La Jolla

A coastal city in San Diego County and is surrounded on three sides by ocean bluffs and beaches located between Del Mar and Pacific Beach.

Welcome to La Jolla

San Diego’s Jewel

La Jolla’s history dates back to the mid-1800s. It was nicknamed “The Jewel” for its spectacular coastal views, cotton candy sunsets, palm trees, deep blue ocean, marine wildlife, charming community, award-winning schools and research centers, and upscale village by the sea. La Jolla is a coastal city in San Diego County and is surrounded on three sides by ocean bluffs and beaches located between Del Mar and Pacific Beach. The climate is mild, with an average daily temperature of 70.5 °F. La Jolla’s topography and geology range from sandy beaches, rocky shorelines to narrow roads covered by large pine trees that line the canyon of Mount Soledad.

Real Estate

There are approximately 47,681 residents that makeup La Jolla’s community, according to the 2010 census, and 16 different neighborhoods. It is one of the most sought-after places to live, not just in San Diego, but around the world. It is one of the most expensive and prestigious areas of town, where you can find some of the most stunning homes in San Diego. Custom-built mansions, picture-perfect beach houses, gated multi-million dollar estates are what come to mind when one thinks of La Jolla’s lifestyle. The median list price for La Jolla, as of April 2019 is $3,122,500.


La Jolla’s income per capita is 161% higher than the national average. The median household income is 125% higher than the national average. The unemployment rate is 47% lower than the national average. According to United States Census Bureau La Jolla’s ethnic/racial makeup is 82.5% White, 0.8% Black, 0.2% American Indian, 11.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.0% other, and 3.1% two or more races. Latinos, who may be of any race, form 7.2% of La Jolla’s population. Whether you came here to study, live beyond the “American dream”, or vacation on the beach, you will surely understand how “The Jewel” got its name! Below is a timeline of The Jewel’s history and development from La Jolla’s Historical Society.

Historical Timeline

  • 1850: Lands of La Jolla incorporated as part of the City of San Diego.
  • 1887: Frank T. Botsford, later deemed “The Father of La Jolla” came to La Jolla and declared it “magnificent”. Two months later he bought over 400 acres of pueblo lands already known as “La Jolla Park”. 
               George Heald and Charles Dearborn subdivided and auctioned $62,000 worth of lots planned for homes on April 30th, which would make up the La Jolla Park subdivision; considered as La Jolla’s founding year.
  • 1893: Opening of La Jolla Park Hotel.

  • 1894: La Jolla’s railroad extended to San Diego; La Jolla’s Post Office is established. Reading Room opened. Anna Held arrives and creates Green Dragon Colony.

  • 1895: La Jolla’s first village improvement Society is organized.

  • 1896: Ellen Browning Scripps buys two lots on the ocean side of Prospect Street and builds her first home.

  • 1897: La Jolla’s Library Association formed.

  • 1899: Barber Tract development begins (first known as Neptunia); first telephone lines installed.

  • 1900: La Jolla’s number of residents reaches 350.

  • 1904: Wisteria Cottage built.

  • 1905: Marine Biological Association organized, later Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

  • 1906: The ground was broken for a new bathhouse at the Cove; La Jolla’s first newspaper is published.

  • 1907-09: Architect Irving Gill designs a re-model of Wisteria Cottage for Virginia Scripps.

  • 1910: The Bishop’s School, with buildings designed by Irving Gill, is built; Gill also designs and builds the first Scripps Institution of Oceanography building.
  • 1912: Opening of Colonial Inn.

  • 1914: La Jolla Woman’s Club is built.

  • 1915: Arsonist sets fire to several of La Jolla’s buildings, including Ellen Browning Scripps’ house; work begins on a new home designed by architect Irving Gill; La Jolla Community House and Playground, now La Jolla Recreation Center, also designed by Irving Gill, opens.

  • 1918: Scripps Memorial Hospital opens (first known as the Sanitarium); paving of streets begins.
       By the end of World War I, the population has grown to 4,000 residents and within the last 20 years, tourism has taken the fight and become La Jolla’s economic base.
  • 1924: Electric railroad begins operations; Casa de Manana opens as resort hotel; street lights introduced. The “beach cottage” look is out and elegant Spanish Style homes are in.
  • 1926: La Valencia Hotel opens; The Balmer School started at La Jolla Country Club; Muirlands development begins.
  • 1927: La Jolla Beach and Yacht Club formed (now La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club) was established.
  • 1931: Children’s Pool sea wall built.
  • 1932: Ellen Browning Scripps dies (August 3).
  • 1940: Art Center organized in the former home of Ellen Browning Scripps.
  • 1941: Camp Callan was established at Torrey Pines Gliderport at start of World War II.
  • 1942: Wisteria Cottage becomes The Balmer School, later La Jolla Country Day School (until 1961).
  • 1944: First stop signs erected at Girard and Torrey Pines Road.
  • 1947: La Jolla Playhouse was founded by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, and Mel Ferrer.
  • 1948: The Cove movie theater opens.
  • 1956: White Sands begins operations as a retirement home.
  • 1960: University of California San Diego campus was established in La Jolla; La Jolla’s School of Arts and Crafts was formed.
  • 1963-64: La Jolla’s Historical Society founded.
  • 1964: The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an independent, non-profit, scientific research institute is built, designed by Louis Kahn.
  • 1967: La Jolla’s Community Plan adopted by the San Diego City Council.
  • 1974: University Towne Center shopping mall opens.
  • 1976: Scripps Clinic moves to Torrey Pines Mesa.
  • 1980: Larger business buildings replaced the 1920’s era style and home-owned businesses became less common.
  • 1983: BLOB (“Ban Large Office Buildings”) is organized to oppose large structures in the built environment.
  • 1987: Marks La Jolla’s celebrated centennial.
  • 1996: Architect Robert Venturi designs an update to the former home of Ellen Browning Scripps, originally designed in 1916 by architect Irving Gill, as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

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