La Jolla CA is a jewel, both in terms of its scenic coastal beauty and as a rough translation of the Spanish “la joya” meaning jewel. Whether or not one believes this proposed origin of the name, La Jolla is a spectacular coastal town that appeals to residents and visitors alike.
La Jolla is officially part of San Diego and consists of multiple neighborhoods perched on the hills leading down to the ocean and in the flatlands of La Jolla Shores north of La Jolla Village. The combination of fabulous beaches (you may have heard about the famous Blacks Beach), rocky shorelines, dramatic coastal bluffs, Mt. Soledad (offering amazing 360-degree views), a very upscale shopping and dining area in La Jolla Village, boutique hotels, and expensive, beautiful homes, many with dramatic ocean views, combine to make La Jolla one of the most expensive communities in San Diego County. Because of its popularity, however, be aware that parking, especially during the summer months, can be a very precious and hard-to-find commodity, in particular in the Village and near La Jolla Cove.
But this inconvenience is a small price to pay to explore a town with gorgeous views and an endless array of things to do, including excellent theatre at the La Jolla Playhouse on the UCSD campus, and the outstanding Museum of Contemporary Art (also with a location in San Diego).
La Jolla is not without a significant business and educational environment and substantial brain power, as well as a hub of life sciences companies. The University of California’s San Diego campus is here, as is the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. National University is also headquartered here.
Several significant research facilities including the Scripps Institute, the Burnham Institute, and the Salk Institute can be found along Torrey Pines Boulevard, and a number of high tech and life sciences companies make La Jolla their corporate home.
And of course La Jolla is the home of the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course, with its dramatic coastal views, perhaps rivaling those of Pebble Beach. This famous golf course is the site of the PGA Tour’s Buick Invitational and other significant PGA tours.
Just across the canyon from the course is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, attracting hangliders and paragliders from all over the area, and many visitors to simply watch and marvel at the dramatic scenery up and down the coast for miles. And down below you’ll find Blacks Beach!
Just north of the golf course is the 2000 acre Torrey Pines State Reserve, an undeveloped park that many feel is the wildest stretch of land in Southern California. The park is home to the rare Torrey Pine trees, incredible views, and a lagoon with an abundance of migrating sea birds.
Naturally the views, and the beaches, are a prime attraction for residents and visitors. La Jolla has a number of beaches, some of the most picturesque on the Southern California coast, each of which seems to have its own personality and devotees. From the north heading south one can visit Torrey Pines State Beach, Black’s Beach (famous for years as a clothing-optional tolerant beach), Scripps, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Beach and Tennis, La Jolla Cove, Children’s Pool Beach, Windansea, and Bird Rock.
Housing can be as equally dramatic as the views. A good number of the more expensive La Jolla properties are gated, and there are multiple gated communities and exclusive neighborhoods along the coastline, in the flatlands, on Mt. Soledad, and near the La Jolla Country Club. Well-known neighborhoods include La Jolla Farms, La Jolla Shores, the Muirlands, the Beach-Barber Tract, Windansea, Bird Rock, Upper and Lower Hermosa, La Jolla Village, and the Country Club area.
La Jolla is located only a few miles from downtown San Diego, but a world apart. While the distance is relatively short, giving residents easy access to the sights, sounds, and amenities of downtown, there are only a few roads leading out of La Jolla, so travel times in and out can get lengthy during rush hour periods and in the summer.
If your wish is a ocean-view home in a coastal community with a Mediterranean feel near the city, a year-round temperate climate (but fog and a marine layer are not unusual), an upscale shopping and dining area, and you have a significant housing budget, La Jolla may just be your jewel. But be prepared to pay the price – you will be hard pressed to find a detached single-family home for less than $1 million but pricing is better if you are open to a townhome or condo.