 2019. While city officials knew the tree had a termite problem, its collapse at it roots was unexpected and upsetting for those that knew it well. The exact cause of the fall is under investigation and there are talks of replacement. For now the tree has been removed and parts of the tree may even be repurposed.

Location where the Lorax Tree stood prior to it's collapse with a view of the la Jolla coastline

Location where the Lorax Tree stood after it’s removal

Though much of the scenery in La Jolla is reminiscent of Seussian-style illustration, the trees in The Lorax are particularly notable. With a view of the ocean atop one of the many beautiful overlooks in La Jolla, The Lorax Treeinspired Dr. Seuss to write a story that will be beloved by children for generations. Adapted into a cartoon in 1972 and a feature length movie in 2012, the famous words of the Lorax himself will outlive the famous Monterey Cypress in Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

I speak for the trees
-The Lorax

View from Ellen Browning Scripps Park

One of the many picturesque views of the La Jolla coastline.

The Spires of The Hotel Del Coronado

Just to the south of La Jolla,you can visit one of Dr. Seuss’ real-life inspirations firsthand: The Hotel Del Coronado.

Dr. Seuss’painting, aptly titled “I Dreamed I was a Doorman at the Hotel del Coronado,” is a colorful rendering of the 1888 Victorian hotel. It features a beachside setting with sharp angles, whimsical colors,and an eclectic feel. The doorman is just a tiny speck in the middle of whirlwind of activity and color.

The Del’s bright, red-shingled roofs and storybook style make it something of a fairytale castle, something that surely inspired Geisel; he was fond of all things whimsical (in fact, the word ‘Seussian’ is actually in the dictionary!). He could also see the hotel directly from his Tower perch atop Mt. Soledad.

One Fish, Two Fish…

“The Cat in the Hat,” published in 1957, features a rather odd-looking, high-stress personality, disgruntled orange fish. Referred to as Mr. Krinklebein in the TV show, but simply as “The Fish” in all of the books, he was constantly trying to restore order in his home.

As arguably his most famous book, Dr. Seuss only needed to look out into the bay to see his inspiration for this one – the State of California’s colorful and precocious Garibaldi fish. Though found frequently in La Jolla, the bright orange fish is rarely seen in places away from the southern California coast. And interestingly enough, they are usually aggressive defenders of their natural territory – much like its textual counterpart!

“The Fish” character appears in other stories and almost every other Seuss book, and they always play a similar role: an overly nagging, moralistic creature that admonishes any type of wrongdoing. Geisel actually once referred to his book’s fish character as “my version of Cotton Mather,” the Puritan moralist who advised the prosecutors during the Salem witch trials.

The La Jolla Birdwomen

In the 1960s, Dr. Seuss drew a series of illustrations titled “La Jolla Birdwomen.” They were gently but decidedly satirical, comparing the many birds of La Jolla with the upper-class socialites in La Jolla – a vehicle for another bit of Geisel’s spicy social commentary.

As one of the few men in town who worked from home, Geisel lightheartedly considered himself a “bird watcher on the social scene, always looking to create gentle spoofs of his chic female friends taken up in their whirl of luncheons, parties, and charity balls.”

The Birdwomen series consisted of eleven paintings with comical titles and equally captivating captions: My Petunia Can Lick Your GeraniumNot Speaking, Martini Bird, Gosh! Do I Look as Old as All That!, and View from a Window of a Rented Beach Cottage to name a few.

One of the more direct titles simply exclaims “Oh, I’d love to go to the party, but I’m absolutely dead.” The subtle social jabs became characteristic of Geisel even in the later years, though other than “The Lorax,” many of them remained less popular than his other, more lighthearted works.

Honoring Dr. Seuss

Today, the most notable memorial to Geisel is UC San Diego’s Geisel Library, in La Jolla California. Just outside the entrance visitors will find a life sized bronze Dr. Seuss statue sitting with one of his most beloved characters, a 7’5” tall bronze Cat in the Hat.

The Library was renamed in 1995 (four years after his death) in he and Audrey Geisel’s honor for the generous contributions that they made to the library and their devotion to children’s literature and improving literacy around the world.

