An amazing hidden art alley in Encinitas!

Travel down the coast highway in Encinitas and you might never know you’re a very short distance from an amazing “hidden” art alley!

Colorful murals fill the alley just west of South Coast Highway 101 between D Street and E Street.

I captured photographs of all the artwork as I walked south down the alley, from a spot behind 7-Eleven.

I noticed several artist signatures and have included that info in my captions.

Enjoy!

A blonde in blue. The one mural you might glimpse from Coast Highway 101.
Mural by CJTROXELLART.
Cool street art depicts Prince.
If you know who this might be, leave a comment! UPDATE! I’ve been informed this is from David Bowie’s album Hunky Dory!
Beautifully painted bouquet.
Words describe a morally blind society and its consequences.
Dog running in a field.
Mandala-like design and elephant.
Walking south down the alley.
Mural by @debisdoodles and @mayranavarroart painted in 2015.
I added contrast and sharpness to this photo to pop the Day of the Dead imagery.
Mural possibly depicts Mount Fuji in Japan.
Bees and flowers!
Art around the back door of Better Buzz Coffee Encinitas.
Seawalls mural by Aaron Glasson and Celeste Byers, 2016.

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Sails, ships and beauty on San Diego Bay!

It was a perfect January day on San Diego Bay. Not a cloud in the blue sky, very little haze, a comfy 70 degrees. No jacket required!

As a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I have a couple of free tickets for harbor tours aboard the museum’s historic Pilot boat. I used one of those tickets this afternoon!

These photographs on the water show a little of why so many people love San Diego.

I’ve provided details about the historic Pilot boat and this harbor tour in the past. See that old blog post here.

I’ve also blogged about many of the unique sights one can see on San Diego Bay. You can check out a couple of those fascinating posts here and here.

Today I wanted to relax, not take notes.

Simply take in the beauty.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sparks, scrapes and chisels at the Maritime Museum!

Lots of fascinating activity today at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked about, I noticed volunteers and sail crew members were working on several very different vessels in the museum’s world-famous collection.

Sparks were flying from the black sail of the B-39 Soviet-era Russian submarine. Its life, sadly, has come to an end. Preparations are underway to tow the badly rusted Foxtrot-class diesel electric submarine to Mexico where it will be scrapped.

After watching guys using a torch on the sub’s outer hull, I walked to the far end of the Maritime Museum’s barge where the Robert Sharp’s stern was being restored. A friendly worker with a heat gun was crackling old varnish, which was then scraped off.

When I stepped onto the deck of the historic steam yacht Medea, I noticed a woodworker carefully repairing the boat’s wooden rail where it had split.

The elegant Medea has a fascinating history.

Did you know that, in addition to Medea being a pleasure yacht that cruised the isles and lochs of Scotland, it was used by France during World War I, and by the British Royal Navy and Norwegian Navy during World War II?

Learn much more here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Butterflies and views at the Stairway to Hell!

A steep outdoor staircase in Tierrasanta has been called both the Stairway to Hell and the Stairs of Death. Take your pick!

The 112 steps start from the Clairemont Mesa Boulevard sidewalk and ascend northward. They can be found a short distance west of Antigua Boulevard.

As you climb this popular neighborhood exercise spot, you might notice colorful butterflies all about your feet. They seem to be flying skyward, too.

Once you reach the top, you’ll find yourself by a large grassy sports field near Vista Grande Elementary School. And look at the views!

Stairway to Hell? Perhaps these steps should be called Stairway to Heaven…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Minding your p’s and q’s in the Old Town print shop!

Upper case and lower case.

Mind your p’s and q’s.

The wrong sort.

Out of sorts.

I learned yesterday during a visit to the San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that these expressions are believed to come from days long past.

There was a period in history when printing was a tedious operation requiring a hand operated press. To print pages, small cast metal blocks that imprint individual characters were manually assembled into words and sentences. These physical types were set into printable forms by the skilled, quick fingers of print shop compositors.

See all those drawers in the above photo? Each drawer is a type case containing sorts, the particular letters and other characters that are “sorted” into the forms.

Somewhere along the line, capital letters were arranged in an upper drawer: the upper case. Compositors rushing to print a newspaper would sometimes confuse the similar appearing p’s and q’s. Or accidentally choose the wrong sort. Or become disconcerted when they ran out of sorts.

And that how these peculiar expressions are said to have originated!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Free “Hidden History Talks” in Old Town!

During the ups and downs of this long COVID-19 pandemic, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s indoor museums have been mostly closed. But I learned today that outdoor “Hidden History Talks” are now being held free to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm.

There are several interesting locations in the State Park where the talks might be held, including the courtyard of the Casa de Estudillo and the donkey pen behind Seeley Stable. Visitors to the park should watch for signs indicating where that day’s free history talk will be.

Today I sat on a bench in the beautiful Casa de Estudillo garden and listened to a California State Parks employee talk about the remarkable biodiversity in San Diego, which is partly attributed to the importation of plants and trees by Spanish missionaries, settlers, traders, and early civic visionaries like Kate Sessions.

