8 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know Existed At Westfield UTC Mall

Built in 1977, Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla has been going through some major changes for the past six years. With all of the excitement, like over 90 new shops and restaurants, you might have missed out on some of the lesser-known but nonetheless awesome newer features—from outdoor showers to a giant steel jellyfish.

1. Free Concierge Service

The many high-end shops and restaurants already make UTC Mall luxurious, but the concierge makes this feel like a true resort experience. Found at the grand valet entrance off of La Jolla Village Drive, the staff at Westfield UTC Guest Services are there to help you with anything you need (seriously). Here are a couple of its coolest features:

  • Answer on the Spot: Need to double check where to find your favorite store? Answer on the Spot is the mall’s  best way to get answers immediately. Text your question to (858) 914-2752 and expect a personalized response within a couple of minutes from an informed member of the concierge staff. They can even tell you the price of an item you’re looking for in a certain shop!
  • Package Check: This one is a life-saver for those who go all-out with their trips to the mall. The bags can really add up if you’re hitting multiple stores, and hauling a ton of weight is going to get really tedious after a while. With the package check, you can safely store your goods while you grab something to eat or just head out for another round of shopping.

2. A Mini Dog Park 

Located on the path next to the old food court, this dog park, named Westfield Bark Park,  is for anyone bringing along a four-legged friend or two. With free toys to play with while you’re there, a large grass lawn, and a Little Free Library to read from while Fido takes a few laps, it’s just another part of the mall that makes it so pet-friendly.  Afterward, you can stroll through the shops together (and stop by Sloan’s Ice Cream shop for a decadent doggie treat).

3. Free mobile charging stations 

We all know that sinking feeling that comes from realizing your phone is suddenly at 10%, and you’re nowhere near an outlet (or worse yet, you don’t even have a charger). Luckily, ChargeItSpot located at the Dining Terrace offers free charging stations so that you can shop without worrying about your phone’s battery meeting an untimely death.

4. Outdoor Showers

You might have noticed something that seems a little out of place right next to Macy’s: shower heads! Just built recently, they were added for kids to clean up after spending time on the playground. However, if you’re coming straight from one of the beautiful beaches in La Jolla, it’s also a good way to rinse off any remnants of your sandy adventure.

5. Little Free Library

Relax with a good book from one of the Little Free Libraries, located next to Godiva or in the Bark Park. One of the unique perks of UTC Mall is the huge sections of inviting outdoor lounging space–perfect for enjoying a read in the sunshine.

6. Family Friendly Amenities

While there are lots of options for adult crowds, this Westfield is known for its family-friendly vibes and accommodations.

  • Westfield PlaySpace and Mini Train: The revamped children’s PlaySpace, outside of Macy’s, is a great stop for kids who need to get a little energy out. Small children will love the miniature train next to Pottery Barn, and you’ll love the insanely cute pictures that come out of it.
  • Westfield Family Lounge: If you and your crew are dragging a little bit, take a quick break to unwind and regroup at the Family Lounge found right outside of Macy’s. There’s a large restroom (perfect for when you have one or more little companions with you), changing and nursing area, and a play area with entertainment for the kids.

7. New Art Installations

You’ve probably noticed the funky new artwork that’s been popping up in different locations all throughout the mall.

Partnering with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Westfield UTC Mall has incorporated a total of 70 original pieces from solely San Diego artists. Some of the eye-catching pieces include:

  • “School of Happiness” (Laddie John Dill): a shimmering wall of translucent material meant to simulate the movement of a school of fish.
  • “Octo” (Anthony Howe): a hypnotic stainless steel sculpture that mimics the undulation of a jellyfish.
  • “Surf Wall” (Craig Hollingsworth): a beautiful collection of handmade surfboards, both vintage and modern, suspended in air by cables. Each board is meant to represent a different era of the sport.

8. Transportation / Parking

Since its popularity has exploded in the past few years, the goal of renovating the parking at UTC mall is to make it more accessible, even with large crowds. Depending on how you’re planning to get there, here a few things to keep in mind:

Parking: With a significantly larger parking capacity and Park Assist technology (which shows you where to find open parking spots similar to Fashion Valley Mall), parking is becoming easier than ever before at UTC.

If you’ve visited the mall lately you might have seen that posted at every entrance are signs of upcoming changes to UTC mall parking. Starting in the spring, the shopping center will be employing a pay-to-park system with hourly fees for those who will be visiting for more than two hours.

Designated Uber Pick-Up: We all know the stress of ordering an Uber and then discovering it showed up a mile from where you were expecting. Luckily, all rides can be found at the designated pick-up spots in front of Red Robin and PIRCH–so you don’t have to run around frantically looking for your driver.

Valet: Save time and hand off the stress of parking over to the valet services, found on the south side of La Jolla Village Drive entrance to UTC mall. The service is $8, and you get to take advantage of the valet customer lounge.

If you spot any of these cool things next time you visit UTC Mall be sure to share it with us on Instagram by tagging us @lajollacom. University Town Center is located at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive E-25, San Diego, CA 92122, and is open from 10AM–9PM Mon-Fri, 11AM-7PM Sun.

[Dog park image courtesy of Westfield UTC]

Looking Back at La Jolla’s Early Movie Theaters

La Jolla has always had a passion for the movies. Throughout the course of its history, eight different theaters have existed in some form or another in the Village, the last being The Cove and now, The LOT (since 2015). The very first moving pictures shown were at the original La Jolla Cove Bath House in 1912, followed by an outdoor venue that same year.

Each of these La Jolla movie theaters had its own personality, and some are definitely more well known than others – especially among longtime locals! We looked into La Jolla’s rich cinematic history and got the story behind some of the oldest movie houses to be built here.