Dr. Seuss and La Jolla

Dr. Seuss called La Jolla home for more than 40 years until his death in 1991. His children’s literature, and all of the creatures within his children’s books, are indelibly etched in millions of children’s imaginations around the world. From “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “The Cat in the Hat” to “The Lorax” and “Yertle the Turtle,” Seuss has truly captured the whimsical, fantastical world of a child’s imagination.

Dr. Seuss won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984, a testament to his enduring legacy. His children’s books would be incomplete without his works of art, and his ties to San Diego and La Jolla California are indisputable. Dr. Seuss birthday is celebrated on March 2nd every year, a great time of year to visit La Jolla and explore the inspirations of Dr. Seuss. From the quote on the Coast Walk Trail to his very own art exhibit at the Legends Gallery, you might say Dr. Seuss and La Jolla go together like…

Green Eggs and Ham.’

Wherever You Are, Southern California Has Special Places to Eat

California is packed with an abundance of beautiful places to visit. There are places to take in the scenic views, enjoy a day on one of the many beaches or watch an exciting sports team. All of those things are great. But when it comes down to it, we all look for awesome places to eat while on vacation. If you need some help with getting around, this restaurant and food guide can point you in the right direction.

Taking the Family for Breakfast

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and it’s time to eat. If pancakes or waffles are on your mind be sure to visit Bea Bea’s in Burbank or Torrance: The original pancake house in Redondo beach to get your fix. Looking for something a little different, check out Koreatown’s Bonjuk La or Republique in Los Angeles for breakfast on the next level.

Let’s Enjoy Lunch

Are you ready for lunch? Well if you are, you need to get in the car and find Pinks. Here you will find an interesting array of hot dogs. Yes, we know what you’re thinking, but trust us. There’s no place in Southern California that is better known for hot dogs. They are named after celebrities and they are piled high with fun ingredients. Or, if it’s beef you’re looking for then head on over to an In-N-Out burger, one of the top-rated burger joints on this earth!

Sweets Please

There something about sweets that call to most of us. If you’re one that enjoys a delectable treat from time to time, make a pilgrimage to California Donuts. Nearly anything you can think of, has been placed on top of a fluffy decadent donut. M & Ms, cereal and sprinkles are only the tip of the iceberg. And if you looking for something a little fancy, try ordering some treats from Bonpastry, a San Diego Dessert Catering company for your family gathering or festive birthday party celebration.

How About Some Drinks?

At Class 302, you can enjoy self-serve boba tea. For those of you wondering what boba tea is, it’s a Taiwanese iced tea drink. It’s usually served with milk, sugar and fun little boba, which are chewy tapioca balls that can be found on the bottom of the cup. And, if you need java in your day, be sure to visit Philz Coffee for a unique selection. Lastly for the adults in the group, the Telegraph Brewing Company has suds to tickle your tastebuds.

Bring on the Dinner Options

We have made it all this way and we haven’t discussed tacos. Oh boy, and in Southern California, no less. First dinner option is Tacos El Gordo. Here you will find a yummy selection of tacos to satisfy your craving. Next on the list is Daikoyoya, where you can get a steaming hot bowl of ramen filled with tasty ingredients. Continuing on the Asian inspired train, visit Sushi Ota for your fill of mouth watering sushi. If raw fish is not your thing, then Zankou Chicken has a varietal menu for you. They have many chicken, tri-tip and falafel options for you to try. Choose from quarter, half or whole chicken sizes for the family to enjoy.

The one thing that is great about Southern California is the abundance of available food options. Never settle, just drive a little to get what you and your stomach really want.

The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance: A World-Class Car Show at the Cove

Beauty, elegance, and vintage cars intersect for the annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, which happens each spring at La Jolla Cove. This spectacular show features one-of-a-kind automobile gems from all over the world, and every year avid car enthusiasts head to the coast for a display of classic, unique, and timeless automobiles – a showcase that’s been going strong for over a decade.

