Random art on the streets of East Village.

Six colorful dog murals on F Street in downtown's East Village.
Six dogs on a colorful mural on F Street in downtown’s East Village.

Here are some photos of outdoor art that I’ve discovered just wandering about the streets of downtown San Diego’s East Village. Enjoy!

Exotic faces, car and flowers along sidewalk in San Diego.
Exotic faces, car and flowers along sidewalk in San Diego.
Utility box dedicated to Tweet Street park.
Utility box dedicated to Tweet Street park.

The park itself is located up on Cortez Hill, just steps from where I live!

Summer swallowed us whole, written randomly on a step.
Summer swallowed us whole, written randomly on a step.
More fun street art in East Village.
More fun street art in East Village.
Cool smile, horn, coffee and heart.
Cool smile, horn, coffee and heart.
Bold graphics on wall of Lucky's tattoo parlor.
Bold graphics on wall of Lucky’s tattoo parlor.
Jumbled, eye-catching mural on a fence on F Street.
Jumbled, eye-catching mural on a fence on F Street.

This fence borders SILO, which contains a ton of awesome street art, which I documented in this blog post.

More artwork along F Street on the fence that borders SILO.
More artwork along F Street on the fence that borders SILO.
More cool street art on F Street in downtown San Diego's East Village.
More cool street art on F Street in downtown San Diego’s East Village.

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

Flying colors and patriotism at Alamo Flags.

Alamo Flags in Seaport Village certainly has a few flags!
Alamo Flags in Seaport Village certainly has a few flags!

If you live in San Diego, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Alamo Flags. The cheerful specialty shop near the center of Seaport Village has been known to give away large, beautiful American flags on the Fourth of July.

To express his gratitude for his country, the owner, Mike Ismail,  has created a tradition of presenting Old Glory to lucky shoppers on Independence Day.

Recently, he was recognized for this patriotic tradition by local San Diego Chapter 472 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Should you visit his colorful store, you’ll definitely see plenty of red, white and blue!

Bright flags and banners of every type flutter in the blue San Diego sky.
Bright flags and banners of every type flutter in the blue San Diego sky.
An outdoor passage of brilliant colors.
An outdoor passage of brilliant colors.
Mike Ismail in front of Alamo Flags in Seaport Village.
Mike Ismail in front of Alamo Flags in Seaport Village.
Award above front door from San Diego Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Award above door from San Diego Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Two young men look in window at a huge collection of flag pins.
Two young men check out window display of many flag pins.
A variety of fanciful wind socks dazzles and delights the eye.
A variety of fanciful wind socks dazzles and delights the eye.
Fun gifts shaped like hot air balloons seem to lift off.
Fun gifts shaped like hot air balloons seem to lift off.
Stars and Stripes are a frequent sight.
Stars and Stripes are a frequent sight.
Alamo Flags stands proudly near the center of San Diego's Seaport Village.
Alamo Flags stands proudly near the center of San Diego’s Seaport Village.

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

Sand sculpting challenge gets ready downtown!

Sand sculpture is prepared in front of San Diego's Cruise Ship Terminal.
Sand sculpture is prepared in front of San Diego’s Cruise Ship Terminal.

This coming Labor Day weekend, two major events will take place on San Diego’s Embarcadero. The 2014 Festival of Sail will feature about 20 beautiful tall ships from ports far and wide. The second event, the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition, will feature a world-class competition between many of the world’s greatest sand sculpting masters.

I noticed today during my walk that preparations have begun for the unique art competition. Several sculptures are already being created to herald the event and welcome the weekend crowds. Big piles of sand also wait along the pier for the competitors to realize their creative visions.

2014 US Sand Sculpting Challenge to be held downtown Labor Day weekend.
2014 US Sand Sculpting Challenge to be held downtown Labor Day weekend.
Man shovels spilled sand on pier into one of many big piles.
Man shovels spilled sand on pier into one of many big piles.
This artist is making a representation of San Diego's skyline!
This artist is making a representation of San Diego’s skyline!
Each mound will become a unique sand masterpiece.
Each mound will become a unique sand masterpiece.
These guys are working on a life-sized sand truck!
These guys are working on a life-sized sand truck!
Carefully adding Chevrolet logo to back of the detailed sculpture.
Carefully adding Chevrolet logo to back of the detailed sculpture.
A few minutes later, an eagle is taking form on this tall heap of sand!
A few minutes later, an eagle is taking form on this heap of sand!

