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“What a fabulous find!”

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla
Ranked #31 of 77 things to do in La Jolla
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Attraction details
Owner description: A private collection sampling 500 years of cartography. Over 200 items on display, many one of a kind. Free admission, no donations expected and we do not sell anything except the enjoyment of some of the rarest maps in the work and that is at a price of Zero dollars. In addition to our Wednesday and Thursday open days, we are also OPEN the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month 11-4
San Diego
Level Contributor
244 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 502 helpful votes
“What a fabulous find!”
Reviewed 3 August 2014

We had no clue that the museum existed until we saw it on TV a few months back.

It is free of charge and open approx. 10 days/month. (1st and 3rd Saturdays and Wed and Thurs from 11-4). Look at their web site to see if it is something for you.

We usually shy away from La Jolla, in general, as the parking is notoriously difficult. If you can find them, most parking spots are just one or two hour (with enforcement making frequent drive-bys) so we found a parking lot just off Wall St, paid $6 and walked a few blocks.

The museum is located one floor down in a modern development, which also houses the La Jolla Sports club and some cafes. It is easily accessible by stairs or a large lift.

A treasure trove of exquisite quality maps and atlases which are owned by a private individual who very generously makes them available to the public. The lady on duty greeted each visitor, explained the layout of the small museum and offered the use of a hand-held magnifying glass. I have good vision but was very glad I borrowed one, as much of the ancient print is very small.

The maps date from the 1950s (a special exhibition of Mora posters/maps) as far back as the 1400’s (the majority of them are in the range 1400-1600’s). Each is accompanied by a short explanation, written in easy to understand terms.

My favorite was the 4 ft diameter San Zeno Astrolabe, probably because I wasn’t expecting it.

The museum offers special events and tours. We were not hassled for donations (I’m not sure if they even took them) and happily completed the guest book.

I am certainly going to keep it on my radar for future visits.

Visited August 2014
2 Thank 92075
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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30 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Moreno Valley, California
Level Contributor
413 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 740 helpful votes
“Mecca for map lovers, especially of historic ones”
Reviewed 7 November 2013

I'd heard about the Museum from a pal who belongs to the Road Map Collectors Assn of America. Somehow this large, multi-terraced building with almost no parking nearby manages to accommodate one of the best map and atlas collections in the US that is not located on a college campus or under the wing of a large private foundation (like the Newberry Museum in Chicago). Only a few road maps are viewable but the ancient mariner maps are in excellent condition and are well-orgainized by continent. Several maps showing California as "an island of Amazon animal-superwomen" will intrigue the history buff.

Bottom line: Access and parking are pretty tough, else I'd be giving the Museum five dots but for the genuine map geek, its well worth it. Plan for a day of it but park way up the hill so you don't get a ticket (2 hr limit, and parking meters too) Donation requested, but well worth it.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank MonkeyOnTheWing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
La Jolla, California
Level Contributor
271 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
“The largest private collection of rare maps”
Reviewed 29 September 2013

This is a must for the History Buff or anyone interested in seeing rare old maps and atlasses. This is the best display of the most beautiful and rare maps. A must if you are visiting the area. Check the times and days open prior to coming. It is a generous gesture on behalf of Mike Stone, the owner of the collection, who pays for the space in the building and the staff, to share with the public. They also give tours to groups.

Visited September 2013
Thank kathylynne1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
san francisco
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great collections of historic maps”
Reviewed 8 April 2013

The Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla has extensive collections of maps from many eras including some produced before the age of exploration. The museum is organized by geographical area as well as time, with areas featuring maps of Europe, Asia, the heavens, and California. Descriptions of each map provide an in-depth understanding of the individual maps. The museum is quiet, and elegantly appointed, a great place for contemplating the history of recorded geography. The current featured exhibit was a collection of illustrated maps of California by one artist in the early to mid-1900s

Visited April 2013
2 Thank carbrn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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