This year, three main events will be held April 12-14, 2019 at Ellen Browning Scripps Park and The LOT La Jolla. From specialty craft cocktails to the more than 150 specialty restored automobiles, we can’t think of any reason not to attend this fantastic car show.

A little history of the event

With origins in the late 17th century, the early Concours was a leisurely social affair where lighthearted competitions were rewarded with rosettes, wine, and champagne. As coaches and carriages segued into automobiles in the late 19th century, the competitions became more defined. By the mid 1920s, no society season on the French Riviera was complete without a variety of organized Concours events.

After World War II, a trio of visionaries – Jules Huemann, Reverend Paul Woudenberg and Loren Tryon – created what was to become the grandfather of all post-war Concours — Pebble Beach. What was a European staple for centuries has now become a true international tradition that pays homage to its French roots, and is a world-class event that La Jolla is proud to host each year.

Bring the entire family

General tickets for Concours d’Elegance range from $55 to $70, but children under 10 are free – which makes it a great opportunity to bring your children and create some great family memories. With more than 150 classic cars ranging from vintage Rolls Royces to modern sports cars, it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The main car show event will take place from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, April 14th.

Enjoy craft cocktails & delicious hors d’oeuvres

This year’s Sunday car show will feature live music, spectacular views, and a complimentary French 75 Cocktail and honey tasting from Southern California (in the La Jolla Concours Champagne and Honey Tasting Garden). For a VIP experience, you can spend a little extra and enjoy fabulous bites from 15 of San Diego’s finest restaurants, a hosted bar in the VIP Sponsor Lounge, and more.

View vintage and classic automobiles

Have you ever seen a 1937 Puegot Cabriolet by Poutrout? It’s okay if you haven’t seen or heard of it, because most people haven’t — but this burgundy and silver car was the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance Best Show Winner in 2015. It’s a rare gem that has withstood the test of time, and remains a testimony to the caliber of cars that the Concours showcases.

The oldest car at the 2016 show was the 1934 Bugatti T-57 Four Door Pillarless which typically retails for about $130,000 and comes standard with an eight cylinder engine. Bugatti is known for creating some of the fastest cars in the world, and it’s no surprise that the 1934 model remains a classic gem. The cars for 2018 have not yet been announced, but they’re guaranteed to be more incredible classics!

Bonus: Aston Martin & Fraser Present A Night of Steampunk

Gears will turn as you enter the Night of Steampunk on the field of the La Jolla Concours adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. The night’s clock will take you back in time while you enjoy delicious tastes from 20 of San Diego’s finest restaurants, taste creative cocktails from the William Grant Portfolio, bid on Silent and Live Auction items, and enjoy a hosted bar while dancing through time!

And don’t miss the Friday night event: this year, the can’t-miss Friday night kick off party for the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance with the Pacific Sotheby’s Concours Social Club presented by The Lot La Jolla and Ferrari of San Diego. The evening will be divided into overlapping rooms of whimsy, color, and print where you can enjoy a full hosted vibrant bar and whimsical treats for the palate. This is your chance to get a sneak peek of the weekend ahead!

All proceeds this year will benefit the La Jolla Historical Society, which has been a champion for the preservation of La Jolla’s heritage since 1964 through discovery and tireless documentation. More than 100 historical monuments, annual art exhibits, and community events and tours are just a few of the ways the Society continues to promote awareness of our seaside town’s incredibly rich background.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, visit their website.

Complete Guide to the La Jolla Tide Pools

La Jolla is a terrific place for tide pooling; in fact, it’s one of the best areas to go in all of San Diego! Its myriad of rocky cliffs and sandy beaches have created an endless supply of nooks and crannies for marine life viewing. The optimal season for tide pooling is December-March, when minus tides reveal wider beaches and the tide pools are uncovered. Before you go, be sure to check the tide charts to make sure you’ll be there during a low or minus tide. It’s also a good idea to wear close-toe shoes with good grip, long pants, and a jacket.

Here’s your complete guide to the La Jolla tide pools, from La Jolla Shores all the way to La Jolla Cove. Before you go, check out this handy guide on what kind of marine life/animals to look for.