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

Train passengers confronted by huge gorilla!

Passengers arrive at San Diego station of the Balboa Park Railroad!
Passengers arrive at San Diego station of the Balboa Park Railroad!
A train is now pulling right on schedule into the station.
A train is now pulling right on schedule into the station.
All aboard! Wait! I see a huge gorilla off in the distance!
All aboard! Wait! I see a huge gorilla off in the distance!
I wonder if this huge gorilla escaped from the nearby San Diego Zoo.
I wonder if this huge gorilla escaped from the nearby San Diego Zoo.
The train departs on another exotic, unexpected adventure.
The train departs on another exotic, unexpected adventure.
Yikes! Now it's a tiger that I see! There are wild animals all over the place.
Yikes! Now it’s a tiger that I see! There are wild animals all over the place.
A silent lion watches as the tiny train glides through Balboa Park.
A silent lion watches as the tiny train glides through Balboa Park.
Giraffes seem to be enjoying some eucalyptus trees nearby.
Giraffes seem to be enjoying some eucalyptus trees nearby.
The folks riding the fun train wonder what might come next.
The folks riding the fun little train wonder what might come next.
The tracks pass Tijuana! That was a very short trip!
The tracks pass Tijuana! That was a very short trip!
Who knows what might appear around the next corner...
Who knows what might appear around the next corner…

Sometimes ya gotta have fun with a blog post’s title, just to get a little attention! I hope you enjoyed my silly little excursion.

The Balboa Park Miniature Railroad can be found a few steps beyond the north end of Spanish Village in Balboa Park. It’s sandwiched between the carousel and the San Diego Zoo. I remember riding the kiddie train back when I was an impressionable young whippersnapper. There were no animals sculptures back then. But it did have the same really cool tunnel near the end!

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

Trees removed from Jungle Trail Canyon.

Canyon in Balboa Park to be site of San Diego Zoo employee parking structure.
Canyon in Balboa Park to be site of San Diego Zoo employee parking structure.

When I recently went on a special tour at the San Diego Museum of Art, my new docent friend expressed concern about an upcoming construction project. We were standing at a window that overlooks Old Globe Way, a short, winding access road that follows the edge of Jungle Trail Canyon directly behind the museum. The road starts behind the San Diego Junior Theatre, passes the rear of the Botanical Building, and finally leads to the back of the Old Globe Theatre. We gazed out the window at many colorful hummingbird feeders dangling from a nearby tree, at trees by the road that were marked with green paint, then beyond the narrow canyon to the back of the famous San Diego Zoo. The small canyon, I learned, was to be converted to parking!

After doing a bit of research for news on the internet, I learned the canyon would be the location of a six level parking garage for zoo employees. The idea is to free up a large amount of space from the zoo’s main parking lot on Park Boulevard. Employees arriving by car usually start their shifts in the early morning, and depart at different times, so traffic problems in the park would be kept to a minimum.  The new structure has been in the planning stage for a long time.

Yesterday my journey through Balboa Park included a stroll down Old Globe Way. I saw that the work had already been started. Fortunately, those green markings on larger trees indicated they were to be saved.

A tree at canyon's edge is mercifully saved.
A tree at canyon’s edge is mercifully saved.
Canyon between Old Globe, art museum and zoo has been mostly unused.
Canyon between Old Globe, art museum and zoo has been mostly unused.
San Diego Zoo amphitheater where squawking birds and other animals perform.
San Diego Zoo amphitheater where exotic birds and other animals perform.
Trees cut down, making way for new road to a long-planned parking area.
Trees cut down, making way for new road to a long-planned parking area.
Hummingbird feeders in a tree directly behind the San Diego Museum of Art.
Hummingbird feeders in a tree directly behind the San Diego Museum of Art.

Here’s one of several identical signs that appeared nearby in November…

Sign posted in Balboa Park explains the Old Globe Way Renovation.
Sign posted in Balboa Park explains the Old Globe Way Renovation.

