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Synopsis

An Insider's Travel and Visitor Guide to San Diego's La Jolla Neighborhood 

  • Things to do
  • Places to go
  • Famous residents
  • 30 original stories about the life, people and neighborhood of San Diego's La Jolla

Stand at the Torrey Pines Glider Point and face south. If you squint, the San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla looks like a quaint Mediterranean fishing village. Houses, engulfed by dark green shrubbery bleacher down from the top of Mt. Soledad to the deep blue water of a little bay.

L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books, was so enamored of the town he has Trot, a child heroine of three books, inhabit a small cottage just above sea caves like those at La Jolla’s Crocodile Point.

The novelist Raymond Chandler, who lived on Caminito de la Costa in the Fifties, disagreed. La Jolla, he said, “is a place where old people go, and they bring their parents.”

For decades, La Jolla was largely unknown, and preferred it that way. It became a hideaway/playground for the rich and famous. Strollers down Shores Beach included various presidents, J. Edgar Hoover, movie stars, and artists. Andy Warhol spent his summers in a u-shaped house at the northeast end of the Beach & Tennis Club.

Even the name contains a sense of mystery. In Spanish, “Joya” is either “jewel” or “a hollow surrounded by hills.” “Jolla” is – who knows? Some say a corrupted Spanish or Native American word. Others, a typo that somehow became official. In the early 1900s, residents solved the problem by nicknaming their town El Nito – “the nest,” writes John Nolen, because it appeared to hang “like the sea gull’s nest between the sea and the sky.”

The original developers, New Yorkers Frank T. Botsford and George W. Heald, named streets after their hometown: Wall Street, Exchange Place, Park Place. More recent names come from scientists and engineers: (anatomist Baron George) Cuvier Street, (chemist John William) Draper Avenue, (zoologist Charles Frederick) Girard Avenue, (astronomer Sir William) Herschel Avenue.

These names are apt. Since the arrival of the University of California, San Diego in 1965, La Jolla has boasted more Nobel Prize winners, per capita, than any other American city. They have brought national attention to the community, as have the world famous Scripps Institute of Oceanography, several research institutions, Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2008, and the La Jolla Playhouse, which sends on average at least one show to Broadway every year.

Read about La Jollans from Mitt Romney to Andrew Cunanan to Raymond Chandler, most important annual events, landmarks, and institutions that make La Jolla what it is. Plus over 30 original nonfiction stories, the best hikes or walks, outrageous real estate offerings, and cartoons of its famous residents.

Ideal for Visitors and Locals Alike

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