 

Dike Rock

Dike Rock is located just north of Scripps Pier, and is also one of the spots where Birch Aquarium hosts guided tide pool tours. The tide pools at Dike Rock are not as large as other locations but provide terrain features that allow for a variety of marine life to life on. The main area is a single large rock and a long rocky sea wall covered by marine life.

Both the rock and the rock wall provide are covered by a variety of marine life. There are small pools that have accumulated over the years, and many have large sea anemones and crabs living in them. The smaller rocks near the sand are covered by mats of aggregating sea anemones and solitary sea anemones. This can be a great place to see both species side by side!

Directions: Walk north along the sandy beach from La Jolla Shores, over a rocky area until you reach the dike which is located on a slight point just north of Scripps Pier. The second distinct area of this tide pool are the smaller rocks found near the sandy areas. Some of these rocks are covered by mats of aggregating sea anemones and solitary sea anemones. This can be a great place to see both species side by side. The higher rocks are covered with mussels and barnacles.

What to look for: Keep an eye out for clams, snails, lots of limpets, mussels, barnacles, and the occasional sea anemone (some of the rocks are covered by many of these little guys). Sea hares are also common in this area, if the conditions are just right.

 

La Jolla Cove

A mention of the La Jolla tide pools would be remiss without including La Jolla Cove! Although the Cove is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and of course, watching the seals and sea lions, there are also some great tide pools in the area if you look closely! The tide pools start at the northern end of the Cove and wraps around the point. Look for a rocky area that slopes down toward the ocean just past the small cave to the left of the stairs.

Directions: Find parking along Coast Blvd. and walk down the stairs at La Jolla Cove to get to the sandy beach area. Look for the small cave, and walk past it around the point to find the pools.

What to look for: Look for limpets, anemones, hermit crabs, mussels, and barnacles of all different shapes and sizes. Plenty of algae cover the rocks, making them slippery; but it’s great for exploring. The mussels and barnacles can be found lower in the tide pool area, along with abundant seagrass.

 

Hospitals Reef

Hospitals is one of the most well known favorite of many La Jolla locals – and a photographer’s paradise! San Diego is known for its many beaches, but Hospitals Reef is great to photograph. Here, you’ll quickly see a section of rocks filled with potholes, which almost look like tiny craters of the moon. During low tide on calm days, these craters are filled with water and reflect the clouds and even the sunset on rare occasions.

Directions: Located just south of Wipeout Beach and along Coast Boulevard. Look for a narrow grass strip on the bluff above this point called Coast Boulevard Park. 445 Coast Blvd.

What to look for: Lobsters, sea shells, sea anemones, crabs, barnacles, and mussels are often seen here.

Shell Beach

The tide pools at Shell Beach are just as accessible as those at La Jolla Cove, but are quite often less crowded. It’s an absolute ‘must’ to go at minus tide, however, since this isn’t a large beach by any means and you won’t be able to see much unless the tide is way out. A pathway along the bluff goes north through the park and continues to the Coast Walk Trail above La Jolla Bay. Seal Rock is just offshore and Children’s Pool Beach is visible beyond that to the south.

Directions: Shell Beach Tide Pools are located at the southern end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Look for the cement stairway (it’ll say Shell Beach on it) and head down; you’ll see the tide pools right away if you’re there at low tide.

What to look for: Sea anemones, crabs, starfish, and even smaller octopi are common at this spot!

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South Casa Beach

South Casa Beach is a small triangle-shaped cove just south of Children’s Pool Beach (Children’s Pool is also known as Casa Beach, so this little slice of land was dubbed South Casa). Although seals and sea lions can take over portions of the beach, there is easy access via a small staircase at the northern portion of the beach and at low and minus tides there are some nice little spots to look for smaller marine life. There is plenty of sand here, so it isn’t as precarious a location as some of the other La Jolla tide pools.

Directions: Locate Children’s Pool and walk just south (behind the sea wall). Use the stairs just south of the lifeguard tower. Parking can be found along Coast Boulevard and at the parking lot above the beach.