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

Dance, art, music and life in sunny Balboa Park.

House of Panama dancers practice Saturday morning in Balboa Park.
House of Panama dancers practice on a Saturday morning in Balboa Park.

I spend a lot of time in Balboa Park. It’s close to where I live, just north of downtown San Diego. It’s full of things to do and see. And it’s simply a wonderful place that makes me feel optimistic and alive.

My pleasant walk today took me once again into the park. As if by magic, I discovered dance, a play, music, bright works of art and a surprising someone I used to know years ago.

Members of Jane Austen Society in San Diego prepare to perform a play.
Members of Jane Austen Society in San Diego prepare to perform a play.
Scandalous play Lovers' Vows was referenced in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
Scandalous play Lovers’ Vows was referenced in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
Moonlight Serenade Orchestra practices at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Moonlight Serenade Orchestra practices at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Jazzy group rehearses Night and Day, Sweet Georgia Brown, and more!
Jazzy group rehearses Night and Day, Sweet Georgia Brown, and more!

That big happy dog is a frequent visitor to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. He’s the friend of Dr. Carol Williams, the civic organist! The musicians today were getting ready for Monday’s finale of the International Summer Organ Festival.

Kids, hula hoops and sunshine on El Prado in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Kids, hula hoops and sunshine on El Prado in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

I believe that’s the same hula-hooper who wore the Merry Solstice shirt in my December Nights blog post.

Flowers near the reflecting pool in front of the Botanical Building.
Flowers near the reflecting pool in front of the Botanical Building.
Bright greens and clear water attract my wandering camera lens.
Bright greens and clear water attract my wandering camera lens.
A daring pirate dangles beside the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A daring pirate dangles beside the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Falun Gong artwork emphasizes persecution in China.
Falun Gong artwork emphasizes overcoming persecution in China.
A homeless Chinese girl and sunflowers.
A homeless Chinese girl and sunflowers.

A friendly lady advocating for Falun Gong and protesting their persecution in China told me she believes in collective consciousness, and that the power of good thoughts around the world will eventually bring about positive change.

Glassblowers in Spanish Village remove red hot molten glass from furnace.
Glassblowers in Spanish Village remove red hot molten glass from furnace.
Photographer Dallas displays his fine work near the International Cottages.
Photographer Dallas displays his fine work near the International Cottages.

Dallas used to show his excellent photographs along the Embarcadero, just north of Seaport Village. I’d stop and chat from time to time and he’d tell me all about his interesting life experiences. One day he disappeared.

Today, many years later, I saw him again! He was among other artists showing his professional work on a patch of grass. It was great to see him again! His photography is truly top notch and depicts places he’s visited all around the world. Please check out his website!

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

Balboa Park carousel provides fun nostalgia.

Lady twists balloon creations near the historic Balboa Park carousel.
Lady twists balloon creations near the historic Balboa Park carousel.

Whenever I walk through Balboa Park, I almost always point my feet in the direction of the carousel.

There’s something just so innocent and joyful about the old merry-go-round. For generations it has faithfully awaited children of all ages at the north end of the park, right next to the San Diego Zoo. The whirling playful animals and marching organ music put a smile on my face and a lift in my spirit.

While the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel has been moved a few times, for exactly one hundred years–since the Panama-California Exposition of 1915–it has stood in Balboa Park. Today it is only one of two carousels west of the Mississippi that feature the nostalgic brass ring game. Lucky riders who grab a brass ring win a free ride!

People gaze at the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel on a summer day.
People gaze at the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel on a summer day.
The merry-go-round features 27 horses and 25 menagerie animals.
The merry-go-round features 27 horses and 25 menagerie animals.
A brightly painted carved wooden horse awaits a passenger.
A brightly painted carved wooden horse awaits a passenger.
The carousel has stood in Balboa Park for exactly one hundred years!
The carousel has stood in Balboa Park for exactly one hundred years!
Old items in building include a rowboat.
Old items in building include a rowboat.
A brass ring game is still played today.
A fun brass ring game is still played today.
Many generations have enjoyed this cheerful San Diego attraction.
Many generations have enjoyed this cheerful San Diego attraction.
Another view past a ride for very young children.
Another view past a ride for very young children.

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