I am a frequent visitor to La Jolla California. It is not just that I like to see how the top 1% live, I find it healthy and rejuvenating being there. I love walking around at night and going to the small shops and galleries. People are very friendly there, and I seem to make new friends there from time to time too!
Where to stay.
I have stayed at many of the hotels in La Jolla. I found that I sleep better at the Best Western than the other hotels and wake up earlier as well. I love the little chocolates they give in the rooms upon arrival, and depend on the apples they keep in the lobby! They have a very nice staff, and it is relaxing just to be there! It seems to capture the ambiance of the sea and dolphin energy even though they are a few blocks farther from the sea than many other local hotels. A paradox to ponder!
The Grande Colonial Hotel is a very stately place to stay with a nice classy bar on the main floor. Service is excellent and it is in the middle of all of the action as well.
La Valencia hotel has some exquisite dining and wines to drink. You will enjoy its traditional Hacienda style architecture and convenient location. They sometimes have fancy set dinners at their restaurant for their gourmet visitors. This might qualify as being the classiest hotel in the neighborhood.
What to do? Start at the beach!
La Jolla is a neighborhood of cafes, beaches, restaurants, art galleries, and friendly people. I have never had a bad experience visiting there. The question is what to do, and when to do it? For me, a quick jaunt to the beach is an absolute necessity for emotional reasons. You can see dozens of seals (sea lions) swimming around and basking on the rocks. They are adorable creatures. I typically start my day with a short walk to the coast and walk around the beach, see the sea mammals, soak in the ocean’s healing energy, and then go about my day. My chiropractor says it is good to walk barefoot in the sand, so find a sandy part of the beach and take your shoes off and walk back and forth. It is truly therapeutic! Additionally, the beach is nice place to go after sunset for a quiet atmosphere to enjoy with your significant other!
Ice cream anyone?
You have a choice of Haagen Daz (my favorite), Cold Stone, and multiple gelato places. One place even has designer ice cream bars with very unusual flavors for unusually high prices! No trip to La Jolla is complete without a small helping of ice cream.
The most popular hangout is “The Living Room”. Coffee, Hookahs, food, and desserts. All under one roof. My favorite coffee stop is to have mocha at Aroma Cafe near Fay and Prospect Street. They have a very unusual menu of American, Italian, Cajun, and Mid-Eastern foods and even have unusual dishes like Coca Cola Chicken! I always enjoy dining at Aroma no matter what time of the day it is.
There are many to choose from. Just walk down the side streets off Prospect and you will be bombarded with art. My favorite is a little gallery with nature pictures. You can get small cards with photos of animals you can take home for a small price!
There are endless choices of places to dine for every budget. Prospect street has infinite choices, but Fay ave has many more if you go a few blocks South. You can get French, Italian, Sushi, American, and many other types of cuisines. Famous restaurants include Steakhouse Azul at La Jolla, Crab Catcher, Eddie V’s, Amaya La Jolla, and La Valencia is very fancy as well. I enjoyed Tapas and “tinto” (red wine) at Ibirico Bistro on Prospect. A nice place for budget travelers is Bubba’s Smoke House BBQ. The brisket sandwiches are smoky and amazing!
If you go across the highway to downtown La Jolla, there are a few amazing restaurants near the Hyatt. Fleming’s Steak House has the best burger anywhere as well as great steaks and seafood. Cafe Japengo has great Asian Fusion. Truluck’s has fancy seafood. Which place is my favorite place to eat? I have had only one fancy meal in La Jolla because I normally eat in other parts of town when I am in San Diego!
Bars & Wine tasting
There is a small olive oil shop that has wine tasting as well. It is called We Olive & Wine Bar. I tried a few of their reds which all had the characteristic of having strong flavors. I experienced cranberry notes, walnut notes, and other distinct flavors. I am more partial to fruity or “big reds”, but it was an interesting experience in any case. Loved their map of wine growing regions in California. You would be surprised at how many valleys there really are here! There are many bars in La Jolla. The classiest is at the Grand Colonial. But, you can drink wine at the tapas restaurant, sushi places, or anywhere else in town as well. Flemings (a few miles inland) has an amazing wine selection as well. For those who are serious about fine wines, there is a very nice place that is about 45 minutes from La Jolla. If you go up to Rancho Santa Fe (you will get lost in the hills if you don’t know the area) you can find an excellent selection of fine wines at Delicias. The other option is to go to Downtown San Diego where there are more choices of places to go wine tasting.