What to look for: Sea anemones, brittle stars, sea stars, mussels, limpets, chitons, and crabs are often spotted here.

Windansea Beach

Beloved by avid local surfers (it’s been a popular San Diego surfing area and gathering spot of the Windansea Surf Club since the 1960s) and recognizable by its historic surf shack, Windansea is also home to some great tide pools. The area is mostly rocks (which can get slippery when wet), with a small sandy spot at the bottom. The crevices within those rocks are where to look for the tide pools; the water gets trapped in the shallow depressions in the rocks. Winter storms can remove a lot of the sand here so it’s quite different between summer and winter! To get to the beach area, there are a couple stairs that descend the steep bluff where you’ll have to scramble down off sandstone ledges.

Directions: Located below Neptune Place, at the intersection of Neptune Place and Nautilus Street in La Jolla. There are a about ten designated parking spots above the beach and street parking spaces if those are taken.

What to look for: Small crustaceans (crabs), sea anemones, algae.

 

False Point

Though a bit closer to Bird Rock, False Point is one of the best spots to see tide pools in La Jolla; so much so that this is the second spot where Birch Aquariumoffers guided tours. Easily accessible down a small set of stairs from the street (though the rocks here can get very slippery and are often quite loose, so do exercise caution when walking here especially during high tide), there is an abundance of marine life here to explore.

Directions: Located at Sea Ridge Drive and Linda Way in La Jolla. Street parking is available (free during certain hours – make sure to check signs before you park). It can be limited, so we recommend going during off-peak hours.

What to look for: Sea anemones, hermit crabs, urchins, mussels, limpets, chitons, octopi, barnacles.

Some Tips for Tide Pool Viewing & Etiquette

Courtesy of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Learn before you go 
Read about the wildlife, viewing sites and local regulations to get the most from your wildlife viewing experience. Research on the internet, buy regional viewing guidebooks, talk with local residents and hire local guides to increase your chances of seeing marine wildlife.

Keep your distance
Use binoculars and cameras with zoom lenses to get a closer look. Marine wildlife may be very sensitive to human disturbance, and if cornered, they can harm the viewer or leave the area. If wildlife approaches you, stay calm and slowly back away or place boat engines in neutral.

Never touch (or feed) the wildlife
Never touch, handle or ride marine wildlife. Touching wildlife, or attempting to do so, can injure the animal, put you at risk and may also be illegal for certain species. The slimy coating on fish and many marine invertebrates protects the animal from infection and is easily rubbed off with a hand, glove or foot. Feeding or attempting to attract wildlife with food, decoys, sound or light disrupts normal feeding cycles, may cause sickness or death from unnatural or contaminated food items, and habituates animals to people.

Never chase or harass wildlife
Following a wild animal that is trying to escape is dangerous. Never completely surround the animal, trap an animal between a vessel and shore, block its escape route, or come between mother and young. When viewing from a boat, operate at slow speed, move parallel to the swimming animals, and avoid approaching head-on or from behind, and separating individuals from a group. If you are operating a non-motorized vessel, emit periodic noise to make wildlife aware of your presence and avoid surprise.

Stay away from wildlife that appears abandoned or sick
Some marine animals, such as seals, leave the water or are exposed at low tide as part of their natural life cycle — there may be nothing wrong with them. Young animals that appear to be orphaned may actually be under the watchful eye of a nearby parent. An animal that is sick or injured is already vulnerable and may be more likely to bite. If you think an animal is in trouble, contact the local authorities for advice.

Leave your pets at home
Wild animals can injure and spread diseases to pets, and in turn, pets can harm and disturb wildlife. For example, wild animals recognize dogs as predators and quickly flee when they see or smell dogs. If you are traveling with a pet, always keep them on a leash and away from areas frequented by marine wildlife.

Take your trash with you
Human garbage is one of the greatest threats to marine wildlife. Carry a trash bag with you and pick up litter found along the shore and in the water. Plastic bags, floating debris and monofilament line pose the greatest risk to wildlife.

