Shopping in Downtown La Jolla

With luxury boutiques, delicious restaurants, and gorgeous ocean views, downtown La Jolla is a little slice of paradise that offers something for everyone.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Shopping in Downtown La Jolla
Shopping with Luxury
What to Expect
Save on Gear
Restaurants
Family Fun
How to Get There
Know Before You Go
Stay Nearby

Highlights

Shopping
Restaurants
Parking
Tips
Shopping
Restaurants
Parking
Tips

Enjoy A Luxurious Day of Shopping in the Village of La Jolla

Peets Coffee Shop in the Village of La JollaPuesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen and in the Village of La Jolla

Located just a short drive north of downtown San Diego, La Jolla is a charming coastal village that feels like paradise. This area offers more than just warm weather and pristine beaches - it’s also home to luxury boutiques, renowned restaurants, and chic art galleries. Downtown La Jolla’s rich culture makes it the perfect place to treat yourself to some high-end shopping!

La Jolla’s downtown area is often referred to as ‘The Village’, and it offers a little something for everyone. Search for the perfect fashion item at the area’s independent boutiques, discover local talent at art galleries, or enjoy a delectable dinner overlooking the water - the choice is yours!

Fountain in Front of Morgan Stanley in the Village of La Jolla
Fountain in Front of Morgan Stanley in the Village of La Jolla

Dreaming of paradise on the beach? Take a trip to La Valencia Hotel steps from La Jolla Cove, and join Todd's tour of the “Pink Lady,” named for its colorful exterior and elegant atmosphere.

Stay at the La Valencia Hotel

What to Expect in Downtown La Jolla

Many Stores next to La Valencia Hotel in the Village of La Jolla
Many Stores next to La Valencia Hotel in the Village of La Jolla

La Jolla a Popular Resort Town

La Jolla is part of San Diego, but it has its own vibe that is completely unique. Dramatic, rugged coastline overlooks stunningly beautiful beaches, like La Jolla Shores, and hidden coves. If you come at the right time, you might even meet La Jolla’s famous seals at The Children's Pool beach.

La Jolla’s weather is consistently stunning. Rainy days are rare and the average high ranges between 60 and 80 degrees all year round. Be sure to bring sunscreen!

La Jolla has been a popular resort town since the late 19th century, and you’ll still see charming architecture from this period as you wander the streets of downtown. Most of La Jolla’s shops are concentrated on Girard Avenue, although you’ll also find some boutiques tucked away on side streets.

The Grand Colonia Hotel in the Village of La Jolla
The Grand Colonia Hotel in the Village of La Jolla

Downtown La Jolla aka The Village

The Village is an upscale area, and you’ll find that the prices of many local shops reflect this. However, those with a good eye will still be able to find a bargain here. The selection is a mix of national chains and independent shops.

At the top of Girard Avenue you’ll find popular national chains like Ralph Lauren, Lululemon, and Lucky Brand. You also won’t want to miss popular independent shops like Warwick’s Books and RICA Boutique.

At the top of Girard, make a right on Prospect Street and you’ll find a selection of high-end jewelers, like CJ Charles, Westime, and H. Moradi. This stretch is also full of chic art galleries like the Martin Lawrence Galleries and Ian Ely Gallery.

Head south on Girard Avenue and you’ll find La Jolla’s trendy design district. This is the perfect place to pick up unique homeware items, kitchen tools, antiques, and more. You can even take cooking classes at the local Sur La Table!

Easy to Get To

If you are coming from downtown San Diego or any of its suburbs, the fastest way to get there is by car. San Diego also has a bus that connects La Jolla to downtown San Diego, Old Town, Pacific Beach, and UC San Diego.

Kayak Ride with Go Pass!
La Jolla - 90-Minute Kayak Rental
La Jolla 90-Minute Kayak Rental
When visiting La Jolla, use your Go Pass and hop on a tandem kayak ride! This 90-minute ride from La Jolla Beach takes you on an adventure to see all the area has to offer. Check out the famous seven caves and sea lions while enjoying the SoCal sun!
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Local Tips
What activities does the Go City San Diego pass include?

There’s a variety of activities included with the Go City San Diego pass such as: The San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Hiking Tours, Whale Watching, Museum Tours, Speed Boat Adventures & more!

For the most popular attractions and water-sport rentals as well as the biggest discounts, consider the All-Inclusive Pass.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Restaurants in Downtown La Jolla

Yummy Burger Lounge in the Village of La Jolla
Yummy Burger Lounge in the Village of La Jolla

La Jolla isn’t only known for its shopping - it’s also a great destination for foodies. The area’s proximity to the coast means there’s plenty of excellent seafood. Herringbone is a popular choice for a high-end dinner, but for a more affordable option, head to El Pescador Fish Market to try some fresh catches.

All along Prospect Street, you’ll find upscale restaurants that offer delicious food with stunning views of the ocean. If you’re looking to celebrate a milestone or just indulge in some true luxury, these dining options are the perfect choice! La Jolla restaurants known for their views include George’s At the Cove, The Med, and Duke’s.

The Popular Joses Mexican Restaurant in the Village of La Jolla
The Popular Joses Mexican Restaurant in the Village of La Jolla

San Diego’s proximity to Mexico means that the entire area is full of excellent Mexican food, and La Jolla is no exception. Puesto is a trendy choice for tacos and margaritas, while The Taco Stand serves as a popular taco shop.

