picnic in la jolla

4 Perfect Spots for a Picnic in La Jolla

As summer approaches and “June Gloom” finally dissipates, it’s definitely time to start getting outside and making the most of it! Besides beach bonfires, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and other outdoor activities, one of our favorite things to do outside in the summer is have a picnic in La Jolla. There are plenty of great spots to cozy up and watch the waves while you chow down on yummy snacks and sandwiches! Here’s our roundup of the best picnic spots right here in La Jolla.

Ellen Browning Scripps Park

With plenty of open space, green grass, benches, and covered belvederes, Ellen Browning Scripps right next to La Jolla Cove is a terrific option for your next picnic. It’s right by the coast, so your views will be incredible; it’s rarely crowded, even during the summer, as it’s large enough for people to spread out. Picnic tables, barbecues, and benches are throughout the park, and restrooms and showers are provided next to La Jolla Cove. There is street parking right next to the park and the Cove, though it does fill up very quickly; your best bet is to arrive early or park a bit farther away and walk. The park is located at 1100 Coast Blvd.

Tip: if one of those little green huts that line the sidewalk is available, these belvederes are excellent places for a picnic! They’re covered and have sitting benches inside, and boast unparalleled views of the water.

La Jolla Hermosa Park

This is one La Jolla’s best hidden gems. Tucked away on a quiet side street near Bird Rock (5780 Chelsea Ave), this little park has a few benches, picnic tables, and even a couple of grills that are great for whipping up some burgers or hot dogs. The park has terrific views of the open water, and although small, it’s cozy, romantic, and very rarely crowded.

There are no restrooms or showers here, but there are trash cans for when you’re finished and a short walkway down to the fence offers an even closer view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean!

Cuvier Park

When it’s not being used for a wedding (it’s an official La Jolla wedding venue), Cuvier Park is a gorgeous place to post up for an afternoon picnic. There are only a couple of picnic tables, but the view and privacy – it’s tucked down below road level – make up for it! Bring a blanket and spread out on the grass for an even more relaxing experience. Dogs are allowed on leash here, and though there are no restrooms, parking is usually quite abundant along Coast Blvd. right next to it.

The park is located at 590 Coast Blvd South in La Jolla.

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Kellogg Park

Kellogg Park is usually the most crowded on this list; located down at La Jolla Shores Beach, this expansive space has plenty of amenities: restrooms, showers, barbecues and grills, bonfire pits, picnic tables, and a playground for the little ones. Luckily, since the park is so large, you’re likely to find your own patch of grass. The park isn’t right on the water, but you’re only a short walk on the sand away! There is a free parking lot here, but it fills up very quickly especially on summer weekends. Look for street parking along the road instead.

La Jolla Shores beach is a popular launch area for kayakers, snorkelers, and scuba divers, so if you’re planning on doing any water sports later in the day this is the picnic spot for you! The park is located at 8277 Camino Del Oro in La Jolla.

6 La Jolla Restaurants to Celebrate Dad

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17 – this year, treat Dad to a delicious brunch in La Jolla! Whether your dad prefers an ocean view brunch or he’s more of a tacos and beer guy, we’ve rounded up a few different La Jolla restaurants that will make Dad’s day super special. Make a whole outing of it and spend the rest of the afternoon at La Jolla Cove or down at La Jolla Shores for a beach day. Check out must-dos and what to see with our La Jolla Cove guide.

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Caroline’s Seaside Cafe

8610 Kennel Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Looking to treat dad to brunch with an ocean view? Caroline’s Seaside Cafe, located at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography campus, is the perfect spot. Brunch is offered from 8am to 2pm.

What to get: Beef short ribs “hash” & eggs served with peppers, onions, potatoes and toast ($12).

Sadly, Caroline’s does not take reservations and you order at the counter before choosing a seat. Tip: Paid parking is available on the adjacent parking lots during weekends only. UCSD students receive 30% off with student ID.

 

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Puesto La Jolla

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037

If your dad prefers lunch tacos over brunch fare, then Puesto La Jolla is the top choice! Puesto boasts some of the most authentic and delicious Mexican food in town, and is always a great family choice because of the casual atmosphere. They’re open on Saturday from 11am to 10pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 9pm. 

What to get: Try the Chicken Al Pastor tacos – it’s one of their specialties. Splurge on a Frozen Horchata For A Cause: $1 from the sale of every horchata will be donated to a local charity, which changes monthly (ask your server which one is up for June).