 

 

go san diego card

The Go San Diego Card: Everything You Need to Know

The Go San Diego Card is a great way to save money on more than 45 different attractions throughout San Diego County. It’s perfect for both tourists and San Diego residents, and you could potentially save up to 55% off regular admission prices at these attractions!  Whether you want to sail out for a whale-watching cruise, take the whole family to SeaWorld or LEGOLAND, or visit the the San Diego Zoo, this convenient card lets you plan your own itinerary and pack in as many attractions as you can each day.

What Is the Go San Diego Card?

The Go San Diego Card is a type of Go City Card, which is a multi-attraction pass available in major cities around the globe – including nearby spots like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

There are four different options when purchasing your Go San Diego Card:

  • 1) All-Inclusive
    • A multi-attraction pass that gets you into 40 San Diego attractions plus one premium attraction for one low price.
    • Available in 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day options.
    • Needs to be used on consecutive calendar days.
  • 2) Build Your Own 
    • Choose from 42 attractions and build your own pass to San Diego.
    • If you choose 2 or more, you’ll save 20%. The pass is valid for 30 days.
    • Good choice for San Diego residents.
  • Package Deals
    • 3) San Diego 4 Choice Flex Pass: choose 4 San Diego attractions and activities from 8 great options. Save up to 39% compared to paying at the gate!
    • 4) Top 3 Attractions Pass: Discounted access to three attractions: LEGOLAND® California, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego.

How to Use the Go San Diego Card

Your Go San Diego Card grants you admission to as many included attractions as you want to visit for the number of days you bought the card for. Once you purchase the card, you can either 1) use your pass directly from your phone with the free Go City Card app or 2) print out your pass and guidebook at home. You don’t need to buy other tickets – the city card acts as your ticket to all attractions.

After it’s used the first time, the card is good for the number of days you chose, but those must be consecutive days – for instance, if you use the card first on a Monday morning, that counts as your first day. Even if you visit your first attraction late in the day, it still counts; so we recommend starting as early as possible!

If you skip one day because you’re tired, you don’t get a refund or an extension. Except for the rare multi-day pass, you can visit each attraction only once.

Where to Purchase the Go San Diego Card

You can purchase one directly through us!

What to Know Before You Buy the Go San Diego Card

• Be realistic about how much you can do! The big attractions will each take a full day, and some are far apart. For other attractions that take less time, there may be significant travel time to get from one to another. Plan to visit 1-3 attractions per day, and choose ones that are closer together.

• You get to skip the line. If you use the Go City Card app, you can skip the line at select attractions and go directly to the entrance turnstiles, where they will scan a QR code on your phone. If you print out the pass at home, you may have to wait in line to collect your paper pass.

• The app is free, and keeps everything in one place. Once you download the app, guidebooks to each attraction, your actual Go San Diego Card, and directions are all right on your phone. It’s a great (and easy) way to make sure you don’t miss anything!

• Only longer-duration cards include Sea World: if you purchase a 3, 5 or 7-Day card, you can visit SeaWorld on as many days as your card is valid. SeaWorld is not included on 1 and 2 day cards. You can skip the ticket line when you choose digital delivery.

• Child cards are for children ages 3-12. Most attractions do not charge for children under 3 years old. However, there are some exceptions (especially children’s museums and attractions geared toward very young travelers). If you have a child under 3 years old, please check with the attraction directly in advance.

• You have one year to use your Go San Diego Card once you purchase it. After one year, it will expire.

• Refund policy: their Risk Free Guarantee gives you 30 days from your purchase date to return any non-activated passes for a full refund.

Included Attractions in the Go San Diego Card

There are more than 40 attractions to choose from!

  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour Ticket
  • Speed Boat Adventures
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • LEGOLAND
  • Whale & Dolphin Watching by Hornblower Cruises
  • 1-hour San Diego Harbor Tour by Flagship Cruises
  • Belmont Park All-Access Combo Pass
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with IMAX movie
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • Model Railroad Museum
  • Tandem kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours Coronado
  • Bike, snorkel, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours La Jolla
  • Whale Watch by Flagship Cruises & Events
  • Miramar Speed Circuit
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • 30-minute GoCar San Diego Tour
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Whaley House

Ready to start exploring San Diego? Purchase your multi-day pass or a Build Your Own Pass right here!

