San Diego's Jewel
There are a number of caves along the ocean in La Jolla and some people believe the community's name has its origins in the Spanish spelling of an Indian word for "cave." Others insist it is a variation of the Spanish word "la joya," which means "the jewel." It's not easy to argue against the latter claim, because La Jolla really is a jewel. With seven miles of beaches, a spectacularly sculptured coastline, virtual palaces perched for whitewater views, sidewalk cafes, art galleries, exclusive and trend-setting boutiques, La Jolla is a perennial favorite in the travel sections of Web sites and newspapers all over the world. Like the San Diego Zoo and Sea World, La Jolla, which lies about 12.6 miles north of downtown San Diego, is always on the "must-see" lists of tourists.
La Jolla is not incorporated - it is a part of the city of San Diego. The community's northern boundary is below Torrey Pines State Park and the southern part of the community encompasses the Bird Rock area and ends at Turquoise Street where Pacific Beach begins. With a population of 42,468, population growth has been relatively slow over the last decade or so compared to other parts of San Diego County. There is simply very little room left for new growth.
Beaches and Recreation
La Jolla Shores is one of the most beautiful - and popular - beaches in Southern California. Just north, Scripps is for beach lovers who want a little less of a crowd. Black's Beach, north of Scripps, is an internationally known nude beach. Snorkerlers and scuba divers love both La Jolla Cove and Underwater Park (the latter an ecological preserve). Windansea Beach is one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. Tom Wolfe's The Pump House Gang is about a group of surfers who hung out at that beach.
Kary Mullis, a Nobel-prize-winning chemist, was living and surfing in La Jolla when he invented PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a vital process of genetic engineering important in researching cures for cancer and other diseases. Another world-renowned La Jollan was Jonas Salk, who invented one of the polio vaccines and established the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Other famous La Jollans include novelist Anne Rice and the late authors Theodore Geisel ("Dr. Seuss") and Raymond Chandler.
La Jolla boasts one of the top municipal golf courses in the U.S. - the Torrey Pines Golf Course. It hosts the PGA Tour Buick International each winter. The course at La Jolla Country Club is also top rated in the U.S.
Shopping and Dining
As cosmopolitan as they are, Girard and Prospect streets are considered the heart of what's called the "Village." They join Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive as some of the toniest shopping streets west of the Rockies. Here you'll find numerous boutiques, art galleries, sidewalk cafes, world-class restaurants, and delightful independent bookstores. Among other shops not to be missed is Warwick's, an institution since 1896 that sells books, art supplies, and gifts. Among other famous authors, the Girard Avenue store has hosted book signings for Frances Mayes, Sue Grafton, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Carl Hiaasen. La Jolla has a Farmers Market every Sunday morning in the 7300 bock of Girard.
Arts and Culture
Besides it multiple distinguished art galleries, La Jolla is home to the stunning Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Events honoring the arts are also plentiful, including the annual Art Festival in the Village of La Jolla, for which two streets each September are devoted to the outdoor display of artworks.
In recent years, the La Jolla Playhouse theater has
become internationally known thanks to its commitment
to producing new plays...plays that often end up on
Broadway. Founded in 1947 by Hollywood stars Mel Ferrer
and the late Dorothy McGuire and Gregory Peck. The latter
was born in La Jolla and among many other honors won
the Oscar for Best Actor for his work in "To Kill A
Mockingbird." Another La Jolla-born actor and long-time
resident of the community: Cliff Robertson, who, for
"Charly," also won a Best Actor Oscar.
La Jolla music lovers have their special places, too. The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library has a vast collection of music and art books and media and offers a gallery, art classes, and lectures and discussions. The venue also plays host to concerts of varying musical genres, such as jazz and chamber music. Especially popular are the weekly weekday Mini-Concerts-At-Noon. Bring your lunch and enjoy a break from the workday.
The La Jolla Chamber Music Society presents concerts at various auditoriums and symphony halls throughout San Diego County, including Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on Prospect Street and Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD.
Science and Tech
La Jolla has world-famous status as a scientific community. It's the home of the University of California at San Diego, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Stephen Birch Aquarium, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies., as well as a number of thriving bio-tech companies. The presence of these institutions and companies is one of the major reasons La Jolla has such a highly educated populace; some 67 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher. Many scientists and professors have only a five or 10-minute commute to work.
La Jolla House Prices
The median price for a single-family home in La Jolla is $1,500,000; The median price for a single-family luxury home is $2,300,000. Please note that our "Home Price Points" are based on the luxury market.