The first outdoor cinema in La Jolla. Silent films were turned manually by operator Willis Zader, pictured here. 

The first moving pictures shown in La Jolla in 1912 were in the auditorium of the bathhouse at La Jolla Cove by local entrepreneur (and apparent movie enthusiast) Willis Zader. In January of that year, a small group gathered, wide-eyed, to witness their very first motion picture lit up on screen; unfortunately, the Edison machine – which lacked a fire shutter – was quickly deemed a fire hazard. The operation was shut down after just two months.

Nevertheless, Zader persisted in his personal quest to bring motion pictures to the Village, and in the summer of that same year opened up his own outdoor arena of sorts at the corner of Drury Lane and Silverado Street (pictured above). Although that venue also proved short-lived, La Jolla’s long lasting love affair with movies had already begun.

The Orient (1913)

A year after Zader’s outdoor theater shuttered, The Orient opened as a silent film venue at the corner of Wall and Girard. Not much is known about this early theater, but it seated 500 (more than the population of La Jolla at the time) and was purchased by the Stutz Brothers in 1915. They changed its name to the Garden Theater, and it remained so until closing in 1924.

La Jolla Theater (1914)

In 1914, a rival La Jolla Theater opened across the street on Girard Avenue, attempting to catch the attention of the quickly growing movie audience. Sadly, it closed after just a short period of time; very little else is known about it.

1930 Granada Theater showing “Harry Langdon, Norma Shearer in The Divorcee”

The Granada Theater (1925)

By 1924, one of the previously mentioned Stutz brothers, Louis, decided that La Jolla would now be able to support a larger and more up-to-date theater. So, he abruptly tore down the Garden and announced plans for a brand new theater, to be named The Jewel (very apropos!).

By the time of its debut in March of 1925, The Jewel had been renamed (again) to The Granada. Designed by architect William H. Wheeler and built for around $170,000, it was ornamental and lavish in a Spanish-Moorish theme – complete with seats upholstered in the finest Spanish leather and an elaborate pipe organ. A glass crystal bead curtain opened when the movie started, and gold-framed antique mirrors lined the walls of the lobby. It was La Jolla’s finest and most decorative theater to date.

With a whopping capacity of 712, it was heralded in opening ceremonies as La Jolla’s “finest playhouse of any city of her size in the land.” (source). Opening night featured “The Boomerang,” a full 70-minute silent comedy/romance starring Anita Stewart and Bert Lytell, a speech by the San Diego mayor, and a totally packed house. In May of 1929, the Granada showcased its first “talkie,” Mary Pickford in “Coquette,” and continued to flourish with top-of-the-line movies straight form Hollywood until finally closing in 1952.

Cove Theater (1952)

By the time the Granada closed its doors in May 1952, the new Cove Theater had been built on Girard, featuring a more toned-down façade inspired by the colonial architecture of the East Coast, and seating around 650 patrons. Though initially financed by Major John H. Haring as a memorial to his parents (and originally named the Playhouse Theatre), it was purchased by the Granada’s owner, Spencer Wilson, and renamed The Cove after just a few months.

Wilson, much loved by locals, served as the manager/owner until it closed. The Cove was a local favorite, and arguably La Jolla’s most well known theater until it closed in 2003; the longest run of any La Jolla movie theater to date.

Unicorn Theatre (1964)

A unique art house and La Jolla’s first real “indie” movie theater opened in 1964 at the corner of Pearl Street and La Jolla Blvd., in the back of a small bookshop called Mithras Bookstore. Seating only about 200, the small space was dubbed the Unicorn Theatre and quickly became known for showing avant-garde and experimental films from all over the world, as well as selections from the silent era and vintage-era Hollywood. Although small and tucked into a somewhat out-of-the-way location (not to mention in the basement), The Unicorn developed a cult following early on, especially among younger residents.

The Unicorn opened with Adolfas Mekas’ “Hallelujah the Hills” and Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” It closed about 20 years later with the same lineup, much to the chagrin of many locals!

Today’s movie theaters consist of the ones we know and love: ArcLight La Jolla, AMC La Jolla 12, La Jolla Playhouse, and of course, The LOT La Jolla (further up is Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas San Diego). They are much larger and fill hundreds of more seats than the theaters back then; but it’s worth remembering these historic gems! For those looking for a bit of present-day nostalgia, the drive-ins are one of the holdouts when it comes to movies – both the Santee Drive-in and the South Bay Drive-in are popular today (though ticket prices are much higher now!).

[sources: sdcommunitynews.com, lajollalight.com] [photos: La Jolla Historical Society]

Inside Look at Nautilus Tavern: La Jolla’s New Neighborhood Bar & Grill

Tucked away on La Jolla Blvd., just past the La Jolla Community Center, Nautilus Tavern is unassuming yet welcoming. A spacious patio and large floor-to-ceiling doors that open up to reveal a cozy dining room create a comfortable vibe that stands out in its own way among the sea of ever-changing La Jolla restaurants.

While many eateries in the Village trend toward upscale/ fine dining, Nautilus Tavern picks up where places like ultra-casual La Jolla Brewing Company (RIP) left off: the cozy bar and grill next door. Combine that friendly atmosphere with some seriously flavorful comfort food, and you’ve got yourself La Jolla’s newest dining gem. We got the chance to visit the Tavern and sample some of their dishes while chatting with Executive Chef Shelly Velez to get the inside scoop on what makes this place tick.

Location, location, location!

The Tavern fits in well with La Jolla’s seaside vibes; just a block from the beach and up the road from Windansea Beach, its nautical theme is infused with a touch of modernity and exudes a ‘costal chic’ vibe.

