Torrey Pines Golf Course / State Park
Even if you hate golf, you can still take a fantastic walk. This golf course is actually public, and the U.S. Open’s held here fairly often. It’s absolutely beautiful, and about 1.5 miles north of where you’re staying. Absolutely fantastic.
La Jolla Cove
You’ll probably find this anyway, but you can also go snorkeling / kayaking / tide pool-wading here. It’s also adjacent to “downtown” La Jolla, with its fancy shops, oceanside restaurants, mediocre art galleries, etc. And seals! (Maybe sea lions?)
UCSD / Scripps Institute of Oceanography / The Salk Institute
My alma mater! If you feel like geeking out. The main UCSD library has a lot of Dr. Seuss’s art throughout (it’s named after him). Scripps is across the street, and very close to where you’re staying. The Salk Institute is between Scripps and Torrey Pines Golf Course, and has absolutely breathtaking architecture.
Black’s is AMAZING because it’s virtually deserted, even when it’s busy. It’s virtually deserted because there’s no car access.
The UCSD part of Black’s is a traditional beach, while the northern half (county? state? land) is a nude beach. Awkward.
To get to the non-nude part: while heading north on N. Torrey Pines Road, make a left on La Jolla Shores Dr. (across the street from the entrance to Muir College), then right on La Jolla Farms Dr. Park where you can. (It’s just a residential area — and I’m super bitter that these houses were supposed to be Greek housing.) On La Jolla Farms Dr., you’ll see a road that’s gated off (only UCSD vehicles can actually drive down). Walk down this road (it’s steep) and get to what is renowned as one of the best surfing beaches in the world.
Another great surfing beach, this is slightly south of downtown La Jolla, between La Jolla and Pacific Beach. It’s much quieter than La Jolla Shores.
La Jolla Shores
This is the easiest beach for you to get to, and is very very close to where you’re staying. Consequently, it’s also the most crowded — although, really not that crowded, compared to Chicago beaches in the summer.
San Diego helped pioneer modern microbrewing, in a community-building sense.
Stone Brewing Company
If you have a free, sunny afternoon, I strongly recommend driving the 45 minutes or so north to Stone’s brewery. They underwent a massive renovation about eight years ago: the new facility is absolutely breathtaking, with a gorgeous garden, as well (they have community movie nights every week, too, which could be fun). The restaurant is wonderful, and the beer is even better. Moreover, the restaurant features not only its own beer, but beer from dozens of San Diego breweries, making it a great spot to check out many of the microbrews you really can’t find anywhere else, and even would have to stop at multiple places in San Diego to really cull together a thorough tasting.
San Diego Breweries, generally
Their Hop-15 beer might be in season. If so, it’ll be available at Stone, but should be here, as well. Also, of course, great pizza.
Amazing, fairly classy (but SoCal style — very relaxed) brunch in downtown La Jolla.
Amazing, HUGE brunch in Pacific Beach. Meaning, your plate of food actually takes up an entire table.
Roberto’s / The California Burrito
Carne asada, french fries, and guacamole. Also try their chicken tacos. But not the chicken burritos. If you want chicken, the tacos are really the way to go. (Dig it?)
There’s casual, pretty cheap, pretty good sushi all up and down Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach. Also, for some strange reason, the locals pronounce it “Gar-NET,” despite the fact that all the local streets are named after stones / minerals. Weirdos.
Spanish food, with an attached spanish food store, at which you could buy a paella pan with a diameter of 8″, 48″, and anything in between.