The Lazy Adult’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con International Offsite Events & Parties 2017

Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert


Eileen Blancas, sub-culture and pop culture enthusiast, guest blogs today with an insightful and easy San Diego Comic Con 2017 off-site events guide. No badge required.
If you’ve been following my San Diego Comic Con guides throughout the years, you know my guides follow a central theme: survival and laziness. I, like you, enjoy a good time. But also like you, I don’t enjoy going through the countless event guides with terrible layouts, Facebook invites that inevitably get lost in the FB black hole, and press release after press release about some toy you’ve never heard of (#sorrynotsorry). And yet, it brings me such joy to wade through it all to provide you with the most interesting events!All events in this guide do not require a Comic Con badge, but some do have a cover. At the time of writing this, events have not yet “sold-out.” No, I cannot get you into any of the Conan events.

If you’re visiting San Diego for the first time or if you will be staying all week be sure to visit La Jolla and take in some sun and explore the Village. Not sure where to start? Check out our handy guides here.

All-Weekend Offsite Events

Petco Park Interactive Zone 100 Park Blvd.
When: Th-Sat Open-6pm, Sun Open-5pm
What: After a bit of hiatus, Petco Park Interactive Zone is back. It is the best place to go if you are badgeless and low on funds. Expect to see photo booths, VR and arcade demos from the Razer Experience Tour, food provided by Netflix’s “The Rise of Voltron,” and much more!

Netflix Experience Hilton Gaslamp, 4th Ave. and L St.
When: Th-Sat 11-8PM, Sun 11-3PM
What: With several original hit shows under their belt, and now a hit movie, “Okja,” Netflix is going in strong this year at Comic Con. Since you’re badgeless and have no hope of getting into Hall H, the Netflix Experience is your next best bet. Catch sneak peeks of upcoming originals, exclusive giveaways, and more. You will also be able to immerse yourselves into the worlds of “Stranger Things,” “Bright,” and the streets of New York with Marvel’s “The Defenders.”

FXHibition Hilton San Diego Bayfront Lawn, 1 Park Blvd.
When: Th-Sat 12–6pm, Sun 10–2pm
What: Fri Screening: 7pm–9pm, doors 6:30pm
Much like the Petco Park Interactive Zone, the Bayfront Lawn is another place to find the most bang for your $0. Immerse yourself in a mixed reality experience with FX shows like “Legion,” “American Horror Story,” “Archer,” “Atlanta” and more. Find out more on their SDCC site, FXSDCC.

Nintendo Gaming Lounge – Marriott Marquis & Marina
When: Thursday, July 20 – Sunday, July 23 (10AM-7PM on Thursday-Saturday, and 10AM-5PM on Sunday).
What: Play some of their most popular games like: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildMario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Pokémon Tournament DX, Pokémon Moon, Super Mario Maker, and more. For more info click here.

Adult Swim On the Green Convention Way & 5th Ave Pier, Behind Convention Center
When: Th-Sun 1-6pm; 18+
What: The first of adults-only events, this is a TOP NOTCH offsite that everyone makes the effort to attend. Wacky carnival games, free swag, and the Meatwad Dome experience – said to be upgraded this year w/motion seats. Get a tarot card reading, befriend a motorized animal, and wait in a gigantic line! Just kidding, skip the line and register at the Adult Swim event site. Also check the site out for a schedule of signings with “Rick & Morty,” “Robot Chicken,” and “The Jellies.”

TBS “Wrecked” Marina behind Convention Center
When: Th-Sun 12-5pm; 21+
What: This is probably the most legit new event to pop up on the offsite circuit. This “floating island” will include an island bar, coconut skeeball, minigolf, palm tree climbing, and a mechanical boar – all on a barge in the SD bay! They’re even advertising that you can pee in an airplane cabin, but that’s up to you!

VICELAND Party Bus w/James Van der Beek 530 Island Avenue
When: Th–Sat 9-6PM
What: Official Party w/Diplo at Fluxx, RSVP only
I know what you’re thinking – what the hell is this flyer and what does Dawson have to do with Comic Con? Well, it looks like the VICELAND Party Bus is parking itself at SDCC to celebrate the launch of their new show starring James Van Der Beek, “What Would Diplo Do?” Yeah, I have no idea either – but it sounds a trip! The bus is fully loaded with a lounge area, snacks, drinks, music, wi-fi, swag, and even a rooftop deck. There will also be special guests stopping by throughout the week. Probably Diplo. Ask him if you can get into the exclusive party, just don’t catch any STDs.

Mr.Robot 327 4th Ave btwn J and Island
When: Th-Sat 11-7pm, Sun 11-4pm
What: While many people seem to be bummed that Mr.Robot doesn’t have a ferris wheel or panel this year, there is something better! A free meal! Alright, so I am biased. I can’t say I know much of Mr.Robot, but I can say I am a fan of free food. Head to the “E Corp’s Bank of E” for an E Corp Card. That card will give allow you to make purchases (I assume), but best of all, if you go to the “Red Wheelbarrow BBQ” next door, they will give you a free bbq meal. You’re welcome.

For more offsite events visit SDCC’s official list. Now onto the parties!

Thursday Parties

Thursday is THE day for parties. I am listing them in the order of importance, most important to backup plan.

IGN x Sony x MRC Studios: The Dark Tower Fan Party Tipsy Crow
When: 8-2am; Free; 21+
What: They list baby ribs and drinks, I don’t know if that means it is free eats and drinks, but with sponsorships like that – you best show up and find out! They’ve also got live performances as well, should be a great time! Register now on eventbrite.

Syfy x The Nerd Machine Fan Dance Party The New Children’s Museum
When: 9-12pm; Free
What: If you’re one of the many who were disappointed in the lack of a physical Nerd HQ, have no fear! There are not just one, but two fan dance parties by Syfy and Nerd HQ! Show up in your cosplay and dance with all your best friends. This is the party to just let loose at!

Rave of Thrones Omnia
When: 9:30-2am; $20; 21+
What: Kristian Nairn is back with the Rave of Thrones! If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or dance music, this is not an event to be missed! It is, however $20 pre-sale and probably an arm and a leg the day of. Buy tickets at the Omnia website.

Bangarang Heroes and Rebels Bassmnt
When: 9-1am; $15; 21+
What: Famed for his roles as Rufio in “HOOK,” and Prince Zuko in “AVATAR: The Last Airbender,” Dante Basco is hosting a dance party at the nightclub Bassmnt. Cosplay is encouraged, egos are not – check it at the door. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased here.

Modern Times Beer Dinner w/Star Wars Spelling Bee BIGA
When: 7-11pm, $35 online $45 at the door, 21+
What: This event is probably going to be pretty dope as who doesn’t love a three course dinner, local beer pairings, and a super geeky spelling bee? Do you know how to spell Tatooine? I’ll give you a hint: I just wrote it. Buy tickets here.

Friday Parties

Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria Werewolf
When: 8am-2am; Free; all ages until 9pm
What: A beloved event by all, Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria is an all day event with panels and prizes, followed by a party for the adults! It is first come, first serve – and tons of fun. For schedule and more info, follow their FB invite page.

When: Friday, July 21  9:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.  Held at San Diego’s OMNIA Nightclub located in the legendary Gaslamp Quarter.
What: Tyler Posey (“Teen Wolf”), Danai Gurira (“Black Panther”), Jamie Chung (“Big Hero 6: The Series”), Warren G (Hip-hop artist), Brody Jenner (DJ), Jamie Iovine (DJ),  Aimee Garcia (“Lucifer”), Bree Turner (“Grimm”), Bryan Greenberg (“The Mindy Project”), Cassie Scerbo (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming”), Fabio Lanzoni (Model), Ian Ziering (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming), Katheryn Winnick (“Vikings”), Lana Parrilla (“Once Upon a Time”), Marie Avgeropoulos (“The 100”), Paul Johansson (“Van Helsing”), Robert Buckley (“iZombie”), Shohreh Aghdashloo (“The Expanse”), Tara Reid (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming”) and more to be announced.

Pirate Con Maritime Museum of San Diego
When: 8-12pm; $40; 21+
What: I’ve heard stories about this party. Depending on who you are, this could be either good or bad. You’ve been warned! Bonus! You get a Funko toy with the purchase of your ticket! Tickets may be purchased at the Maritime Museum of San Diego website here.

Japanese Pop Culture Party: Yokai Omatsuri Japanese Friendship Garden
When: 7:30-11:30pm; $25; 18+
What: If kawaii Japanese culture is more your thing, check out the Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park for activities, food, and DJs. Tickets can be purchased here.

Das Bunker Galactic Dance Party at SDCC Spin Nightclub
When: 9pm- ???; $25; 21+
What: Los Angeles’ famed Industrial Dance Club treks over to San Diego for a night of galactic fun. Spin is known to go well into 4am, so if you’re looking for an all nighter, this is your party! Buy tickets here.

Saturday Parties

Syfy x The Nerd Machine Fan Dance Party Pt. 2 The New Children’s Museum
When: 9-12pm; Free
See Thursday’s description.

horror vs scifi san diego comic con 2017

SDCC Horror Cosplay Meetup • Club Sabbat Presents Horror vs Sci-Fi
MEETUP: Location TBA; 6:30-7:30pm; Free; All Ages
AFTER PARTY: Numb3rs Nightclub 9-2am; $7; 21+
The well beloved Zombie Walk is no longer, but lives in the spirit of an all new horror meetup! In zombie fashion, the location is TBA, follow the FB account herefor more info. Following the meetup is the after party presented by Club Sabbat, come in your horror gear or switch it up to galactic babe status. Watch the tentacles! The after party is 21+, sorry horror kids.

Comic-Con Club Crawl Analog Bar
I’m not a huge fan of crawls, but I admit they can be fun – and people seem to enjoy them. Use this discount from Goldstar. This crawl is also on Friday, but don’t pay more when you can pay less. Go Saturday. More info and tickets here.

July 4th Fireworks

La Jolla Cove 4th of July Fireworks: Things to Know Before You Go


The annual fireworks show in La Jolla has been a beloved attraction for locals and visitors for more than 25 years. Each year, friends and family gather to watch the awesome display over the picturesque La Jolla Cove. The 30-minute display begins at 9pm sharp and is best viewed from Ellen Browning Scripps Park at the bottom of Coast Boulevard overlooking the La Jolla Cove.

The best places to watch the display are Ellen Browning Scripps Park, Coast Walk, and La Jolla Shores (especially Kellogg Park, where the grassy area is). Parking will be difficult and most street parking is timed to two or three hours – so do be aware of all parking signs once you arrive.

The fireworks have, sadly, been faced with their share of adversity throughout the years. In 2014, the display almost didn’t happen at all for lack of funding; a last-minute donation saved the day, and thankfully the show has gone on without a hitch ever since!

Day-of Tips:

  • Get there early! Parking will be extremely difficult all over La Jolla on the 4th, as this is an extremely popular spot. Some parking will be blocked off directly in front of the Park, but most street parking will be available. There are also a few underground garages with pay-per-hour rates along Herschel Ave. and Prospect Street.
  • Bring a blanket to sit on. If you get there early, you’ll have a chance to relax on the grass at the park while you wait. It makes for a beautiful place to watch the sunset!
  • Bring a small flashlight if you feel you might need to walk around before or during the display – it gets very dark in the area when they dim the streetlights.

After the fireworks, plan on hanging out at a restaurant or bar for a while – getting out of the village will be nearly impossible for at least an hour! For other information on activities and restaurants, visit our complete Guide to La Jolla Cove.