This is a popular spot so be sure to make reservations days in advance. Parking is also tricky so give yourself plenty of time.

The Marine Room

2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037

Treat Dad to a special brunch buffet that he will always remember! Enjoy an amazing selection of hearty main courses like Brandt Farm Prime Rib of Beef, Berkshire Pork Daube Au Vin, and Oregon Sea Trout. Father’s Day Brunch will be offered on Sunday, June 17th, from 10am to 2pm.  Á la carte dinner specials will be available starting at 5:30 pm.

Cost: $68 per person, $34 for children 6 to 12 years, $5 per year for children 5 and under.

Experience the Best of Dining in La Jolla With Our Complete Guide!

Pro-tip: If you’ve yet to experience a High Tide Dinner, be sure to put it on your summer bucket list!

Piatti La Jolla

2182 Avenida De La Playa., La Jolla, CA 92037

Nestled in the La Jolla Shores neighborhood, Piatti’s inviting atmosphere and delicious Italian food is a great option for a Father’s Day lunch!

What to get: Linguine with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, today’s fish, garlic, parsley, chili flakes and crushed tomato sugo OR the Orecchiette with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, and gorgonzola cream. Weekend brunch is served from 10am to 2pm. 

Tip: Both lunch and brunch menus are available during this time.

Herringbone La Jolla

7837 Herschel Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

If your dad loves fresh seafood and a great atmosphere, treat him to a delicious brunch at Herringbone La Jolla.  This year’s prix-fixe brunch will be on Sunday June 17th, from 10am–2pm. The Oyster Bar is a Herringbone specialty, and includes a choice of six different types of oysters as well as an oyster sampler plate. First choice courses include a Cocoa Cardona Cheese Plate and a Strawberry Salad, while second course options include Chilaquiles, Raspberry French Toast, Steak & Eggs, and more. Afterwards, indulge in a Chocolate Mousse Cake!

Tip: Herringbone La Jolla fills up fast, so make reservations online well in advance.

The Shores Restaurant

8110 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla, CA 92037

Show Dad how much you love him with an oceanfront brunch buffet. You’ll find a range of yummy options during this special Father’s Day Brunch – everything from Cinnamon Raisin Brioche French Toast to Slow Roasted Prime Rib of Beef. Enjoy plenty of tasty sides, a complete children’s station, and more. Brunch will be offered on Sunday June 17th from 10am to 2pm, and admission is $64 per adult.

How will you be celebrating Father’s Day? Looking for more food options? Check out our ultimate guide to La Jolla restaurants here.

How to Explore Scripps Pier by Moonlight This Summer

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

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

scripps pier full moon walks

How it Works

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

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

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

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

Pier Walks 101

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

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

This year’s Pier Walk schedule:

June

  • Wednesday, June 27
  • Thursday, June 28

July

  • Friday, July 27
  • Saturday, July 28

August

  • Saturday, August 25
  • Sunday, August 26

September

  • Monday, September 24
  • Tuesday, September 25

October

  • Wednesday, October 24
  • Thursday, October 25

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flicks on the Bricks

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

One of La Jolla’s most beloved traditions returns this August at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Get ready to enjoy classic films, complimentary wine, and tasty bites on the outdoor patio! This year’s program is focusing on Film Noir, one of the first-ever showcases of the genre in America’s Finest City. With so many great films noir to choose from, this series focuses on films with a San Diego connection.

August 2 | Double feature night! Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) and The Clay Pigeon (1949)

August 9 | Tension (1949)

August 16 | The Brothers Rico (1957)

August 23 | The Grifters (1990)

Movies on the Beach

Where: Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave., Coronado 92118
When: Saturdays at 8:00pm; May 26-September 1

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

The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

May 26 Finding Nemo (2003)

June 16 The Lion King (1994)

July 7 The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

July 14 Coco (2017)

July 21 Star Wars – The Last Jedi (2017)

August 4 Aladdin (1992)

August 11 Lilo & Stitch (2002)

August 25 Jumanji (1995)

September 1 The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Screen on the Green

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

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

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

August 2 | The Lunchbox (2013)

August 9 | Original Copy (2015)

August 16 | The Music Room (1958)

August 23 | Nil Battey Sannata (2015)

August 30 | Paheli (2005)

Summer Movies in the Park

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

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

Summer Moves in the Park: La Jolla Venues:

July 20 | Beauty and the Beast (2017).
Villa La Jolla Neighborhood Park; 8321 Via Mallorca, San Diego 92122.

