What to Do In La Jolla



We recently spent the night in La Jolla, California. We’d like to thank the Grande Colonial Hotel and the San Diego Tourism Authority for their help planning our trip. We were not paid for our reviews. All opinions reflect our own opinions and experiences.


On a recent visit to Los Angeles we decided to take a quick break from busy L.A. for a drive with Diana’s Mom to La Jolla. We thought a little sea and sun would be perfect for three midwest girls.

Grande Colonial Hotel-La Jolla
Grande Colonial Hotel-La Jolla


Hitting the road early on a sunny day ensured that the two and a half-hour ride was smooth and uneventful. We arrived in La Jolla and drove up Prospect Street to our destination, the Grande Colonial Hotel. When you first arrive at the Grande Colonial you are instantly transported back in time. Elegant tall palm trees at the entrance invite you into the beautifully decorated lobby.

Grande Colonial Main Lobby
Grande Colonial Main Lobby. Photo courtesy of Grande Colonial.


The AAA Four Diamond-rated Grande Colonial property may be over a hundred years old but the meticulous renovation immediately makes you feel welcomed and spoiled.

Grande Colonial Room #235 Photo Courtesy of Grande Colonial
Grande Colonial Room #235 Photo Courtesy of Grande Colonial.


Just steps from the ocean the hotel offers rooms with your choice of city or ocean views. The Grande Colonial is the only original hotel left in La Jolla. It maintains its history while providing all modern amenities and comforts for its holiday adventures and business road warriors. The NINE-TEN restaurant and bar in the lobby is a perfect spot to enjoy a drink or meal.

So Much to See & Do in La Jolla!

The hotel is conveniently located on the main strip of Prospect Street in downtown La Jolla. A short walk in any direction will have you exploring high-end La Jolla shopping, galleries, jewelry stores, and restaurants. Convenient and comfortable, the hotel a perfect hub for your visit to La Jolla. We started our trip by strolling down Prospect Street to find a place for lunch. We had two challenges on our walk. First, way too many fun shops to stop in and explore. Once on our way again we encountered challenge number two. So many choices for lunch!


Dr. Suess Museum in La Jolla
Dr. Suess Museum in La Jolla


Before making our decision we stopped in at the delightful Art of Dr Seuss. This combination, museum gallery and storehouses many works from Theodore Geisel. Every year the family estate releases more works so you’re bound to see something you have never seen before. While there, we were treated to a sneak peek at the latest release and enjoyed hearing more about the history of the artist and his art from the friendly and knowledgeable staff. We just love Dr. Seuss and really enjoyed touring the museum.

Fun La Jolla Fact: Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) lived atop Mont Soledad in La Jolla where he created many of his wonderful books and characters.

Let’s Eat! 

Finally, inspired by the waves and sunshine, we found ourselves delighted by the idea of Hawaiian tastes at Duke’s La Jolla for lunch. Remembering fond visits to Duke’s on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, we were excited to eat here. Although it was very busy and bustling we were seated pretty quickly. Our server was super friendly, helped us with the menu and got our drinks out very fast.


Fish tacos at Dukes in La Jolla
Fish tacos at Duke’s in La Jolla


We shared an order of fresh fish tacos, a sampler platter that included Duke’s tasty ribs with mango bbq sauce, grilled Huli chicken, steamed jasmine rice, macaroni salad and slaw, and the Poke tacos featuring raw ahi, shoyu, Maui onions, avocado, and wasabi crème Fraiche. Everything was delicious and perfectly portioned for lunchtime.

Sampler Platter at Dukes in La Jolla
Sampler Platter at Duke’s in La Jolla


Dukes Poke Tacos La Jolla
Duke’s Poke Tacos La Jolla


La Jolla Cove Food Travelist
La Jolla Cove


Time For A Rest

After a quick nap back at the Grande Colonial, we were up and out to watch the sunset on La Jolla Cove. We had fun watching the sea lions relax on the rocks as we silly tourists tried to get the perfect photo. After many attempts, we decided to just relax and enjoy nature’s beautiful end of day display.


Seals taking a sunny nap in La Jolla.
Seals taking a sunny nap in La Jolla.


Plan to spend some time strolling around La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Underwater Park. If you adore nature and animals like we do you’ll be treated to teeming marine life, sea lions, seals and many types of birds.

