Located only 14 miles and 15 minutes north of downtown San Diego, La Jolla will dazzle you with its natural beauty. Also known as "The Jewel", La Jolla is internationally known as one of the most fashionable residential, commercial and resort areas in the world. La Jolla's seven miles of jagged coastline are the most picturesque in Southern California, and La Jolla beaches easily rival any of those found in the south of France. More than its physical beauty, however, La Jolla is a unique combination of commerce, culture, and down-to-earth community spirit.
La Jolla is situated on a peninsula and surrounded by hills and canyons, which seclude the village of La Jolla from the greater San Diego metropolis. La Jolla is one of the most exclusive addresses in the country. Oceanfront and view homes in La Jolla range in the millions of dollars, and the architecture of La Jolla represents a potpourri of styles from California ranch and classic bungalow to old Spanish hacienda and wood and glass contemporary.
La Jolla also has a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own identity and character. These include the Village (the downtown area), Birdrock, the Muirlands, La Jolla Farms, La Jolla Shores, and Mount Soledad, known for the large white La Jolla cross at its peak. La Jolla homes and areas are uniquely diverse, but it's this diversity which gives La Jolla its special charm.
Here in La Jolla you can enjoy many of San Diego's best restaurants, shops and art galleries. A visit to La Jolla is not complete unless you've wandered in and out of the many La Jolla shops that dot the downtown La Jolla Village streets. At any hour, you'll see people strolling the sidewalks, from couples in glittering evening attire enjoying ice cream cones as they window shop, to teenagers in beachwear munching on freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. In La Jolla's unique shops you'll be able to find designer clothing labels, or the perfect gift for someone back home.
After enjoying La Jolla shopping, stop for a cocktail or a cup of cappuccino in one of La Jolla's night hot spots. Listen to music while people-watching or just relax and enjoy a breathtaking La Jolla ocean view. Dine in one of the many fine La Jolla restaurants famous for their cozy atmosphere and exquisitely prepared cuisine.
If you're a music, art, or theater lover, La Jolla offers more cultural activities than you can see in a day, including a world-class contemporary art museum, the highly-regarded La Jolla Playhouse theater and a fine chamber orchestra.
If you're a sports enthusiast or outdoor lover, you won't lack for company or activities in La Jolla. Golf, tennis, jogging and many ocean sports like swimming, fishing, boating and surfing play a major role in the La Jolla lifestyle.
La Jolla has three golf courses: an 18-hole course at Torrey Pines, a small pitch and putt at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and another 18-hole at the private and picturesque La Jolla Country Club. Many legends of the game have played on La Jolla golf courses, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller.
La Jolla beaches are also a favorite recreation spot for both La Jolla visitors and La Jolla residents. La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove and Windansea Beach are just a few of the many popular beaches in La Jolla.
If you love adventure and would love a bird's eye view of the La Jolla coastline, check out hang gliding or paragliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport in the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Here you can take lessons, fly solo, or fly tandem with a pilot.
La Jolla is a community with many cultural organizations and interests. Located in downtown La Jolla, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has earned an international reputation as one of the finest contemporary art museums in the world. Its permanent collection focuses on contemporary developments in American and European art, with all works created after 1950. The museum hosts several exhibitions and traveling shows each year.
La Jolla Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Hollywood actors Gregory Peck (who grew up in La Jolla), Dorothy McGuire, and Mel Ferrer. It is located on the University of California San Diego campus and has offered the La Jolla community many outstanding theatrical productions throughout the years. It has earned over 60 awards of excellence, including more than seven Tony Awards. Other well-known actors have produced, directed and acted in plays at La Jolla Playhouse in addition to its founders, including Olivia de Havilland, David Niven, Joseph Cotton and Celeste Holm.
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in downtown La Jolla on the corner of Wall Street is a cultural treasure containing one of California's finest collections of material dedicated to art and music. Included in this La Jolla art library are books, recordings, compact discs, periodicals, song sheets and musical scores, photographs and video tapes.
La Jolla has become one of the world's most acclaimed centers for research and higher learning. Commitment to education in La Jolla among residents is startling as many of the elite private schools in La Jolla are among the best schools in San Diego along with many other educational institutions.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, founded in 1903, is the oldest and largest institution devoted to oceanography in the U.S. Always high on the agenda of San Diego visitors, Scripps' aquarium, known as Birch Aquarium, houses fascinating exhibits and other oceanographic displays, which have attracted such prominent rulers as Queen Elizabeth II and the late Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
La Jolla also attracts academics and scholars from the world who come to La Jolla for the internationally renowned Salk Institute (founded by Jonas Salk who discovered the first polio vaccine), the biochemical industry which is thriving in La Jolla, the numerous healthcare research hospitals in La Jolla, and the University of California at San Diego.
La Jolla did not hatch overnight into the modern day luxury resort community, commonly referred to as the French Riviera of the U.S. Rather, La Jolla's emergence as a famous tourist destination took many years to develop. But among the lucky handful of La Jolla residents of yesteryear, La Jolla has always been a Jewel by the Sea.