Feel like enjoying some dinner before the fireworks? Head to George’s at the Cove for a luxe 3-course meal.

George’s Ocean Terrace and Level2 are the perfect place to enjoy the La Jolla fireworks – their on-the-water location provides some of the best views of the 2017 fireworks show over La Jolla Cove. The cost of each table includes a 3-course dinner on July 4, 2017. Dinner begins at 6:30pm, and this year’s menu includes some incredible options including an Herbed Alaskan Halibut, Grilled Filet Mignon, and a Watermelon Salad; to name a few!

You must book a reservation in advance. Visit their website for more information.

Beaumont Avenue 4th of July Parade

The 38th Annual Beaumont Avenue 4th of July Parade is happening this year! The Bird Rock Parade Committee, led by Russell and Scott Murfey, is organizing the event. The 0.3 mile Beaumont Ave. parade route starts at 10am at the corner of Camino de la Costa and Beaumont Avenue, and ends at Mira Monte. Watch the neighborhood children in their special Independence Day attire as they walk, trike, bike, scooter, or ride on a float down the parade route.

After the parade, there will be a 4th of July celebration and party behind the La Jolla Methodist Church. There will be food, entertainment, and plenty of activities for the whole family.

This is solely volunteer-run event, and donations are always appreciated. Please visit their donations website for more information.

things to do in la jolla

Top Things to Do in La Jolla

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


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

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

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

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

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

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

La Jolla Beaches

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

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


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

la jolla things to do


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


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

Cruise the Coast

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

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


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

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

Local Events

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

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

Comedy Shows

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


Take a Walk (or a Hike!)

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

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

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

Stay the Night

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

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

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

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

13 Things You Didn’t Know Existed in La Jolla

It may seem like there are no stones left unturned in La Jolla – from off-the-beaten-path attractions to the most secluded restaurants, there is a lot of information out there about even the most supposedly ‘secret’ spots in La Jolla; which is why we’ve decided to go the other route!

Here are a few La Jolla “hidden gems” you may not have seen around town – but have always been there, in plain sight!

1. World War II-era bunkers

Remnants of WWII remain scattered throughout La Jolla (and all of San Diego; especially atop Cabrillo National Monument). During the 1940s, there were several military bases scattered from the coast all the way inland. Our unique coastal position, facing towards the Pacific, granted us endless lookout spots.

During these years, the military and many local citizens were preparing for a possible Japanese invasion on our own coastline. Cement-encased bunkers were built all around Mount Soledad, where they stood for several years.

Almost all of these WWII bunkers, including some in the Muirlands, were destroyed or removed over the years, though some say there are still fragments here and there on the hill (the locations of which are still a mystery but if you leave a comment we might just reveal one of the locations!)

2. Our own “Gravity Hill”

Gravity hills are a mysterious phenomenon, mostly because of the uncertainty that surrounds them. They are said to be particular locations where the laws of gravity don’t seem to apply; in virtually eve­ry case, a gravity hill involves a short section of road (usually no more than a few hundred yards long) that appears to go uphill. But does it really?

A true gravity hill appears to go uphill, but when you park your car at the base of the incline, put the transmission in neutral, and remove the brake, you will find that your car rolls up the apparent hill. This bizarre phenomenon occurs on one road in La Jolla, West Muirlands Drive between Nautilus and Fay Street.

3. An underwater cemetery

Not many people know that San Diego influenced modern diving in a big way beginning nearly 80 years ago. 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.

hidden gems la jolla

4. Two old stone bridges tucked away in the hills

Also known as the “troll bridges,” the two old stone bridges built in the hills of Mt. Soledad in the late 1920s and early 1930s have become part of La Jolla lore. Their classic, arched look is similar to that of the larger Cabrillo bridge that passes through Balboa Park, though they still remain a bit of a mystery.

You can find the bridges quite easily. Follow Exchange Place onto Soledad Road and make a right on Al Bahr Drive for the first one, and by taking Hillside to Castellana Road for the second.

[Skeletons discovered in 1976 in La Jolla that date back 9,500 years; source]


5. Buried evidence of ancient Native American villages

It turns out there are multiple archaeological sites in La Jolla, the most well-known of which is the aptly named “La Jolla Complex” in the Torrey Pines, Scripps Estates, and Spindrift areas.

La Jolla is considered a prime spot to find prehistoric Native American hunting and other artifacts because of its soft soil, which helps preserve remnants from its cliff sites. These sites have revealed a cultural cross-section of evidence, and some of the most well-preserved bits of archaeological evidence in San Diego. [source] Archaeologists have found evidence that dates back 9,500 years beneath the soil here, meaning they are among some of the oldest remains ever found in the United States.

According to archaeologist well-preserved, “there have been units in yards in parts of La Jolla where (archaeological) deposits were a good 10-feet deep.” (La Jolla Light).

Further investigation of the remains have been thwarted by legal obstacles; it’s still uncertain what will become of them in regards to preservation or study.

[Image: wikipedia]

6. The two oldest surviving examples of late-Victorian beach cottage architecture in the US

The Red Rest and the Red Roost cottages were built in 1894 and have been vacant for decades. Sadly, they have fallen into disrepair and more recently been a subject of controversy over “demolition by neglect” and the question of how best to preserve them.

The previous owner wanted to knock them down and build a resort in their place, but the request was denied. The windows have been boarded up and the land vacant ever since despite being sold in 2015 to a large apartment investment company.

The cottages are an official San Diego Historic Landmark and are revered for being some of the best examples of the bungalow-style structure that influenced a generation of architects, including our own Irving Gill. Somewhat ironically, the structures were not built by architects, but by a few skilled carpenters.

7. A secret sea cave you can walk to

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to kayak (or take steps down to) the La Jolla sea caves. At very, very low – preferably minus – tides, you can hike to a couple of hidden caves via a path that begins next to the Marine Room. Just work your way south, across the tide pools, to a grotto that soars to heights upwards of 50 feet.

Inside, you’ll see sandstone walls stained with a rainbow of colors; in the back, there will be a low passage leading to another, smaller grotto. Be extremely cautious when walking, and always be aware of the incoming tide! Once it gets even slightly higher, you’ll want to start heading back out.

8. A street named after the discoverer of Uranus and two of its moons

Many of the street names in La Jolla were named after famous people, and much of the downtown was named to mimic New York’s financial district: Wall Street, Exchange Place, etc.

Herschel Avenue (formerly Lincoln), however, was named after Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), a German astronomer who is credited with the discovery of Uranus and two of its moons.

In the middle of an observation in March of 1781, he realized that the celestial body he had been looking at was not a star, but a planet. Uranus was the first planet to be discovered since ancient times, and naturally, Herschel became famous practically overnight.

As a result of this discovery, George III appointed him Court Astronomer. He continued to excel in his field until his death in 1822.

[Image: source]

9. The site of the first black church in La Jolla

There was a time when an African-American community worked, lived, owned property and managed businesses in La Jolla; they contributed much of what La Jolla is today.

The black community attended services at the large white Presbyterian Church on Draper Avenue until the mid-1920s, when they received funds to construct a new church. In 1926, the La Jolla Union Mission Church, the first African-American religious congregation, opened on Cuvier Street; the same lot where Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Church stands today. It was a welcome home to black families that felt accepted in very few churches locally at the time.

10. A B&B that is comprised of several small historic cottages

Given La Jolla’s historic flair, it only seems natural that one would be able to actually stay in a place that’s more than a century old. And there is – the quaint Redwood Hollow Cottages, located a bit off the main drag farther along Prospect Street, have been there since 1915.

The property was first bought by a man named Walter Scott Lieber in 1907 when he decided to call it “Prospect View.” Over the years, the land underwent a few changes and rearrangements; but today, eleven cottages sit among its lush foliage and brick walkways – all with memorable names, including “Hemingway” and “Sea Biscuit.”

11. A self-proclaimed “Biodiversity Trail”

The Scripps Reserve, a part of UCSD’s Natural Reserve System, consists of almost 1000 acres spread between an underwater marine portion, a coastline area, and an upland cliff area known as “The Knoll” – which is where the Biodiversity Trail lies.

Tucked away amid some of the most expensive houses in La Jolla (off La Jolla Farms Rd.,) there’s a small opening in a gate with a sign that you might miss if you blink.

A short but incredibly scenic interpretive loop (in total it’s only about 0.6 miles long), the trail provides multiple posted signs along the way that inform visitors of the area’s natural history, including plant and animal life and geology. The views are some of the best in all of La Jolla – we aren’t kidding!


12. Secret Swings

Many of the famed secret swings in La Jolla have been torn down, but they always seem to reappear out of the blue at scenic locations. Our sources told us a new one has popped up just recently in the hills around Birch Aquarium! We won’t give away the exact location, but if you do find it, please be respectful so that others can find it and enjoy. Rumor has it another swing has been built down near La Jolla Coast Walk; we’ll leave it to you to find that one!

13. A block-lettered poem inscribed on an old lifeguard box by the sea

Legend has it that this box, which sits on the shores by La Jolla Cove, is a memorial to a legendary lifeguard and body surfer, David C. Freeman, who died tragically in 1994. The box was built by locals shortly after to commemorate his life, and today it contains a phone to contact lifeguards during the summer in case of emergency.

It’s unlocked only during those few months. Take a closer look, and you’ll see how beautifully the words mimic their surrounding atmosphere: “spray, waves, eelgrass, tranquility, spirit, adrenaline.”

Read downwards starting under the “E” of LIFEGUARD, and you will find the body surfer’s name spelled out in an acrostic puzzle: DAVID C FREEMAN.

How many of did you know existed?

Family Fun in La Jolla

Between the waves crashing dramatically against jagged cliffs and the intrigue of secret caves, the La Jolla shore certainly brings a level a mystery and majesty to the San Diego portfolio. So, it’s no surprise that La Jolla is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. From superb dining opportunities to outdoor adventures, you’ll never have a hard time filling your itinerary. If anything, you may be left scratching your noggin about how to narrow down the top things to do.

Whether you’re visiting La Jolla with small children or your about-to-fly-the-nest teenagers, you can build a dreamy itinerary. has partnered with La Jolla Tourism to bring you the best ways to enjoy some family fun in San Diego, no matter the makeup of your gang.

family fun in la jolla


Do you have a grommet on your hands? That’s what San Diegans call kids who surf. Your little fish can learn the ropes at the Menehune Surf School if they’ve not yet mastered riding waves or duck diving; a 4-hour kids’ surf camp is the perfect way for them to get their feet wet. They’ll revel in the success of standing on the board, and you’ll get lots of cool photos from the shore.

Once you towel off, take the gang to the Children’s Pool. The name of this landmark misleads just a bit; it was supposed to be a swimming area for kids, but over time it filled with sand and lured in seals during pupping season. You can stand on the boardwalk nearby to watch the seals from December to May. Grab a picnic lunch and head to Kellogg Park, where a play set for young kids is open to the public, and lots of green open space lets you relax near La Jolla Shores Beach.

family fun in la jolla


Teens can be difficult to please. Somewhere between being satisfied with a trip to the park and relishing a tour of a museum lies the perfect activity to let them feel as cool as they’ll never admit wanting to be. La Jolla offers a wealth of activities that fall right into this elusive niche. A spearfishing trip off the coast gives teenagers the chance to snorkel out with a spear in hand, catching dinner in dramatic fashion using their primitive tool. Back on dry land, the Torrey Pines Gliderport offers a cool excursion for older teens and adults. Take a quick lesson, and soon you’re flying off the cliff under a brightly colored canopy.

family fun in la jolla

All Ages

A family that explores together stays together, so it’s a good thing La Jolla has activities that work for an all-ages group. If you’re traveling with kids, teens, and adults alike, the outdoors are the easiest way to strike a good balance. Climb into kayaks and go on a guided sea cave tour. You’ll glide along the coast and spot marine life before paddling your way into exclusive caves only accessible by kayak. If larger vessels float your boat, get aboard a whale watching boat. Back on dry land, La Jolla day tours and afternoons at Windansea Beach will bring everyone together.

