Unique Things to Do in La Jolla for a Spectacular California Vacation
Explore La Jolla in more depth with these must see, unique attractions. For any California vacation, La Jolla is a must!
If you are planning a trip to California and in particular San Diego, you will not want to miss the chance to see La Jolla Shores. La Jolla is a beautiful seaside community where locals and tourists congregate all year round to enjoy the beautiful shores. La Jolla Shores is one of the most family friendly beaches in San Diego if not California.
Unlike other parts of California, La Jolla is not known for its big waves and dangerous currents. It is in actual fact great for those wanting to learn how to surf, kayak, swim or even scuba dive. Not only this, but visitors can enjoy flat white sand to lie on and are free to use the local showers and restrooms. There are so many places to visit in La Jolla you may find it hard to stick to your itinerary.
Not only famous for its beaches, La Jolla is home to beautiful green spaces such as the Kellogg Park where children roam the amazing playground. The Torrey Pines cliff is another top attraction in La Jolla that is well worth a visit if you want a picnic with a view. The cliffs also offer the opportunity to try paragliding, hang gliding and tandem flights.
Of course, we all know California is famous for its beautiful coastline but there are some particularly special things to do in La Jolla. Below are some top picks of unique things to do in La Jolla.
For all the animal lovers out there, you may want to have a look at the Children’s Pool to see the seals. Although a strange name, as kids do not actually go and swim in the pool, the Children’s Pool was, as its name states, a pool made for children to play in.
In 1931 a sea wall was built to keep the rough waters away and avoid any incidents. Since 1992, the little pool filled with sand and became a nice flat beach where seals gather throughout the year. It is a really nice experience especially if you have children.
During the year you can spot various seals sunbathing, playing, looking after their pups and so on. If you are lucky you may even spot a sea lion among all the seals! The Children’s Pool can be found at 850 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla, California and is available all year round.
Shell Beach Tide Pool
Another free coastal activity that the kids will love is a visit to the Shell Beach Tide Pools. Located at the bottom of a stairway that leads to the beach, with the right weather you can see all sorts of exotic shells, starfish, slugs, crabs and so on.
Not only is it a really good day out at the beach, it is also a great educational trip for any kids with an interest in the world of the deep blue sea. When the tide is really low you can walk down to the beach and explore the sea life in more depth. There is really no point in going during stormy or bad weather as there is not anything there even when the tide is low or in minus tides.
Ideally you want to visit the Shell Beach Tide Pools in December or January, as you will be more likely to catch a glimpse of all the creatures. If you want to make a day of it you can also bring a picnic and enjoy your food in one of the local parks. Shell Beach Tide Pools are located close to Ellen Browning Park on Coast Highway, La Jolla.
Moving away from the sea but not far from the theme of the underwater animal world, Birch Aquarium is a lively museum that presents the research of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of UC scientists. The aquarium is not just a chance for everyone to have a look at pretty fish; it also incorporates educational activities and informational exhibitions.
Aside from its great gift store you will be able to visit the Hall of Fishes and the Tide Pool Plaza. The Hall of Fishes is the best opportunity you will get to see an abundance of colorful sea creatures that live in the Pacific Ocean. The Tide Pool Plaza is great for those that prefer the creepy crawly type of marine animals. Home to hermit crabs, lobsters and sea stars, the kids are guaranteed to love it!
Museum of Contemporary Art
The La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art is home to the amazing sculpture garden that is in fact free to visitors between 11am and 5pm. If you have visited the Shell Beach Tide Pools and the Ellen Browning Park on Coast Highway you may be familiar with the fact that the gardens were once home to Ellen Browning Scripps herself.
The La Jolla galleries and garden are always running one or more interesting and educational events or shows from both local and internationally renowned artists. If you are concerned that the kids could get bored, don’t worry there is really something for all ages.
There are lectures and guided tours that can be booked in advance and some engaging activities that work for both kids and adults. La Jolla gallery and garden also offers delicious food in their cafe throughout the day with a range of European inspired gourmet dishes.
There is also another gallery in Downtown San Diego where you will be able to attend the Thursday Night Thing, an event held three times a year that invites guest to enjoy music, art and cocktails. The Museum of contemporary Art and its garden is located at 700 Prospect Street (between Draper Ave & Eads Ave), La Jolla.
Sticking with the art theme a little longer, La Jolla is home to amazing murals from commissioned artists. Once again, Ellen Browning Scripps made La Jolla a world-renowned art destination by commissioning local artists to create murals in the community.
The downtown area of La Jolla became popular for its murals in 2010. The art is available to both locals and visitors and is made up of abstract and impressionistic pieces. They are not all massive pieces. Some are small and hidden away down the backstreets of the Downtown area. Some do not even seem like murals. They just look like artistic billboards.
All the murals are located within a few blocks of each other and it is a really fun day out trying to find them within the art community. The treasure hunt like adventure started as permanent murals on the side of businesses walls and then evolved into vinyl’s that are kept up for two years before being replaced by another
La Jolla Open Aire Market
For those market fanatics, La Jolla Open Aire Market is great for purchasing anything from local produce, food, flowers and meals. Completely free, this market is filled with local produce. There are so many food vendors you will find it hard to make a choice when it comes to breakfast or lunch.
All the food is prepared as you order and you can watch the variety of vendors cook for you whilst you admire the bright colors of the fresh fruit and veg throughout the market in La Jolla. You will be able to find crepes, burritos, burgers, salads and so on. There is really something for everyone! The La Jolla Open Aire Market is open every Sunday from 9am to 1pm at the La Jolla Elementary School.
For something special, every third Sunday of the month there are activities for families and kids to enjoy. There is a range of arts and crafts activities and on top of the beautiful produce you can buy you will be happy to know that a percentage of every purchase goes towards preserving the Elementary School. The La Jolla Elementary School can be found on the Corner of Girard and Genter Street, La Jolla.
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial
Words cannot describe how impressive and majestic it is to visit the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial. Aside from the fact that it is situated where you can find one of the most impressive views of San Diego you will see black granite plaque after plaque honoring each of the 3000 plus brave veterans that fought from the Revolutionary War to the wars in the Middle East.
There are over 3000 plaques that are placed on 6 large memorial walls. You will find yourself getting goose bumps as you read the pamphlets that provide you with all the information you need about this memorial site. If you head to there website you will find a plaque locator allowing you to find specific names of people you may know who fought for the country.
Of course, on Memorial Day and during the Saturday before the Veterans Day there are public events where you can pay your respects to the brave people in the forces. The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is situated between Soledad Park Road and Via Capri and is free to visit.
Past, Present, Future
La Jolla has a wealth of history you can learn about, present art and science to explore and gives you a glimpse into the world to come. It is a beautiful location for a family holiday and offers so much to all its visitors. As in the rest of California, the people are friendly and the community is beautiful. Whether you are looking for a nice beach, want to explore the wonders of the big blue sea, be engulfed in amazing art, have a family picnic in the parks or just wander around Downtown to soak up a bit of La Jolla culture you will not be disappointed.
La Jolla, California is not cheap but the suggestions above are mostly free for all. For something more adventurous you can always visit the La Jolla caves in a kayak and explore more of Mother Nature with the various hiking options. For the architects out there, La Jolla is home to the Salk Institute, which is filled with amazing photography and is an architect's dream!
In summer, Ellen Browning Scripps Park hosts a range of musical concerts. Each concert has a number of food stands and activities that are family friendly. Whatever your tastes you will be sure to enjoy La Jolla. It is a beautiful landmark in California and well worth a long visit!
La Jolla, photo file, #1385213, la jolla
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