Exploring the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

Address/Location: 200 W. Island Ave., San Diego 92101
Phone: (619) 233-8792
Hours: M, W, Th, Fr, S: 9:30am-4pm. Sunday 11am-4pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Admission: $14 for adults & children 1+

The New Children’s Museum is part of the attractions included with the Go San Diego Card! This is a great option if you’re interested in discounted tickets and seeing other attractions in and around San Diego County.

The New Children’s Museum in San Diego is a fun, interactive museum that’s all about helping kids think, play, and create through hands-on exhibitions, engaging art-making activities, artistic performances, and educational programs.

The New Children’s Museum is filled with exciting finds, intriguing and interactive exhibits, and meaningful activities for all ages. Each year, leading artists create specifically designed and commissioned pieces of contemporary art with tactile features that appeal to kids, rather than recreate existing art to suit a younger generation. Throughout the museum, hands-on art and exhibits hold the attention of children of all ages, ranging from toddlers and teens.

About the Museum

This San Diego museum was founded on the principle “think, play, create” and serves as a place for children to come and learn creativity, confidence, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and optimism.

The original Museum opened in 1983 in La Jolla as the Children’s Museum, and moved to its current location at a downtown San Diego warehouse in 1993. In 2008, the Museum reopened as The New Children’s Museum – with the word “new” signifying their focus on commissioning contemporary artists to create full scale art installations for children to engage with and explore. The Museum is housed in a dynamic space designed by visionary and award-winning architect Rob Wellington Quigley and is one of the first green museums in California. In 2018, the Museum celebrated 35 years in San Diego, and 10 years as The New Children’s Museum.

Immersive Art Installations

The art installations at the New Children’s Museum are by far the most popular exhibits. Kids and adults alike will love the eclectic mix of interactive art and fun installations!

Smile: Strokes of color draw visitors across the Museum bridge in artist Panca’s 48-foot-long mural SMILE. Playful eyes and hearts are scattered through these lines of color, creating the impression of deconstructed, curious faces.

The Wonder Sound: Drawing influence from tree houses, empowered neighborhoods, canyons at night, sacred plants, silhouetted mountain ranges in the distance, animals that have never been seen, original stories, forgotten histories, whispered languages, ancient footpaths, imaginary places and the human condition, The Wonder Sound is an entirely new and complex culture that blends fact and fiction, the tangible and the ephemeral. It’s a work of art that you physically enter into and discover; the installation will take you to strange yet recognizable places as you explore its many rooms and passageways, going from the real to the unreal and venturing from the wild to the familiar.

No Rules…Except: One of the most talked about installations over the past 10 years, “No Rules…Except” was created by artist Brian Dick. The installation is an ode to childhood, and celebrates the simple childish joy of jumping on the bed. The immersive, interactive room is filled with 40+ mattresses and over 160 “pillow” tires for children (and grown ups!) to play, crawl, jump, and bounce around in.

Sketch Aquarium: Sketch Aquarium uses 21st century technology to create a beautiful, engaging art and science experience for all ages. Design a fanciful sea creature, and then watch it come to life and swim with all the other sea creatures in a wall-sized, moving aquarium projection. Children can observe the power of their creative imagination through Sketch Aquarium. Paper and art making materials offer opportunities to design and color a sea creature. Once completed, the piece of paper is scanned, and the image is projected onto a giant virtual aquarium. Children may also touch the fish to see them swim away, or touch the virtual food bag to feed the fish.

Wobbleland: Wobbleland is a fun, interactive area that resembles a giant kitchen sink and is filled with oversized soft food sculptures. Infants and toddlers 4 and under have exclusive reign in Wobbleland, where they can make creative discoveries: explore an avocado teeter totter, play with slices of a giant tomato, crawl through a cheese wedge, and more. Each sculpture presents challenges such as stacking, spinning, sorting and rocking and invites its young audience to explore.