No matter how you spend your time in the Jewel of San Diego, you’ll walk away with plenty of vitamin D and stories to last a life time. How will you create your memories in La Jolla?

5 Things We Learned About La Jolla Seals From “This American Life” Podcast

Normally popularity is a good thing.

For La Jolla seals they became too popular for their own good.

The seals, found at La Jolla’s Children Pool, became a tourist attraction in 2010 and on March 11, 2016 This American Life published a podcast about them.

The podcast episode entitled, “When the Beasts Come Marching In” breaks down how marine activists and La Jolla residents engaged in a bitter struggle to see who gets access to the seals.

Activists felt like the residents harassed the seals. Residents felt like they had a right to play with the seals. Both sides became heated quickly.

Despite both sides eventually calming down, the podcast taught us a lot of useful information about La Jolla seals and sea lions.

Here’s 5 important things we learned from the This American Life Podcast.

1. Young seals are called pups.

Adult males are called bulls and adult females are called cows.

It is not exactly clear when a pup is no longer a pup but most scientists agree that adulthood starts when they are 3-4 weeks old.

2. Pupping Season Happens in Spring

During spring harbor seals nurse and raise their pups. Adults, generally females, go hunting and find food. Seals are carnivorous and feed on a variety of squid and other marine animals. Mothers only nurse their pups for about 3-4 weeks then let them fend for themselves.

For now, the harbor seal beach is closed off to the public from December 15th to May 15th. Because of the constant bickering between residents and marine activists, nobody can have access to the beach during pupping season.

Since the rule was made, there have been several attempts to override that decision, however it still stands. The bickering has also died down significantly.

3. Seal breeding grounds are called a rookery

The seals migrated to La Jolla around 2010. Since arriving they made the Children’s Pool their permanent rookery. It serves as a nice location for a breeding ground because there is plenty of food to hunt for their pups.

The rookery is about 150 wide and during 2010 became quite crowded as the seal population grew.

Tourists have easy access to the beach. This poses a big problem for marine activists because residents were often reported as harassing the seals.

The podcast mentions that angry residents called the breeding a “crookery”.

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4. La Jolla seals are NOT in danger of extinction

Despite people arguing over the seals, the podcast clarifies that the seals are not even close to extinction.

Despite mammal activists trying to defend seals, researchers discovered that the harbor seal is an animal of “least concern”. That means the seal is in the same danger of becoming endangered as a house rat or pigeon.

Even though this fact became known, it did not stop the angry fighting between residents and activists.

5. It is illegal to “flush” seals

“Flushing” a seal means scaring it back into the water. When seals are flushed (and they often are) they wiggle and stampede toward the water to escape danger. As the seals grew in popularity, they were flushed more frequently.

Local residents were constantly interacting with the seals. Activists soon became aware that the seals attracted too much attention. Brian Pease, one of the main seal activist explains in the podcast explains, “If you flush them, it’s interfering with their biological [process]… it’s just disruptive.” If residents are caught flushing the seals, there’s also a $500 fine from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It is a violation of the Marine Mammal protection act, a law from 1972 that protects all marine mammals. Activists often video recorded residents who flushed seals and reported them.


The struggle for residents and activists still continues. After the decision to close the rookery to the public the seals are flushed less frequently. Residents can still look at the seals, but from a distance.

Although not a perfect solution, the fighting between two sides has dramatically decreased. The seals still call The Children Pool their rookery. The continue to raise their pups in peace.

Perhaps the episode title, “When The Beasts Come Marching In” describes the humans more accurately than the La Jolla seals.

Why La Jolla Doesn’t Actually Mean ‘The Jewel’


The origin of how La Jolla (pronounced as La-HOY-a) got its name and history are unclear. The coastal community is often mistakenly referred to as San Diego’s ‘Jewel’. Scholars who researched La Jolla’s origin found no concrete answer to the meaning of La Jolla or exactly where it comes from. The only thing that is certain is that “La Jolla” is not Spanish for “The Jewel”.

The coastal town is tucked away from downtown San Diego, about 30 miles north of the Mexican border. Downtown La Jolla, known for its leopard sharksgreat date spots, and amazing spas, is a popular spot for tourists. It attracts visitors from all over the world all year round.

La Jolla is an area with mixed geology. The city is known for its sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, and hilly landmarks. The exact origin of its name remains unclear although many scholars have some guesses. But first, let’s take a look at La Jolla’s history.

“Land of Holes”

The Kumeyaay, local Native Americans, owned the land until it was colonized. It is unsure how long they were in charge of the land because there are no historical records or documents. After studying artifacts that the Kumeyaay left behind, historians estimate they were there for around 3,000 years.

When natives were in charge of the land they called La Jolla “Kulaaxuuy” which translates to “land of holes”. It is uncertain where this comes from. Some people believe the name comes from the sea-level caves visible from La Jolla Shores. Others think that the land around La Jolla may have had more holes around it before settlers sold the land.

The topography of the land also suggests that because of the hills, there could have been more holes and uneven surfaces before colonization. There is uncertainty in what Kumeyaay culture was like so perhaps the land topography had great significance to the culture and lifestyle. Or perhaps the land of holes had another context to the natives, outside of physical landscape.

Despite the word “jolla” sounding Spanish, it’s not a real word. The Spanish word “joya”, which is similar in pronunciation to jolla, translates to Jewel. Historians believe that sometime in the 19th century when Spanish colonials arrived on the land, they accidentally called it joya. The name has stuck ever since.


A Booming Suburb

La Jolla’s origin as an official United States city started over 150 years ago. When California became a state in 1850, the government officially made La Jolla a part of the San Diego city. After railroads were built in the 1890s, the city grew to become a booming suburb with a growing population.

Once the communities were established, the city constructed resorts and attracted visitors. The city then solidified its foundation when it planted churches, markets, and parks. The population grew from 350 residents in the early 1900s to over 46,000 today.

Art became a focal point for La Jollan residents. Many notable painters, artists, and poets have passed through and even lived in La Jolla. The most famous is Dr. Seuss, who lived in La Jolla from 1953 until he passed away. The city, despite not actually meaning “jewel” is beautiful.

It attracts visitors to gaze at its elegance and hosts amazing art galleries found all over the world. Over the years, it became one of the most affluent communities in the United States with amazing beaches, fine dining, and distinguished art galleries.

La Jolla Shores

 Today’s La Jolla

In addition, the city hosts The Salk Institute, one of the leading research institutions in the world. UC San Diego (University of California San Diego) also started in La Jolla. The campus alumni exceed over 250,000.

La Jolla’s demographics as of the 2010 census are primarily Caucasian, about 82%. Asian and Latino comprise about 17% while Native Americans, Blacks, and Pacific Islanders make up about 1%. There appears to be no members of the Kumeyaay tribe living in the city.

La Jolla doesn’t have a clear history. It’s not sure where the origin of its name actually means. The complicated history however has not stopped the city from growing and prospering. It is a beautiful city with unclear origins, however despite not meaning “The Jewel”, it continues to shine on.

7 La Jollans Who Made an Impact on the World

La Jolla is an incredible place to view nature, consume art, and go to the beach, but it’s more than just a great vacation spot! La Jolla actually has had many famous residents that made a big difference in La Jolla and in the world.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride lived in La Jolla for several years until her death in 2012. She really knocked a lot of records out of the park, as she was…

  • First LGBT+ person in space
  • Youngest person in space (at 32 years old)
  • First American woman in space
  • First woman to use the robotic arm in space!

She was also a physicist for much longer than she was an astronaut and taught at UCSD from 1989 to 2007. She was also a big advocate for making math and science more accessible and exciting for kids with Sally Ride Science. Ride was gay and never hid her relationship with her partner, but the general public only became aware after her obituary referenced her partner. She continues to be a role model for LGBT+ people in science, inspiring others to work through hostile environments.

Fun fact: Musician and MOONLIGHT star Janelle Monae has a song named after Sally Ride, where she describes escaping into outer space. Also, Ike’s Place in Hillcrest has a vegan sandwich named in her honor.

Jonas Salk

During the mid-1900s, Salk and his University of Pittsburgh laboratory researched and finally developed the polio vaccine by 1955. Jonas Salk is probably best known locally as the namesake of the gorgeous Salk Institute.

However, not as many people know he actually founded it in 1960 (the same year UCSD was founded)! There he established a biological research community that brought in researchers and projects and kicked off UCSD’s reputation for biology. In the years before his death in 1995, he worked on finding a vaccine for HIV, which scientists are still working on today.

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler was a huge literary figure in the 20th century, mainly known as the perfecter of the then-young “hardboiled” detective fiction genre. He lived in La Jolla from 1946 until his death in 1960, during which he wrote The Long Goodbye, considered to be an American classic. Known for his characterizations of Southern California and unprecedented use of simile and metaphor like “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window” (Farewell, My Lovely) Chandler had a huge impact on the hardboiled detective genre. Chandler continues to be an inspiration to authors of many genres, including internationally bestselling author Haruki Murakami (Kafka On the Shore).

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck, a movie star best known for his depiction of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, played an important role in La Jolla as a co-founder of the La Jolla Playhouse in 1947. Dorothy McGuire, Mel Terrer, and Peck created the award-winning La Jolla Playhouse with the intent of supporting theatre as a platform for expression and experimentation with political, social, and moral subjects. Since then, it has brought many actors through La Jolla (including not-yet stars like Billy Crystal) and hosted many productions that later shone on Broadway. Though the La Jolla Playhouse predates UCSD, the Playhouse has made it easy for UCSD students to attend shows and broaden their perspectives with reduced prices.

Dr. E. Margaret Burbidge, professor of astronomy, at UC San Diego, was presented the “Woman of the year” award by the Muses, women’s support group of the California State Museum of science and industry, Thursday, Feb. 19, 1976 in Los Angeles. The award was presented for her outstanding research concerning the most distance objects in the universe. (AP Photo)

Margaret Burbidge

Margaret Burbidge is a major figure in contemporary astronomy whom La Jolla has been lucky enough to have researching at UCSD. She began working at UCSD as professor and researcher in 1962, and continues her research to this day. Burbidge broke down the gender barrier that excluded female astronomers from working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1955, after secretly working there for 10 years undercover as her husband’s assistant. She also became the first female president of the American Astronomy Society and the first female director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Her work makes up a good portion of the foundation for contemporary astronomy, as she helped discover nuclear reactions in stars, and worked on the spectrograph for the Hubble Telescope.

Danica McKellar

Did you know that Danica McKellar was born in La Jolla? She spent her childhood, up until she was 8, hereafter which she moved to L.A. After achieving fame playing the beloved character Winnie Foster in The Wonder Years, she became a math whiz, graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with a B.S. in Mathematics from UCLA, co-authored academic paper and has a math theorem named after her: Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Askin-Teller models on Z2.  Since then, she has written a series of books targeted at teens to make math more approachable for girls and offset the gender gap in math education. McKellar has also guest starred on How I Met Your Mother,The Big Bang, and was cast on the Netflix original Project Mc^2.