La Jolla Sunset -Courtesy SanDiego.org
La Jolla Sunset -Courtesy SanDiego.org


Even a short walk on the beach lets you explore the amazing tide pools. You can also head to the Seven Sea Caves, which are only accessible by kayak or snorkeling to continue your exploration.

Childrens Pool seals -Courtesy SanDiego.org
Children’s Pool seals -Courtesy SanDiego.org


A walk along the pathway at the Children’s Pool, originally intended as a swimming area for kids, provides a close-up look at seals playing and enjoying the beautiful and protected cove.


Birch Aquarium-children-Courtesy Birch Aquarium
Birch Aquarium Courtesy Birch Aquarium


If you want to experience even more be sure to visit the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Over 60 tanks of beautiful marine life that include coral reefs, sharks, jellyfish, and outdoor tide pools. An interactive museum with research discoveries on climate, earth and ocean science make this a learning experience you won’t forget.


Gourmet Dining in La Jolla

Sun’s down and it’s time to head over to George’s at the Cove one of the best restaurants in La Jolla for dinner. Little did we know that we were headed for a very memorable meal in La Jolla.

Cocktails at George's on the Cove
Cocktails at George’s at the Cove


George’s at the Cove has two levels for dining a more casual rooftop that offers a terrific view of La Jolla Cove and a lower level that features California Modern by award-winning Chef Trey Foshee, and as we discovered, an eclectic menu sure to please every food traveler.

You’ll want to order one of their unique hand-crafted cocktails as you ponder exactly how you’re going to choose what to order from this tasty menu.


George's on the Cove Dinner
Stinging Nettle Spaghetti at George’s at the Cove Dinner


For our full experience and meal at George’s at the Cove check out our full view of Dinner at George’s at the Cove.


It’s Another Sunny Day in La Jolla

After a wonderful dinner and peaceful night’s sleep at the Grande Colonial Hotel, we were ready to take on the day.

As luck would have it, we woke up to a perfect day. The sun was shining bright, it was 75 warm degrees, and it was Diana’s birthday! Mother Nature ordered up a beautiful sparkly California day for my little California girl.

We packed up, checked out and made one last stop at the beach to see the ocean. Dogs, birds, sea lions were all out as if to wish Diana, a passionate animal and nature lover, a very happy birthday.

La Jolla coastline-Photo credit Robert Arends SanDiego.org
La Jolla coastline-Photo credit Robert Arends SanDiego.org


La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove


After doing some exploring we were just a wee peckish and in need of brunch. We headed over to Shorehouse Kitchen. 

Diana and Mom at Shorehouse Kitchen La Jolla with the Birthday Scone!
Diana and Mom at Shorehouse Kitchen with the Birthday Scone!


Time To Eat Again

After mentioning to our server that it was Diana’s birthday she brought a birthday scone for us to share and enjoy. We really loved the ambiance of this laid back California style eatery.

Breakfast at Shoreline La Jolla
Breakfast at Shorehouse Kitchen in La Jolla


Their menu includes breakfast and lunch items with some of the freshest ingredients around. Fresh squeezed orange juice from California Valencia oranges is must!

California Sandwich at Shoreline La Jolla
California Sandwich at Shorehouse Kitchen La Jolla


We couldn’t decide between breakfast and lunch so we had a little bit of both. The Cucumber and Avocado Veggie Sandwich (a real California style sandwich) with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, toasted sunflower seeds, white cheddar, lettuce, cream cheese & whole grain mustard on fresh whole wheat bread and the Roasted Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Benedict with turkey sausage, quinoa, organic baby spinach, Béarnaise sauce topped with parmesan were both terrific choices.

Dog-friendly the Shorehouse also offers a full Doggie Menu.

More To See

Along the route to the Shorehouse Kitchen, you’ll drive on Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. You can stop and watch the hang gliders and paragliders soaring along the coastline at Torry Pines Glidersport. If you’re adventurous you might want to even try it yourself!

Torrey Pines hang gliders -Courtesy SanDiego.org
Torrey Pines hang gliders -Courtesy SanDiego.org


Heading Back for More Things to Do in La Jolla

With full stomachs and the sun shining we needed to head back to La-La Land. We had a delicious and wonderful time in La Jolla. Our only regret is that we couldn’t spend more time there. We wanted more time to enjoy the heated swimming pool at the Grande Colonial Hotel and to enjoy a round of golf or just relax watching the crashing waves at La Jolla Cove. We’ll definitely need to return and continue our exploration of this lovely, peaceful town on the ocean.

