San Diego is home to an array of diverse beach communities, from tourist-friendly Mission Beach to the laid-back Ocean Beach. And among the best of the bunch is La Jolla, famously known as “The Jewel of San Diego.” Jutting out from the slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla is surrounded by the ocean on three sides, boasting incredible views no matter where you stand and an abundance of activities to please everyone who visits.
Whether you’re a local San Diegan looking for new ways to spend a Saturday or an out-of-towner planning an upcoming trip, be sure to add these top 5 things to do in La Jolla to your list:
1. Check out the seals at the Children’s Pool
La Jolla’s harbor seal population has been the subject of controversy over the years, but there’s no denying they are adorable, charming, and fascinating to watch. After taking over the Children’s Pool, an area shielded from the ocean by a sea wall built in the 1930s, the seals have become a huge draw for tourists, who love to watch them sleep, sunbathe, and play the water. Although the area is roped off to protect the seals from selfie-seeking humans, you can still capture amazing photos from a respectful distance.
2. Snorkel at the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park
Adjacent to La Jolla Shores Beach, a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific that’s popular with local surfers, the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park offers visitors a protected ocean area full of magnificent marine life. Snorkelers can explore the shallow enclave to spot orange garibaldi (California’s state fish), leopard sharks, rays and a variety of other remarkable sea creatures. In fact, if you visit during the summer, you might witness the spectacle of pregnant female leopard sharks (which make up most of La Jolla’s leopard shark population) hanging out in droves to incubate their young in the warm, sunny waters.
3. Soar over the ocean on a glider
Imagine jumping off a 300-foot cliff overlooking the beach, but instead of falling to the sand below, you soar over the ocean like a bird, becoming one with the breathtaking views. If that appeals to your thrill-seeking side, the Torrey Pines Gliderport offers paragliding and hang gliding rides, which can be taken solo or tandem with instructors. But if you’re not much of a thrill-seeker, the Gliderport is a perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, with its panoramic ocean views highlighted by colorful gliders in the sky.
4. Visit the Sunny Jim Sea Cave
Navigating down a carved-out tunnel on an ancient wooden staircase to the Sunny Jim Sea Cave requires a bit of courage, but the view at the end of the journey is worth it. The cave is the only sea cave in California that’s accessible by land (the staircase begins in La Jolla’s famous Cave Store), and it features a platform perfect for enjoying the ocean views and the cave’s beautiful rainbow of colors from mineral deposits. You can also spot sea lions on the nearby cove—not be confused with their quieter cousins at the Children’s Pool, but just as entertaining.
5. Try a doughnut chicken sandwich at Streetcar Merchants
After working up an appetite snorkeling, paragliding, or even shopping around the Village of La Jolla’s unique retail district, you’ll need something satisfying and adventurous enough to live up to the day’s activities. At Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee, we recommend our Southerner Royal sandwich, one of the most popular items on the menu. We split a cinnamon sugar doughnut and fill it with the best fried chicken in San Diego, bacon, fried egg, jalapeno, cheese, and maple glaze for a culinary experience your taste buds won’t forget. Or if you prefer more traditional Southern fare, try our fried chicken and waffles or one of our fresh homemade doughnuts and beignets. Whatever you choose on our menu, you’ll understand how we’ve earned our reputation as one of the best restaurants in La Jolla.
The only authentic Louisiana home cooking in La Jolla
At Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee, authenticity means more than using the freshest, highest quality ingredients in our family recipes. Authentic Louisiana home cooking means taking the time to make each meal to order. Come check us out the next time you find yourself craving the best Southern food in San Diego. We have locations in La Jolla and North Park, and one coming soon in the Gaslamp Quarter.