August 18 | Coco (2017)
La Jolla Community Park; 615 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037.

For a complete venue lineup and film schedule, visit the Movies in the Park website.

Liberty Station Outdoor Movies

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

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

May 12 | Coco

June 9 | Jumanji

July 14 | Wonder Woman

August 11 | Loving Vincent

September 8 | A Wrinkle in Time

October 13 | Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Nights at Stone Brewing Liberty Station

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

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

June 5 | The Big Lebowski

June 12 | The Naked Gun

June 19 | Zombieland

June 26 | The Three Amigos

July 3 | Super Troopers

July 10 | My Cousin Vinny

July 17 | Clerks

July 24 | The Bourne Identity

July 31 | Raiders of the Lost Ark

August 7 | Coming to America

August 14 | Jumanji

August 21 | The Dark Knight

August 28 | The Princess Bride

Why La Jolla Is (Definitely) a Better Weekend Getaway Than L.A.

la jolla weekend getaway

Angelenos often say, “There’s no city quite like Los Angeles,” which is true; it’s one of the most recognizable cities in the world, and is known for its upscale nightlife, celeb sightings, and its great food scene. However, if you’re looking for a quiet weekend getaway, La Jolla should be at the top of your list!

Whether you’re a family of four or a couple looking to escape for a few days, there is no shortage of activities and things to do in La Jolla. From top rated restaurants to water activities and hiking trails with ocean views, there’s a little something for everyone. Here are six reasons La Jolla should be your next vacation destination!

There’s Traffic, Then There’s LA Traffic

L.A. traffic is horrible. I wish I could it put it differently, but I can’t. According to a Forbes article published in 2017, L.A. has the 10th worst traffic in the world and the worst in the United States. The San Diego region doesn’t have enough traffic to even make that list. Not only that, if you want to visit the city on a weekend, everything is jam packed. Restaurants, hotels, bars, and museums are overcrowded with people. There’s always somebody nearby pushing you or bumping into you.

La Jolla doesn’t have much traffic. Yes, there’s an occasional blocked road or minor accident. Yes, there’s two streets in La Jolla with traffic (La Jolla Village Drive & Torrey Pines Road). But besides that, you can get around with ease.

la jolla weekend getaway

Easy Breezy Weather

La Jolla weather is cooler than L.A. During the summer, L.A. is on average hotter than La Jolla by about 5 degrees. That may not seem like a lot, but imagine if every room you walked into was 5 degrees hotter than what you’re used to. You start to really feel it.

Because La Jolla is on average 5 degrees cooler, it means whether you want to relax on the beach, eat outdoors, or do outdoor activities, you don’t feel like you’re melting in the heat. Not to mention, Los Angeles is more humid too.

La Jolla is also conveniently located next to the ocean. So there’s a cool breeze that’s unmatched anywhere in the world. L.A. is windy at times, but there’s no refreshing breeze that calms you down year round.

Restaurants

It seems like a no-brainer that L.A. has more restaurants than La Jolla (and many good ones). There are, so many I couldn’t count them (trust me, I tried). But La Jolla is better because there are more high-quality restaurants per square mile.

La Jolla has 20 Zagat rated restaurants in its small borders including George’s At The Cove, The Marine Room, Donovan’s Steak & Chop House, while L.A. has 19 Zagat restaurants total. Take into account the size of L.A. It’s over 500 square miles while La Jolla is just over seven. La Jolla restaurants are incredibly good and close to each other.

Let’s use Yelp to judge the food. La Jolla has about 25 highly rated restaurants (4.5 stars or higher) on the review app. L.A. has over 1000 restaurants with 4.5 or higher. People often say “more is better” but not when you’re looking for just two or three good places to eat. There are just too many choices when you go to L.A. – if you’re in town for just one weekend, finding a delicious restaurant shouldn’t mean scrolling through thousands of options. You should be able to find a place and enjoy a delicious meal without much hassle.

la jolla weekend getaway

Hiking

Hiking in La Jolla is easier to access. If you’re looking for a hike, everything is a 15-minute drive or closer. One of La Jolla’s most popular hikes, Torrey Pines, is a state natural reserve. It’s open 365 days a year, from 7:15 am to sunset. There is a small fee for parking in the South lot ($10-12 on Mon -Thurs & $12-20 on Fri-Sun) and even cheaper in the North lot. Best of all, there’s a breathtaking view of the ocean throughout the trail.

