There is much to do and see in La Jolla, known for its aquatic activities and world-renowned surf. It’s also hard not to love shopping at the myriad boutiques and galleries along Prospect and Girard with staples including Warwick’s and Martha Smith. Or perhaps spend an afternoon at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. And let’s not forget about the glider port, a jaw-dropping experience that will leave adventurers wanting more. Here are a few of the things that keep us coming back time and again. MIASTEFANKO
1 Who doesn’t want to fly like an eagle? Established in 1928, the Torrey Pines Gliderport was the learning place for aviation greats including the Lindberghs, Boyles, and many others. Today, thrill-seekers enjoy hang gliding, paragliding, and scale model and sailplane flight. The gliderport prides itself in providing quality instruction, certification, tandem flights, equipment sales, glider repair services, and, of course, fantastic year-round flying conditions. Those who prefer to stay grounded can grab a seat at the Cliff Hanger Café, which serves up deli-sandwiches, fresh salads, and snacks with an awe-inspiring view. (858/452-9858, www.flytorrey.com)
2 Mitzi Shore opened the Comedy Store South in Pacific Beach in 1976, and moved the club to its present location in La Jolla in August of 1977. She designed the gig as a paid vacation spot for her comics who then showcased nightly on Sunset and Westwood, and she went so far as to purchase a pair of condos in Pacific Beach so that her out-of-town acts would have somewhere to stay. In the early days there were shows when the now-legendary Robin Willams, David Letterman, and Michael Keaton were on the same bill, and guests jammed the 200-seat room. Think you’ve got a funny bone? Mega Mondays are open mic nights, with up to 32 available spots. Availability is on a first come first serve basis, and sign ups begin at 7:30pm. (858/454-9176, lajolla.thecomedystore.com)
3 The 6,000-acre San Diego La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve has become a popular recreation destination for water enthusiasts of all kinds, including snorkelers, scuba divers, kayakers, and swimmers. The park was created by the City of San Diego in 1970 and features two artificial reefs, created to attract and enhance marine life. The reefs keep the waves minimal, making La Jolla Shores an ideal entry point for divers and kayakers. Consider checking out the seven sea caves, but be sure to look and not touch — fishing and removal of objects from this entire area is strictly prohibited. For those will small vessels, La Jolla Shores has the only beachfront boat launch within city limits. Beachgoers can launch directly into the surf at the foot of Avenida de la Playa.
4 The streets of downtown La Jolla have long attracted the world’s shopping elite, offering an array of storefronts ranging from high-end art galleries and high-fashion boutiques to jewelers and home furnishings leaders, with myriad cafes and restaurants sprinkled into the mix. In addition, every Sunday, the upper playground at La Jolla Elementary is transformed into a colorful and wholesome farmers’ market complete with live music, creative artisans, a diverse food court, and farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Save the date for the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, taking place October 1-2.
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