Mitzi Shore

The Comedy Club in San Diego actually started in South Pacific Beach, where it opened in 1976. In 1977, Mitzi Shore moved the Comedy Store to La Jolla, where she designed it as a sort of “paid vacation” for the comics who were then working at the other Comedy Club in Hollywood. The Shores spent a lot of time in La Jolla and Mitzi fully took over the Comedy Store in the Shores’ divorce in 1974. She developed the Comedy Store into a larger improv venue for touring comedians to come gain experience, and often works alongside her son (now a comedian), Pauly Shore. The Comedy Store is still very much a central part of the La Jolla entertainment and nightlife scenes.

3 Shocking Murders That Rocked La Jolla

La Jolla isn’t your typical murder scene backdrop. The cozy, sleepy, seaside town is rarely in the news for any kind of crime, let alone an act as appalling as a violent murder. Still, if one sifts through La Jolla’s past and delves back far enough, you’ll find all kinds of scandal and intrigue. A scorned woman, a band of surfers, and a money-hungry financial guru all have their place in the Village’s history – in more ways than one. Here are three of the most scandalous murders (and murderers) that have ties to La Jolla.

[image: San Diego UT]

“Angry Betty” Broderick

The saying goes “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and in no instance is that more true than the tale of Elisabeth ‘Betty’ Broderick. Perhaps one of the most famous murders in La Jolla history, the story of Daniel and Linda Broderick’s death in 1989 shocked the seaside community and reverberated throughout San Diego. Broderick was denied parole for a second time just this past January.

If you were living in La Jolla in the early 80s, you knew the Brodericks. They were the classic ‘social elite’ couple, and were regular guests at the parties of the La Jolla in-crowd. It wasn’t until Betty started to suspect her husband of having an affair (with his office assistant, no less) that things changed. Finally in 1985, after 16 years of marriage, Dan filed for divorce — and Betty became violent. She spray-painted the interior of the $325,000 hillside home they had shared; she rammed her car into Dan’s front door, left obscene messages on his answering machine, and defaced court documents, writing “God” where his name should have been.

Dan retaliated by having Betty arrested and briefly committed to a mental hospital after withholding thousands of dollars a month from her post-divorce support payments. He obtained a temporary restraining order to keep her out of his house.

Dan & Betty Broderick on their wedding day.

[Dan & Betty Broderick on their wedding day; source]

Things came to a head on a Sunday morning in early November, 1989 – seven months after Dan’s marriage to his new wife – Broderick found herself unable to sleep after reading a letter she had received a couple days earlier from Dan’s lawyer (allegedly it informed her that she would be subjected to contempt of court proceedings if she continued to act violently toward him). Furious, Broderick grabbed her daughter’s key and left her La Jolla Shores home, headed for Dan and Linda’s house in Hillcrest.

She snuck up the stairs as Dan and his new wife slept, and fired a .38-caliber revolver into their bedroom that she had purchased just eight months prior. Two bullets hit Linda in the head and chest, killing her instantly. One bullet hit Dan in the chest as he apparently was reaching for a phone, which reportedly Betty pulled from the wall to prevent him from calling anyone before he died. Dan was 44 and Linda was 28.

The Bird Rock Bandits

In 2008, professional surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. was beaten to death and five men from La Jolla, all in their 20s, were charged with murder. The group was known then as the Bird Rock Bandits, and Windansea Beach was their home surf break. Mr. Kauanui’s beating which took place just outside his mother’s La Jolla condominium in 2007, disturbed their neighbors; someone found him unconscious just a couple of hours later.

When the beating stopped, neighbors reported to the police, Mr. Kauanui was left lying on the concrete in a pool of blood. Police say the victim had been drinking with Eric House, 21, at the La Jolla Brew House. It was there that Mr. House may or may not have flirted with Mr. Kauanui’s girlfriend, according to the police, and there that Mr. Kauanui may have intentionally spilled a drink on Mr. House.

From left to right: Cravens, Hendricks, House, Osuna, Yanke
 From left to right: Cravens, Hendricks, House, Osuna, Yanke. [source]

According to sources, a security guard at the bar asked Kauanui to leave and that House and four others — Seth Cravens; Orlando Osuna, 23; Matthew Yanke, 21; and Henri Hendricks, 22 — later drove to Mr. Kauanui’s home, prosecutors say to retaliate against him. Four days after the fistfight, during which Kauanui’s skull was fractured in three places, he died at Scripps Memorial Hospital. It was the first homicide in La Jolla since 2002..

The men pleaded not guilty, suggesting that Mr. Kauanui’s death was an accident. However, the state Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the evidence of Cravens’ conduct and his mental state satisfied the elements of implied malice, reversing the 2010 decision that stated Cravens’ intentions weren’t murder. He was convicted of second-degree murder and is serving twenty years in prison.

 A Millionaire Opportunity

John Watson was a prominent biotech executive whose career had catapulted him to positions in prominent companies, and eventually Ionian Technologies, where he was president and chief executive. In his professional life, Watson helped launch products for people with HIV, inflammatory diseases, and spinal cord injuries, among other ailments. He also  loved the coast (and sailing), and rented an apartment on Camino del Oro in La Jolla Shores. The self-made multimillionaire eventually retired in 2008; ironically, right before he met a man named Kent Keigwin.

Kent Keigwin’s murder motive had always been money, and his failed attempt at befriending Watson was only a ploy to do so. His plan began in early 2009 when he opened a Yahoo email account in Watson’s name. Watson notified the police when first a Citibank, and then an E-Trade bank account were all opened in his name. Nobody could identify the culprit. In April, Keigwin used the name, birth date, and address of a longtime client to buy a stun gun online. The taser was designed to shoot twin probes (which deliver a 50,000-volt shock); the jolt, unlike a law enforcement’s taser, would last 30 seconds and be extraordinarily painful.

 John Watson’s La Jolla Shores condo. [source]

On June 6, two days before his body was found, Watson left his home around 3pm. Terrifyingly, Keigwin had installed a tracking device on Watson’s car and was already following his every move. While Watson ran errands, Keigwin waited in his car, the Taser in his backpack; just three blocks from Watson’s La Jolla home. Keigwin received a notification every two minutes on his cell phone telling him the location of his prey. Keigwin then let himself into Watson’s apartment; shortly after Watson came in, Keigwin tased him in the back full-force to stun him and prevent an altercation. He then strangled him to death.

Immediately the next morning, Keigwin was online opening an account at Scottrade in Watson’s name. To complete the process, “Watson” was asked to come into a branch office. An hour later, Keigwin entered the Scottrade branch at La Jolla Village Square, carrying Watson’s Deutsche Bank statement. He introduced himself to the manager as John Watson and proceeded to request a transfer for $8.9 million to another of ‘his’ accounts.

DNA testing would later reveal Keigwin as the killer. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2012.

5 Weirdest Sea Creatures You’ll See at the Birch Aquarium

Image: Facebook

No need to travel to the bottom of the ocean: In just a few minutes’ drive, you can have a close encounter with some of the weirdest sea creatures at La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium. From killer shrimp (totally real!) to walking “fish” these unique underwater creatures will mesmerize young and old. Bonus: this trip makes for a great family-friendly activity.

Giant Pacific Octopus: Enteroctopus dofleini

Giant Pacific octopuses (top image) is a great contender for the largest octopus species weighing up to 157 pounds and measuring 11 feet long! These intimidating creatures are a deep ruby color, as you can tell from the Birch Aquarium’s female Giant Pacific octopus. Many of the suckers on her tentacles are actually lined with small hooks or hairs to help grip. We’re told that “[when she’s] moving around, it’s a sight to see to say the least.” Giant Pacific octopuses can be found around the Pacific Rim (western coast of North America and eastern coast of Asia) down to Japan.

There are three other types of giant octopuses, found around the southwestern tip of Africa, the southeastern tip of South America, and New Zealand.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Leafy Seadragon: Phycodurus Eques

The mysterious Leafy Seadragon was named after its leaf-like shape and resemblance to the mythical Chinese dragon. A close relative to Sea Horses, Sea Dragons are much larger with leaf-like appendages and when fully grown they can measure up to 18 inches. Their leaf-like appearance enables them to camouflage quite well into floating seaweed. These sea creatures are fascinating to watch as their body hardly moves.  Their movement comes from translucent fins found on the sides of their heads and dorsal fins. It’s almost as though an invisible force is helping them move, causing them to glide in slow and grace-like patterns.  [source:]

Image: Roy L. Caldwell 

Mantis Shrimp (AKA “Killer Shrimp”): Dikerogammarus Villosus

In the case of the mantis shrimp, truth is stranger than fiction! This fascinating marine crustacean is a serious predator, and sports powerful claws that are used to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismembering.

The mantis shrimp is commonly separated into two distinct categories: spearers and smashers. Spearers skewer their prey with jagged spear-like claws and eat them. Smashers punch prey with club-like claws, but this isn’t just any punch — smasher punches are so fast that vacuums of air are actually formed in the water as the punch travels to the prey. These vacuums then collapse, creating a shock that is so intense that it actually produces light and heat! Mantis shrimp are very colorful and have a shimmering psychedelic appearance that is made even weirder by their two eyes that have three pupils each.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle: Caretta caretta

Loggerhead sea turtles are the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world and have been spotted off the shores of La Jolla! Sadly, loggerhead turtles (pictured above) are becoming more and more rare. These turtles are an endangered species due to worldwide loss of nesting habitats and commercial fishing practices that accidentally trap and kill turtles. The Aquarium’s loggerhead turtle was rescued and resides here permanently after it was declared unable to safely return to the ocean. Loggerheads’ backs are host to over 100 animal species and 37 algae species, making this gal a home to many.

It’s not clear if these species affect their host turtles, but their presence does hide shell colors and may improve camouflaging ability. You can find a video of the Birch Aquarium’s loggerhead here and see her gorgeous yellow, gold and brown shell for yourself!


Flamboyant Cuttlefish: Metasepia pfefferi

The flamboyant cuttlefish, named for its bright pink, red, and yellow colors, is a poisonous variety of cuttlefish. Their toxic nature is not only conveyed through their bright colors, but a certain wiggly walk they perform across the ocean floor. The flamboyant cuttlefish is the only type of cuttlefish that can walk. Confusingly, cuttlefish are actually mollusks, not fish, and belong to the same family as octopuses and squid. The eyes of cuttlefish have a “W”-shaped pupil instead of the round one seen in humans! When cuttlefish look and focus their eyes, the lens inside the eye moves relative to the retina instead of staying in place and reshaping as it does in humans.

Del Mar Free Summer Concerts: July 2016 Lineup

The Del Mar Racetrack summer season is a beloved staple in the San Diego and Southern California regions for good reason, one being the live music. Each year, this long-established venue offers free summer concerts in San Diego’s northern city of Del Mar. (Heads up: All concert attendees must be 18+.)

Here are the free music shows in Del Mar, starting at 4 pm on designated Fridays, to get excited for July 2016. (Stay tuned for the August shows our next blog post : August 2016.)

Fitz & the Tantrums (Friday, July 29th) + Happy Hour Specials

Before his free San Diego concert begins, make sure to stop by happy hour. On Friday, July 29, from gates opening until 6 pm, signature cocktails are half off throughout the track. This includes drinks like the new Cucumber Chili and Billionaire Margaritas. (Just the thing for this wicked heat wave.) Brew lovers can purchase two 12 oz. cans of ice cold favorites like Coors Light or Tecate for only $12 all day, in the Cabana area, that is.

