Holiday in La Jolla

Just north of San Diego, you'll find a graceful village, groundbreaking art, wild expanses of Torrey pines, and romance galore

La Jolla Cove

A warm day draws beachgoers to fabled La Jolla Cove. The shoreline here along the village waterfront is notable for its lineup of ritzy homes and condos ― and for the scalloped rocky shore. Wider beaches are just to the north at La Jolla Shores.

Photo by Gina Sabatella

La Valencia Hotel

A Southern California classic the 1926 La Valencia Hotel is one of the village's most beloved landmarks.

Gina Sabatella

Potiker Theatre

Dating back to 1947, the La Jolla Playhouse includes the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, which opened last year.

La Jolla is a graceful, vintage vision of Southern California. It's a place where folks converge at a palm-lined waterfront park each evening ― no doubt to see the sunset but also to see who is out and about, taking part in a longtime La Jolla ritual.

And fall's a great time to take that stroll. Crowds are down, the theater season at the beloved La Jolla Playhouse is in full swing, and there are still plenty of days that carry the last hints of summer's warmth. More:  Explore La Jolla

GETTING THERE

La Jolla is about 10 miles north of downtown San Diego. For information, stop in at the La Jolla Visitor Center (7966 Herschel Ave.; 619/236-1212), or contact the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/848-3336).

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Parisi. Boutique hotel with European flair and great village location. From $245; www.hotelparisi.com or 858/454-1511.

La Valencia Hotel. A pink-hued classic in the heart of La Jolla. From $275; www.lavalencia.com or 800/451-0772.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Even if you don't stay here, it's a destination. Have a meal at A.R. Valentien and admire the architecture. From $375; www.lodgetorreypines.com or 888/826-0224.

Scripps Inn. Luxurious B&B-style boutique hotel just across from the shore. From $165; www.scrippsinn.com or 858/454-3391.

WHERE TO EAT

The Coffee Cup Cafe. Retro decor and a modern take on comfort foods. $; breakfast and lunch only; 1109 Wall St.; 858/454-2819.

Jack's La Jolla. It's actually three restaurants and four bars under one roof, ranging from the formal Dining Room at Jack's ($$$$) to the breezy Jack's Ocean Room ($$$). 7863 Girard Ave.; 858/456-8111.

Ocean Terrace Bistro. Casual, stylish, and with tremendous views ― a sister spot to more formal George's at the Cove downstairs. $$; 1250 Prospect St.; 858/454-4244.

The Whaling Bar and Grill. Clubby and still a favorite La Jolla watering hole. $$$$; in La Valencia Hotel; 858/551-3761.

WHAT TO DO

Gallery hop. Our favorites ranged from modern sculpture at the Tasende Gallery (closed Sun-Mon; 820 Prospect; 858/454-3691) to historic rock 'n' roll photography at the Morrison Hotel Gallery (1230 Prospect; 858/551-0835).

La Jolla Playhouse. A leading regional theater and the launching pad for this year's Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys. On the UCSD campus; www.lajollaplayhouse.com or 858/550-1010.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. A must-see. Closed Wed; $6; 700 Prospect; www.mcasd.org or 858/454-3541.

Torrey Pines State Reserve. Its namesake trees can best be seen on the Parry Grove and Guy Fleming trails. The Broken Hill Trail leads to an impressive overlook. $6 per vehicle Mon-Fri, $8 Sat-Sun; www.torreypines.org or 858/755-2063.

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