The 2,500 square-foot space, though large, doesn’t feel overwhelming. The back patio is a great area for families with kids, and the front patio offers the best of both worlds.

[Veggie Sandwich]

Upscale Comfort Food – With a Twist

Executive Chef Shelly Velez is the woman behind the menu at Nautilus Tavern in La Jolla. Having known the owners since they opened up Pillbox Tavern in Solana Beach, she has expertly curated both restaurants’ menus and added her own flair to each – and that flair comes in the form of all things flavorful. From Southern-inspired comfort food to spicy, smoky maple-infused barbecue, Shelly has been crafting her art and love of cuisine for nearly 20 years.

Shelly was born in Panama, where she cultivated a deep love for flavorful, traditional dishes; she learned to cook gravy from scratch and developed a passion for making sauces. Today, she has her own line of barbecue sauces that you can purchase by the bottle at Pillbox Tavern: California Style, Habañero BBQ, and Maple Bourbon Bacon, a local favorite that can be spotted on the menu at Nautilus Tavern in the form of Maple Bacon Bourbon Wings.

Shelly makes all of the dressings and other sauces from scratch each day; oftentimes, she’ll team up with the head Mixologist, who makes his own syrups to add to the cocktails. Once, she turned a berry syrup that he didn’t use as a dressing for the Power Spinach Salad – a pretty excellent way to collaborate, we must say!

[Cubano Sandwich]

Shelly crafted the Tavern’s menu to combine traditional comfort food with a bit of a Southern twist; hints of her Panamanian heritage are sprinkled throughout the menu, as well, from the Grilled Mexican Caesar Salad to the side of Sweet Plantains.

Handcrafted Cocktails

No good restaurant is complete without a cocktail and beer menu! The Tavern’s hand-picked collection of cocktails emphasize fresh ingredients and house-made syrups. From the “It’s Noon Somewhere” (which is a combo of vodka, ruby red grapefruit juice, lime juice, and elderflower liqueur infused with house-made habañero syrup and a touch of rhubarb bitters vodka) to their take on a classic Margarita (casa noble reposado tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, and tepa agave), you can’t go wrong with any of their selections. The Tavern has 30 beers on tap at any given time, and the selection includes several local breweries sprinkled with a few more exotic options (Boochcraft, anyone?).

[Mexican Caesar Salad]

House-Made Appetizers & Shareables

The Tavern offers up a wide range of dishes, from shareable appetizers to large plates and several options for hot wings; there’s even a “Grown-up Grilled Cheese” in the mix!

Our favorite appetizers included a well-rounded Hummus Plate that boasts three different flavors of hummus and a generous assortment of pita bread; and spicy chicken lettuce cups, which are just spicy enough to bring out all of the flavors in the meat and poke sauce.

Next up was the Grilled Mexican Caesar Salad, which is seriously not your typical Caesar salad: it packs a one-two punch with grilled-to-perfection Romaine wedges and a light, slightly spicy Avocado Caesar dressing (made from scratch in-house, of course). The wedges are topped with a generous portion of pepitas, shaved parmesan, diced tomatoes, blackened chicken breast, and fried shallots to create a yummy Ceasar with a Mexican twist.

[Hot Wings]

Traditional Plates Packed with Flavor

The hot wings were some of our favorite items on the menu. Bursting with flavor, there are seven different types and styles of wings you can choose from. We sampled the Maple Bacon Bourbon, smothered in that delicious Shelly-style BBQ sauce; the Marea Ancho Chile, which are rubbed with a dry ancho Chile powder infused with local coffee (not overly spicy); and the more traditional Buffalo Wings, which are packed with a punch of spice and flavored with the famous Frank’s Hot Sauce.

If you’re into grilled cheese, you’ll definitely want to sample the Grown Up Grilled Cheese. Serrano cream cheese, Gouda, Havarti, cheddar, swiss, sliced bacon, and tomato are packed between two thick slices of Parmesan-crusted Amish bread for a serious (and epic) twist on the good ol’ classic. If you want a little something extra, Shelly recommends adding chicken to round it out. The Muenster Veggie sandwich was a close runner-up (the black bean veggie patty was to die for), complete with a big portobello mushroom and basil hummus spread to finish it off. 

[Nautilus Plate]

For a more traditional dinner, go with the Nautilus Plate. Chunks of house-smoked Kahlua pork are served with sweet plantains, macaroni salad, and coco (coconut) rice. The pork is the sweet, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth kind of good – after being marinated in sea salt for a full day, the pork gets slow-roasted for a solid four hours before it served to guests.

A New Spot for the Locals

What we liked most about the Tavern is its homey, neighborhood feel; the kind of place you can meet up with friends or family after work for a happy hour or watch the game, have a pint and dig into a no-frills comfort food that’s cooked exactly the way it should be.

Nautilus Tavern La Jolla is located at 6830 La Jolla Blvd. in La Jolla. They’re open for brunch, lunch, and dinner; Monday-Friday from 11am-12am, and Saturday/Sunday from 10am-12am.

Why Snooze La Jolla Is Your New Favorite Boozy Brunch Spot

An alcoholic Orange Julius (complete with vodka-infused whipped cream). Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes. If your mouth is already watering, just wait until you see the rest of the menu at Snooze La Jolla.

Tucked away in the Shops at La Jolla Village Center on Villa La Jolla Dr., Snooze, An A.M. Eatery is a casual, funky breakfast and brunch restaurant. While it is a chain (other locations in San Diego include Del Mar and Hillcrest) it’s absolutely not your local Denny’s or IHOP.