After the last race, get ready for: Fitz & the Tantrums at the Del Mar Racetrack. This band, which started in Los Angeles, is an American neo soul/indie pop band has grown in popularity & style since being deemed a “band to watch” by Rolling Stone in April 2011.


del mar racetrack concert fitz tantrums 2016

How the group began: Fitz created Fitz & the Tantrums from “a need to be creative and not lose my mind over a breakup.” Since then, he and his fellow bandmates have put everything on the line to become a chart-topping modern, pop combo that wows its audiences and brings an incredible zeal and energy to the stage.

Learn more about this band on their website here.

(Oh, and to get a taste of their music, watch their makes-you-want-to-dance music video:The Walker. Yes, you might recognize the song from this Supercuts commercial.)

Del Mar Racetrack’s Reggae Fest (Saturday, July 30th)

Dive into the all day Reggae Fest in Del Mar featuring amazing musicians and musical artists, such as:

del mar free concerts ziggy marley

Del Mar Reggae Fest 2016 summer free concerts san diego

Ziggy Marley (Headliner)

Son to Bob Marley. Winner of seven GRAMMY® Awards and an EMMY®. Critically-acclaimed musician of 3 decades and 16 albums. Ziggy Marley has been carrying on his family legacy through his own influential music. At his Del Mar music show this year, expect a powerful, immersive experience from this world-famous musical artist.

The Devastators

This locally-based San Diego reggae band (which features punk sounds and a variety of instruments) has won several awards, receives regular airplay on a variety of San Diego radio air stations and, at Longboard in Pacific Beach, used to perform three sets each and every Sunday and became such a staple that they were Southern California’s longest running live reggae residency.

Hear some of The Devastators’ latest tunes here.

 DJ Carlos Culture

Rock out the day party leading up to the main headliner with DJ Carlos Culture. Listen to some of his latest beats here.

 Ginger Roots and the Protectors

The day activities will also host Ginger Roots and the Protectors, a local San Diego band with a distinctive style perfect for summer. Learn more about this local group and hear some of their music here.

Other San Diego Summer Concerts 2016

Learn about more live music shows in San Diego this summer, such as the Del Mar free concerts 2016.

la jolla summer concert free la jolal cove 4

La Jolla Concerts By the Sea 2016 – Free San Diego Concerts this Summer

Imagine this: It’s Sunday afternoon. You’re lounging on a grassy lawn, overlooking the ocean and soaking in incredible live music.


Welcome to La Jolla Concerts by the Sea, a series of summer concerts in San Diego, in its north coastal town of La Jolla. These San Diego summer concerts have been offering live music, great for all ages, since 1984. So bring the family. Tote your friends. As the genres range from big band and swing to rock-n-roll and country western, there’s something for everyone.

When & Where

Between July and September 2016, these concerts happen certain Sundays from 2 to 4 pm.
These outdoor summer concerts are hosted at Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove, which looks out across the beautiful La Jolla Coveand breathtaking Pacific Ocean.

Food & Beverages

At these La Jolla summer concerts, support the very event you’re attending by purchasing a tasty snack. Pick from selections like Haagen Dazs ice creams, popsicles, candy, soda and more.

For heartier food, Bullseye Kettle Corn will be selling hot dogs, lemonade, kettle corn and more. Part of these profits go back into the La Jolla Summer Concerts by the Sea, as well.

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Calendar: Who is Playing at La Jolla Summer Concerts 2016?

The La Jolla summer concerts will be hosting a variety of talented, critically-acclaimed musical groups and band. (For example, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, performing August 28th – was granted permission from the man himself, Johnny Cash, to use this band name.)

From late July through early September here are the groups, and their genres, to look forward to:


Aug. 7 THE KINGS OF 88 (Piano / Rock)


Aug. 21 HOT PURSUIT BAND (Classic Rock & Variety Hits)


Sept. 4 THE HEROES (Rock & Roll)

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How to Support the La Jolla Free Summer Concerts

In addition to purchasing snacks at the event, each concert will host raffles – all the proceeds from purchasing raffle tickets goes back into funding for the concerts.

To donate directly or become an official friend of the concerts, please head here.

For More Budget-Friendly & Free Activities in La Jolla

Find more low-cost and free activities in La Jolla to enjoy at our Guide to a Budget Friendly Day in La Jolla.

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Dolphin Sightings in La Jolla

Dolphin Pods off the San Diego Coast

The beaches of Southern California are full of awe-inducing aquatic wildlife. From smaller creatures like Garibaldi fish you’d see at Birch Aquarium to much larger ones…like dolphins!

Burnz Eye View captured this beautiful pod of dolphins near La Jolla, off the San Diego Coast using their high-tech quadcopter. We thank them for filming this and sharing it with the virtual world.

Want to Meet Dolphins Yourself?

Dolphins are incredible creatures, and many folks would probably like a closer look. Head out on the water and find yourselves eye-to-eye with them by going kayaking or snorkeling. If you’re new to these activities, you may be unsure if you’re heading to the right spots. La Jolla is home to multiple guides who are very experienced in leading people through kayaking and other tours. Tours truly are a great way to see the sea with ease and confidence. (Plus, they provide all the equipment, which is great for all of us who don’t regularly purchase scuba diving gear!)

See them up close…On Dry Land

If you prefer to stay on dry land, no problem. You can see these beautiful creatures up close at nearby the Sea World Aquatic Park. Simply head into the main entrance, turn left and walk until you hear their squeaking laughter! At Dolphin Encounter, they don’t simply look pretty either. They are trained to swim up close to guests and let you pet their playful heads.

Not Enough?

If you’re love the coast and are interested in other ocean activities, check out our Ocean Page to learn more. Keep calm and swim on!



Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival: The Full Review

Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival: The Full Review

I arrived at the Del Mar Racetrack and, quite literally, followed my nose to the Gourmet Food Truck Festival.

The 5th annual festival, held Saturday, August 15th, hosted over 40 gourmet food trucks from the surrounding San Diego and Los Angeles area. There were many food trucks I’d heard of before, but not yet had the chance to try.


When we think food trucks and fair food, images of deep fryers often come to mind. I love french fries as much as the next person, but I was pleasantly surprised to encounter trucks that also offered options that were cool, refreshing and (can you believe it?) healthy.

Fresh Fish at Sun & Seafood

My first stop was Sun & Seafood, where I got to try the shrimp taco and fish ceviche tostada. Both were delicious but, because it was so hot, the cold and refreshing ceviche was the item that really hit the spot.

The Currywurst Truck

My 2 fellow festival goers opted for German food at the Currywurst Truck. This food truck was especially perfect for my friend who is vegetarian because Currywurst serves a vegetarian-friendly “bratwurst” that can satisfy the cravings of any non-meat eater. (Proof of how good it was? It had vanished from her plate before we even sat down.) They, of course, have plenty of very real meat options, as well.

Juice Wave SD

Continuing my own theme of light and cold, we headed to Juice Wave. This juice truck offers several types of organic and healthy juices, smoothies and acai bowls. Overcome by options, I asked the girl taking orders for her opinion. She recommended “The Hangover” and couldn’t have picked better.

Coconut water. Carrot. Celery. Ginger. Green apple. I didn’t drink the night before, but that didn’t make me appreciate this nutrient-packed drink any less. Speaking of coconut water, Juice Wave even had full on coconuts packed with coconut water and meat. Island paradise, right here in Del Mar.

Juice Wave is definitely a spot I’ll be returning to, most likely at their newly opened Mission Beach location.




Top Spots for Dogs in La Jolla (and Dog Owners!)

Top Spots for Dogs in La Jolla

Been to the same Southern California dog park many times and want to go somewhere new? There are many great places for La Jolla dog owners. From dog-friendly hikes to dog-friendly La Jolla restaurants, we want to share the top spots to go with pet dogs in La Jolla.


Torrey Pines State Reserve

La Jolla’s Torrey Pines State Reserve has great hiking trails for dogs and humans alike! There are 6 different trails dogs love, so you can choose from a variety of hikes. To learn more about Torrey Pines, check out our in-depth La Jolla Torrey Pines State Reserve Page.


Uptown Woofs

After an afternoon of hiking or just day-to-day life, do you find your pup dirty and in need of dog grooming? Take your dog to be cleaned at one of La Jolla’s dog grooming salons.

With a 5 star review on Yelp, we recommend La Jolla’s Uptown Woofs. Why? It has a great reputation for good reason. From doggie baths and haircuts to dog nail grinding and trimming, Uptown Woofs is family-owned business that puts true thought and care into every dog that comes in. (They’re even known to cut trickier Labradoodle coats to perfection!)

To make newcomers feel extra welcoming, the Uptown Woofs staff often provides a welcome present of a toy and dog treats. Now that’s service!

La Jolla Shores Beach

After 6 pm year-round and after 4 pm in winter, La Jolla Shores Beach is dog-friendly. At these times, take your pup for bonding and play time! If he or she likes to play fetch, feel free to bring a frisbee or ball toy.

A Dog-Friendly La Jolla Restaurant

If you love going to restaurants for dinner and enjoy spending time with your dog, there’s no need to compromise. There are many great, dog-friendly La Jolla restaurants. Several La Jolla venues even have doggie food menus!

To learn more, check out the Best Dog Friendly Restaurants in La Jolla.

8 Things You Don’t Know About La Jolla

There’s a lot you may already know about the Jewel (such as how magical the La Jolla brunches are), but we’ve been discovering some facts that’ll surprise most readers. Test your La Jolla knowledge by checking out these fun facts, which cover everything from weather to clothes-optional beaches.

1. When combined with San Diego, the La Jolla Playhouse and SD have sent more shows to Broadway than any other city in America, even compared to NYC!

2. We joke that Southern California is always 70 degrees and sunny. La Jolla takes its perfect weather reputation quite seriously; in summer, the average temperature here is exactly 70 degrees.

3. La Jolla, starting around 2008, became the community with the highest home price average in the entire country.

4. We all know about Black’s Beach; not many cities have a segment of shoreline deemed “clothes optional!” However, did you know Black’s Beach was actually the very first legal beach in the USA?

5. UC San Diego was originally called UC La Jolla, apparently the location-based name was far too sensical!

6. In its earlier years, 1894 to be specific, La Jolla was deemed an art colony. (With all breathtaking galleries and festivals, the history makes sense).

7. There was once a rumor that there was a collection of “munchkin sized” houses up in the hills of La Jolla. Turns out, it’s an optical illusion. Looking from Mt. Soledad at a certain angle, certain homes look undeniably small.

8. Heard of the La Jolla Railway? If not, it’s probably because it doesn’t exist anymore. Back in the 1890s, when La Jolla was known as the resort area, a railway connected this seaside town to San Diego and Pacific Beach, allowing people to more easily access it.


Summer Lovin’: Top Summer Date Ideas for La Jolla

Sunsets on warm nights. Long walks on the beach. The summer season in California is nothing short of romantic. The atmosphere is already there; it just takes a little more to create the perfect date. Check out our top ideas, itinerary already included, for the perfect summer dates in La Jolla.

1. Drive-in Style

Put a unique spin on the typical “dinner and movie” date by going to an outdoor film screening. During summer, there are many movies being shown at parks and other venues throughout the San Diego and La Jolla area. Go out to a local La Jolla restaurant before and then, with each of your favorite snacks in hand, head to the film.

Learn more about which one(s) you’ll want to see at our Summer Movie Guide 2015: La Jolla and San Diego.

2. Dive in head first

Whether you’ve been together for years or are on date #3, an adventure together under the sea makes for an extra-memorable date. Explore beneath the ocean snorkeling or scuba diving.