L.A.’s most famous hike is the Hollywood sign. While a fun hike, it’s complicated to even find the entrance (try it for yourself). There’s a high amount of traffic and it’s more crowded. Although there’s free parking, you’re not guaranteed a parking spot. Finally, despite beauty being subjective, I think an ocean view beats a cityscape any day. That’s just us though.

la jolla weekend getaway

Fun Beaches

It’s not fair to include beaches in this article, but we did because that is what makes La Jolla a better weekend getaway. The fact of the matter is La Jolla is a coastal city and Los Angeles isn’t. Regardless, we thought about looking at the nearest beaches would hammer the point home.

La Jolla Shores is one of the most sought after beaches in the world. It’s known for its breath-taking views, infamous leopard sharks, and mysterious sea caves. Plus there are all types of fun activities to do near the shores including kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba-diving. And of course, La Jolla Cove is well known pretty much around the world for its crystal-clear blue water, seals and sea lions, and beautiful views.

Santa Monica Beach is L.A.’s most popular and (unfortunately dirty) beach. It’s known for its chronic pollution. Plus, from the heart of L.A., it’s about 17 miles away, which is more than 30 minutes of traffic. And there’s always traffic.

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Location, Location, Location

La Jolla’s location is unbelievably convenient. Directions to La Jolla are fairly straightforward: it’s located 10 miles from downtown San Diego and major attractions like the Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Everything is close to L.A. too – it just might take you over an hour to get five miles across the city!

La Jolla is a better weekend getaway than L.A., not because there’s more to do in the small city, but because you don’t lose half the day battling traffic. Whether you want to get to the beach, restaurant, or hiking trail, it’s easier in La Jolla and La Jolla Cove. That means you get more time to explore. If you’re here for a weekend, enjoy the most possible time experiencing the city, not traveling from one part to another.

Have you visited both places? Leave us a comment below with your opinion of which city makes the best weekend getaway.

Everything You Need to Know About Snorkeling with La Jolla Leopard Sharks

Every year, thousands of leopard sharks head to the shores off the coast of La Jolla Shores to mate and then hatch their young. The warmer waters here provide an ideal temperature to incubate, and the sharks will typically stay for up to six months to complete the process.

The La Jolla leopard sharks are beautiful – and harmless – and snorkeling alongside them makes for an incredible afternoon out with the family. These little guys are hard to miss, and are distinctively marked with dark brown spots on a silvery, gray background that resemble a leopard print. Here’s the rundown on how to see the La Jolla leopard sharks; from where to go, when to go, and how to do it!

When can you see the La Jolla Leopard Sharks?

The leopard sharks are typically in their largest numbers from early June through the end of September or October, when thousands migrate to La Jolla Shores for their mating season. During the rest of the year about 100-200 local leopard sharks can still be seen, and some companies hold snorkeling tours through December or even year-round.

The leopard sharks congregate in the warmer shallow waters near La Jolla to look for food and find a mate; though they are a bit wary of humans, they typically keep to themselves and will gladly share the water with (respectful) swimmers and snorkelers.

When is the best time to go?

End of August and September are usually the best times to see La Jolla Leopard Sharks, as this is towards the end of the mating season and there are higher numbers of sharks. The ideal time to go is during the day, when there are calm waters and when it’s sunny (as they will be easier to spot).

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Where should I go?

The La Jolla leopard sharks congregate at La Jolla Shores,  where the water is warmer and shallower. It’s easier for them to search for food in the sand and kelp forests, which are protected by the La Jolla Underwater Park Preserve. Their diet consists mostly of smaller shellfish; including clams, crabs, shrimp, squid, and fish eggs.

During peak season, you can simply swim out into the water at La Jolla Shores and see the leopard sharks – they will often be that close to shore. Wade out up to your knees or hips, and you’ll see them swimming around your feet (which is quite an experience!). There’s no reason to be scared of these little guys, as they are completely harmless to humans and won’t bite or bother you.

How can I snorkel with the La Jolla Leopard Sharks?

There are a few different ways to really see the La Jolla Leopard Sharks. You can:

  • Swim out by yourself at La Jolla Shores and simply watch them through the water, which is usually pretty clear.
  • Snorkel out by yourself and get a better look at the sharks through a snorkel mask; either with your own gear or a snorkel rental. If you don’t have your own gear, many companies will rent you gear for the entire day at one price: Everyday California and La Jolla Kayak are just a couple.