Snooze usually gets attention for its imaginative and indulgent food, but what makes a visit really worth your time is the seemingly endless list of craft breakfast cocktails. If you want a new kind of happy hour in La Jolla, look no further – here’s why you should enjoy your next brunch with booze at Snooze!

snooze la jolla pancakes

The fun, young atmosphere

Brunch is a full-on outing; you want an environment that gives you a great experience in addition to great food. A modern update on the 1950s-style diner, the atmosphere at Snooze La Jolla is both friendly and laid back. Every Snooze is required to have a full bar, so there’s no judgement for enjoying some good old-fashioned day drinking – that’s what a lot of people are there for!

With its proximity to UCSD and reasonably priced high-quality food, Snooze is perfect for students and young professionals; most other brunch spots require a trek to Downtown La Jolla or UTC Mall.

The cocktails

At Snooze, you can forget about basic. While you can still get your favorite traditional drink, the menu is full of innovative libations, from savory to sweet. Besides the year-round menu, they also have a rotating list of new concoctions for every season.

Here are a few that we love:

The Palomimosa. Feeling classy? This drink combines the sweet sparkle of a mimosa with the tangy goodness of a grapefruit Paloma. It’s refreshing, light, and perfect for sipping on during a Sunday with pals.

The Bangkok Bloody Mary. Attention, fans of the savory. It’s difficult to pick only one out of the 5 knockout bloody recipes on Snooze’s menu, but this is consistently the most popular. The fish sauce, sriracha, and basil give this drink an Asian-fusion flavor and will satisfy your salt craving. If you’re looking for something with more kick, you’ll want to go with the Spicy Bloody Mary.

The Orange Snoozius. An adult version of the infamous DQ classic, the Orange Snoozius will take you back a few years. With vodka-infused whipped cream to top off its sweet and citrus-y blend, this is for the big kid in you. It’s even topped with a giant maraschino cherry.

The Dirty Drunken Chai. Hey, we get it, mornings are for coffee! But that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up. The Dirty Drunken Chai is a spiced blend of everything delicious, with an added shot of espresso and some rum for a little something extra.

Snooze La Jolla Food

The epic shareable plates

Even if you’re only coming for the drinks, every brunch cocktail needs some quality munchies. There’s no need to drink on an empty stomach when you can enjoy the huge variety of breakfast, brunch, and lunch options on Snooze’s menu!

If you’re looking at the menu and already getting FOMO about all the dishes you won’t get to try because you have to pick just one, don’t fret. Snooze lets you combine some of their most popular choices as half orders. So if you’re having a difficult time giving up your traditional Eggs Benedict for the chili verde style, you don’t have to.

Can’t decide which of the nine different types of pancakes and french toast you want? Go for the “pancake flight” that lets you try three different styles. We recommend the Nana’s Hot Cocoa or Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes.

This family-style approach to the menu also makes it ideal for groups. Everyone can try several dishes and there’ll still be plenty of food to go around.

A Few Tips for When You Go

  • While the other locations in San Diego are packed from the moment they open, it’s much easier at this Snooze eatery to grab a table. We were seated as soon as we walked in on a Thursday, and within minutes on a Saturday.
  • Take advantage of the patio outside if it’s sunny. There are heaters to keep you warm while you soak in the homey outdoor vibe.
  • Waiting on the rest of your group? Challenge your friends to a round of giant Jenga or corn hole to pass the time.
  • Fun fact: if you’re really set on having a certain dish, but are dying to try one of the pancakes, you can sub in one of them instead of having toast or hash browns as a side.

Snooze La Jolla is located at 8861 Villa La Jolla Dr #509, La Jolla 92037, and is open from 6:30am-2:30pm daily.

7 Reasons to Tour the the Salk Institute in La Jolla

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla California is a world-famous research institute that opened its doors in 1963 under the watchful eye of Jonas Salk, who is credited with developing the first safe and effective polio vaccine. He envisioned it as a collaborative environment where researchers could explore the basic principles of life and contemplate the wider implications of their discoveries.

To design the facility, Salk joined forces with famous architect Louis Kahn and directed him to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.” And indeed, he did! The Salk Institute remains one of the world’s leading architectural marvels; its spacious, unobstructed laboratory rooms and sharp lines continue to stun architects and tourists alike. World-famous for both architecture and biology, here are seven reasons you need to a book a Salk Institute tour.

1. It’s one of the top biology research facilities in the world.

Nestled in the hills and rocky bluffs of La Jolla California, the Salk Institute has been making impactful discoveries since its completion in 1963. The institute’s major areas of study are aging and regenerative medicine, cancer biology, immune system biology, metabolism and diabetes, neuroscience and neurological disorders, molecular biology, and plant biology. Its cancer center is one of the best in the world.

Salk research provides new understanding and potential treatments for a range of diseases, from AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Discoveries by plant biologists are paving the way to improving the quality and quantity of the world’s food supply and to addressing critical environmental problems, including global warming.

2. It has been deemed one of the boldest architectural feats of all time.

Pioneering architect Louis Kahn truly created an architectural marvel. His masterpiece consists of two mirror-image structures — each six stories tall — that flank a grand travertine courtyard. Three floors house laboratories and the three levels above them provide access to utilities. Towers jutting into the courtyard provide study space for senior faculty members. Towers at the east end contain heating, ventilating and other support systems. At the west end are six floors of offices overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In total, the Institute is comprised of 29 different structures.

In July 2017, Salk Institute announced with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) that conservation efforts were complete for one of the key architectural elements at the Salk Institute — its gorgeous teak window walls. Now, the teak wood window walls will be protected and maintained for the next 50 years.

3. Research here has already impacted YOU directly.

The Salk Institute was started by Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who developed the first successful polio vaccine. The disease used to be a serious fear as many people, especially children, died of it. Thanks to the work of Dr. Salk, polio is now preventable.