3. Test Your Teamwork

See how well you work together in a fun, it-takes-two experience. Rent a tandem bicycle and combine forces to maintain balance as you cycle along the ocean or test your mutual arm strength kayaking in a double-kayak. (If you’re looking for a flatter area to tandem bicycle, head slightly south to the bordering Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. There you can pedal on the flat, beachside boardwalk.)

4. Get Artsy

Release your inner Picasso together by exploring La Jolla’s world of art. This summer, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego is hosting a fantastic event on Thursdays (May 28 – end of August) called Shore Thing. At 5 pm on these Thursdays, get excited to arrive to DJs spinning great music while you walk through exhibits and BYOP (bring your own picnic). And, hold up, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right? Oh yes, that’s right – here, so enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail from the cash bar!

For more ideas, learn more about the complete, full-day Ultimate Art Lovers’ Date in La Jolla.

5. Sunset Challenge

Host your own sunset competition with a 2 judges panel by visiting the different look out spots around La Jolla on different nights, from La Jolla Cove to Mount Soledad. At each spot, snap a few pictures and, at summer’s end, compare to find which one each of you like best.

Looking for more date ideas? Find out about The Perfect Romantic Date in La Jolla: How to Plan It.

Cinco De Mayo in La Jolla

Cinco de Mayo in La Jolla:

The fifth of May has come to be known as Cinco de Mayo in many places besides its country of origin, Mexico. When the Mexican army beat the French army in a battle on May 5, 1862, it was very unexpected. They celebrated their win victoriously, and this celebration became tradition. Join in by visiting local restaurants and festivals sporting Mexican cuisine, drinks and more!


For wickedly good margaritas:


From as early as 10 am to late at night, come to Jose’s for magnificent margaritas and killer cuisine. Because this spot has become so well known in the community, the restaurant usually rents out an extra parking lot and has live music to really kick the party up!

For fantastic cuisine:

Alfonso’s of La Jolla

Alfonso’s of La Jolla has all type of Casa Specialties like Steak Ranchero, Pescado Veracruzano, Puerto Nuevo Lobster Tail and Tamales Del Norte…plus all the other classic staples like quesadilla and burritos.

And don’t worry about lack of beverages, there are several margarita options here.

For catering your own party:


Bring the party to you and host your own Cinco de Mayo Bonanza. With all the decorating and party details, we suggest letting Porkyland take care of the catering. This restaurant makes amazing food such as enchiladas and carnitas. Best of all? They can deliver it straight to your house.

For Ages 21 – 39:

All Hallows Catholic Church

The All Hallows Catholic Church is hosting a sweet Mexican dinner along with coronas and margaritas all Hallows style for only $15! (As its for a younger adult demographic, must be between the ages of 21 and 39 to attend).

For a Full Blown Festival:

Old Town

Head to Old Town in nearby San Diego for their annual Cinco de Mayo Festival. With 3 stages of live music, 10 restaurants offering discounted specials and historical demonstration and performances, you’ll get the full Cinco de Mayo experience.

La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance: Got Your Tickets Yet?

La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance: Got Your Tickets Yet?

If you enjoy automobiles and live in the area, you’ve probably attended this wonderful event in La Jolla, California already. If you haven’t, this is the year to check out Concours d’Elegance.


Car enthusiasts from all over come out to take part in this weekend festival. Starting off with a Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Contemporary Classic Cocktail Party on Friday and going all the way through the events hosted at the fantastic La Jolla Cove and La Jolla restaurants on Sunday, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.

History & Background

Sponsors from all around join forces with the La Jolla Historical Society to host this event that has origins tracing back to the 17th century. During that time, the concours was a luxurious, leisurely event centered around coaches, couture and cocktails.


In many ways, little has changed since, though overtime the event adjusted and morphed into the post-World War II event Loren Tryon held in 1950 at Pebble Beach. This in turn inspired the car-loving, automotive-centered event La Jolla now hosts today.

What to Expect

There is far more to do than simply look at cars at La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance. From cocktail receptions to decadent lunches, there’s something different happening each day.



The event launches with a cocktail party hosted by CJ Charles Jewelers at La Valencia Hotel on Prospect Street. At the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Contemporary Classic Cocktail Party, ticket holders will enter this exclusive gathering and be greeted by supreme appetizers, cocktails, wine and, of course, entertainment. It’s the perfect way to begin this deluxe event.


The first full-day event begins just south of La Jolla at San Diego’s Balboa Park. You’ll be taken to this world-famous park’s San Diego Automotive Museum for an exclusive exhibit on the influence cars have had through history, seeing some of the finest of the museum’s automobiles.

From here, the ticket you purchase will have you driven up to Bill Evan’s Private Collection Garage where the vintage automobiles will have you reminiscing over old times and thinking of songs by Frank Sinatra.

Next? The Chuck Spielman’s Only Yesterday Museum. This private showroom includes a lot of war artifacts and history, as well as great cars. Last but not last, the vehicle transporting you will take you on over to the official La Jolla Tour d’Elegance. What type of vehicle? A double decker bus, of course! Get ready to feel like a local London-er.

Saturday Night

Not ready to turn in after all that? Keep the car talk coming at VIP reception Saturday evening. CJ Charles Jewelers is hosting another evening of culinary cuisine and drinks. Sip hand-crafted cocktails while discussing your favorite automobiles alongside the glorious ocean view.


Even if you are unable to attend one of the cocktail parties or exclusive VIP events, you’ll get to see a truly impeccable array of automobiles on Sunday at La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance. Enjoy viewing hundreds of vehicles with wine tastings and visits to the beer garden in between. And hey, if you up your ticket to VIP status, the highest of quality cocktails, a mouth-watering lunch and poster are included in the ticket.

It’s also good to note that if you have children under age 14, there’s no need to worry about cost; they’re free!

Parking: Good to Know

Parking will get crazy for this ever-expanding event. If you live close enough, it may well be worth it to Uber in or even park in a nearby area of La Jolla, such as Bird Rock, and take a nice stroll in. It’ll save you the stress and madness of finding a spot for your car.


From out of the area or prefer to stay somewhere within walking distance? The most notable La Jolla hotels are all just a stroll away from the heart of this event. Learn more about these fantastic options at our blog: La Jolla’s Top 5 Hotels: Why to Book Now!

5 Ways: You Know You Live in La Jolla When…

La Jolla is a proud community that’s notably unique from its Southern California neighbors. It may border San Diego, but it has a very distinct personality that is not to mistaken for anywhere else. Here are some of the top ways that, if you nod with understanding, you know you’re an official La Jollan.

1. When someone says they’re going to George’s, they’re probably not talking about a friend’s house.

Though it’s possible someone is visiting a pal named George, it is far more likely they’re headed to George’s at the Cove, a fine dining restaurant that offers incredibly seafood, ocean views and service. It may well be your perfect go-to for celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries.

2. Brunch makes for a truly ultimate Saturday or Sunday.

La Jolla has many fantastic spots for a seaside brunch on the weekends, all of which are popping with guests excited to indulge in good food and (most likely) sip on mimosas. Check out what we think are 4 Must-Try Brunch Spots in La Jolla.

3. You hear “The Playhouse” and know it’s not a child’s play area.

If you live in La Jolla, you’ve probably attended at least one event or play at the La Jolla Playhouse. Having sent countless plays to Broadway and won more Tony’s than almost any other theater in America, you know it’s a great place to experience theater.

4. Everyday is a good beach day.

You click on the news to see people bundling up in the snow, witness tornadoes hitting and watch treacherous, far-off storms. Then, you grab your light cardigan and head to a local beach…whatever time of year it may be.

5. This city has 3 distinct pockets, each with its own vibe and one-of-a-kind venues.

Visitors come to see the Cove and try the famous Coast Toast. They’re great spots, of course, but you know the local gems – like where to get the ultimate coffee in Bird Rock (Bird Rock Coffee Roasters!) and that the unassuming Cheese Shop in La Jolla Shores is a prime spot for grabbing picnic sandwiches.

Even if you lived in La Jolla for many years, there may be local spots you haven’t tried or heard of. Test your La Jolla knowledge by reading our Top 5 Best-Kept Secrets in La Jolla.

The Perfect Day at Torrey Pines, Already Planned!

Torrey-Pines-State-Reserve-Guy-Fleming-look-out-pointThe Perfect Day at Torrey Pines, Already Planned!

Torrey Pines State Reserve is a local treasure. Home to the rarest pine tree in all of America, people from near and far come to hike the trails and explore the beach. You can easily come for a few hours of hiking, but with so much to do and see, why not make a day out of it? Here’s our itinerary for how to do just that.



Fuel up at breakfast.

With the active day ahead of you, you want your body to be fueled. If you’re coming from the north, we recommend hitting Pacifica Breeze Cafe in nearby Del Mar (they have wicked breakfast potatoes!) or stay within La Jolla by trying out the fantastic acai bowls or eggs florentine of the Bella Vista Social Club and Caffe at UCSD.

Arrive early for easier parking.

The earlier you come, the smoother finding a spot for your car will be. Pay to park in the paid lot or find a spot further up the road and walk in.

torrey-pines-state-reserve-trailPick a trail.

Decide what level of hike you’re going for, whether that’s more calf-burning hills or more relaxed. Learn about each of the trails at Torrey Pines and their difficulty level at our Torrey Pines State Reserve Page.



Bring equipment for the beach.

You can hike right out onto the sand or hike and return to your car to grab gear for the beach. Bring bathing suits. Surf boards. Boogie boards. The latest novel. Whatever it is you need for the ultimate beach day! After a morning of hiking, splashing in the cool Pacific will never have felt so good.

Picnic lunch.

We recommend enjoying lunch on the sand. Pack a picnic lunch before you head out for the day and leave it in a cooler in your car. That way, when you go to grab your beach equipment, you can grab your ready-to-eat meal at the same time.

Stay for sunset.

As it begins to darken, don’t head home yet! You’ll want to stay to watch the sun go down. The pictures you’ll snap will be worth it alone.

Not ready to head in for the night?

After packing up and heading back to your car, those still energized will be ready to keep the adventure going. There’s always plenty of entertainment going on in La Jolla, from comedy shows to live music. Learn more about what to do in the evening at our Entertainment Page.

8 Great Activities to Enjoy in La Jolla

Enjoy La Jolla

Known as the Jewel City, this affluent San Diego neighborhood lives up to its nickname! La Jolla visitors can experience both chic and modern city culture and beautiful natural vistas within a very small radius, making this area the perfect balance for days spent exploring both the outdoors and downtown.

Visit Birch Aquarium

Seahorses, gray whales, and leopard sharks—oh my! Birch Aquarium is a great place to spend the day learning about our oceans and the creatures that live there. Scientific education becomes fun for both children and adults with interactive tide pools, award-winning oceanography exhibits, and a live camera feed of the off-shore kelp forest.

Take a Bike Tour

Electric bike tours are a great way to get your bearings and enjoy the sun and fresh air in La Jolla. Fly Rides offers guided tours on these bikes, which run on clean-energy electricity supplemented by light pedaling. It’s a great in-between option for those who like the immersive feel of walking tours but want to keep their energy for other activities later in the day.

Snorkel & Scuba

La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores are the area’s most famous snorkel and scuba spots. The caves of the cove are breathtaking, making in one of San Diego’s most photographed beaches—however, the water tends to be chillier than its sunny shore counterpart, so divers may want to invest in a wet suit. Either way, you’re in for some great views!