If you prefer Italian food, you’ll also find plenty of options in La Jolla’s Village. Catania and Piazza 1909 have a modern flair, while Cafe Milano and Bistro Pazzo offer a cozier vibe. If you’re craving pizza, try Isola Pizza Bar or Pizza Pronto.

Brunch is a must in La Jolla, and there are so many great places to enjoy a midday meal. Cody’s is a particularly popular choice due to its ocean views, while Bernini’s Bistro is a great choice if you want to head off the beaten path.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’re fueled up with coffee before you head out for a day of shopping. The Living Room has a cute and cozy vibe, while Parakeet Cafe has fun, bright decor that’s totally Insta-ready.

Family Fun in Downtown La Jolla

Kids Love the Candy Store in the Village of La Jolla
Kids Love the Candy Store in the Village of La Jolla

La Jolla’s bright, charming streets and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal place to visit with family. No matter what your family likes to do, there’s so much to enjoy nearby!

No day in La Jolla is complete without a stop on the beach. Take the stairs down to the Children’s Pool Beach, where your little ones will enjoy meeting the neighborhood’s famed seal colony. If your kids are older, you might even try going snorkeling at La Jolla Cove!

If you’re looking for something fun to do indoors, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Prospect Street in La Jolla. Not only does this museum have a rotating selection of modern art exhibits, but it also has incredible ocean views. They even offer free admission for visitors under 25 years old, which makes it an ideal activity to enjoy with your kids.

Local Tips
The Heart of Downtown La Jolla
When visiting downtown La Jolla, aka The Village, don't miss Girard Avenue & Prospect St. Prospect St boasts many different kinds of shops, while Girard is home to trendy, upscale boutiques like Francesca’s.

For the best savings on these activities, consider picking up a Go City San Diego pass in advance, which adds an exclusive additional discount to combine activities, attractions, and gear rentals for activities like snorkeling or paddle boarding. The Go City San Diego all-inclusive pass includes access to over 50 attractions and experiences in greater San Diego, including museums, The San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND – fun in La Jolla and beyond!

Families who are fans of Dr. Seuss will want to check out the Legends Gallery on Prospect Street. The gallery is one of the only places where you can find real Dr. Seuss artwork, including illustrations and sculptures.

Dr. Seuss lived in La Jolla for most of his life, and was very inspired by the area’s natural beauty. If you’re willing to venture further north to the University of California, you’ll find the Geisel Library, which hosts the Dr. Seuss collection and is an architecturally significant building in its own right.

There’s also plenty of family friendly shopping and dining in La Jolla, so you can enjoy everything the area has to offer even if you have kids in tow. Gepetto’s is an incredible local toy store, and Warwick’s has a full selection of kids’ books to peruse.

If your kids are craving a sweet treat on your shopping day, don’t worry - there are plenty of excellent options to choose from. Bobboi Natural Gelato is right on the water and is a great way to cool off on a hot day. For a vintage candy shop experience, head to Balboa Candy, which is known for their incredible saltwater taffy.

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Aerial View at Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas
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Getting to Downtown La Jolla & Finding Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Lot Parking
Lot Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Shopping in La Jolla is Right next to the Ocean
Shopping in La Jolla is Right next to the Ocean

If you’re coming from downtown San Diego, the fastest way to get to downtown La Jolla is by taking Interstate 5 to the La Jolla Parkway exit. Follow the parkway as it turns into Torrey Pines Road, which will take you to Girard Street.

It can be very tricky to find parking on Girard or Prospect Street, so don’t be afraid to look on side streets. Many of the nearby residential neighborhoods will have free parking options. There are also some metered parking spaces, and many local hotels also offer paid garage parking.

If you prefer to take public transit, the MTS 30 bus connects downtown La Jolla with downtown San Diego as well as many other key neighborhoods. There are also many other bus lines that connect to this one. You can purchase fares at trolley stations or using their smartphone app.

San Diego is building a trolley extension to University City which is just next to La Jolla that is set to open in 2021. This will provide a more convenient public transit option for the area. Be sure to check the MTS website for updates.

Public transit in San Diego isn’t always the fastest option. Consider taking a Lyft, Uber, or other rideshare service to get to La Jolla. Fares are relatively low and you won’t have to worry about finding a parking space.

Before You Head Out for a Day of Shopping

Sun Setting Over the Village of La Jolla
Sun Setting Over the Village of La Jolla

La Jolla is a popular tourist destination, and it can get very busy. Here’s what you should know before you go.

Best Time for a Visit

The best time to visit the area is in the spring or fall. “May Grey” and “June Gloom” cause cloudy weather, and July and August can get very expensive.

Consider a Reservation

Restaurants in La Jolla can get crowded, especially on weekends. Consider making a reservation if you’re visiting during a peak time.

What to Wear for the Trip

The Village of La Jolla is situated on cliffs overlooking the ocean. If you’re going to be walking down to the shore, make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear. You may also want to consider bringing a swimsuit and towel if the weather’s nice.

Bring Your Bike

Downtown La Jolla is very bike-friendly. While the surrounding area is very hilly, consider bringing your bike for your day of shopping and exploring.

Respect the Wildlife

When spending time at the beach, be sure to be respectful of the local wildlife and leave things as you found them.

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Stay Nearby

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
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La Valencia Hotel
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La Valencia Hotel
from $325 / night
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Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego - La Jolla
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Embassy Suites by Hilton San Diego - La Jolla
from $152 / night
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