The garden at the Casa de Estudillo is a sort of microcosm of this biodiversity.

Trees and shrubs were pointed out on all sides, and explanations were made of why they had been planted here–many a century and a half ago. Curious eyes turned this way and that at the mention of pepper and olive trees, pomegranates, and loquat, mulberry, pecan and walnut trees. And many others!

Among the things we learned was that small pepper trees from Spain, newly planted around Old Town’s plaza, had to be protected from roaming cattle. A century and a half later those pepper trees are huge and beautiful!

Everything we learned was fascinating.

I was told that eventually the normal walking tours should return to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, but it all depends on the COVID-19 pandemic’s trajectory and public health orders.

If you’d like an idea of what the regular one hour walking tours are like, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

More beautiful faces appear in City Heights!

Look at all these beautiful new faces in City Heights! I saw them today during a morning walk.

An incredible 263-foot long mural is gradually coming to life at the south end of Teralta Park, which is located on the freeway cap over Interstate 15. The mural is being painted by talented San Diego graffiti artist Sake, whom I met last year.

Last time I photographed the mural-in-progress, several faces at the left end had been finished. Since then, more faces have been completed! And other painted details throughout the very long mural are appearing as well.

City Heights is a community in east San Diego that is home to many immigrants and refugees from all around the world. That diversity is reflected in this colorful, positive artwork!

If you’d like to see photographs of artist Sake at work last year, and find links to even earlier photos, you can click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Walking down the Juniper Staircase in Balboa Park.

The Juniper Staircase is located near the southwest corner of Balboa Park, just north of Marston Point. The rugged “staircase” descends toward a dirt trail that runs through Cabrillo Canyon along the west side of State Route 163.

Ninety eight stone steps that were built by the California Conservation Corps descend from a paved pathway that winds through trees on Balboa Park’s West Mesa. Google Maps refers to the several paths in Cabrillo Canyon as Bridle Trail.

You can locate the curving stairs on a map if you follow the line of Juniper Street east past the intersection of Balboa Drive and 8th Avenue.

I took these photographs walking down the rocky steps. I continued north along the dirt trail by the freeway and passed the place where one can turn to walk under the historic Cabrillo Bridge. I then completed this relatively short and easy hike at Nate’s Point Dog Park, on El Prado, just west of the bridge.

If you’re curious to see what it looks like standing directly under the Cabrillo Bridge, I took some really interesting photographs one day and posted them here!

Be sure to watch your step! The loose dirt and leaves can be slippery.

The Juniper Staircase is a destination for local joggers and runners seeking a workout.

A very peaceful spot, if it weren’t for the noise of nearby freeway traffic.

Looking northeast across Cabrillo Canyon, one can see Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower!

Make sure to wear good shoes. The trail is rough and eroded in spots.

Approaching a split in the trail, where one can walk down under the Cabrillo Bridge.

I was tempted to walk under the bridge again, but decided against it the particular day I took these photos.

Soon arriving at the fence around Nate’s Point Dog Park where happy dog’s can run freely off leash.

El Prado, the road that crosses the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park, is to the right, just a short distance up the hill!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Mural on historical building celebrates Solana Beach!

If you’ve ever walked from Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach toward Highway 101, you’ve probably noticed a large, super colorful mural. The artwork is painted on the west side of the Saddle Bar, on Acacia Avenue.

During my most recent visit to Solana Beach, I ambled up to the mural and discovered the old building it decorates has a Solana Beach Civic Historical Society plaque.

The building was originally the Mayme and Charles Karn’s Bicycle Shop back in 1924. It served as a United States Post Office from 1936 to 1953.

The mural was painted in 2019 by Cardiff-by-the-Sea artist Dustin (Brane) Hull.

Images in the artwork include: a friendly dog; a woman surfing; carrying surfboards on the beach; a kid skateboarding; a musician performing at the famous Belly Up Tavern; a Coaster train and the Solana Beach station; and Fiesta Del Sol, an annual festival held on the nearby streets.

I love this mural. It really captures the happy vibe of this beach community.

I took these photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sculptures beautify Paradise Creek Gathering Place.

On the south side of National City’s Kimball Park, near 16th Street, a footbridge crosses Paradise Creek. Look up near the bridge and you’ll spy beautiful small sculptures mounted atop high posts.

These shining metal sculptures at the Paradise Creek Gathering Place were created by San Diego artist Vicki Leon, in collaboration with high school students at A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that uplifts local youth using the power of creativity.

The Paradise Creek Gathering Place sculptures together are titled Migratory Flight. They resemble silvery birds taking wing. Solar-powered lights illuminate bits of colored glass in clear tubes beneath each sculpture.

The environmental sculptures, symbolizing wildlife that depends on Paradise Creek, were installed in 2018. Many in the community came out to help build and beautify the Paradise Creek Gathering Place, including the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s Kitchenistas and students from San Diego City College and San Diego State University. You can read more about the project here and here.

Lead artist Vicki Leon has also helped to beautify her own City Heights Azalea Park neighborhood. You can see photos of more amazing public artwork that I took during a special visit to Azalea Park here and here and here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!