Cool photo memories from May 2016.

Public events in San Diego are gradually making a comeback as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. As more residents and visitors become vaccinated, hopefully our beautiful city will return to something more like normalcy before too long.

Five years ago the situation was quite different! During the month of May so many unique events were recorded on Cool San Diego Sights that it’s difficult to choose just a few to revisit!

Click the upcoming links and you’ll find all sorts of colorful photographs that I took back in May of 2016.

You’ll see photos of newly opened Horton Plaza Park, the San Diego Zoo’s big centennial festival, the steepest part of a Tour de California bicycle race, a Women’s National sailing race on San Diego Bay, a floral wagon parade in Balboa Park, a fun stickball game in Little Italy, an inspiring Memorial Day at Fort Rosecrans, and more.

I was even invited to observe the recording of a cool live local TV show!

Click the following links to enjoy lots of photographs…

History is made–and remembered–at Horton Plaza Park!

Cool knight in golden armor stands guard in San Diego!

Fun photos of San Diego Zoo Centennial Festival!

Tour de California elite bicyclists race up Laurel Street hill!

Cool entertainment: a live television talk show in San Diego!

Fun photos of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day!

College sailing: Women’s National race on San Diego Bay!

Floral Wagon Parade at Balboa Park’s Garden Party!

San Diego stickball: Sidewalk Slammers vs. Street Rookies!

Photos of Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Del Mar history in a pocket park.

A pocket park near the corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street features a series of banners that illustrate local history.

Pedestrians coming down the sidewalk have the opportunity to rest and view photos from Del Mar’s past in this quiet nook near L’Auberge Del Mar, across 15th Street from Stratford Square’s distinctive Tudor style building.

Last weekend I enjoyed a look at these fascinating historical images and descriptions, which are provided by the Del Mar Historical Society. I took photographs of the banners, moving from left to right.

Then I spotted a friendly sea lion perched on a nearby bench!

To learn more about Del Mar’s history, including how the North County beach town got its name from a once-popular poem titled “The Fight for Paso Del Mar”, check out this website!

The history of Del Mar begins in 1885 with the new California Southern Railroad, connecting Los Angeles to San Diego. The first hotel, opened in 1886, was Casa Del Mar. The Natatorium at the end of 10th and 11th Street featured a dance pavilion on the beach and a large saltwater swimming pool.
A 1000 foot pier was built in 1912 near the end of 15th Street. When it became too damaged by the passage of time and many storms, it was demolished in 1959 by the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team!
The Hotel Del Mar (originally called the Stratford Inn) attracted the rich and famous after Bing Crosby built the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937. Parties featured entertainers such as Bob Hope, Al Jolson and Danny Thomas. Frequent guests included Buster Keaton, Mickey Rooney, Betty Grable, Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and many others.
Photos of celebrities at the Del Mar Racetrack, including Ava Gardner, Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Cary Grant and Red Skelton.
The Stratford Inn opened in 1909 and attracted Hollywood’s silent film stars. It was finally demolished in 1967. The posh L’Auberge Del Mar, which stands on the site now, was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
This is Sally the Sea Lion!

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!

Star Wars photos for May the Fourth!

May the Fourth be with you this fine Tuesday!

For your enjoyment, I’ve assembled a bunch of fun Star Wars photos that I’ve taken over many years of blogging in San Diego.

You’ll see cosplay and street art. You’ll see cool Star Wars figures, fan art and funny advertisements. Most of these photos are from past Comic-Cons.

To see even more Star Wars stuff on Cool San Diego Sights, perform a search on my blog’s sidebar or click a tag.

Enjoy!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Hopeful faces painted in Chicano Park.

During my most recent visit to Chicano Park, I passed under Interstate 5 while walking up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. Even in the dim light under the concrete freeway, hopeful faces looked out from the mural beside me.

I saw bright hope in the faces of youth who were learning or at play. I saw hope in the faces of proud people at work, or taking flight on butterfly wings.

Back in 2016 I posted more photos of expressive faces that I’d encountered while walking among the murals of Chicano Park. See those 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!

UC San Diego student art exhibited in Balboa Park.

This weekend I stepped into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park to view their current exhibition, which is titled Measurements of Progress.

Graduating students (and a couple of professors) from UC San Diego’s 2021 Masters of Fine Arts program have contributed artwork that primarily concerns the ongoing human struggle to achieve certain ideals, particularly peace, liberty, and justice.

Given how the subject matter is largely political, it’s not surprising that some of the student art is ideological and simple. I was drawn to other more subtle, mysterious works that encourage the viewer to look open-eyed at a complex world and inward with questioning wonder.

A couple of pieces I really loved are sculptures made of fabric. Touched by soft light, they seem to hang in space like organic abstractions, sinuous, fragile, evocative, full of memory. One contains poetry.

Another strange, thought-provoking work is a series of prostheses that explores the “limited and flawed nature of human perceptions and the manner in which bodies experience the world…”

Another piece explores the cosmos in the artist’s own body. I’m not exactly sure what the 3-channel video depicts–possibly dyed slides under a microscope–but watching the movement of living cells in our immensely complex selves can make one less political, more philosophical.