The story of La Jolla begins in 1886 when Frank Terrill Botsford first purchased the La Jolla land. Frank Botsford is thought of as the "father of La Jolla," but he sold part of his interest in La Jolla because finding a source of drinking water posed difficulties. During the next few years, much of La Jolla was sold at auction for approximately $1.25 an acre, a far cry from current land values in La Jolla!
The natural beauty of La Jolla, particularly the many La Jolla beach and coastline areas, began to attract attention which led to growth and development in the late 19th century. The La Jolla village was actually established by 1900.
The 1920s and 1930s enjoyed a golden age of prosperity, with the building of many businesses and hotels. La Jolla residents really began to build their community. World War I had ended, and many military men from Camp Kearny, which was located on the Torrey Pines Mesa, brought their families to settle in La Jolla. La Jolla tourism had laid a strong economic foundation for La Jolla, and as vacationers and newcomers continued to flock to the La Jolla beaches and shores, they needed places to stay, as well as businesses and services to sustain life.
La Jolla homes, La Jolla hotels and motels, La Jolla restaurants and dining, La Jolla shops and markets and the like began to pop up all over downtown La Jolla village. During this period of La Jolla history, hotels became town meeting places as well as fine vacation venues, giving La Jolla an enchanted and lively atmosphere. There was the Cabrillo Hotel at 1116 Prospect Street (opened in 1909), the Colonial Hotel at 910 Prospect Street (circa 1911) and the La Valencia Hotel at 1132 Prospect Street (1926). Roads were paved and the town boundaries expanded to Bird Rock at Turquoise Street to the south and Torrey Pines Mesa to the north.
The opening of the resort Casa De Manana helped surge La Jolla forward and attracted many celebrities to the quaint seaside village. These included Gregory Peck, who frequented the La Valencia Hotel, Charles and Virginia Farrell, William and Mousie Powell, Nigel Bruce, Cliff Robertson, John Williams and Raquel Welch (who graduated from La Jolla High School).
Although it seemed as if there was a city of La Jolla, given that La Jolla possessed a unique identity and spirit, La Jolla was always part of the city of San Diego, thereby requiring La Jollans to yield their "town" destiny to others. But it was this identity that kept La Jolla residents close and passionate about improving La Jolla for the betterment of the entire community. The establishment of the Chamber of Commerce of La Jolla in 1930 (which became the La Jolla Town Council in 1950) and the national recognition of the La Jolla Rough Water Swim in 1931, are two important events in the history of La Jolla revealing La Jollans commitment to a common goal - one of prosperity, philanthropy and La Jolla community excellence.
La Jolla's growth slowed during the 1940s due in part to outside factors like World War II, but largely by design as La Jolla residents approved plans that limited growth. For La Jolla, the 1950s meant a doubled population, from 5,500 in 1940 to approximately 10,000. World War II had ended, and many servicemen and women stayed in La Jolla to establish their homes and families. The demand for housing, schools, and a more complete service industry was high. Five schools opened during the 50's: Bird Rock Elementary in 1951, Scripps Elementary in 1954, La Jolla Country Day in 1955, Evans School in 1958 and Decatur Elementary in 1959.
With the economy strong and building at an all time high, the real estate business was booming. In 1951, there were 60 agents listed in the La Jolla Blue Book whereas just ten years earlier, there had been only 13.
During the last quarter of the 20th century, La Jolla's population finally exploded, as did commercial and residential development.
When two U.S. Marine facilities, Camp Callan and Camp Matthews, were turned over to the regents of the University of California for construction and development of a new La Jolla university on Nov. 18, 1960, there was fervent and unified dissent from the La Jolla community. Despite La Jolla opposition, the enormous university was built on 1300 acres of prime La Jolla real estate.
Other unanticipated changes during this time also altered the La Jolla identity: Scripps Memorial Hospital moved from Prospect Street in downtown La Jolla to North Torrey Pines in 1964; and the first two high rises were built (939 Coast Blvd & the Seville Garden Apartments), 18 and 13 stories respectively.
La Jolla community organizations sprang up in response to rapid growth. La Jollans Inc. and La Jolla Height Limitation Committee mobilized to "Fight High Rise" and uncontrolled growth but despite their strong opposition, La Jolla growth continued, the university was built, high rises sprung up and La Jolla history was altered.
For more than a century, the origin of the name La Jolla has been a controversial subject. There are several interpretations that seem plausible, but the exact meaning is still a mystery.
The most popular belief as to La Jolla meaning is that La Jolla was named "the Jewel" after the Spanish word joya. Although there is no evidence to support this interpretation, thousands of residents living in La Jolla California and La Jolla visitors have no doubts that this place of tranquility and beauty was named the Jewel.
Yet another interpretation is that the name was an early Spanish rendition of the Indian word for cave: hoya. In Castillian Spanish, hoya also means a hollow, cavity or pit. A common geographical term, hoya is appears frequently in Spanish-California documents and maps. It first appeared on a map of La Jolla in 1870, which plotted out the city's Pueblo Lands.
Others believe the name may have been derived from the Spanish word for pot: la olla. Early Spanish settlers who lived at the Presidio in Old Town San Diego bought many of the pots they used for water from Indians who came from an Indian village in La Jolla or at least what became La Jolla. While not all visitors or residents agree on the exact origin or meaning of La Jolla, they do agree it is a Jewel - and a paradise by the sea.← Communities Home