4. Walking the establishment, you’re passing by some of the world’s top minds.

As the scientists and researches come in and out of offices, you never know what groundbreaking projects they’re working on. Research here has provided new understanding and potential treatments for a range of other neurological diseases, from AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s Disease to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Discoveries by plant biologists and scientists are paving the way to improving the quality and quantity of the world’s food supply and to addressing critical environmental problems, including global warming. Its Center of Excellence in Stem Cells Genomics was created through a $40 million award by California’s stem cells research agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It continues to deliver groundbreaking research in the field.

Salk said of his institute, “The Salk Institute is a curious place, not easily understood, and the reason for it is that this is a place in the process of creation. It is being created and is engaged in studies of creation. We cannot be certain what will happen here, but we can be certain it will contribute to the welfare and understanding of man.”

5. You may meet a Nobel Prize Candidate or Nobel Laureate.

One of those very people passing could’ve won or be currently up for a Nobel Prize. To date, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has produced six Nobel Laureates (including Elizabeth Blackburn and Francis Crick), one National Medal of Science winner, and countless others. View the full list of awards and accolades here.

6. It’s a beautiful spot for lunch.

On the ocean-facing side of the venue sits a small eatery called the CulinArt café; it’s open for lunch Monday-Friday. It’s the perfect place to grab a sandwich and enjoy views of the architecture, San Diego, and Pacific Ocean.

7. The view is unbeatable

The Gliderport is just north of the Salk Institute, so, if the wind’s are right, there’s a good chance you’ll seem some hang gliders or paragliders cruising the sky over the Pacific Ocean and San Diego. During the winter, you may be lucky enough to spot some whales or even dolphins as they make their migration south.

Ready to book your tour? Guided architectural tours are offered at noon Monday through Friday. It’s important to reserve your spot ahead of time; you can do so at the Salk Institute’s Architecture Tour home page.

If you’re interested in more than a tour, the Institute also offers free “Meet-A-Scientist” talks at 11:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. All visitors are welcome, and they’re a great way to gain a more in-depth understanding about the latest scientific discoveries at the Institute with a Salk researcher.

Complete Guide to the La Jolla Tide Pools

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

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


Dike Rock

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

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

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

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


La Jolla Cove

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

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

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


Hospitals Reef

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

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

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

Shell Beach

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

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

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


South Casa Beach

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

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

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

Windansea Beach

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

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

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


False Point

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

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

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

Some Tips for Tide Pool Viewing & Etiquette

Courtesy of National Marine Sanctuaries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



San Diego Restaurant Week: La Jolla Edition

San Diego Restaurant Week happens twice a year (January and then again in September or October) and is one of the most exciting culinary events of the season. Participating San Diego County and La Jolla restaurants offer designated fixed-cost menus throughout the week, each being two or three courses – an appetizer (sometimes two), a main dish, and a dessert. Most restaurants participate in either lunch or dinner, though some are doing both this year, and some choose to do a prix-fixe menu instead. Here are some of our picks for San Diego Restaurant Week in La Jolla!

For Lunch


Where: 1026 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person
Cuisine/What to Get: Mexican, seafood. Puesto is a chic, casual spot that’s known for their epic tacos and incredible margaritas! Taco options include Chicken al pastor, zucchini and cactus, Maine lobster, and plenty more. There is a great selection of shared plates, bowls, and appetizers, as well as a few traditional Mexican desserts.

Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen

Where: 7734 Girard Ave #C, La Jolla 92037.
Cost: $10 per person for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Thai, Asian, fusion. From traditional noodle dishes like Pad Thai to main courses like yellow curry, cashew nut chicken, and Thai stir fry, there is plenty to choose from on this extensive menu! As one of the only Thai restaurants in La Jolla, this is a great spot to grab a casual lunch during the week – and it won’t break the bank.

Brockton Villa

Where: 1235 Coast Blvd, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person for two courses; two courses with wine pairing $20
Cuisine/What to Get: American, California, contemporary. Housed in a beautiful historic cottage right on the coast (with great ocean views), Brockton Villa is a great place for a more casual lunch. Main dishes include Beer Braised Corned Beef Sandwich, a Grilled Atlantic Salmon BLT, and a Cove Club. For dessert, we suggest their ‘world famous’ Coast Toast, which is a rich French Toast topped with vanilla ice cream.

Olive and Basil

Where: 8008 Girard Ave No 220, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $15 per person for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Greek, Mediterranean, Persian, seafood. Enjoy incredible Mediterranean food just steps away from La Jolla Cove! Olive and Basil is a great lunch deal for SDRW. The Hummus Platter is the way to go for the appetizer; main dishes include items like a chicken skewer plate, Gyro plate, and their signature Olive and Basil Pasta. You can add baklava or Persian ice cream to your meal for an extra $6.

Galaxy Taco

Where: 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $20 for two courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Galaxy Taco is a chic casual spot for tacos down at La Jolla Shores, and a great lunch spot for during the week. Shareable appetizers include made-to-order guacamole, Mexican chicken and rice soup, and a Mexican Caesar Salad. For the main dish, diners can choose any two tacos from their selection of nine – including Baja fried fish, Barbacoa short rib, Quesa Carnitas, and grilled avocado; to name a few! It’s a kid-friendly spot (complete with a kids menu), so this is a great place for families.

For Dinner


Where: 7863 Girard Avenue #301, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $50 per person for three courses; entire menu is available
Cuisine/What to Get: Italian, contemporary. Catania is known for its authentic, handcrafted Italian dishes. We recommend starting with the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio or the Braised Beef Meatballs, both of which are hit appetizers. Main entrées on the Restaurant Week Menu include a variety of pizzas, pastas, and a few select fish (including Whole Branzino and Grilled Swordfish) and chicken dishes.

