A seaside community within San Diego that began as an artists’ colony, La Jolla has managed to strike the perfect balance between luxury and bohemian. Its hilly terrain offers unprecedented views of the Pacific, and the restaurants and hotels take full advantage of the views. This summer, a luxury multiplex’s programming is in full swing, French and Italian restaurants add to the California-fresh dining scene, three hotels put their best foot forward, and more.
Where To Stay
La Valencia Hotel
The bright pink La Jolla landmark turns 90 this year, and is marking the occasion with decades-themed fetes featuring era-inspired menus and cocktails through December (July celebrates the ’70s, August the ’60s, and so on through the 1920s). Book the one-year-old Sky Suite for fresh flowers, a private balcony, large bathtub, a California King bed, and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla Cove. 1132 Prospect St.; 858-454-0771; lavalencia.com.
The Grande Colonial La Jolla
The Grand Colonial’s original architectural details—Georgian arches, semi-circle domes, cast plaster crown moldings, hand-stenciled ceilings—are intact, but a $250,000 renovation earlier this year gave this canary yellow, century-old property’s 93 rooms and suites a refresh (new carpets, bedding, and smartphone-friendly gadgets). Their tech updates extend to the parking lot, too: Guests of the hotel or their award-winning NINE-TEN Restaurant now have access to three new complimentary electric vehicle charging stations, including Tesla High Power Wall Connectors. 910 Prospect St.; 888-828-5498; thegrandecolonial.com.
Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa
A hacienda-style resort tucked away in a sylvan area between La Jolla and Del Mar, Estancia La Jolla is a summer escape-within-an-escape. A new spa menu, introducing treatments using all-natural skincare brand ESPA, solidifies this point with spirulina body wraps and magnesium massages in their 7000-square-foot sanctuary, located in a 10-acre garden. 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd.; 855-318-7602; meritagecollection.com.
Where To Eat
Authentic Tuscan food makes its way to the Coast Walk on Prospect Street, across La Jolla Cove, this year with Acquavite. Italy-born Executive Chef Filippo Piccini serves up homemade pastas and patio-friendly appetizers like melon wrapped in prosciutto in the remodeled space, which used to be 20-year-old restaurant Trattoria Acqua before it shuttered in 2011, offers pristine ocean views. 1298 Prospect St., #3; 858-886-7142; acquavitelajolla.com.
A no-shirt, no-shoes, no-problem joint that serves elevated beach food (mahi mahi ceviche, blue cheese fries) and an impressive list of wines and craft beers (try the Thorn St. Coconut Porter), Shore Rider is an ideal lunch spot, located a short walk from the beach. 2168 Ave. De La Playa; 858-412-5308; shoreridersd.com.
Le Petit Bistro
A new French restaurant came to La Jolla in May, serving bistro fare in a 1,677-square-foot space with an ocean-facing terrace. Expect buckwheat crepes and four variations on croque monsieur for breakfast and lunch, and sea scallops with dill butter and chicken flambéed in Calvados for dinner. 7863 Girard Ave., Fl. 3; 858-877-9462; lepetitbistrotlajolla.com.
Georges at the Cove
Chef Trey Foshee's three-story, three-decade-old dining complex underwent a major revamping this year, after which the second floor reopened as a craft cocktail bar (Level 2) with casual lunch and dinner options. The rooftop restaurant Ocean Terrace has more seating now, but the best dining option is the first-floor California Modern restaurant, where Foshee’s eight-course tasting menu excels at delivering creative, farm-and-ocean-fresh cuisine. 1250 Prospect St.; 858-454-4244; georgesatthecove.com.
What To Do
La Jolla Playhouse
The nationally renown La Jolla Playhouse runs Pulitzer-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s Wall Street–inspired drama Junk: The Golden Age of Debt from July 26–August 21. The highly anticipated production explores the history behind the financial excesses. 2910 La Jolla Village Dr.; 858-550-101; lajollaplayhouse.org.
Boffo Cinemas opened The Lot late last year, a multiplex with six movie screens showing a mix of art house flicks and blockbuster movies, a glass-enclosed restaurant, and an alfresco events space. The La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival takes place there on July 28, showcasing a new crop of films about the world of fashion, on and off the runway. 7611 Fay Ave.; 858-777-0069; thelotent.com.
Monte Carlo: Bollywood
This year, on September 10, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is throwing a Bollywood-themed gala with Indian-inspired cocktails, a feast under the stars, and a rollicking after-party at their La Jolla location. This 39th annual Monte Carlo Benefit helps to support the museum’s efforts to host events like free Thursdays, summer camps for kids, and other community-based initiatives. 700 Prospect St.; 858-454-3541; mcasd.org.