Experience Life on the Coast in La Jolla (2024)

Things to Do ln La Jolla

For the most part, La Jolla is an upscale part of the city with some attractions and activities tailored to some of the wealthier residents. However, there are plenty of hidden gems for the budget-conscious visitor as well. Additionally, anyone can enjoy the incredible weather and beaches for free.

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Dining at Nine Ten Restaurant in La Jolla Village

Best Restaurants

La Jolla has a great combination of different cuisines. Many of the best restaurants are in the Village of La Jolla and along the coast. Whether you want a fun, local Mexican eatery or an elegant seafood restaurant, you can find something to love in La Jolla.

Many of the restaurants are surprisingly low-key. There is a common, coastal theme shared by many of them. After all, La Jolla is one of the most beautiful strips of coastline in the country. So, it makes sense that many restaurants have plenty of outdoor space and take advantage of their incredible location.

One of our favorite restaurants is Brockton Villa. This fine dining restaurant offers ocean views while you enjoy the delicious food. Brockton Villa is popular for its brunch menu but it is also open for dinner. Check with the restaurant for the specific hours.

Another favorite of ours is the Caroline's Seaside Café located on the campus of UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This ocean view café features California style cuisine with organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. Caroline's Seaside Café is open for brunch and lunch, it is the perfect place to go before or after going to La Jolla Shores beach.


Much like the restaurants, many of the best bars and lounges are located in the La Jolla Village with coastal views. Many of the bars have happy hours and musical acts, so make sure to check schedules when you are in the area.

The options range from hole-in-the-wall pubs to upscale co*cktail bars. There are also some comedy clubs, breweries, distilleries and more. Whatever type of night out you are looking for, you can find it in La Jolla. Be aware that things do close early in La Jolla so it is not a late night kind of spot.

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Boardwalk at La Jolla Shores


No matter how long you are visiting La Jolla, you need to go to the beach. The incredible coastline is the most defining feature of La Jolla and the beaches here are rated some of the best beaches in San Diego County. Whether you look out over the water at sunset or relax on the sand during the day, there is a lot to love about the beaches in La Jolla.

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Did you know?

The Children's Pool beach in La Jolla is not known for children swimming but for seeing hundreds of seals and their pups basking in the sunshine on the beach.

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Sea Lions Sunning Themselves at the Childrens Pool

See the Seals & Sea Lions

The seals and sea lions around San Diego are a famous, though controversial, attraction in La Jolla. They are a wild population that comes onto the land to bask in the sun, relax and find food. Many tourists and locals like to watch them passing the day along the shoreline.

Keep in mind that the harbor seals and sea lions are wild animals. They are potentially very dangerous and should not be disturbed. They can be interesting to watch but are best observed from a distance.

You can find these local residents relaxing on the beaches, piers and other coastal areas primarily between the Cave Store and The Children’s Pool. There is a seal lion trail that you can follow to see get some of the best views in the area. The Children's Pool also is part of our Best Free Things to do in San Diego!

Better yet, there are different beaches for everyone. For example, the La Jolla Cove offers a relatively well-protected inlet with a pleasant combination of surf, sand, marine life and swimmable water. The Children’s Pool beach is a great place to watch the seals. Conversely, offers challenging surf that isn’t ideal for swimmers. Don’t miss out on the many tide pools in La Jolla, the La Jolla Tide Pools is a great place to start.

If you want to find the right spot, check out our Best Spots to see Seals and Sea Lions in La Jolla featured article.

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Surfer Carving a Wave at Windansea

Surfing in La Jolla

Surfing is especially popular in the La Jolla area with some noteworthy underwater features such as submarine canyons and reefs creating excellent waves. However, some of the surfing is very challenging. Beginners should avoid some of the more advanced breaks.

To the north, Blacks Beach, part of the Torrey Pines State Park, offers a very different beach-going experience. Control of the beach is split between the city and the state. The city portion is a fairly typical though enjoyable Southern Californian beach. The state park portion of the beach is famous for being swimsuit-optional. Surfing off of the southern end of Black’s Beach is popular as the waves can get big and perfect.

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Kayakers, Snorkelers and Swimmers in La Jolla

Other Water Sports

Like many coastal communities, La Jolla offers a broad selection of rentals for paddleboard, boats, personal watercraft and more.

Scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular choices. There is an immense amount of marine life living around various reefs underwater. In the area between La Jolla Cove and Black’s Beach is the 6,000-acre San Diego – La Jolla Underwater Park. It features a rocky reef, kelp bed, sand flats and submarine canyon. Anyone who enjoys diving should spend some time here.

La Jolla is one of our top attractions and it is featured in our Best Attractions in San Diego!

Experience Life on the Coast in La Jolla (2024)


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