Things to do in La Jolla

Itineraries for Your Trip to La Jolla

La Jolla locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in La Jolla for First Timers

Curated by Jenna Scatenawho has been visiting La Jolla since childhood.

I’ve always been wowed by the sweeping views of the ocean you get from the beach in La Jolla, and I’m sure you will be too when you see it for the first time. While many people consider this town a suburb of nearby San Diego (or a jumping off point for nearby theme parks), there is no shortage of fun things to do in this picturesque town, from award-winning restaurants to try and snorkeling and cave tours where you can spot the area’s gorgeous flora and fauna. Here are some great ways to spend your first trip to this seaside town—when you’re not gazing at the water.

The town is rarely rainy, but pack a warm layer for night, when the temperature dips.

If you only have time for one thing, make it a stop at La Jolla Cove.

Day 1

On your first day in La Jolla, familiarize yourself with the terrain. Learn about the town’s artistic heritage—and why it started as "the Green Dragon Colony"—on a walking tour and take in galleries, restaurants, shops, and local murals.

Afterward, get up close with the town’s famous sea caves and cove. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of harbor seals at the Children's Pool.

In the afternoon, get out of the sun and cool off with a trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s flagship property.

Day 2

The beautiful, protected waters near La Jolla Cove provide a perfect location for a day of snorkeling. Leopard sharks, sea turtles, and Garibaldi fish all shelter in the area’s kelp forest and rocky reefs.

If snorkeling isn't your thing, take to the water by kayak instead. You'll have the chance to see birds, dolphins, sea lions, and orcas as well as the kelp beds of San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve.

Finish the day with a meal at El Pescador Fish Market, where fresh seafood is always on the menu.

Day 3

On your last day in La Jolla, make the most of the stunning coastal views with a seaside or patio breakfast at a spot like the Cottage or Duke's. Then continue soaking up the dramatic scenery with an e-bike tour, cruising through the nearby mountains and upscale neighborhoods.

If you’d rather spend more time on the water, get your exercise a different way with a small group surf lesson. The calm waters of La Jolla are a perfect spot for beginners to learn.

On your last night, consider splurging at an award-winning restaurant: NINE-TEN, the Marine Room, and George's at the Cove all offer fine dining with a view.

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