Ah, La Jolla. This little seaside village (pronounced La Hoya) is built on the cliffs of the San Diego coastline and has been hosting jet-setters, celebrities, and regular folk since its beach-town beginnings in the 1890s.
It’s all here—upscale shopping, historic buildings, art galleries, fine dining, fabulous beaches, outdoor recreation and consistently perfect weather. So why not enjoy a getaway in a place that does it all so well?
Morning Start your first day with a hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Adjacent to the famed Torrey Pines golf course property, this 2,000-acre reserve is criss-crossed with trails and is home to the rare Torrey Pine tree. Stand atop the bluff and take in the breathtaking view out over the red cliffs to the ocean.
Afternoon Stop in at the grand, Craftsman-style Lodge at Torrey Pines and enjoy lunch at the award-winning A.R. Valentien restaurant, overlooking the golf course. Try the sumptuous Roman-style duck breast—you’ve earned it. Afterward, cruise through the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Check out the huge tanks of marine life—one is based on the marine life in the La Jolla area, where you feel as though you’re under the pier in a kelp forest.
Evening Get a little dressed up and head for La Valencia Hotel, the elegant “Pink Lady” built into the cliffs. Settle into the Mediterranean-themed ambiance of The Med, order a glass of something cold and crisp, and gaze out at the Pacific. Now, shall it be the pumpkin lobster soup or the spice-rubbed Skuna Bay salmon?
Photo courtesy: Annie Pearson at SanDiego.org
Morning Head to the beach early for some sea kayaking with Everyday California tours. Once you make it through the surf, it’s smooth sailing; you’re in the La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve, so keep an eye out for sea lions, seals and bright-orange garibaldi fish. Afterward, indulge in a hot stone massage at the luxurious Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.
Afternoon Enjoy a late lunch on the glass-walled Ocean Terrace of George’s at the Cove. Order the grilled fresh fish tacos with jalapeno-lime mayonnaise, then admire the oversized mural on the wall of the adjacent building—it’s part of a local art project called The Murals of La Jolla. After lunch, take a stroll through the shops and galleries that make La Jolla a browser’s paradise, whether you want souvenirs, a new outfit or a piece of artwork. Check out the La Jolla Art and Design District, based along Girard Avenue.
Evening Step out for a dinner at NINE-TEN, a bistro featuring seasonal California cuisine from San Diego’s 2014 Chef of the Year, Jason Knibb. Then head to the La Jolla Playhouse, a tiny theatre renowned for mounting Tony Award-winning Broadway shows—The Who’s Tommy, Jersey Boys and Memphis all started here.
The Marine Room
Morning Start the day with a relaxed breakfast at the charming cottage-turned-restaurant Brockton Villa, a local favourite famous for its fluffy, delicate “Coast Toast.” Now, let’s assume you’re clad in sensible footwear. Head to the Cave Store on Coast Boulevard. Make your way down a long tunnel of stairs to a platform inside Sunny Jim Sea Cave—the only land-accessible sea cave on the California coast.
Afternoon By this point you will certainly have heard that Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, lived in La Jolla. You may have seen the locally renowned “Lorax Tree” (a Monterey Cypress) in Scripps Park. For more on Geisel’s legacy, head to Legends Gallery on Prospect Street, which features the eye-opening exhibit The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. After that, there’s just enough time to check out the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD).
Evening It’s your last night. Time for a very special dinner out at The Marine Room, a 70-year-old, iconic restaurant built right on the beach, where you can watch the tide come in—sometimes right up to your window. Dine on the award-winning cuisine of executive chef Bernard Guillas, and be sure to try the trilogy of lobster, tuna and scallops.
Finally, if you’ve brought a sweater and the tide is right, step outside for a stroll along the beach. Why not? It’s the perfect end to your perfect escape.
Getting There: WestJet flies to San Diego five times a week from Calgary.