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Parking in La Jolla

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Parking in La Jolla

I will be driving to La Jolla. I want to visit the beaches to see the seals and sealions and probably explore downtown while we are there. Possibly get lunch. What is parking like in these two areas? Is there a central location to park and walk to both locations? Also is there a main street or block where shopping and restaurants are? We will be coming from Cabrillo. Is there a scenic drive? It looks like Mapquest has me getting on the interstate.

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La Jolla
La Jolla
San Diego, CA
Goldfield, Nevada
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1. Re: Parking in La Jolla

Parking is free along Coast Boulevard, although there is a 2-hour time limit in most places (I think I have seen 3-hour signs at some spots but I'm not sure). So you can park for up to 2 hours, but you will have to move to another spot if you want to stay longer. Unfortunately parking is hard to find, La Jolla Cove is very popular and crowded, all year long now. Your chances of finding an empty space anywhere along Coast Boulevard from La Jolla Cove down to the Children's Pool area are slim. On a weekday, or early in the morning, the chances are better, but in the summer, every single space may be occupied.

The further south you go on Coast Boulevard, the easier it gets to find parking. When you get to the 300, 400, 500 blocks of Coast Boulevard, parking gets much easier to find. And I enjoy that area just as much, if not more, than La Jolla Cove. At times of low tide there are tide pools to explore, and the beach just north of and below the "Wedding Bowl" grass area is one of the most scenic beaches in San Diego, in my opinion. That whole area is less crowded than La Jolla Cove, though it's still popular. I believe it's called "Coast Boulevard Park" and is around the area where Cuvier Street meets Coast Boulevard. If you park there, you can just walk up the coast to La Jolla Cove and back, maybe a 1-mile walk round trip, with views of the ocean the whole way. However the 2-hour time limit still applies if you park there. East of La Jolla Cove, you can walk to Goldfish Point and Coast Walk, a trail along the clifftops with views of La Jolla Bay.

Another possibility is to park in one of the hotel garages in the area. I have seen signs for $10 for all-day parking, but I don't know if that was temporary or that is the normal rate that is charged every day. One of the main streets for shopping and eating is Prospect Street, which is uphill from the La Jolla Cove area. I believe they have metered parking along that, or you could park in one of the hotel garages around there. There are other places, the whole "village" area of La Jolla has shops and restaurants, but Prospect is one of the most popular. As far as a "central location" to park, anywhere that you were able to find around La Jolla Cove would be suitable, or in one of the nearby hotel garages would be central.

The seals and sea lions are usually seen at 2 locations. One is at the Children's Pool, but the ones there are usually just lying on the beach asleep. The other location is La Jolla Cove, on the rocks at both ends of the cove. The sea lions on the rocks are sunning themselves and sleeping, but there is usually one or two barking and they may move around and interact with each other a bit. There are usually a few that are swimming around in the water near the rocks. I took a video a few days ago and you can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMuhf-KnA_Y

I think getting from Cabrillo to La Jolla would be easiest if you just followed the Mapquest directions, which probably say Catalina Blvd. north to Nimitz north to Interstate 8 east to Interstate 5 north to La Jolla Parkway, then you just stay on that as it merges with Torrey Pines Road, then turn right at Prospect, then turn right at Cave street. Another possible way to get from Cabrillo to La Jolla would be to drive through the Mission Bay area and Pacific Beach, then north on La Jolla Boulevard, and that would give you a look at Mission Bay. It would be shorter in distance, but possibly longer in time, because there would be more stoplights you would have to wait at.

If the air is clear and it is a sunny day, you might want to drive up to Soledad Mountain Park in La Jolla, for sweeping views of most of San Diego, and if it' really clear, mountains to the north, east and south, as well as views of the shoreline. If it's a very cloudy or overcast day it may not be worth going up there.

Another beach worth visiting is Windansea Beach, which is at the foot of Nautilus Street, off La Jolla Boulevard. It is a famous beach for surfers. There are only about 10 parking spaces so you may have to park in the neighborhood adjacent to it and walk a block or two. Here is video of that beach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LjNLWV2F-g The Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography is another possible thing to do. You may also want to stop by Torrey Pines Glider Port for the views (free) and Torrey Pines State Reserve for the views and the rare Torrey Pines trees (day use fee is $6 last I checked).

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2. Re: Parking in La Jolla

Maybe it's my X-Nyrker parking karma, but I always find free street parking along the oceanfront. I don't remember when you'll be there? I mean what month?? During the week is always easier then on weekends. I almost always bring folks for a meal and walking to view the seals/pelicans etc.

We don't usually shop so I guess you might have to move the car to shop.

Brockton Villa, which has good views, takes reservations for lunch /brunch.

There are other restaurants but some are much pricier!!

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Brockton Villa Restaurant
Brockton Villa Restaurant
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Nashville
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3. Re: Parking in La Jolla

Thanks for all of the great information! I am so glad I have found these forums. Everyone has really helped me to plan what I think is going to be a fabulous trip. We are actually going to be there next week! Our time in La Jolla will be during the week so maybe parking won't be too much of an issue. bw92116, your videos are beautiful! Seeing them makes me so glad we decided to rent a car and visit La Jolla. It sounds like the downtown La Jolla area isn't that large. Is that correct?

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La Jolla
La Jolla
San Diego, CA
Goldfield, Nevada
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4. Re: Parking in La Jolla

The "village" as they call it rather than "downtown" is basically the commercial area defined generally by Prospect Street on the north and west, Marine Street on the southwest, Pearl Street on the south and Torrey Pines Road on the east. It may extend further than those in some spots but that's basically the heart of commercial La Jolla. No, it's not a very large area compared to a big city. And it's primarily flat, until you get close to the ocean, then streets go downhill. It's pretty walkable, but you couldn't see it all in one day. There is an official "Scenic Drive" of San Diego that includes parts of La Jolla; more information on that is at www.sandiego.org/article_set/Visitors/11/338

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The Pearl Hotel
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5. Re: Parking in La Jolla

You will have no problem finding parking next week. Like riffsmom, I always find a spot somewhere. The busiest sections are 1-hour parking, but most of the other areas that bw92116 mentioned are 2-hours. bw92116, if I'm not mistaken, the 3-hour spots are right at the Cove above where the pelicans roost, but they may have changed that.

A warning about that parking: the meter maids (don't know the official term) are VERY efficient, and will write a ticket as soon as you overstay your time. They seem to have a sixth sense ; )

Another thing about parking: make sure you curb your tires, especially on any hill. I've spoken to several people who got tickets recently in La Jolla for not doing so.

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La Jolla
La Jolla
San Diego, CA
6. Re: Parking in La Jolla

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