La Jolla’s Village (a.k.a. Downtown) is a great vacation spot, perfect for families and history buffs. Originally called mat kulaaxuuy or “land of holes” by the Kumeyaay tribe, the name La Jolla comes from what some people believe is an iteration of the Spanish word for “the jewell.” Today, La Jolla is considered to be one of San Diego’s best neighborhoods for food, culture, and of course amazing beaches. A coastal town, La Jolla is known for its architecture which was heavily influenced by Spanish architecture such as the Episopal Church St. James By The Sea as well as the Casa de Manana Retirement Community which originally was a hotel built in 1924 and the first hotel in La Jolla. Also the La Jolla’s Women’s Club was another building built by Irving Gill in 1915 which is now on the National Register of Historic Places
One of the most fun things to do while walking in La Jolla’s neighborhood is the date and name that is imprinted on the concrete sidewalks. One name you will frequently see if Paul Landis, a Swiss immigrant who appears to be one of La Jolla’s first contractors to pour concrete on the sidewalk. Walking around the neighborhood you will see a lot of those iconic stamps in the concrete which makes it a fun experience especially for children whose minds will always wander with excitement as they turn a simple walk into a treasure hunt game. Look on Eads avenue for those Paul Landis stamps, and if you’re interested, you can learn more about them in the La Jolla Light.
Located on La Jolla’s rocky shore you can find a sub section called Children’s Pool Beach. The original design, built by Ellen Browning Scripps, was made so that the children could play safely and not get swept away from any large waves. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that people were not allowed on the beach anymore because too many seals were using the area to give birth to pups, as well an area to congregate in. Even though peopel are allowed now (after a few lawsuits) it is still not advisable to go there due to the large quantity of seal feces making the water prone to harmful bacteria.
Up the hill from the Children’s Pool is the Wisteria Cottage Museum, home to the La Jolla Historical Society. This is a must stop for those interested in local history and is a place where you can learn about La Jolla’s start as a sleepy beach town with cottages (no running water or electricity) to one of the country’s premier vacation spots. Around the corner from the Wisteria Cottage Museum you can find the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego (which is currently closed for renovation). Near to there is the La Jolla Recreational Center which was built in 1915 and solely designed to be a playground for children. Today there are tennis courts, a gym and a grass area you can run around on, two playgrounds, racquetball courts, and many La Jolla locals watching their children play.
During your walk you can swing by Lean and Green a local organic restaurant that serves smoothies, salads, wraps as well as a variety of other tasty food items. Lean and Green is the only real organic place in La Jolla, making it an institution.
You can finish your walk at Boomers Beach as well as take some classic sunset photos in La Jolla Cove. All in all, La Jolla is an amazing place to visit, with a rich history that can be enjoyed by all of your family members.