Laugh at the Comedy Store

The Comedy Store has made its mark as America’s first road comedy club. Greats like Robin Williams and David Letterman performed here in their early careers, and the club has continued its reputation for showcasing both comedy’s biggest names and its best up-and-coming talents.

Hangliding & Parasailing

For those seeking amazing views, Torrey Plains Gliderport can give you an absolutely unforgettable experience. The gliderport has been active in Southern California for a century, servicing all types of man-powered flight. The gliderport offers training, tandem flights with their experienced pilots, and equipment rental for fliers with proper certification.

View Madison Gallery

This contemporary art gallery offers stunning and evocative exhibits from local and international artists in a serene and minimalistic setting. The gallery upholds a high standard of artistry in a variety of mediums, and makes a perfect afternoon or evening sojourn for the creatively-minded.

Shop Girard & Prospect

Girard Avenue and Prospect Street offer some of the best high-end shopping in the neighborhood as well as a wide selection of restaurants. If you’re looking for something in particular, you’ll probably find it here. If you’re just looking for a great walk and window shopping, you’ll find that too!

Cruise at Sunset

No sunset is ever quite the same but in balmy La Jolla, each one is memorable. Mission Bay sunset cruises are a beautiful and peaceful way to wind down and relax after an eventful summer day. Depending on your preferred charter, you can opt to spend a tranquil evening enjoying a romantic dinner and drinks, a panoramic tour of La Jolla’s coastline and oceanic wildlife, or both.

About the Writer: Christy Woodrow is an award-winning travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego, California. She launched her popular adventure travel blog, Ordinary Traveler, with her partner in 2010 — as a way to inspire others to travel the world and realize their dreams. Christy’s work has been featured on sites such as Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, Go Abroad, Pinterest’s blog, Gap Adventures, and more.

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium

The Pacific Ocean lining La Jolla is not only beautiful; it’s filled with wondrous aquatic life. Perhaps you’d love to see it but aren’t enthusiastic about scuba diving to do so. Well, don’t worry, you don’t have to. You can get up close with these beautiful sea creatures above water, high up on a cliff, as a matter of fact, here in La Jolla at the Birch Aquarium.

This aquarium, part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD (University of California, San Diego), is a beloved place dedicated to education, research and ocean conservation. It’s especially great for families because its exhibits are more geared towards children. You definitely feel this family-friendly vibe walking amongst the exhibits.


This aquarium is somewhat small compared to more massive spots like Monterey Bay, but don’t be fooled by its land coverage. Though compact, this place has over 60 habitats. Birch Aquarium features favorites like There’s Something About Seahorses, Hall of Fishes and, of course, Living Tide Pools.

The pot belly seahorses and exotic jellyfish are some of the most sought out creatures here, so definitely make sure not to miss them. If you’re interested in larger animals? Look out for the new Loggerhead Sea Turtle!

Getting Interactive

Looking at the animals alone is pretty incredible, but we recommend you take things up a notch by looking at the calendar for the day you plan to attend. It’ll let you know when to look out for events such as their kelp tank dive show, tide pool feeding and Elasmo Beach feeding.

Top Tips

Purchasing tickets online ahead of time saves you money at the door and can save you some money. If you search online, you can often find discounts that are worth checking out.

Parking in the lot is free for up to three hours. This is usually an adequate amount of time to explore this intimate aquarium, but, if you find yourself needing more, just make sure to be aware of that time allowance.

The inner aquariums are great, but don’t forget to head out the open air section. The exhibits here, like the tide pools, are just as great as the ocean view behind them!

Be prepared to encounter a lot of young ones. This facility sees over 40,000 school children every year. So if it’s a weekday, don’t be surprised to see large yellow school buses!

Just below this facilities is La Jolla Shores, a beach great for picnics, surfing and other activities. Coming to this beach is way to spend time before or after the aquarium. Learn more about this beach at our La Jolla Shores Page.

Guide to the Best Budget Friendly Day in La Jolla

Guide to the Best Budget Friendly Day in La Jolla

When you think of La Jolla, you think of its ambience. Luxurious yet relaxed. Decadent yet laid-back. You may not be ready to buy a house on the beach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the La Jolla lifestyle. Here’s how to have the ultimate day in La Jolla, that’s also friendly for your wallet.


Enjoy breakfast at a local spot.

Enjoy a good cup of joe and the buzz of breakfast time on a budget at one of La Jolla’s cozy cafes such as the Brick & Bell Cafe or Harry’s Coffee shop.



Brick & Bell Cafe: At this is budget-friendly haven, you can have a great breakfast that makes you feel as if you’re in Italy. Get a bagel with spread, bacon and veggie scramble or unique, locally-loved Swiss Muesli…each option being under $5.

At Harry’s: This spot has been here, family-owned, since the 1960s. It’s known for filling, heart-warming pancake and french toast deals. Get thick, powdered french toast for only $5.99. Order two eggs and two pancakes for $6.99. If breakfast is the meal you’d like to splurge a little on? The $11.95 B.W. Florentine is incredible. Eggs florentine on a waffle, syrup on the side. That’ll keep you full for a long time!

Make or Grab a Picnic Lunch. (Under $10)

For the best price, make your own lunch that morning and put it in a cooler. You can also get something in the city to take for later. If you’re already at Harry’s for breakfast, they have great sandwich deals under $7. Before leaving, simply order one to have wrapped to-go.

If it’s a Sunday, hit the Open Air Farmer’s Market, where you can walk the booths, soak up the organic atmosphere and pick up some fresh, locally grown fruit to take your lunch up a notch.

Hit the Beach. (Free)

Personalize this day by bringing whatever it is you most enjoy at the beach. Frisbee. Soccer ball. Boogie board. Time magazine. A good book. (And hey, if you’re a resident, go to the local library first, so you don’t even have to spend money purchasing a novel.)


Spend the day here engaging in activities, reading and walking the coastline. When hungry, stop for your picnic lunch. Not sure which beach to go to? Help decide by checking out our blog: La Jolla’s Best Beaches.

Take the Ocean Path towards the Village. (Free)

After your day of enjoying the beach and picnic lunch, head towards land and take the Ocean Path to Children’s Pool. Walk the cliffs until you hit the sea lions. You may be surprised at how much fun you’ll have observing these fun creatures, as well as all the other people nearby!

Check out the Tide Pools. (Free)

Head over to Shell Beach. This spot is known for great tide pools, where you can check out aquatic life like sea stars and sea anemones. It’s a wonderful experience for people of all ages to get lost in.

Explore the Art Galleries and Shops of the Village. (Free)

Downtown La Jolla Village is filled with shops, restaurants and art galleries. Walk through the art galleries and take in artists’ paintings, photography and more. You’ll see work from local artists and from across the globe.


Each place you visit acts like an exhibit of one massive museum…the main difference? You don’t have to pay for entrance. Afterwards and in-between galleries, stroll the streets for some fun window shopping, perhaps inspiring your own creative DIY mind.

(To learn about some of our favorite galleries, check out our blog: 3 Must-See Spots for Art Lovers in La Jolla.)

Watch the sunset. (Free)

Walk back towards the sea lions you visited earlier. Set yourself up on the grass of Ellen Browning Scripps Park or the railing all along the coast there. Take in the ambience of awe as the sun goes down.

Enjoy Dinner. (Under $20, prices vary)

There’s been a lot of walking and activity since lunch. You saved big on the first two meals of the day and didn’t even have to spend money on activities. Dinner can be your opportunity to enjoy expertly cooked food and keep costs reasonable at the same time. We recommend Karl Strauss as a prime place to do just that.


Karl Strauss Brewing Company: This brewery and restaurant combo attracts beer and non-beer lovers alike. You can find a great variety of meals that range in price, many being between $11 and $20. Enticing options like Ginger Crusted Salmon, Brick Chicken, Pesto Chicken Pasta, Spicy Tofu Curry and Chipotle Pastrami all under $15.

The Ginger Crusted Salmon, at $19.95, is a gorgeously crafted meal that would go for far more at other nearby establishments. The chefs here take great pride in presentation, and this dish is the perfect example. The ripe avocado on top brings perfect contrast to the crusted salmon underneath, and the decadent firecracker sauce circling the dish adds the ultimate touch. It’s understandable that you’ll probably want to snap a picture before eating.

Check out a show or live entertainment. (Price varies)

The Loft: This contemporary, 20 something oriented loft hosts a wide variety of events. Music shows require tickets, but tend to be no more than $30 for even the most famous of artists. Many events, such as trivia, are actually free. You may buy a drink or two, but with beers and sangria at $6, the cost is low.

Comedy Store offers a variety of single headliners and multi-comedian shows. If you join their list, you can sometimes even snag tickets for free on Thursday nights. (Just remember there’s a 2 drink minimum. However, sticking to low-cost drinks like cranberry vodka over more-expensive cocktails will keep your cost down).

Moonlit beach walk. (Free)

You’ve already done a lot, but perhaps you’re still not quite ready to head home. Take in the beach one more time…from a new perspective. Walking along the beach by moonlight is the stereotype of romance for a reason. Walk here with (or without!) your honey to end the day on a perfect note.

You truly can have a wonderful, action-packed day in La Jolla without the guilt of overspending. Just remember that no matter one’s bank account, you can live up the La Jolla seaside lifestyle.

3 Must See Spots for Art Lovers in La Jolla

The Madison Gallery

Find modern works. Discover contemporary paintings. Get inspired at a global level. Yorna Lork, the owner of the Madison Gallery, finds truly distinct, noteworthy artists from across the globe to feature in this gallery, so everytime you go, look forward to seeing something unique.


The staff are knowledgeable, but like to let you take your own time looking at the artwork; they provide you plenty of space to ponder quietly.The gallery, inspired by Manhattan’s very own, has high ceilings and space that immerses you with a calm, zen vibe. As you walk towards the back, you’ll see a full glass wall that looks out to the nearby Pacific Ocean. In addition, it’s great to know this gallery has philanthropic emphasis, supporting the Healing Art Fund and hosting art-based charity events.

As new exhibits come, the gallery hosts opening events to showcase the work. We’ll make sure you stay on top of what the latest and upcoming events are through our blog.

The Loft at UC San Diego

If you’re in a younger demographic desiring a local spot for all things arts and music, this hidden gem has a lot to offer. The Loft is a contemporarily decorated lounge that’s both a cafe for featuring art and a stage for hosting intimate music shows. The music artists feature everyone from big names and international stars to up-and-coming locals. If that isn’t enough, be on look out for special events like stand-up comedy, trivia nights and movie showings.

The Loft is known for its high-quality, well-priced alcoholic beverages. We recommend the Sangria; it’s incredibly done and the perfect drink for cheersing with fellow art lovers.

Peter Lik Fine Art

Peter Lik, the top award-winning photographer of all-time, is known for pieces that highlight the world’s elements of earth, wind and fire. When this La Jolla location was opened, it was to the eagerness of many awaiting fans. His work is so good that he just sold the most expensive photographic work in history; the final price? Six and half million dollars to one enthusiastic private collector.


He’s set roots down in this region and his understanding of the community shows. Simply walk into the gallery and prepare to be awed. You’ll be greeted by the friendly and helpful staff, who can tell you why the art looks like it’s backlit (even though it isn’t!) and where each photograph was taken. Photos you’d swear were shot in far off lands were taken in places like Idaho and North Dakota. After strolling the front, make sure to head to the back. The dim lighting of the back rooms creates a majestic, romantic atmosphere you don’t want to miss.

To get the full experience of this gallery, come on the first Friday of the month. Wine and cheese are served as your browse the photographs. When you fall in love and find yourself able to purchase a piece here…it is not usually your last!