Desert Derby: At first glance, the twisting tracks in Desert Derby look like freeways. Take a closer look, and you’ll see a series of interconnecting waterways and reservoirs. Desert Derby traces not only California’s roads, but also one of the most important other factors to shape our region: the feat of engineering that is the California aqueduct. We know where and how California’s system of freeways connects, but what if Californians were just as aware of our water system? Would it change our relationship with water?

Art Studios & Activities

The Community Gallery: The Community Gallery is a space where you can see and learn more about art made by local artists, schools, and participants from programs offered at the Museum. You’ll find their artistic contributions throughout the space – displayed on the floor, walls, and sometimes even the ceiling. Visitors are encouraged to take part in the collaborative art experience – the art that you help create will grow over time and become a part of the work on view and the wider Museum world.

Innovators LAB: The Innovators LAB is the Museum’s collaborative makerspace, where locals can come together for drop-in art workshops hosted by local experts, artists, architects, and others. These resident professionals develop design challenges alongside the Creative Team to provide open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. The Innovators LAB targets families with children ages 6-13 and provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques.

Other Activities

Along with art exhibits and interactive installations, the New Children’s Museum offers various family classes and programs (including Friday Toddler Time and the Little Learners Club), Day Camps and Summer Camps, and several events throughout the year.

Do note that the art exhibits and installations change, and they are always bringing in new artists for visitors to enjoy! Be sure to stay up-to-date with the Museum’s schedule and installations when you are thinking of visiting. Want to see more? Check out our other top San Diego museums!

Safety Tips for Planning a Family Trip to San Diego

San Diego features enough adventure, sunshine, and nature to keep you and your family entertained. When planning a family trip to San Diego, it is essential to ensure that everyone is safe before and after the vacation. San Diego is a worth visit and travel destination if you are planning to bring along your family.

The city features budget-friendly dining activities and hotels as well as resorts that provides unique programs for children of all ages. From the puzzles, crafts and games for kids and sports lessons and air hockey for teenagers, your entire family can be entertained from morning to evening. Here the tips to keeping the family safe on vacation in San Diego.

Keeping an Eye on Your Kids and Pool Supervision

It’s essential to keep an eye on your kids, especially if you have several of them. Kids are prone to wandering off and getting distracted, which combined with large crowds, has the potential for trouble. One way to improve your ability to keep the flock together at all times is to order a batch of matching Anvil wholesale t-shirts for everyone to wear. While some of the kids might cringe at the thought of matching, an eye-catching color can help to spot members of your party who are in the process of getting lost in the crowd.

If your hotel or restaurant has a pool, you should not assume that there is the lifeguard on duty. You should go with your children to the pool since it is the only way to ensure they are safe. Even if you are planning not to swim, you can relax on the side with your favorite book or take several photos of your children while playing.

Do Your Research

The first thing you should do before planning a family trip to San Diego is study the map, particularly if you’re driving. The freeway exits can be misleading and confusing. Also, the city is bigger than most people might think of and features many suburbs. When traveling on the freeways, you need to understand the lane you are going to use for you to get the right exit.

You should keep in mind that the city is a home to one of the most magnificent border crossings in the country which means that you need to be careful when driving your car to keep your family safe on vacation. Also, traffic can be heavy at times, which means you should allow enough time when traveling anywhere near the border.

Beach Safety

While vacationing in San Diego, you definitely want to make time for one of the beautiful and family-friendly beaches in the area. Not only is the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coastline a sight to behold, but it’s also fun to swim in as well. With that said, it’s important for your family members to be aware of basic beach safety. While lifeguards ought to be on duty, not every beach will have one monitoring for danger.

If any of your family members are caught in a riptide, they should not fight it. It is advisable to go with the current and try as much as possible to relax. While doing so, the current will reduce, and you will be in the position to swim towards the shoe.

Going on vacation in San Diego does not have to be challenging and stressful. By having an excellent plan and communicating about where each of your family members will be, you can ensure that all your loved ones will stay safe and have fun.