La Jolla, which means “the jewel” in Spanish, easily lives up to its name. This sophisticated, Mediterranean-style village perched on sandstone cliffs is known for its breathtaking ocean views, art galleries, shopping, fine dining and outdoor recreation. La Jolla has long been a favorite travel destination in Southern California for many years.
The Cave Store
1325 Cave St # 1325
Take a scenic stroll along the weather-sculpted sandstone cliffs, starting just south of La Jolla Cove at the Children’s Pool (850 Coast Boulevard, between Eads Avenue and Jenner Street), which has been taken over by dozens of harbor seals . Children don’t swim here anymore, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to get up close to the seals and snap some great pics. Continue to walk north along the pathway, past Scripps Park, admiring the dramatic coastline until you get to the Cave Store, where you can descend a rickety, old 145-step stairway, deep into Sunny Jim’s cave. The damp walls and semi-dark tunnel eventually lead to sunlight and a specially framed ocean view at the cave’s opening — a profile of Sunny Jim, a 1920’s cereal box character. As you hike back up the stairway, just be glad you didn’t visit when the only way in or out was by rope.
Spice and Rice Thai Kitchen
7734 Girard Ave # C
San Diego, California 92037
La Jolla is one of San Diego’s most desirable shopping districts known for sophisticated, designer apparel boutiques, original jewelry shops featuring fine jewelry and art galleries selling works from around the world. The two main shopping streets are Prospect Street (overlooking the Pacific Ocean) and Girard Avenue (intersecting with Prospect Street), both are lined with specialty shops, boutiques and art galleries where you can find everything from clothing, jewelry, furniture, books, stationary and toys.
After shopping, pop into Spice and Rice Thai Kitchen on Girard Avenue for a delicious and affordable meal. Spice and Rice was voted as the “Top Thai Restaurant in San Diego” in a Zagat survey and it would certainly get my vote. Try the Grilled Chicken Satay, marinated in coconut cream, herbs and spices, served with their famous Thai peanut sauce and cucumber vinaigrette or the Spicy Basil Noodles – rice noodles sautéed with basil, egg, onions, green peppers and a chili-garlic paste.
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla, California 92037
Tennis anyone? Book a lesson with a pro at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and enjoy a historic stay at one of California’s most treasured beachfront resorts for more than 75 years. This landmark resort combines the charm of old-world Mexico with modern amenities and recreation. The rooms are decorated in a mid-century style and you’ll feel like you’re on the set of Mad Men. Be sure and spring for an oceanfront room. The biggest plus is opening your back door and having the Pacific Ocean as your backyard.
Home to one of California’s few private beaches, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club provides guests the exclusive opportunity to enjoy the sand and surf without the crowds. Lounge chairs, umbrellas and tables are set-up for your leisure.
For an even more private beach, visit Blacks Beach (part of Torrey Pines State Beach), a two-mile long sandy strip situated at the base of 300 feet high cliffs, which limits access to the beach. The beauty and privacy of Blacks Beach have made it infamous for its nude sunbathers, a practice that is not officially sanctioned but prevalent. An interesting fact: Black Beach is located across the street from UCSD’s Muir College, which my daughter attends (the school, not the beach, at least to my knowledge).