Looking for More Art Entertainment?

Each of these spots has a lot to offer; our descriptions only scratch the surface on what La Jolla’s art scene holds. Learn more about the top art areas and local museums at our Arts & Culture Page.

Play in La Jolla


Who says playing is just for kids? By definition, the wordplay (plā/) means: To engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. That sounds like something both adults and children need alike! La Jolla wants to help you do this, to take time off from serious things and simply…play.



The beach is the ultimate playground for people of all ages. On the sand you can build sand castles, toss a frisbee, wade in the water or dive in for full-on swimming. Interested in more extreme forms of water play? Read on! And to help you decide which beach to try first, cruise over to our Beaches Directory.


Snorkeling & Scuba Diving

Dolphins are often described as playing. Play amongst them and other creatures of the sea through underwater activities. Go snorkeling or scuba diving to get up close and see how they have fun under the sea! Learn more about taking classes, getting scuba diving certified and renting equipment at our Snorkeling Page and Scuba Diving Page.


La Jolla has parks full of greenery that are perfect for playing frisbee or kicking around a soccer ball. For those who like to play with their food, you can do so here by grilling and BBQing your own grub. Check out the best of La Jolla’s parks and what they have to offer at our Parks Page.

For a more rugged outdoor playing experience, head to Torrey Pines State Reserve and hit the hiking trails. With six trails to choose from, choose a climb as easy or difficult as you desire! Either way, your legs will be thanking you after.


We love to play dress up when we’re young. When we grow up, we still do! Embrace shopping as a grand-scale dress up game at one of La Jolla’s many shopping areas. Don yourself with diamonds at Cartier. Make yourself up in full-glamor at Nordstrom. Try on a bright bathing suit at one of the beachside surf shops. Decide where to start your adventure at our Shopping Page.


Restaurant Critic

Play restaurant critic by visiting local dining venues and evaluating the cuisine for yourself! Take in the atmosphere. Observe the decor. Taste the wine. Savor the food. To learn more about the La Jolla food scene and restaurants to try first, check out our Food Page.

Attend a Play

Get play-ful at the La Jolla Playhouse! This venue has already sent more than 25 shows to Broadway, and you never know which one may be next. Learn more about this beautiful venue at our La Jolla Playhouse Page.

Painting & Art

Explore your inner artist by experiencing the art and painting scene of La Jolla. Walk the galleries to see local artwork, explore the art museums or play Picasso for yourself by taking a painting class at “My Art Shed”. They’ll not only provide the materials, but teach skills and give tips to help you hone your craft.

See the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

La Jolla Symphony

Since its roots beginning in the 1950s, the La Jolla Symphony has a proud history of premiering new music and promoting the arts. Almost half of the performances are new premiers and fresh, up and coming compositions. Come to a performance to hear a unique symphony concert that awakens new parts of your mind, or attend a show that pays homage to your favorite classics. There’s such variety, you’ll be covered either way.


The Concerts Themselves

From intricate violin pieces to cello concertos written for Yo-Yo Ma, we want to make sure you’re in the know about wide variety of music experiences you can have right here in La Jolla. Most concerts, whether they’re the jaw-dropping Symphony’s 60th Anniversary concert or classic works of Beethoven, are held on the weekends. Grab dinner in town before a Saturday evening concert or enjoy a mimosa-filled brunch before a Sunday matinee. The variety in times lets you cater the experience to your taste.

Pre-Concert Lectures

Before each performance, it’s truly valuable to go in with insider information and background on the performers and musical pieces. As you probably well agree, knowing the history of a piece or why a concert is conducted a certain way gives an understanding that then enhances the entire experience.

It doesn’t cost extra or even take more than half-an-hour. Simply come early to hear an upbeat, 25 minute lecture on the concert you’ll be watching. Trust us…it’s worth the time!

Tickets: What to Know

To guarantee your entrance, the earlier the purchase the better. It’s easy to buy tickets by either stopping by the ticket office or easily purchasing online.

It’s good to note there are special rates for groups and students, too. For example, if you have a group of 10 or more folks, book ahead to ensure a quarter of the price off and specially reserved tickets.

To really take a group night to the next level, whether it’s group of friends, family or business counterparts, for an extra fee, they’re happy to host receptions before and after the concert.

Want to Experience More Art?

If you love attending concerts and want to dive into even more art experiences in La Jolla, there are many ways to do so. Learn the about ultimate arts events and venues at our Arts & Culture Page.

**Photography: Courtesy LJS&C**

Looking for tickets to a venue in La Jolla?


We want to help you find the best events to get tickets for in La Jolla…and, as needed, make parking recommendations to save you from less fun types of tickets! What are some of the top spots and events we want to keep you posted on?



We have your standard AMC film venue that releases the latest hit films, where you can purchase tickets ahead of time for major motion pictures that sell out fast. La Jolla also has a lesser known spot called the La Jolla Village Cinema. This theater shows independent films, foreign movies and cult classics. We want to keep you posted on these films, especially if your favorite 80s movies is coming to the big screen for one night only!

Live Theater:

For a different type of theater, we encourage you to check out tickets for sale at The La Jolla Playhouse. This venue has been home to Tony-award winning shows and has the feeling of an intimate Broadway experience. There are a wide array of play types, such as dramas, musicals and comedies. It hosts well known and classic plays that have become theatre traditions, as well as new original pieces. Whether you’re looking for single-play tickets, season passes or a group experience, this spot has it all.


Get tickets to ensure your night of funny at La Jolla’s top laugh-inducing spot, The Comedy Store. This venues features all types of comedians, so you’re sure to find someone who will have you catching your breath and cheering for more.


A short drive away there are other great venues, such as San Diego’s National Comedy Theater. This improv group’s comedy is all the more funny when you know it’s completely spontaneous! (Tickets for the first show usually sell out at least a few hours ahead, so it’s a spot you definitely want to plan a day or 2 ahead for.)


There are many tours to choose from in La Jolla, from food & wine escapades to kayaking and bike riding to segway tours. These often sell out, especially during peak visiting seasons; booking your spot will offer you an easy peace of mind! For more specific details and tour opportunities, please check out our Tours Page.

Visit Legoland Near La Jolla, CA

A Little Lego History

Denmark revolutionized the world when, in 1958, it invented the building block that took us all by storm…the LEGO! Years later, this brick inspired one of San Diego’s top attractions, LEGOLAND. Located in nearby Carlsbad, this family-friendly location has you leave in the mood to build something. Though kids and adults alike can find fun here, the park is heavily geared towards children, and you’ll see the main demographic is kids under 10 years of age.


What to Expect

LEGOLAND is full of miniature worlds that have been carefully constructed by top LEGO building masters. As you explore the sites like miniland USA, you’ll feel tall and mighty next to 7 miniaturized areas of the United States that Legoland has created. Look down upon Las Vegas and stand at the same height as New York City!


Next, head to the Imagination Zone for a curious, thought-provoking environment. This is where kids can unleash their creative minds and make LEGO creations of their very own.


Add some thrills to your day by hopping on one of LEGOLAND’s rides. Each of the rides have different height requirements, so make sure to look at the requirement before going on. This save potential grief for a youngster who waits in the entire line, only to find out upon boarding that he or she cannot get on!

dd On Adventures

LEGOLAND has a full water park and aquarium world connected to it! For an additional cost, you can add tickets to these venues on to your general admission ticket.

The LEGOLAND Water Park has play areas for little ones, sweet slides, loop-filled rides and an awesome wave pool! It is the perfect way to help your kids cool off after hot hours spent walking Legoland.

The SEA LIFE Aquarium is a great way to combine the greatness LEGOLAND and the pleasures of nearby SeaWorld in one visit! Although much smaller than the vast aquatic park, here your kids can also experiences jellyfish, stingrays, various types of fish and sharks.

How to Prepare

The earlier you buy tickets, the better. The amount you pay at the park, the day of your visit, will be much higher than if you purchase online a week before. It’s also good to note that this park is incredibly popular and gets especially busy on weekends on holidays. If it’s at all possible, try to come Monday through Friday. If you do attend one of these busier times, be especially conscious of time management. The most popular rides have lines that grow longer throughout the day, so you’ll want to hit those first.

Outside food and drink is not technically permitted within the park, however, we will note no security typically inspects incoming bags or backpacks. The wide variety of food within the park makes sure there’s a little something for everyone. You can find snacks that are more upscale than the typical theme park, such as apple fries, and restaurants serve options that cater to many dietary needs. You can find meals that are vegetarian, dairy free, egg free, gluten free and nut free!

Holiday Events

LEGOLAND loves to honor the holidays with special events and treats. In October, visit the park the few weekends before Halloween for Brick-or-Treat. The park is closed from 5 – 9 pm to make it exclusive for this event where they give out candy, healthy treats and, best of all, LEGOs!

During the winter holiday season, come check out Winter Nights & Snow Play. At this event, you can play in snow for free, tube down winter slides and, for an extra cost, go ice skating!

In Conclusion

For families with young children, LEGOLAND is an ideal full-day destination. Children are guaranteed tired for bedtime and, if you live in the area, can come year round with purchase of an annual pass!

La Jolla Music Society

La Jolla Music Society

Head to Ivanhoe Avenue to find the highly impactful, arts promoting La Jolla Music Society. Ever since its founding in 1941, it’s founders and members have been furthering the arts, hosting concerts, bringing educational opportunities and giving life to musical performances.


Performances & Concerts

The La Jolla Music Society has hosts truly incredible and, often, world-famous artists. There’s an amazing diversity in performances, just a small number of examples being cellist Yo-Yo Ma, winners of the Gramophone Artist of the Year, homages to works by Tchaikovsky, famous flamenco dancers, violin quartets, award-winning taiko drumming, Mitsuko Uchida’s piano works, the New York City Ballet and The Boston Pops.

Discovery Series Private Dinners are something that are truly unique about this organization. Your ticket to one allows you into a supper at a private home in which you dine with a small group of fellow concert attendees and the actual performer! This is a dream opportunity to meet and ask questions of someone who may be your favorite artist.

Here are some of the biggest annual events to be on the look out for:


Held each year at Scripps Park above La Jolla Cove, this outdoor concert under the stars is as fun as it is free…yes, free! Come revel in this year’s musical performances as the sun goes down.

Winterfest Gala

This is an extravagant, musical performance that wows its audience year after year. It is not only entertainment, but food, drinks and mingling company as well. Best of all, all the proceeds are going to support educational and musical programs of the society.

Getting More Involved

Perhaps you don’t just want to attend events, you want to dive into and enhance your own artistic abilities. You can do so through many programs that the La Jolla Music Society hosts and promotes. Some of these include:

Coaching Workshops

Before many concerts, the famous, highly trained musicians performing in them actually sit down with locals, such as in the Artist Development Program, to experience music in a close knit setting with other music lovers.


The ticket to a concert buys you more than the set performance time itself. Come early to many shows experience the “prelude”, which can interviews with performing artists or even the opportunity for young local musicians to come on stage to perform. This is an amazing way for young artists to gain confidence and hone skills in a stage setting.


The best of the best in choreography come from around the world to act as a panel for local dance masters. For the select 5 that make it through the applications, they will receive feedback and opportunity beyond their dreams.

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

Crave more live music? This non-profit, with roots in the 1950s, seeks to provide affordable concerts and live event opportunities. It hosts many of these year round, including events that partner with UCSD and others that invite young, up-and-coming artists to take part. Be on the lookout for upcoming events; tickets do sell out! Learn more about it at our La Jolla Symphony & Chorus Page.