Fun Facts About Leopard Sharks

  • Leopard sharks are only about four to five feet long
  • They’re found all over the coast of California, but they particularly like the warm water in La Jolla
  • During breeding season, females can produce anywhere from seven to 36 offspring, which measure 20 centimeters at birth
  • The maximum lifespan of this species is estimated at 30 years! They’ve lived up to 20 years in captivity, and are a popular attraction in many aquariums.
  • There is only one leopard shark attack ever recorded: in 1955, there was an unprovoked attack on a diver in Trinidad Bay, California. Fortunately, the diver was not injured and swam away unscathed.

Tips and Safety Guidelines

  1. Use common sense – keep an eye on the tide, watch out for rip currents, and always be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Always listen to the lifeguards.
  3. Treat the animals with respect; don’t try and touch them or interfere with they are doing
  4. Stay calm. Approaching the sharks quietly and calmly is your best bet to seeing them up close. If they perceive you as a predator, they may try and defend themselves.
  5. Wear appropriate gear; if you want to see them up close, have your fins and snorkeling gear ready.

Guide to the Museums in La Jolla

Despite its small size, La Jolla is a haven for local arts and culture; there are multiple museums, art galleries, and historic spots to see in the Village, from the Museum of Contemporary Art to the Map & Atlas Museum. If you’re looking to spend the afternoon brushing up on some culture, spend time in these locales absorbing new knowledge, renowned art, and local history.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has been bringing folks into its Prospect Street location since 1950. The museum is home to multiple constantly rotating exhibits to keep things fresh, and is currently undergoing extensive renovations to further enhance its art exhibitions.

After spending time walking the interior and taking in the galleries, make sure to take in the ocean view from the front of the museum, then head to the Edwards Sculpture Garden out back to wander the sculptures and have a picnic. If you’ve been inspired to do some art of your own, bring a sketchpad and let your artistic side take over!

Please note that the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla is currently closed until 2019. Head to the MCSASD downtown San Diego location until then, and stay tuned for updates!

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

This library is free to enter, though it’d be worth an admission price! The Spanish-Renaissance styled library was built in 1921, and the exterior is as beautiful today as it was then. Step inside and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time; the museum is filled with books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and other materials on a wide range of artistic and musical genres. You can simply take in the interior and explore the works, or become a member to take materials home and receive special offers.

Each month, the Athenaeum hosts Murals of La Jolla Walking Tours. These docent-led tours take visitors on an hour-long excursion throughout the Village to see each of the seventeen murals that grace various walls, alleyways, and nooks and crannies. Visit their website for the tour schedule.

The Athenaeum is open 10am-5:30pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and 10am-8:30pm on Wednesday.

La Jolla Historical Society

The quaint museum run by the La Jolla Historical Society is the epitome of charming. Located at 7846 Eads Avenue, just off Prospect, this cottage gives you a historical feel and context for the very city you’re in (in fact, the cottage is one of the first buildings to be built in all of La Jolla, and was initially the home of Ellen Browning Scripps). Step inside the to see the carefully put-together exhibits of this historic Wisteria cottage, which has had many significances since it’s creation. Across more than 100 years, it’s served as a home, a school, a bookstore and, since 2005, a museum.

The Historical Society also hosts events. We particularly want to highlight their yearly spring event, the Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla. Buying a ticket lets you explore normally off-limits, private gardens in the community that are truly tremendous.

The Historical Society is open noon-4pm Wednesday through Saturday.

Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla

When you think of maps, you may think of the giant foldout ones you grab on trips to foreign cities or locals ones to have in your car in case the GPS fails. However, there is a lot of history, beauty, and culture surrounding maps and mapmaking (also known as cartography) that we don’t think about, specifically with antique maps and atlases. This is a great niche museum that offers rotating exhibits throughout the year, showcasing things like “A Selection of 19th Century Gold Rush Maps” and various other mapmaking trends.

This spot is a real treat, and there is nothing else like it in San Diego County. Come explore this small but impactful museum for yourself: it’s open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month from 11am to 4pm.

Near La Jolla: Balboa Park

We would be remiss to not mention Balboa Park in San Diego when talking about museums! Home to 17 world-class museums and galleries, Balboa Park is an incredible cultural center in the heart of San Diego.

