Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip to La Jolla

September 1, 2012 6:00 AM

la jolla sunset Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to La Jolla
La Jolla is a name in Spanish that’s sounds just as good as in English. This California seaside retreat’s moniker means “The Jewel” and this place just north of San Diego definitely fits the bill with the Atlantic in its backyard, some of the state’s loveliest hotels, unparalleled outdoor adventures and a whole slew of galleries for those who have art on the brain.

Getting There

Traveling to La Jolla from downtown Los Angeles means putting in about two hours moseying along in your vehicle. To get to this seaside mecca, simply take the I-5 south all the way there, exiting at La Jolla Village Drive. Once you arrive, you’ll be 15 miles north of San Diego, yet far enough from the fray to feel free of city life and all of its complications.

Must Do

Hike Bike Kayak
2246 Avenida de la Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-9510

Click here for packages and pricing

For those who find it hard to figure out which outdoor activity should be on his or her agenda, head over to the Hike Bike Kayak site to peruse the popular pastimes of picturesque La Jolla in one single place. Then, after taking a look at what this one single outfit has to offer, decide whether you want to swim with the leopard sharks, bike with fellow peddlers, or simply stroll the many paths in and around this area of San Diego, home to Torrey Pines State Park Nature Reserve. Many tours available through this particular ecotourism and nature company take place in the confines of this peaceful retreat while others take visitors to higher ground, such as Mount Soledad for the unforgettable La Jolla Bike Plunge via a Bianchi hybrid ride custom fitted for you and on which you may enjoy your own personal La Jolla experience. Explore a labyrinth of landmarks, including the La Jolla Sea Caves and the La Jolla Lion Rookery, two very special natural Southland wonders.

Related:  Sea Kayaking in La Jolla

Must See
La Jolla Art Association

8100 Paseo del Osaso, Suite B
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 459-1196

Price: free

La Jolla attracts an array of artists keen on showing (and selling) their unique wares, so the area’s gallery community obliges, with all kinds of venues for this purpose. The Artful Soul is known for its jewelry and ceramics while the Artists Gallery is more mainstream, mounting watercolors, pols, mixed media and sculpture created by more than 30 different artists. For unforgettable fabrics, try La Jolla Fiber Art, and for rugs to die for, go to Aja Art and Antiques.

Crab Catcher Seafood Grill

1298 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-9587

Fresh seafood, as enjoyed from this ideal vantage point on a cliff high above the Pacific, is just the right cuisine to make you feel part of the local scene. Don’t think this place offers just California and Pacific Rim-inspired dinners. In fact, Sunday brunch is a specialty at the Crab Catcher, as is happy hour when some tapas items are half price and oyster shooters cost just $1.50 each.

RelatedBest Seafood in LA

La Jolla Playhouse

2910 La Jolla Village Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037

Click here for tickets

Arts-oriented Angelenos looking for Broadway-worthy theater simply must head for La Jolla Playhouse every time the curtain rises on a new production. This historical venue is, after all, the house that brought the world “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the 2012 winner of four Tony Awards. Be sure to make reservations before heading down south as seats for shows like “The Illiad.”

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

11480 Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 453-4420

OK, so you only meant to visit for a little while, but La Jolla is so hard to leave you may just as well stay overnight to pack two days of fun into your foray. When that decision is made, book a spot at The Lodge at Torrey Pines for the best hotel experience in this rarified area sitting on the Pacific. The seaside retreat is decadent enough for even the most jaded traveler, providing a kind of country estate ambience with its arts and crafts architecture and soothing spa. Enjoy every kind of treatment imaginable while using natural coastal products that honor the sea, the land and the air. This spot is also golf central, home to the Farmers Invitation PGA, and a bragging rights course for anyone who carries a big putter across these mighty greens.

La Jolla Brew House

7536 Fay Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 456-6279

Craft beers served on the deck of this colorful hangout are so varied everyone will find something to suit his or her taste. From Dogfish Head Aprihop to Stone Russian Imperial Stout, from Mendocino Black Eye to Lost Abbey Lost and Found, the go-to tap beers await your whims. Meanwhile, others are on the way all the time, as are bites to eat. Be adventurous and ask for a local brew for a true taste of La Jolla.

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on

Watch & Listen LIVE