What and Where Is La Jolla Anyway?

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Being active on social media has taught me that a number of people do not know what or where La Jolla, California is. One of my goals is to highlight the fabulous seaside community that I call home and why it makes an excellent place for a family vacation.

Before we go any further, La Jolla is pronounced La-HOY-a. Our mail can be a wreck with misspelling at times, as you can imagine.

Where Is La Jolla?

La Jolla is a coastal neighborhood that is a part of the City of San Diego. It is not a city, as some people mistakenly believe. Because La Jolla occupies 7 miles of beach, ocean views are commonly seen from around town, including many fabulous restaurants and hotels. La Jolla is:

  • 12 miles north of downtown San Diego.
  • 40 miles south of Orange County.
  • 25 minutes by car from San Diego International Airport.

I can see downtown San Diego and watch planes take-off and land from my backyard here as we’re on a hill called Mount Soledad.

View of Downtown San Diego from La Jolla

How Is The Weather?

The year-round average temperature is 70.5°F. I know, it’s pretty awesome. Coastal Southern California grinds to a halt when it rains because it’s so rare. We don’t drive very well in it.

We don’t carry umbrellas, either. We do crank up the seat warmers in our car when the temps dip on the low side but we rarely run our air conditioning or heating. The ocean breezes are mild.

Visitors from the north and east revel in our December beach weather. However, you couldn’t get most locals to stick a toe in the ocean without a wetsuit. It’s too cold (for us).

The La Jolla Lifestyle

It’s a good one. In my opinion, La Jolla is down-to-earth relative to similar affluent communities in the nation. We had the highest average housing prices in the nation in 2008 ($1.85 million) and ($2.14 million) 2009, though I’m not sure what it is today it’s probably still up there. From funky (multi-million dollar) beach shacks to condo complexes to custom estates, you see a little bit of everything here housing-wise.

Though it’s not uncommon to see someone look like they’ve just emerged from the Neiman Marcus catalog, most people in my world spend the day in Lululemon and other casual wear. I try not to go out too shabby-looking because the odds of running into someone I know are high. Boutique shopping is another favorite pastime of mine and many others as everything from housewares to kids clothing to surfboards is available in our three main areas: the Village, La Jolla Shores and Bird Rock. See also my list of free things to do in La Jolla.

Alfresco dining is popular (with heat lamps in the winter) at La Jolla restaurants as are sustainable, farm-to-table menus that will knock your socks off. We have some of the best restaurants in San Diego and because some are within walking distance of each other, a fun happy hour hop is highly recommended. You can take your kids even to the upscale restaurants… we do it all the time at happy hour, especially.

Sure, there’s family money and internet millionaires, but most people work hard to live and raise their kids here.

Famous La Jolla Residents (Past And Present) And Landmarks

La Jolla Mt Soledad

(Mt. Soledad Veteran’s Memorial is another of La Jolla’s most popular attractions.)

You’ve probably seen Tiger Woods and other golf pros take a swing at Torrey Pines Golf Course, home to the Farmer’s Insurance Open on the PGA Tour. The University of California at San Diego (my alma mater) is located here as well as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and its Birch Aquarium. And, our beaches are famous for their surf, white sand and tidepools during low tides.

Here are a handful of famous people that have called La Jolla home:

  • The most famous person to call La Jolla home is the late Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. His wife still lives here.
  • Mitt Romney owns a beach house (a friend of mine recently spotted him at Costco shopping like a regular guy).
  • John McCain owns a home here.
  • Sally Ride, the former astronaut, lived here until she passed away in 2012.
  • Raquel Welch grew up here and earned beauty titles such as “Miss La Jolla” and “Miss San Diego”.
  • A few members of the band Ratt went to La Jolla High School (my husband would like me to lob this in).

What Is Your Favorite Thing About La Jolla?

I’ll show you more around town on Instagram at @lajollamom!

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8 Comments

  1. January 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm — Reply

    Love this post, Katie. Pinning to help the world learn a bit more about lovely La Jolla!

  2. January 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm — Reply

    I’ve been to San Diego (lived there for a summer, actually), but I haven’t spent much time in La Jolla. It looks like a wonderful place to live and also to spend a few days while traveling.

  3. December 29, 2013 at 9:50 am — Reply

    what an incredibly gorgeous place!

  4. December 23, 2013 at 2:13 am — Reply

    I’m a big fan of San Diego, but I’ve never been here before. I will have to try to make it there next time. So glad you cleared up how to pronounce it though, as I would have definitely been saying it wrong! 🙂

  5. December 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    I enjoyed this piece a lot, Katie. For starters, I pronounced with a J and not an H so glad to learn the correct way.

    That first photo is so pretty. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. December 20, 2013 at 11:25 am — Reply

    I thought La Jolla was close to LA, I was so wrong! it look s just stunning, who wouldn’t want to live by a (warm) beach, bit different than our SF weather was!

  7. December 20, 2013 at 2:08 am — Reply

    I love La Jolla. I don’t visit nearly enough! It seems a little less flaky and seasonal than Laguna and a lot more laid back and down to earth than Newport, which is my usual stomping grounds. I’d move in a heartbeat if I could make it work!

  8. Amanda C.
    December 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm — Reply

    I pinned it!!

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