Mustangs & Burros

Where: 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla 92037 (at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa)
Cost: $30 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get: Delight in a delicious three-course dinner on Mustangs & Burros’ hacienda patio this SDRW. This casual La Jolla restaurant serves up Baja-inspired cuisine for lunch and dinner; creative dishes are both locally inspired and locally sourced by the in-house culinary team, who also take a personalized approach to an innovative spirits program. Special new Baja-inspired entrée options for Restaurant Week include grilled Mahi Mahi, Bavette steak with lobster-corn risotto, and pan-seared duck with cherry balsamic.

The Grill at Torrey Pines

Where: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $40 per person for three courses
Cuisine: American, California contemporary. Complete with a beautiful backdrop, the Grill at Torrey Pines sits atop the cliffs next to Torrey Pines State Reserve and the golf course, inside the Lodge at Torrey Pines. The spot is known for its fresh take on California cuisine and dedication to farm-to-table fare. For appetizers, we recommend the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio or the Green Goddess Salad. Entrée items include Wood-grilled Tri-Tip and a yummy Hot Smoked Salmon.

NINE-TEN Restaurant

Where: 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla (inside the Grande Colonial Hotel)
Cost: $50 per person for three courses; $75 per person with wine pairings
Cuisine/What to Get: American, California. NINE-TEN is an award-winning restaurant in the heart of the Village, known for its fresh, farm-to-table California contemporary cuisine. Appetizers include items like Short Rib Ravioli and Grilled Octopus, entrée dishes include Prime Beef Short Rib, Steelhead Salmon, and Anson Mills Far Verde + Roasted Vegetables.

Duke’s La Jolla

Where: 1216 Prospect Street, La Jolla 92037
Cost: $40 per person for three courses, your choice of entrée from a prix-fixe menu
Cuisine/What to Get: Hawaiian, Seafood, Contemporary. Duke’s has a wide ranging menu with plenty of options, including seafood, steaks, and more. We suggest starting with the classic Maui Onion Soup, followed by either the BBQ Baby Back Ribs or the Sautéed Macnut & Herb Crusted, which is a parmesan and panko-dusted fresh fish topped with tomato lemon caper butter, jasmine rice, and bok choy macadamia nut slaw.

The Marine Room

Where: 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla 92037
Cost: $50 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get: French, Seafood. The Marine Room is a world-class restaurant that sits right on the water and treats diners to incredible views of the crashing waves as they eat. You can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu here! Our favorite appetizer is the Lobster Bisque, while some of the delicious dinner menu available specially for Restaurant Week include Red Walnut Zaatar Coated Maine Diver Scallops and Sea Salt Crispy Skin Branzino. Signature entrées (regular menu items) are available for $15 more per person.

George’s at the Cove: Ocean Terrace

Where: 1250 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037
Cost: $30 per person for three courses
Cuisine/What to Get:American, contemporary, California. George’s at the Cove is famous for its sweeping ocean views and incredible patio dining. You just can’t beat the atmosphere for a night out with great food! Appetizer menu items for Restaurant Week include an assortment of small seafood plates (grilled octopus, fresh fish tacos, and Ahi tostadas), and this year’s dinner options on the Restaurant Week menu include Spaghetti with Clams, Sesame Crusted Tombo, Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, and Pork Tacos; to name a few!

For more information on all of the La Jolla restaurants participating in SDRW, including those in downtown San Diego and the rest of San Diego county, visit sandiegorestaurantweek.com!



The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 25th

The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 25th

The upcoming Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego is the golf event of the year! It has been held at Torrey Pines every year since 1968. Tiger Woods has already confirmed he’ll be playing this year, marking his first PGA event since last year’s FIO. Woods, who recently turned 42, won eight of his PGA Tour victories at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods is a clear favorite, especially among locals; keep an eye out for him and you just may score an autograph!


Opening Day is on Thursday, January 25, and each day through Sunday, January 28 holds a Championship round in the morning. Here’s the schedule breakdown for the week:


  • Thursday, January 25
    • Opening Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Friday, January 26
    • Second Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Saturday, January 27
    • Third Round, South Course
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Sunday, January 28
    • Final Round, South Course

In addition to Tiger Woods, players this year include defending champion Jon Rahm, who has risen to No. 4 in the world and won the FIO last year, No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 7 Rickie Fowler, and three-time tournament champion Phil Mickelson.

Before you go, purchase tickets online at the Farmers Insurance Open website. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the parking options available and the detailed Spectator Guidelines. Specific tee times will be updated the night before each event.

History of the Farmers Insurance Open

The tournament (originally called the San Diego Open) was first played in Chula Vista, then moved in 1954 to Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, which had hosted the Crosby Pro-Am prior to World War II. The event was played at Mission Valley Country Club in San Diego in 1955 for one year, then moved to El Cajon in 1956.

In 1968, the event began its present relationship with Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, a 36-hole public facility owned by the City of San Diego. In the current tournament set-up, players split the first 36 holes between the North and South Courses, then play the final 36 holes on the South Course. In 2008, the South Course hosted the U.S. Open, won by Tiger Woods in a playoff. Today, the Farmers Insurance Open is a PGA Championship tournament known as the “West Coast Swing,” and is organized by The Century Club of San Diego .


6:00 am – Get breakfast! Nearby restaurants include Caroline’s Seaside Cafe open at 8 am, and Farmer & The Seahorse open at 7 am weekdays. The Grill at Torrey Pines also opens at 6 am, situated at The Lodge at Torrey Pines hotel right next to the golf course for a closer breakfast.

