I love going to La Jolla. I have a long-time friend who lives there, so it makes it fun to visit often as I can. The small downtown area has great restaurants, hotels, shopping and galleries. La Jolla Shores is an even smaller village with really good restaurants, kayak and surf shops and a beautiful surfing and kayaking beach.
Make sure to add these to your list of what to see and do:
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: Located at 700 Prospect Street, this is the largest of the three venues I saw of this Museum. I enjoyed the temporary exhibition and the sculpture garden in back. This location is in my opinion better than the San Diego branch. It is undergoing a substantial expansion and renovation so it is currently closed. Make sure to check the website for the reopening date.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies: Located at 10010 N. Torrey Pines, it was designed by Louis Kahn and is a must for architecture buffs. Tours are available by calling 858-453-4100 x 1262. I was only able to walk the perimeter of the property but will set up a tour on my next trip. They have an excellent cafe on the water.
Athenaeum Music and Arts Library: Located at 1008 Wall Street in the village, this venue offers art exhibitions as well as jazz and chamber music concerts.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve: If you want to get out into nature, drive north of La Jolla to the this beautiful State Park along the ocean where you can hike and enjoy beautiful overlooks.
If you drive to La Jolla or San Diego from LA make sure to stop at the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano at 26801 Ortega Highway. The mission is very attractive. There are also permanent exhibits featuring historical and religious artifacts and paintings. You can also visit living quarters where you can see dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchen. Make sure to see the Sierra Chapel completed in 1788 and the Great Stone Church completed in 1812. There is also a larger Basillica further up the street. There are many events throughout the year, with many in March, surrounding the return of the famous swallows.