With multiple gardens, restaurants, art galleries, and exhibits, this is definitely a must-visit during your time in the city. Keep an eye out for incredible Spanish architecture while you’re there: the park was built in the early 1900s for the Panama-California Exhibition, and one of its defining features even today is the California Tower; which you can now tour!

List of the museums within Balboa Park

  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • San Diego Hall of Champions
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Learn more about the park and its museums at our Balboa Park Page.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Bird Rock: La Jolla’s Neighborhood Gem

bird rock
Tucked away along the San Diego coast, just south of downtown La Jolla, is Bird Rock: a quirky but laid-back neighborhood known for beautiful ocean views, cozy restaurants, and independent boutiques. While perhaps slightly lesser known than La Jolla, the community has a fascinating history and is one of the most unique and interesting areas of San Diego!

1. Local lore maintains the neighborhood was named after a rock, that – you guessed it – was shaped like a bird.

The offshore rock can be spotted at the end of Bird Rock Avenue, and was thought to once resemble the shape of a bird (the rock once had an arch with an opening under it, but the arch was eroded by wave action and finally collapsed a few years ago).

2. The first war-time sinking of a U.S. submarine occurred off the coast near Bird Rock.

Two F-series submarines collided in the fog on a training mission in 1917, sinking one of them within 10 seconds and killing all 19 aboard. The submarine is reportedly still there to this day.

3. The neighborhood was subdivided by pioneer developer Michael F. Hall in 1906, who officially named it “Bird Rock – City by the Sea.”

Bird Rock’s path to becoming an official community started in the early 1900s, when the M. Hall Company bought large tracts of land in southern La Jolla for a subdivision the company dubbed “Bird Rock, City by the Sea.” The new neighborhood stayed small until the 1930s, when the arrival of World War II factory workers set off a housing boom. The building continued after the war, and Bird Rock Elementary opened in 1951 to accommodate the influx of new families.

4. During World War II, the area was home to the Bird Rock Coastal Defense and Anti-Aircraft Training Center.

Bird Rock was a major military hub during WWII, when the Training Center was built as part of the Coast Artillery unit. Around the same time, Camp Matthews was also being set up on what is now the UC San Diego campus; it’s reported than more than a million Marine recruits received their marksmanship training at this military base.

5. The 26th season of MTV’s The Real World was filmed in Bird Rock in 2011.

The show set up camp in Bird Rock back in 2011, much to the chagrin of local residents. The 6,800-square-foot house, located on Chelsea Drive and Crystal Street, boasted a huge a pool, and news footage showed a rooftop tennis court had been covered with a life-sized chess set. It was estimated to be worth $3.5 million in 2011! Real World’s tenure was the source of multiple noise complaints and safety concerns from its neighbors.

Resentment festered for weeks until the production company increased security and agreed to turn off roof lights at 10pm and pay for off-duty police officers to discourage night visits.

6. Aviator Charles Lindbergh ate at the Bird Rock Inn before taking his historic flight.

Lindbergh, whose name graces the San Diego Airport, is recognized for completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He is reported to have eaten his last meal at the favorite seafood restaurant, Bird Rock Inn, before leaving San Diego for Paris on May 20, 1927. The inn hotel, located at Bird Rock Avenue, was said to have been built with stones from the nearby beach.

Neighborhood Guide

Today, Bird Rock in La Jolla is a fun, easy place to explore. Head north on La Jolla Hermosa Avenue to find the Bird Rock Bike Path, which usually doesn’t get too crowded and makes for a nice stroll.

Afterward, head over to the Street of Dreams, (aka Camino de la Costa), a stretch of oceanfront mansions with gorgeous panoramic views of the water. From there, head to Calumet Park, where you’ll find benches, picnic tables, and expansive ocean views (we also love La Jolla Hermosa Park, a bit north of here). Finish off your day by visiting one of Bird Rock’s boutique shops and restaurants, including:

  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters for an award-winning cup of coffee
  • Wheat & Water for pizza and brews
  • Bird Rock Surf Shop to pick up new surfing gear
  • Bahia Don Bravo for casual Mexican fare
  • Beaumont’s for dinner with a view and live music
  • Farm to Fork Juice for a healthy smoothie
  • Mimi & Red to shop casual, beach-chic fashion
  • Studio Barre for a quick workout

What are your favorite parts of Bird Rock? Share your photos with us in the comments!

