Moving to La Jolla, California
California is full of beautiful coastal towns with charm to spare. If you long to live in a place that offers plenty of sunny days, ocean views, and small-town appeal, then you might want to consider relocating to La Jolla.
Before undertaking any relocation, it’s essential to learn about your new home. If you’re planning a move to La Jolla, we’re here to help.
About La Jolla, California
La Jolla is an affluent seaside community located within the San Diego city limits, about 12 miles from the downtown area. It is situated along approximately seven miles of coastline toward the northern edge of the city. It’s surrounded on three sides by ocean and cliffs.
As of the 2010 census, La Jolla’s population was 46,781. The area’s history is closely tied to that of San Diego. The origins of its name are unclear. The local Kumeyaay people called the area mat kulaaxuuy, which means Land of Holes – a possible reference to the caves in La Jolla’s seaside cliffs. Although experts dispute it, there’s also a theory that La Jolla is a misspelling of La Joya, which is Spanish for “the jewel.”
La Jolla was first designated as a pueblo community. However, in 1870, a man named Charles Dean acquired some of the land. He couldn’t develop it, but by 1890, the railroad connected La Jolla to the rest of San Diego and people started moving there.
Today, La Jolla is a mecca for the tourists and art-lovers, alike. Its beautiful scenery and mild climate make it a popular place to live and vacation.
La Jolla’s Climate
As you might expect, La Jolla’s climate is like that of other coastal cities in Southern California. Residents enjoy mild winters and warm summers. The average temperatures are remarkably stable year-round, ranging from 56 degrees in the winter to 71 degrees in the summer.
Because San Diego is a coastal desert, there are days of extreme heat (90+ during the summer) and chill (it can dip into the 30s in the winter.) The area gets far more sunny days than cloudy ones. The one exception is during the so-called May Gray and June Gloom. In those months, the mornings are almost always cloudy. By afternoon, the clouds drift out over the ocean and the skies clear.
Average rainfall here is well below the national average at a meager 12 inches per year. That makes the area dry and susceptible to wildfires, although they are rarer in coastal areas like La Jolla than they are inland.
Education in La Jolla
If you have children or plan to have them, you’ll want to know about the schools in La Jolla. The children of La Jolla are served by the San Diego Unified School District.
There are several excellent public schools in La Jolla, including La Jolla Elementary, Muirlands Middle School, and La Jolla High School. There are multiple public schools, too, including The Bishop’s School, Delphi Academy, and La Jolla Country Day School.
If your concern is higher education, you should know that La Jolla is home to the University of California San Diego campus. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is part of UCSD, and other research centers, including the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, are here as well.
La Jolla is also within easy driving distance of multiple community colleges and campuses located in San Diego County.
The Cost of Living in La Jolla
Before any move, it’s a must to consider the difference in cost of living between your current location and your new home. Southern California has a reputation for being an expensive place to live, and La Jolla is no exception.
Overall, the price of living here is a little over three times the national average. People who already live in Southern California (or in a big coastal city like New York, Boston, or San Francisco) might not be shocked by the prices here. Those moving from less-expensive areas, though, are likely to feel some sticker shock.
By far the biggest driver of the cost of living is housing, and the prices are very high. In fact, housing costs in La Jolla are about seven times the national average, making it a very expensive place to live.
The good news is that other expenses are not as high. Things like utilities, transportation, groceries, and health care are close to the national average or slightly above it. Transportation costs are the highest of these thanks to California’s notoriously high gas prices.
Preparing to Move to La Jolla
As you make plans to move, you’ll need some basic information about living in La Jolla to help you prepare. You’ll want to make calls to set up utility services and also, know what you need to do once you arrive – especially if you’re moving from out of state.
It’s worth noting that moving companies book quickly here, especially at the beginning and end of the school year. You should plan on booking (or reserving a truck if you plan on doing the move yourself) as soon as possible. If you don’t, you may not be able to get your first choice of moving dates.
Here are some links that you may find useful.
San Diego Gas & Electric (electricity and natural gas)
Sempra Energy (electricity)
City of San Diego (water)
Spectrum (cable and internet)
Check out our La Jolla internal facilities page
If you’re new to the state of California, you’ll need to register your vehicle and get a California driver’s license within 30 days of your arrival here. You should also know that California has some of the strictest emission standards in the country. Most vehicles will need to pass a smog test before registration.
The DMV provides a full guide for new residents, including testing locations and a driver’s manual. You can find it here. Keep in mind you can also register to vote and sign up to be an organ donor at the DMV.
La Jolla’s Culture and Entertainment
Both La Jolla and San Diego have a rich cultural history with plenty of entertainment options for the whole family.
Due to its mild climate and limited rainfall, outdoor activities are popular in La Jolla. The beaches are beautiful and clean, and the waves are impressive enough to keep any surfer happy. La Jolla Shores is family-friendly, although there aren’t as many amenities as there are at some of San Diego’s other beaches. La Jolla Cove offers stunning views and wildlife, including seals and pelicans.
La Jolla is also home to some world-class golf resorts, and the same is true of San Diego County. San Diego is also home to the United States’ largest municipal park, Balboa Park, where you can find the world-famous San Diego Zoo and dozens of museums and attractions.
The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has a location in La Jolla. It hosts regular events, including film screenings and lectures. The center of La Jolla features many art galleries and artisanal shops.
The restaurants in La Jolla are world class and feature the area’s outstanding seafood. La Jolla residents are located within easy driving distance of San Diego’s famed Gaslight District, which houses dozens of world-class restaurants, live music venues, bars, and clubs. It’s also where you can find Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
If you want to venture out of San Diego County, you can take a drive to Orange County, where you’ll find Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. A little farther North is Los Angeles, with its beaches, tourist attractions, and nightlife, as well as the world-famous Getty Museum.
Relocating to La Jolla means moving to one of the most beautiful areas in the continental United States. Its warm weather, breathtaking scenery, and world-class entertainment promise that you’ll never have to worry about finding something to do.
Armed with the information in this guide, we’re sure your relocation to La Jolla will be smooth. Enjoy your new home!