If you’re visiting the area, La Jolla is about a two and a half-hour drive from Los Angeles and a twenty-minute trip from San Diego.

For more information about things to do in La Jolla check out sandiego.org.  To plan a trip to La Jolla or anywhere else your heart desires check out the Low-price guaranteed on Viator. 

Updated February 2020.

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29 thoughts on “What to Do In La Jolla

  1. Awesome photos! Lovely hotel and place. But the food was the best part of the post. Those tacos look awesome.

  2. This is one of the reasons why I miss California. The beautiful beaches, lots of places to explore, the relaxing time, and the most beautiful sunsets! I love La Jolla. Hope to get to visit again sometime soon!

  3. Adds this to my list of places to visit! I think quick trips are great. You try to fit as much into the time you’ll be there makes for a great challenge. I’m loving all the food! Taking in the scenes and the food are probably may favorite part of traveling.

  4. La Jolla looks like an ideal family getaway. There is so much to see and experience. I can say there can be never a dull moment.

  5. The photos are amazing especially the sunset! I think it’s a great place to visit. Looks relaxing and the food looks delicious!

  6. This looks like it was a great getaway. I would love to stay at the Grande Colonial Hotel. I am hoping to be in the area this winter.

  7. Visiting California is so high on my bucket list – La Jolla included! I was this close to going next month but had to pass. One day!

  8. Wow! You squeezed in a bunch of fun in your 24 hours in La Jolla. I haven’t been there in years. I love the San Diego area and will definitely have to check out some of your recommendations.

  9. Is there nothing better than a little weekend get away with relaxation, good company and lots of good food to eat?

  10. The food and view looks amazing. I would love to visit and relax on the beach sometime.

  11. Oh wow what an amazing looking place to spend some time, it looks like there is so much to do in La Jolla and there is some delicious looks eateries as well.

  12. We absolutely adore La Jolla and San Diego in general! I have thousands of pics from our time at Children’s Pool Beach (one of our favorites places in the U.S.). Such a great place to visit and so many yummy food spots 😉

  13. If you only had 24 hours looks like you had a wonderful experience with great food

  14. The lobby is certainly grand! I’d love to visit the Art of Dr. Seuss. La Jolla looks like a lovely place to spend a long weekend. Those seals are the cutest!

  15. I have a friend that’s actually in La Jolla right now! I’m going to quick send this over to her so that she can check out a few of the places you mentioned here.

  16. I’ve never heard of La Jolla before – yes, I live under a rock somewhere in Canada. How awesome is that place? I want to eat all the things and just go running around exploring. It’s gorgeous there!

    1. No worries Kimberly! I’m sure there’s plenty of places I haven’t heard of in Canada. Hope you get to visit La Jolla some day it’s beautiful and tasty.

  17. San Diego is my hometown, so I go to La Jolla all the time, and it never gets old! Always so beautiful, summer or winter–so fun to browse the shops or stroll along the coast. Great post!

  18. The Colonial Grande looks so comfy and nice. But, oh my gosh, those ribs at Duke’s. Mouth-watering. Looks like you had an awesome time in La Jolla. I was there last year for just a day. We made the most of a short time, too.

  19. La Jolla seems to have lots of lovely food!!! I visited a few years ago with my friend who lives in Long Beach. Unfortunately it was overcast and a bit rainy all day, so we didn’t see it at its best. But you certainly did.

  20. This was a lovely post for a bit of daydream travel this morning. I hope to visit La Jolla myself someday. And the Grande Colonial looks like an elegant place to stay when I do.

  21. You can guess what grabbed my attention, Sue! Cote Sud France! But truly, I didn’t realize La Jolla had so much. I was there over 30 years ago and all I remember was having lunch by the ocean. Would love to visit the Art of Dr. Suess. Who doesn’t like his books!? What a great getaway by the ocean.

  22. I’ve been to San Diego many times and always love going to La Jolla. The cove and the seals are fun, and I LOVE George’s!

  23. It’s sure sounds as though you spent a tasty 24 hours in La Jolla. It looks like a beautiful spot

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