7:00 am – Gates Open. If you’re an early bird, now is a great time to get yourself situated and set up your chairs or look for autograph opportunities (Tiger Woods if you get lucky!).

9:00 am – The round opens. You can bring pop-up stools and chairs without their carrying bags, but no lawn chairs or step stools. Times for each of the holes are on the schedule, and the player list is here. Then grab lunch at the event zones found at multiple locations throughout the event. See below for a full list of concession areas and food spots!

3:30 pm – Typically, the day’s round lasts until about 3:30 pm. The Post Party hosted by Harrah’s kicks off after the end of the rounds (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Enjoy drinks and live music while mingling with other tournament attendees.


SERVPRO Fan Village:

  • The Michelob ULTRA Zone: Open to the public, the 30,000-square foot Michelob ULTRA Zone features premium food and drink offerings.
  • Champions for Youth Tent in the Fan Village: Buy an official Farmers Insurance Open “Keep Calm & Torrey On” quiet paddle. All proceeds benefit at-risk youth charitable organizations!
  • Official Merchandise Tent: Shop all Official Tournament gear.
  • Fan-Friendly Expo: Try the latest golf equipment, learn more about special offers from Tournament partners, and engage in interactive displays.
  • The Fringe: Located on the 15th green. Upgrades on site are available at The Fringe entrance so check out what has become our most popular venue with artisan menu choices for purchase and a premium cash bar.
  • The Post Party: When play ends, keep the party going with live music from local DJs and Happy Hour drink specials.

THE ZTE GROVE (located between the 7th and 18th Fairways):

  • Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck: The expanded Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck will feature an all-new elevated viewing deck with panoramic views of the course, a Pétanque course and specialty drinks including the 2018 signature cocktail, the Torrey Breeze.
  • The William Hill Estate Wine Lounge: The Lounge offers ocean views and a variety of wine offerings from William Hill Estate Winery.

Vantage Point (located near the 1st tee and 18th hole of the South Course).

  • Grey Goose La Cantine: Get the morning started with signature Grey Goose Boody Mary
  • Practice Putting Green: Watch the Pros as they prepare to play.
  • Autograph Area: Snag an autograph from your favorite player after the round.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Shop: Buy Official Tournament merchandise and accessories.


The PGA Championship Tour continues after the Farmers Insurance Open with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, the Genesis Open in Pacific Palisades, and the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida in March. Open tickets and tickets for each upcoming event can be purchased at pgatour.com, along with a complete schedule and list of players. Tee times will be announced as each event approaches. The highly anticipated World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational will be held in August of this year in Akron, Ohio; the current American favorite player for that one is Zach Johnson.



5 Epic La Jolla Activities for the Outdoor Adventurer

La Jolla Activities for the Outdoor Adventurer

La Jolla, San Diego is a pretty great place to explore – especially for outdoor enthusiasts! There are plenty of La Jolla activities for the outdoor adventurer, from scuba diving to hang gliding and even snorkeling through the many sea caves along the coast. If adventure is your thing (or adrenaline!), these are five things to do in La Jolla that you won’t want to miss!

Paraglide or Hang Glide

Nestled above Blacks Beach, this cliff-high spot is the go-to-place for those craving a flying adventure! This 300 foot-high spot has been launching fliers for over 100 years, making it the most historic aviation site for non-powered flight on Earth. It’s been deemed a historic place by the state of California because of the many famous flyers and records that have been set here. The Gliderport offers an array of tandem flights and lessons, including:

  • Tandem Paragliding & Hang Gliding with a certified instructor
  • Paragliding lessons
  • Advanced clinics
  • Powered Paraglider lessons

Be sure to give the Gliderport a call before you head over there. Wind and weather conditions vary greatly, and on certain days they don’t allow people to fly. Visit their website for more information. Tip: Afterwards, visit the Cliffhanger Café for an epic cliffside dining experience! The full-service deli-cafe is open daily, offering lunch and snacks from 9am-4pm.

Snorkel & Swim

La Jolla Cove is an incredible place to snorkel, because the beach is sheltered from the waves due to its north facing location (this is one of the most popular things to do in La Jolla). Once you get your snorkel gear on, you don’t have to swim far to see a multitude of aquatic life. While the most plentiful are Garibaldi and sea lions, people have been known to see leopard sharks, octopus, stingrays, sea stars, urchins and many other fish species. You can also choose to swim at La Jolla Shores Beach or Windansea Beach. Several tour companies offer snorkel rentals and guided snorkeling tours, including Everyday California, La Jolla Kayak, and Bike & Kayak Tours La Jolla.

Tip: We recommend swimming at La Jolla Shores Beach for children and amateur swimmers due to its sandy bottom and smaller waves. Windansea Beach has a big shore break and a rocky bottom and is probably best-suited for adults and more advanced swimmers. Afterwards, visit the tide pools for further adventures!

D+B takes on kayaking 💪

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Kayak the Seven La Jolla Caves

If you love the ocean and revel in exploring it, kayaking in La Jolla will be a magical experience for you. The reason? The La Jolla Underwater Park, which is a vast area of sea that goes all along the La Jolla Coast and includes the ocean bottom and canyons that extend from it. Not to mention the incredible sea caves, a few of which you can actually kayak into! In total, the park’s perimeters encompass nearly 6,000 acres! It’s particularly interesting because of its wide variety of landscapes – kelp forests, deep water canyons, rocky shallows, beaches, and sky-high cliffs.

There are several tour companies down at La Jolla Shores that will take you on a guided kayak tour, or a combo kayak and snorkel tour; including La Jolla KayakEveryday California, and more.

