La Jolla Travel Guide

la jolla travel guide

Short on time? Follow this link to a Google Maps version of our La Jolla guide with all of our favorite spots labeled! You can “follow” the guide, and the saved locations will automatically transfer to your own Google Maps account.

la jolla guide
San Diego travel

It’s been about six months since we sold our place in Oceanside and moved down to the University City area. 

And while the popcorn ceilings of our rental are starting to close in on me, I’m grateful for our time down here so far. We are 15 minutes from downtown and 8 minutes from La Jolla Village. It’s been fun to explore an area of San Diego that has so much going on. I’m even more excited as things are starting to open up heading into spring and summer. (I feel like the last year has felt just like one long gloomy winter. It’s *almost* time to party, right?)

We also live a (brisk) 15 minute walk away from my sister’s family, and that has been the best part. 

We absolutely love La Jolla. There’s a reason it’s one of the most expensive zip codes in the world. We’ve had a ton of fun finding all our favorite spots down here, so I thought it was time to put together a list. 

Note: This is just a start! I’ll plan on updating this post every so often and adding new favorites to the list. 

If you’re visiting San Diego, La Jolla is a great place to use as a base for exploring the area. Like I mentioned, we are so close to everything and the coastline is absolutely stunning. 

la jolla san diego

What to do in La Jolla: 

Explore the village

Known fondly as “the village,” downtown La Jolla has tons of shops and restaurants. Most of the restaurants on this list are in or near the village. One of my favorite afternoon outings entails grabbing a coffee at Parakeet and browsing Warwick’s, the CUTEST little book and gift shop. This area is close to the water, too, so it kind of has a little South of France vibe to it. 

Walk the path Along the COve

Park here and walk along the path for sweeping views of the San Diego coastline. I think this is one of the prettiest places in the world, although the path definitely gets pretty congested on the weekends. Charlotte LOVES to see the seals playing in the water–there are tons of them. This is one of our favorite things to do with the girls. Cuvier Park is a great spot for a picnic. 

Hit the beach 

There is something extra magical about the white sand at La Jolla Shores. This beach is dreamy, has plenty of bathrooms, and is the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon–although, fair warning, parking can be tough on weekends. For less crowds, try Windansea Beach nearby. 

Watch the sunset on Mt. Soledad 

The view from the National Veterans Memorial at Mt. Soledad may be the best in San Diego, and it’s absolutely stunning at sunset. We take the girls up here at least once a week. We bring Charlotte’s scooter, and she’ll do a few laps around the memorial before shifting her focus to scaling the stairs over and over again. 

Explore Bird Rock 

Just a few minutes south of La Jolla village, Bird Rock is a cute neighborhood that is definitely worth exploring. We love the pastries from Wayfarer (try the savory scone and almond croissant, trust me) and the breakfast burritos from Don Bravo. We also love Bird Rock Coffee. We like to grab a snack or coffee (but usually both, honestly) and walk down to this little waterfront park

Kayak tour

We haven’t done this just yet but it’s on our to-do list for this summer. The tours take you along the coastline and into the little caves along the cliffs. Last weekend there were a million kayaks out on the water and it looked like a blast. 

Where to eat and drink in La Jolla: 

Coffee 

Parakeet: Come for the IG post of the cute neon sign, stay for the spicy mocha and vegan banana nut muffin. 

Pannikin: This place is a San Diego institution (we love the location in Leucadia, too). The patio is just so peaceful, and the coffee here is unrivaled. 

Better Buzz: Is a trip to San Diego complete without a stop at Better Buzz? Order an iced Best Drink Ever, half sweet, for me please. The breakfast sandwiches are also amazing here, too. 

coffee in La Jolla

Restaurants

George’s at the Cove: This is your classic brunch on the water on a summer day type of place. The breakfast tacos are life-changing and the views are unparalleled. 

Duke’s: We LOVE Duke’s. Book a table on the outdoor patio and order a mai tai to transport yourself to Maui instantly. And don’t let me catch you passing on the hula pie–it’s what dreams are made of. 

Puesto: The best tacos you’ll ever have? Puesto is a great lunch spot. Order the filet mignon tacos and the Puesto guacamole (it has chunks of parmesan in it, yes you read that right). 

Barbarella: This is a CUTE little Italian spot with an amazing brunch menu. It’s close to the shores, so you can walk the beach after brunch. 

Piatti: Piatti has amazing pizza and pasta, but the reason we go here is for the bread dipping sauce. THIS SAUCE, guys. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried, and believe me I have tried to recreate it 1,000 times at home–I can never quite nail it. Ask for a table in the garden outside for a romantic date night. 

Scoops: there is no better way to round out a date night, in my opinion, than with a scoop of ice cream on the walk back to the car. This place has the most unique flavors and they are all so delicious. 

Regents: We almost always order pizza from Regents on Saturday nights, lol. It’s so good. I love the “Mother-in-Law” (very spicy with hot honey) and the “Brookliner” (sausage, pep, and ricotta, ugh). They also have a bunch of deep dish pizzas that Tyler is obsessed with. 

More San Diego posts:

The Best Coffee Shops in Carlsbad

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