Life in La Jolla
Many people mistakenly think La Jolla is just a tourist destination or an upscale shopping mall – a sort of beachside Beverly Hills. While it's true that La Jolla benefits from year-round tourists who enjoy local hotels, shops and restaurants, La Jolla is far more than that. It is a unique combination of physical beauty, urban energy, community spirit, and casual beach lifestyle. Just 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego, La Jolla stretches south to Pacific Beach and north to Torrey Pines State Reserve and Del Mar. It is located close enough to the city to enjoy its conveniences, but far away enough to retain its So-Cal beach town flavor. Most important, La Jolla is a diverse community of people of all ages – from students and surfers to artists, professionals and professors. Downtown La Jolla has a cosmopolitan feel, but friendly locals refer to it as the Village.
La Jolla is one of those rare places on earth whose natural beauty takes your breath away – whether you're a visitor, a San Diego resident, or a La Jolla local. Because of this beautiful location, La Jolla has grown from 350 residents in 1900 to more than 40,000 people today. It is considered one of the best places to live, not just in the United States, but in the entire world. Set on seven miles of some of the most gorgeous coastline in the world, and bordered by stately mountains, La Jolla offers visitors and residents (in addition to shopping and fine dining) sunny days, unrivaled views of the Pacific Ocean, and 13 beaches for hiking, swimming, snorkeling and watching magnificent sunsets.
Beaches, Beaches & More Beaches!
With 13 beaches and a mild Mediterranean climate (average daily temperature of 70.5°), it's easy to understand why La Jolla is often called the French Riviera of the United States and is a popular vacation destination year-round. There's no denying that the beach reigns supreme in La Jolla, for locals and tourists. From north to south, La Jolla's beaches include Torrey Pines State Beach, Black's Beach, Scripps Beach, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove, Boomer's, Shell Beach, Seal Rock, Children's Pool (Casa Cove), Wipeout Beach, Whispering Sands, Marine State Beach and Windansea Beach. They offer every type of beach and water activity imaginable, including beachcombing, tide pool exploring, hiking, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.
With gentle waves, a boardwalk, a nearby grassy park, and plenty of parking, La Jolla Shores is a popular swimming beach. The mile-long beach north of downtown La Jolla also includes restrooms, showers, and a public launch site for kayakers. It is also one of the best beaches to watch the annual grunion run and the location of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, which has its own private beach and hosts the USTA National Tennis Tournament each year.
La Jolla Cove in downtown La Jolla is popular for swimming, snorkeling and diving, with calm waters and great visibility. Since 1916, it has hosted the Rough Water Swim every summer, where hundreds of swimmers of all ages swim anywhere from 250 yards to three miles.
Overlooking the Cove is Ellen Browning Scripps Park, a grassy area popular for picnics, frisbee throwing, dog walking, bench sitting, and weddings. The park includes rest rooms, picnic tables and barbecues. In the spring, the park hosts the La Jolla Concours D'Elegance, attracting thousands of classic car lovers. In the summer, the park hosts a fireworks display on the Fourth of July and Concerts by the Sea on Sunday afternoons for music listening and dancing.
Golf enthusiasts come from all over the world to visit Torrey Pines Golf Course, a municipal course owned by the city of San Diego. They come both to play and to watch. Torrey Pines Golf Course hosts the popular PGA event, the Farmers Insurance Open Professional Golf Tournament, which is the second stop on the West Coast Swing and the site of the 2008 United States Open Championship and Tiger Woods' last major victory. Torrey Pines Golf Course is located north of downtown La Jolla at the top of the cliffs overlooking Black's Beach and the ocean. It includes two 18-hole championship courses, a driving range, two practice putting greens, golf lessons, and one of the largest golf shops in the western United States. The adjacent Lodge at Torrey Pines offers accommodations and a restaurant/grill.