Scuba Dive

If you have your scuba certification, there is truly no more beautiful place in San Diego to scuba dive than La Jolla. From kelp forests at La Jolla Cove to the canyon wall at La Jolla Shores, the La Jolla Ecological Reserve has it all – beautiful, diverse marine life and the chance of seeing something amazing. There’s even an underwater graveyard to explore!

During the summer, you can swim with the leopard sharks, and throughout the year marine life such as sea lions, seals, green turtles, sevengill sharks, giant black sea bass, toupe sharks and even dolphin have been seen by divers. There are a few different companies that offer guided tours, such as La Jolla Dive and San Diego Expeditions. Most tours meet at Kellogg Park or on the beach at the Shore

Rent a Bike and Explore on Wheels

There are several different options for bike rentals and bike tours in La Jolla, and for good reason! Beautiful, clear weather year-round and terrific views make for some great biking excursions. Bike & Kayak Tours offers bike rentals starting at $8 an hour, and La Jolla Kayak offers two pretty awesome combo bike tours: the Soledad Slide Bike Tour and the half-day Bike & Kayak Tour (which essentially combines the original Kayak Tour with the Soledad Slide Tour). Head to our Tours on Wheels page for more info!

Tip: Nearby, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the Salk Institute provide for some great informational activities after you finish with the outdoors. Call ahead for information, tickets, and tour dates. Both the Birch Aquarium and Salk are easily accessible from La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores.

La Jolla is a great place for families to spend the day outdoors; at just a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego and other nearby attractions such as Balboa Park, northern areas like Del Mar (and the Del Mar Fairgrounds) and Solana Beach, and with so many attractions of its own (the sea lions, sea caves, beautiful beaches, and incredible restaurants), it’s definitely a must-do when in the City of San Diego.

4 (More) New La Jolla Restaurant Openings to Get Excited About

This has been a big year for the La Jolla restaurants scene. With the arrival of Burgerim, Shake Shack, Himitsu Sushi, and Snooze, we have a plethora of new spots to try both in downtown La JollaLa Jolla Shores, the Shops at La Jolla Village, and Westfield UTC. Now, there’s another round that’s opening up (or will be soon) – and we’re pretty excited about them! Here’s the roundup of the newest and greatest in the La Jolla, San Diego dining scene.

Ways & Means Oyster House

1251 Prospect St., La Jolla 92037.
Oyster lovers, get excited! The dark horse on the list, Ways & Means Oyster House has kept relatively quiet about their expected Spring 2018 opening on Prospect (they’ll be taking over the former Alfonso’s space) just a few blocks away from La Jolla Cove.

The dinner menu will have a wide range, focusing mainly on their namesake: freshly-shucked oysters (including the restaurant’s own branded oysters from White Stone Oyster Farm in Virginia) and oysters grilled or dressed with various toppings. The Huntington Beach menu boasts six different dressing options and three seafood “boats,” which are combo plates of shrimp, oysters, and crab legs. Small plate selections include crab cake sliders, fish tacos, bacon-wrapped shrimp and lobster deviled eggs. The dining room will be open for brunch and dinner, as well as a daily Happy Hour.

Parachute Brunch & Supper Room

811 Prospect St, La Jolla 92037.
Taking over the former Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Waffles, & Beer spot on Prospect Street, Parachute Brunch and Supper Room made a swift transition and opened in October. The new Executive Chef and Partner, Matthew Cranert, was originally hired by StreetCar’s owners to help revamp their menu in La Jolla, but they ended up handing over the 200-seat space to Cranert.

Though there are still fried chicken and doughnuts (now made-to-order) offered, dining guests will also be treated to a full range of flavorful dishes (served at brunch and dinner daily) that include items like grilled peach salad, confit duck wings, ahi poke, foie gras and whole branzino. The space lends itself well to a casual, comfortable dining experience, and makes a great option for families or groups of friends. No cocktails yet, but they say a menu will be added soon! The restaurant is open daily from 7:30am-3pm for brunch/lunch, and 5pm-10pm for dinner.

Nautilus Tavern

6830 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla 92037
Nautilus Tavern made a splash when they opened at the very end of October. Named after Nautilus Street, the spot is just up the road from Windansea Beach. The recently-remodeled 2,500-square-foot dining room has a nautical design and an airy modern layout, including two spacious outdoor patios. The tavern is open Mondays-Fridays from 11am-12am, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-12am. Brunch, lunch, and dinner are all served – as well as a great Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3pm-6pm.

The tavern boasts 30 beer taps, bottled beers, as well as an extensive wine list. The dinner menu features a casual mix of pub food and fresh cuisine, including a seared ahi sandwich, the Windansea Burger, chicken egg rolls, marinated beef tips, spicy chicken lettuce cups, and larger plates like the Nautical Plate and grilled garlic butter sea bass. They also offer wings and salads. Brunch cuisine includes the usual suspects, with a twist; biscuits and gravy, cinnamon roll French toast, chilaquiles, and a few egg plates with their own flair thrown in. If you’re in north county, visit their sister restaurant Pillbox Tavern in Solana Beach!

Nekosan Sushi

1119 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037.
Nekosan has been in the works for a while, and progress is slow but steady at the spot that Shannon & Co formerly occupied. Tables and chairs are in place, visible from the street, but there is no word yet about an opening date. As we reported earlier this year, expected offerings include poke bowls and sushi burritos, a first for La Jolla.

The spot will join other sushi newcomers, Himitsu, which opened recently on Torrey Pines Rd.

Have you noticed any other newcomers in the La Jolla, Gaslamp Quarter, or San Diego restaurant scene? Which one are you most excited about?