[article sources: La Jolla Light; SDNews.com; San Diego UT]

Sugar & Scribe: Chef Maeve Dishes on What’s Next for La Jolla’s Favorite Bakery

Since its revamp and reopening in 2015, Sugar & Scribe has quickly become a La Jolla favorite: delicious baked goods, sandwiches the way your mom used to make them, and sweet treats, all infused with a touch of old-world Irish magic. Chef Maeve is a veritable force in the restaurant industry, and takes pride in having built her business from the ground up.

Chef Maeve

It was a sunny day when we stepped into Sugar & Scribe for lunch; the doors were wide open, and we were greeted with Chef Maeve’s characteristically contagious grin as she came from the kitchen. While we waited for some new menu samples, the restaurant was buzzing with activity, and we got the chance to chat with Maeve about this year’s exciting updates; her inspiration for the new menu; and where she sees the bakery in five years.

To this day, Chef Maeve creates everything on the menu completely from scratch, and takes much of her inspiration from her homeland in Ireland. Ingredients are locally-sourced when they can be, and the entire team at the restaurant (including Maeve’s husband, Andrew) have full input when it comes to crafting the next menu.

New Menu: Fresh Favorites & Classic Comfort Food

The La Jolla restaurant’s brand new menu has made its debut, and we are loving it. This particular menu iteration took a lot of teamwork and multiple test batches; it kept the staples of her old menu, but she felt ready to experiment and mix things up a little. Maeve’s goal here was to take food items that already exist, and do something totally different with them. She was inspired, in part, by one of her chefs – Chef Bernard – and the way he utilizes everyday items in unusual ways. She worked tirelessly with her entire team to fully flesh out the menu, and it shows.

For Maeve, the best part about cooking is  being able to “serve emotions;” to create food that people don’t just simply taste. We had the opportunity to sample some of Maeve’s favorite items, including:

The Loaded King Sandwich: An open-face sandwich packed with BBQ beef, Fontina cheese, grilled onions, and an egg cooked any way you like. The BBQ beef is cooked “low and slow,” in Maeve’s words: “the only way to go!” The meat takes six hours to slow-cook, and its flavors are a scrumptious combination of the best parts of both Kansas City and Texas barbecue.

sugar & scribe la jolla

Farmers Salad: Fresh, packed with fresh veggies, and decidedly not just another lunchtime salad! Tons of greens, radishes, sliced chicken, corn, goat cheese, avocado, and tomatoes are all topped with a tangy-sweet poblano honey dressing. The salad is a quirky blend of Maeve’s Irish heritage, with a little bit of a Baja twist; it’s still one of her favorite things on the menu.

Nutella Nuts French Toast: This was a serious treat. Cinnamon Brioche toast is topped with strawberry compote, Nutella, strawberries, vanilla bean whipped cream, and toasted almonds. It’s fluffy, light, and totally decadent – just the way French Toast should be!

Seasonal Mimosas: These are must-haves if you’re here for brunch. We tried the lemon lavender and the tangerine, which were delicious – crafted with house-made lemonade and fresh-squeezed juice, both flavors of the new mimosas are light, fresh, and just tangy enough. The best part? They’re bottomless!

Don’t worry; all the favorites and classics from their old menu are still available! The restaurant/bakery has an even larger selection of sandwiches, salads, house specialties (like Rochford Shepherd’s Pie and the Full Irish Breakfast), and baked goods, coffee, tea, and specialty drinks.

What’s Next for Chef Maeve and Sugar & Scribe

This has already proven to be an exciting year for Chef Maeve and the team at Sugar & Scribe La Jolla. Along with the new menu, they’ve revamped their outside patio and added waiter service. They’ve also seriously upped their coffee game, and are now brewing espresso and drip coffee from Dark Horse Roasters and nitro and cold brew from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters down the road. Pro-tip: their new Charcoal Latte with Micro-Fuchsia is a must-try!

The restaurant, this year alone, won not one but four Village News Readers’ Choice Awards: Best Desserts, Best Pastry, Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant, and Best Breakfast.

And that isn’t all! Maeve plans to launch her own cookware/bakeware line of Chef Maeve-branded products in HomeGoods stores and on Amazon.com in a few months. And toward the end of 2018, she’ll be collaborating with Chef’d (a meal kit service that delivers fully-prepared meals to your door) to develop tradition-based recipes for at-home cooks; another nod to her Irish heritage and influence. The meals will be seasonal and packed with fresh ingredients, and simple but full of flavor. Those who opt in will be able to pick and choose just one meal at a time, which will make it a great option for impromptu dinner parties!

