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Things to do in La Jolla

  • 7 min read

Things to do in La Jolla

La Jolla is a beautiful coastal city located in San Diego County, California. With its amazing weather, gorgeous beaches and stunning natural landscapes, it’s not surprising that La Jolla has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern California! La Jolla is the home to diverse marine animals, including seals and sea lions at the Children’s Pool, where you can even watch them play from your chair on the beach! It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego.

Here are some top things to do while you’re visiting La Jolla...


1. Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial

Located atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, this breathtaking memorial is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Featuring stunning views of the Pacific Ocean along with a beautiful statue dedicated to all US veterans, this memorial is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience some of the natural beauty and history of La Jolla. Mt. Soledad is the highest peak in San Diego County, so be sure to pack your camera and take in the incredible views!

2. Visit La Jolla Cove

One of the most beautiful and popular beaches in La Jolla, this small, sandy cove is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There are also a number of scenic hiking trails around La Jolla Cove that offer up amazing views of the coast.

3. The Children's Pool

Located next to La Jolla Cove, this small beach is best known for its colony of seals and sea lions. You can watch these adorable animals from the shore or even get up close with a guided tour.

If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly beach with plenty of marine wildlife to keep the kids entertained, then be sure to visit the Children’s Pool! This small beach is home to adorable seals and sea lions that are often seen frolicking in the waves or relaxing on the sand. Make sure to arrive early to get a spot on the beach, as this is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. 

Children's Pool

4. Downtown La Jolla

Whether you’re looking for some high-end shopping, a delicious meal at one of the many fantastic restaurants in La Jolla, or simply want to explore this charming coastal city, downtown La Jolla is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Be sure to check out The Cave Store while you’re there – this small store offers a unique shopping experience, and you can even take a tour of the Cave behind the store!

5. Explore La Jolla Shores

With its wide, sandy beaches and calm waters, La Jolla Shores is one of the best spots in the city for swimming and surfing. There are also a number of great restaurants and cafes along the shoreline, as well as numerous hiking trails that lead up into the surrounding hillsides.

6. Visit the Birch Aquarium

As California’s largest public aquarium, the Birch Aquarium is a great place to learn more about the ocean and all of its incredible inhabitants. There are also a number of interactive exhibits that allow you to get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s most fascinating creatures.

7. Go tide pooling at Shell Beach

If you are a nature lover or enjoy hiking and exploring, then Shell Beach is the perfect spot to visit in La Jolla. This small beach is home to some amazing tide pools full of beautiful sea creatures like starfish, urchins, and anemones.

8. Stroll along Prospect Street

With its vibrant boutiques, cafes, and art galleries, Prospect Street is one of the main commercial and cultural hubs in La Jolla. Whether you are looking for a perfectly-curated gift or simply want to people-watch as you sip on some coffee, this buzzing street has it all!

9. Enjoy a sunset at Windansea Beach

With its golden sands, magnificent cliffs, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Windansea is one of the best spots in La Jolla to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Don't miss a change to see the Windansea Surf Shack which is one of the oldest beach landmarks in San Diego. The shack is made of palm trees and was first built in 1945 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey.

Grab your camera or pack a picnic and make sure you don’t miss this amazing experience!

10. Salk Institute

Located in the heart of La Jolla, the Salk Institute is a world-renowned research facility that attracts scientists from all over the globe. With its state-of-the-art laboratories and innovative approaches to scientific research, it’s no surprise that this beautiful institute has been named one of San Diego County’s top attractions. Whether you are a science buff or simply want to learn more about the cutting-edge research being conducted at the Salk Institute, be sure to plan a visit during your stay in La Jolla!

Salk Institute

11. Torrey Pines Gliderport

If you love adventure and excitement, then Torrey Pines Gliderport is the place for you. This popular hang gliding spot allows visitors to soar high above the beaches and cliffs of La Jolla on a glider with an expert pilot. Whether you are a seasoned pro or have never flown before, this incredible experience will be one you will never forget.

12. Ellen Browning Scripps Park

Located right on the coast of La Jolla, Ellen Browning Scripps Park is one of the best places to relax and enjoy all that this beautiful seaside city has to offer. With its wide stretches of sandy beach, scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, and numerous hiking trails offering up amazing vantage points over the coastline, Ellen Browning Scripps Park is truly a hidden gem in La Jolla. So if you are looking for a peaceful place to unwind during your stay in this vibrant city, be sure to check out this beautiful park!

13. Ho Chi Minh Trail

Located just outside of La Jolla in San Diego County, the Ho Chi Minh Trail is one of the best places to go hiking and camping in Southern California. With its rugged terrain and stunning natural scenery, this trail offers up some truly amazing views of the local landscape. This trail is not for beginners and has a cliff with a steep dropoff. Make sure you are wearing close-toe shoes with good grip.. but don't be surprised to see a local surfer in flip-flops running past you. At the end of the trail, you will be on Black's Beach, which is a nude beach! This is one of the most popular local beaches, so you won't want to miss the opportunity to go for a swim in the Pacific Ocean and soak up some sun! So pack your sunscreen, water bottle, and hiking boots, and don’t forget to bring your camera – the Ho Chi Minh Trail is waiting!


14. Geisel Library

Located in the heart of La Jolla, Geisel Library is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Diego County. This world-renowned library not only houses an impressive collection of books, but also serves as a meeting and event space for students, faculty, and visitors alike. Whether you want to relax on the lawns with a good book or attend a lecture by an esteemed scholar, Geisel Library is the perfect place to spend your day in La Jolla. So if you are looking for a quiet and inspiring place to study or simply want to learn more about this beautiful coastal city, be sure to check out this iconic library during your visit!​

15. Mushroom Beach

Located just south of La Jolla in San Diego County, Mushroom Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California. Known for its stunning rock formations and unique, mushroom-shaped mangroves, this picturesque beach makes for an unforgettable day trip during your stay in La Jolla. It's better to go during low tide so you can see the tide pools. You can park your car in the neighborhood just east of it. There is a white stairway to walk down to the rocks. Make sure to bring your swimsuit, camera, and a picnic lunch - Mushroom Beach is the perfect place to relax and unwind during your visit to La Jolla!​


16. Scripps Pier

Scripps Pier, an iconic landmark in La Jolla, is part of the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The pier, extending over 1,000 feet into the ocean, offers a unique vantage point to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding coastline. One particularly awe-inspiring event occurs during the equinox, which happens twice a year. During this time, photographers flock to the pier to capture the magical moment when the sun aligns perfectly with the pier's symmetrical structure, creating a stunning visual effect. This phenomenon, known as the "Scripps Pier Solar Alignment," is a must-see event for both locals and visitors to La Jolla. While the pier itself is not open to the public, you can still enjoy the view and take incredible photos from the adjacent beach.


With its gorgeous beaches and abundant natural beauty, La Jolla is the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience all that Southern California has to offer. Whether you are a nature lover, adventure seeker, or just want to relax and soak up the sunny weather, La Jolla is truly a one-of-a-kind city that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. No matter what your interests or travel style may be, there is something for everyone in La Jolla. So if you are looking for a fun and exciting vacation destination, be sure to add this stunning coastal city to your list!