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Summer Fun in La Jolla

R&C Travel Editor Elizabeth Hansen shares all the ways her hometown is enticing her to stay this season

The new Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla has a wide panoramic ocean view
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I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be right now. After a couple of years of laying low and staying safe, it’s full steam ahead for the beloved summer offerings that La Jollans and visitors look forward to all year long. And, lucky for us, our great weather and some of the best events continue well into September.

Case in point: The La Jolla Cove Swim will return on September 11 to the delight of hundreds of participants and the crowd that flocks to the water to cheer for them. Our nation’s oldest rough water swim, this event was first held at The Cove in 1916 and took place almost every year after that until it went into a pandemic pause in 2020. Even then, some enthusiasts participated in a virtual version of the swim that year and raised $15,000 for community events.   

While the La Jolla Cove Swim three-mile race is already sold out, it’s still possible to register for the one-mile course. The event, which draws swimmers from all over the country, is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club with support from Duke’s La Jolla, the La Jolla Light, and Xterra Wetsuits. Monies raised will go to the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego, which provides swim lessons for underserved youth, and will help pay for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s 2023 Concerts by the Sea. thelajollacoveswim.org

The La Jolla Cove Swim is the oldest rough water swim in the country
The La Jolla Cove Swim is the oldest rough water swim in the country

Like the Cove Swim, the Concerts by the Sea were cancelled for two years, but they’re back this year, taking place at the oceanfront Scripps Park. You can catch the last one of the season when The Heroes perform on August 7. These free events are fun for the whole family, especially when multiple generations dance together to classic rock, swing, and oldies — BYO picnic and sunscreen. kiwanisclublajolla.org 

At the other end of the music spectrum, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, featuring renowned chamber music, jazz, and dance performances, is in progress at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center on Fay Avenue through August 26. ljms.org 

The Conrad is the home of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest
The Conrad is the home of La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest

Better than Ever

Even before the pandemic, a major renewal was underway at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, and the reopening in April revealed a wonderful new space for art events in our community. Four years and $105 million later, additions to the original Irving Gill building include floor-to-ceiling glass walls that let in an abundance of natural light and ocean views. Architect Annabelle Selldorf created a more welcoming feel and significantly increased — quadrupled — the exhibition space. The next show,  Alexis Smith: The American Way, will open September 17. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla traces its origins to philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla traces its origins to philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps

Not far from the MCASD, another construction project has significantly updated the inn that fills the corner of Prospect Street and lower Girard Avenue. The new Cormorant Boutique Hotel made its debut in May and features an updated Prospect Market, which has been a fixture here since the 1940s-era building was first constructed. Named for the birds that fly past their windows, the hotel’s ideal location makes it a great staycation option or a good insider tip to share with out-of-town guests. In addition to being surrounded by some of La Jolla’s best eateries, the hotel’s stairs lead to Birdseye, its popular rooftop bar and restaurant. 

Birdseye at the Cormorant Boutique Hotel is a fun spot for cocktails with a view
Birdseye at the Cormorant Boutique Hotel is a fun spot for cocktails with a view

Speaking of the coast, Friends of Coast Walk Trail won a 2022 Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) Award for their “endless efforts to preserve and repair the trail.” This short walk starts near The Cave Store and runs along the bluff high above the water, providing breathtaking views of La Jolla Shores, UC San Diego, and beyond. I love looking down at clusters of colorful kayaks and out at gulls, pelicans, and yes, cormorants, as they fly to and from their nests. This walk, this view, is why I can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be this summer. friendsofcoastwalk.org

Coast Walk Trail offers gorgeous views of the La Jolla coast
Coast Walk Trail offers gorgeous views of the La Jolla coast
Featured Photo The new Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla has a wide panoramic ocean view
Image Credits Intro MCASD, La Jolla Cove Swim, Coast Walk Trail: Photography courtesy of Adams / Hansen Stock Photos. MCASD: Photo courtesy of MCASD. The Conrad: Photo courtesy of La Jolla Music Society. Birdseye: Photo courtesy of Cormorant Boutique Hotel

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