Chef Maeve’s passion and enthusiasm for what she does is tangible, contagious, and altogether inspiring. A desire to support the local community and her deeply-rooted love of cooking has turned Sugar & Scribe into an iconic and beloved part of La Jolla; and with so many restaurants becoming less and less community-oriented, stepping into the warm, friendly atmosphere of Sugar & Scribe is truly a breath of fresh air.

Sugar & Scribe is located at 7660 Fay Avenue. They’re open Monday-Saturday from 7am-3:30pm, and Sunday from 7am-2:3-pm.

San Diego Surf Film Festival Returns to La Jolla

san diego surf film festival

The San Diego Surf Film Festival returns to San Diego and downtown La Jolla for its seventh year this May 9th-12th! Films will be shown at a dozen locations all around San Diego, with its hub being one of the newest art galleries in La Jolla: Misfit Gallery on Pearl Street. This year, a roster of fifteen of the best international surf films are being presented over the four-day festival. From La Jolla Cove to north county, here are some of this year’s SDSFF highlights!

This Year’s Highlights

Opening Night

The festival kicks off at 6pm on Wednesday, May 9th at Wade Koniakowsky’s (this year’s featured artist) art gallery in the Cedros Design District area of Solana Beach. The Opening Night movie begins at 7pm, but arrive early to catch a gorgeous sunset, take in the live art, and enjoy some refreshments. This year’s Opening Night will also feature a special tribute to Bruce Brown, the legendary filmmaker behind one of the most important and well known surf cinema productions of all time: Endless Summer. 

In tribute, the festival will be presenting three films on different screens that evening: Endless Summer, On Any Sunday, and Discovering Mentawais.

San Diego Surfing Hall of Fame Induction Ballot Ceremony

Thursday, May 10 is the highly-anticipated San Diego Surfing Hall of Fame Induction Ballot Dinner Ceremony, introduced by Hank Warner at the La Jolla Community Center. More than a dozen local eateries have come together to create a special tasting menu to be paired with Ballast Point beer, ZioBaffa wine, and Babe Kombucha in what looks to be an incredibly memorable evening amongst the legends of San Diego surfing. The dinner and event is $75, or included for VIP Nautilus Pass holders.

Last year the SDSFF presented Skip Frye with their highest honor, the Spirit of the San Diego Surf Film Festival. For SDSFF 2018, they have invited over two dozen San Diego Surfing Legends to show up for the San Diego Surfing Hall of Fame Induction Ballot. With the approval and guidance from these legends, they compiled a list of around 100 of the Most Influential San Diego Surfers; and during the ballot ceremony, you’ll be able to have your voice heard in the process! The Hall of Fame will inducts its first 25 Surfers in September, 2018.

3 Nights of Surf Films

All six nights of film viewings, as well as the closing Awards Ceremony, will be held at Misfit Gallery in La Jolla (565 Pearl St., #100). Friday and Saturday include the majority of the films, as well as special events running throughout the day and into the evening.

This year’s film highlights include:The Church of the Open Sky, Nathan Oldfield

  • Proximity, Taylor Steele
  • Biarritz Surf Gang, Nathan Curren & Pierre Denoyel
  • Big Wata, Gugi van der Velden

Special Events

The festival isn’t just about surf films! Other activities will be happening throughout the week, including morning surf and yoga sessions, special Filmmaker Workshops by Salty Surf Housings, and the 3rd Annual SDSFF Art & Surf Expression Session Invitational in Carlsbad on Saturday (artists will be riding the waves and creating works of art on the beach throughout the day). Afterwards, enjoy the Filmmaker & Artists Meet and Greet at El Pescador in La Jolla, followed by Happy Hour at the Misfit Gallery.

The San Diego Surf Film Festival boasts seven years of incredible films, hard work, and talent behind it. The fest was founded by Pierce Kavanagh  as a small film showcase in 2012; that first year, every film sold out and they had lines around the block. The City of San Diego presented them with a plaque, and seven years later, it has become one of the largest and most respected surf film festivals around the world. 2018 returns with another awesome lineup of the best surf films, filmmaker Q&As, special events, and more.

Visit the SDSFF website to purchase tickets or see the full film lineup.