Measurements of Progress is well worth checking out if you love endlessly fascinating productions of human creativity–particularly contemporary art.

The exhibition is free and will continue at the San Diego Art Institute through May 30, 2021.

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!

Restoring history at the Gymnasium in Balboa Park!

The Municipal Gymnasium in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a popular destination for local athletes playing basketball. I like to venture inside during a weekend to watch part of a game.

I often wonder if those playing hoops in the old gym know they’re inside a historically important building that was constructed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building–today’s gymnasium–still retains an indication of its unique origin. Look down as you approach the front door and you’ll see this artwork in the entry…

I learned yesterday from local architect Robert Thiele (whose many accomplishments include designing the beautiful rotunda fountain inside the San Diego Museum of Art) that big changes are coming to this historic building. Decorative elements of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries are being restored!

Later this summer a fantastic 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel will be hung above the entrance with bands of ornament above and below. You can see the bronze panel in that very first photograph.

Several architectural visualizations show how Balboa Park’s Municipal Gymnasium will appear once the panel is installed. Grand ornamental flourishes will crown both the building’s entrance and panel. Compare the following images.

Quite an amazing difference!

I’ve asked people who might be knowledgeable if this historic building, located next to three important San Diego museums, will continue to be used as a gym in the future, but that seems uncertain at this point. If anyone has more information concerning the Municipal Gymnasium’s fate, please leave a comment!

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!

Mayan ornamentation added to Automotive Museum!

Uniquely beautiful Mayan ornamentation has been added to the front of the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

This sculptural artwork, completed recently, has made the Automotive Museum’s historic 1935 California State Building even more amazing!

A little over a month ago, four permanent tile murals were installed above the Automotive Museum’s front entrance. In my opinion the new Mayan designs frame and complement the murals handsomely. (To learn more about the colorful tile murals, and to compare how the California State Building looked before the addition of Mayan ornamentation, you can click here.)

One thing I noticed is that the Mayan decoration now aesthetically links the California State Building to the old Federal Building, which is also located in Balboa Park’s Palisades, but on the opposite side of Pan American Plaza.

The Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum, has its own entrance uniquely graced with pre-Columbian style ornamentation. The 1935 California Pacific International Exposition architect Richard Requa, according to this web page, “had conceived an architectural plan for the Palisades showing how the forms of indigenous architecture in the American southwest and in Mexico could be used to produce a distinctive American style of architecture…”

For comparison, here’s an old photo of the Federal Building’s entrance after the closure of its last occupant, the San Diego Hall of Champions…

When the Comic-Con Center for Popular Culture moves into the Federal Building in 2018, will visitors wear costumes?

And here is the amazing new entrance to the San Diego Automotive Museum…

I also learned today that the Palisades’ nearby Municipal Gymnasium, which back in 1935 was the California Pacific International Exposition’s Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, is also to be renovated and made equally amazing!

Stay tuned!

Here are two more pics I took this afternoon of the Automotive Museum..

UPDATE!

Here’s an architectural visualization I received of the California State Building with two flagpoles, and grizzly bears on the roof corners. In front of the building, at the center of a fully enlarged Pan American Plaza, you can see the proposed recreation of the 1935 Firestone Singing Fountains.

This is how the Automotive Museum might appear should plans finally come to fruition (without the palm trees and hanging vines)!

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!

Musicians rock at Starlight Bowl pop-up!

Great musicians gathered this afternoon and rocked Balboa Park’s Pan American Plaza during a pop-up performance in front of the Starlight Bowl!

I happened to walk past as the musicians were getting ready, and I stuck around to hear several songs. And I’m glad I did! Their absolutely rocking rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic Proud Mary is still echoing in my head!

This cool pop-up event was not only terrific, but it also helped to raise awareness about Save Starlight‘s efforts to completely renovate and revitalize Balboa Park’s historic Starlight Bowl amphitheater.

In the past I’ve blogged about my own experiences at the Starlight Bowl as a youth, and more recently about the plans to bring the amphitheater, built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, back to life. You can revisit that old blog post here.

Today I learned that a “Beyond Starlight” concession will be opening at one end of the old box office this summer, offering Community, Coffee, Treats and Beats. Perfect for the nearby tables that now fill the Pan American Plaza, which was completed a few months ago!

I also learned that the spacious outdoor amphitheater that seats over 4,000 will be available to the public for a whole variety of potential events. According to this page: “Once we are open for operation it will be available, and affordable for everyone. Starlight will be open to the entire San Diego performance and event community to host their productions.”

So in a small way, today’s pop-up at the Starlight Bowl’s entrance is a tiny taste of the good times to come!

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!

A fence comes down, a city grows.

Early yesterday morning, workers were pulling down the construction site fence that surrounds a brand new building in downtown San Diego. The adjacent 20-story 450 B Tower is adding additional office and retail space in the heart of the city.

While many of us were hunkered down indoors during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction continued throughout San Diego. It seems nothing will stop the city from growing.

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!

Photos of Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.