A Great Place to Visit
Visitors to La Jolla love its beaches, tennis and golf, but they also enjoy its many fine resorts, hotels, and restaurants. La Jolla offers a variety of accommodations for everyone – including lodges, bed and breakfast inns, and luxurious resorts. The Grande Colonial La Jolla, built in 1913, and the La Valencia Hotel, built in 1926, are both located in the heart of the Village and are still two of the most popular local hotels for visitors and La Jolla functions. Newer additions, such as the Estancia La Jolla Resort and Spa, located north of downtown La Jolla, offer the elegance and amenities sought by many travelers in this day and age. The Empress Hotel and Hotel Parisi, both located in the Village, are upscale boutique hotels.
With close to 200 restaurants, La Jolla has food choices to satisfy every palate and every need, from a rich cup of coffee and a scone for breakfast, to a coffee shop or fish taco lunch, to an elegant dinner. Those who enjoy international cuisine will not be disappointed and can choose from several Mexican, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French restaurants, in addition to those offering a mixture of cuisines. Popular La Jolla restaurants include the Marine Room near the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club where the waves are right outside the window, the Mediterranean Room in the La Valencia Hotel, the Crab Catcher near the Cove, Harry's Coffee Shop, a La Jolla landmark, open for breakfast and lunch, and Roppogi, featuring Asian-fusion cuisine and half price off at happy hour.
An Even Better Place to Live
La Jolla is not all shops, beaches, hotels and dining. It is also an excellent community in which to live, with a vibrant business district, several cultural attractions, and excellent schools.
La Jolla’s downtown, also called the Village, is a vigorous, upscale retail and business district. Its 30 blocks include Girard Avenue, the main street, and Prospect Street, known as La Jolla's Rodeo Drive. In addition to retail shops of every variety, from gifts and jewelry to clothing and furniture, the Village also includes many businesses, including financial institutions, law firms, medical and dental offices, high-tech and bio-tech companies, and software developers. To own a business in La Jolla or to work in La Jolla is considered by many to be a major perk.
La Jolla also enjoys a rich cultural life, despite its Village name and small-town feeling. It features a multitude of fine-art galleries displaying a wide variety of styles and media by local and internationally acclaimed artists. Each year the La Jolla Festival of the Arts exhibits art from nearly 200 of the West's best artists. The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art overlooks the ocean and offers exhibitions and lectures throughout the year. The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, located in the heart of the Village, offers an outstanding collection books and DVDs about art and music; they also offer art exhibits, lectures, and music concerts. The La Jolla Art Association contributes much to La Jolla through its support of the local artistic community. The La Jolla Playhouse on the UCSD campus was founded by actors Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer and has been recognized for its outstanding theatrical productions since 1947, earning over 60 awards of excellence, including seven Tony awards. La Jolla Chamber Music Society performs throughout the year, including the SummerFest Series. Those interested in learning more about La Jolla's history or signing up for walking tours can visit the La Jolla Historical Society on Eads Avenue, behind the restored Wisteria Cottage. La Jolla's most prestigious social event of the year, the Jewel Ball, is thrown every year at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club by Las Patronas, a philanthropic organization.
La Jolla has also become one of the world's most acclaimed centers for research and higher learning. The prestigious University of California at San Diego is located on a beautiful and modern campus in the northern section of La Jolla. It is currently ranked as the 14th best university in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2010, it was ranked as the 35th best university in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The UCSD faculty includes seven Nobel Prize winners. Other well-known La Jolla institutions include the Salk Institute, the Scripps Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.
La Jolla is also known for its excellent public and private schools. Private schools include The Bishop's School, La Jolla Country Day School, The Gillispie School, and The Children's School. La Jolla High School has an excellent reputation among public high schools. Established in 1922, it has maintained a strong emphasis on academic achievement, which has resulted in over 90% of its graduates continuing their education at universities and colleges. La Jolla High School has been recognized as a California Distinguished School, a Nationally Certified AVID School with Distinction, a Newsweek Top 100 School, and the only public school west of the Mississippi to be a Cum Laude Society school.
La Jolla offers something for everyone. It is an extraordinary combination of almost perfect weather, natural beauty, varied neighborhoods, peaceful village streets, shops, restaurants, businesses, art galleries, museums, and schools. As you stroll through the Village or along the oceanfront, you quickly come to realize that if you are lucky enough to live in La Jolla, life doesn't get much better.