San Diego Community Guide: La Jolla

La Jolla

TripSavvy / Sharyn Umaña-Angers

La Jolla is home to one of the most stunning pieces of coastline in all of California. That scenery along with some of the best restaurants in the country, beautiful homes, and excellent schools make living in La Jolla a sought-after lifestyle in San Diego –- if you can afford it.

La Jolla Cove
Adapted from Ernie Tyler/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Main Neighborhoods

La Jolla is the northernmost beach community in San Diego as well as one of the largest and is divided into three main parts: La Jolla Cove, Bird Rock, and UTC.

  • La Jolla Cove: The La Jolla Cove is the gem of La Jolla. The shoreline curves gently with steep cliffs to the north and a sloping shore to the south which spills into large flat rocks that can be walked over. Next to the cliffs is a long walking trail that is adjacent to a grassy park. A short walk up the hill from the Cove takes you into downtown La Jolla. Just north of the Cove is the popular sandy beach of La Jolla Shores.
  • Bird Rock: Located in southern La Jolla, north of Pacific Beach, Bird Rock has a more eclectic, laidback feel to it compared to La Jolla Cove while still keeping an upscale vibe. Independent shops and restaurants line the main street of La Jolla Boulevard, located just a quick jaunt from the shoreline, which also happens to be home to one of San Diego's best beaches: The ruggedly beautiful Windansea Beach.
  • UTC: The eastern portion of La Jolla is referred to as UTC (University Towne Center). It’s more affordable for housing than La Jolla Cove and Bird Rock and has some student housing for the nearby University of California, San Diego. It’s also home to office buildings and a Westfield Mall.
Surf's Up
Moment Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

Recreational Activities

La Jolla has many water activities you can do, from scuba diving in La Jolla Cove to standup paddleboarding off of Windansea Beach to kayaking out of La Jolla Shores beach. Snorkeling and swimming in the Cove is a daily activity for some residents who don their swim caps and swim right alongside the seals who reside in the cove.

Good Eats

La Jolla has many gourmet restaurants. George’s at the Cove is a La Jolla institution with fine dining and a terrace that overlooks the ocean. The Marine Room is an exceptional dining experience at high tide when the waves crash against the windows of the restaurant. For those looking for a more chill place to dine, Beaumont’s in Bird Rock offers comfort food cuisine and live music. 

Street through La Jolla
TripSavvy / Ana Alarcon

Apartments and Housing Options

La Jolla has a variety of housing options and they vary wildly in price between UTC and the beach neighborhoods. You can rent or buy many different types of properties ranging from condos or apartments to single-family houses.

The median home sales price in La Jolla currently hovers around $1,600,000; however, certain neighborhoods in Bird Rock and near the Cove will set you back millions upon millions. Rentals vary greatly in price depending on proximity to the ocean, housing type and the number of bedrooms. Generally, plan to pay at least $1,100 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in UTC and expect it to go up to the $2,000s and $3,000s per month depending on how close you get to the water. The more bedrooms, the higher the rent goes, which is why many renters in La Jolla –- particularly in UTC –- live with roommates. Houses are sometimes available for rent and can run substantially more than their apartment or condo counterparts in terms of square footage, number of bedrooms and price.

School Districts

La Jolla is part of the San Diego school district and has award-winning schools. La Jolla High School has been listed as one of the top high schools in the nation by both Newsweek and US News. La Jolla also has three public elementary schools and one public middle school that residents can attend. In addition, parents have a wide range of private schools located in La Jolla that they can send their children to.

Between the ritzy vibe and the nearby surf and sunshine, La Jolla is an excellent San Diego neighborhood to live in. It has activities and a pace of life that makes living in La Jolla enjoyable for nearly everyone, whether young and single, retired, or families with children, as it has something for most everyone to enjoy. 

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