Colorful art on a downtown San Diego street.

Colorful art on a downtown San Diego street.
Colorful art on a downtown San Diego street.

You can find this colorful artwork on the side of a building on Tenth Avenue as you enter downtown San Diego from Highway 163.

Looks to me like the artist has inserted architectural elements from the California missions into a Mediterranean scene.

Looking down the sidewalk where the mural is located.
Looking down the sidewalk where the mural is located.

Beautiful color and art at Broadway Pier.

Roof of Broadway Pier Port Pavilion and clouds in blue sky.
Roof of Broadway Pier’s beautiful Port Pavilion and clouds in blue sky.

I really like the above photo.  That’s the rooftop of the relatively new Port Pavilion at San Diego’s Broadway Pier.  I got this colorful pic while standing to the south on nearby Navy Pier.

Until recently the Broadway Pier was a bit barren.  Years ago I remember a small two-level observation structure in the middle, with some potted trees arranged about it.

The pier itself was built in 1919.  It has been used by the Navy, the local fishing fleet, and even the royal yacht Britannia during a visit in 1983 by Queen Elizabeth.  Today the pavilion accommodates special events and cruise ships.

Broadway Pier and downtown San Diego skyscrapers.
Broadway Pier and downtown San Diego skyscrapers.

This second photo puts that rooftop in context.  What a gorgeous December day!

Here comes a third pic taken on a summer day. The silvery stainless steel artwork on the building’s facade was created by internationally renowned artist and lighting designer Leni Schwendinger. It’s called Tidal Radiance.

The shining public art appears like sunlight reflected from rippling water. It also lights up at night.

Front of Broadway Pier structure faces Harbor Drive.
Tidal Radiance on front of Port Pavilion, facing Harbor Drive.

Here’s another pic taken on a later day just for fun…

Pier pilings, harbor cruise boat and the beautiful pavilion.
Water, pier piles, harbor cruise boat and the beautiful pavilion.

And, finally, two more! The last photo, taken in early October 2014, shows colorful umbrellas and tables recently added near the foot of the Broadway Pier.

Very nice!

Altered photo of the glittering Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.
Altered photo of the glittering Tidal Radiance.
Tables and umbrellas have been added near the foot of the Broadway Pier.
Tables and umbrellas have been added near the foot of the Broadway Pier.

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!

Cabrillo National Monument centennial photos!

01 People near Visitor Center enjoy Cabrillo National Monument's centennial event.
People near Visitor Center enjoy Cabrillo National Monument’s centennial.

Here are some pics I took Sunday during the second day of Cabrillo National Monument’s centennial celebration.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the tip of the Point Loma peninsula. The hilly peninsula helps to enclose San Diego Bay and is a perfect lookout over both the ocean and harbor. The park includes most notably the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse and a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that was commissioned by the Portuguese government in 1939. It also includes military bunkers that were used to protect the bay during World War II, and a very popular whale-watching lookout.

The park this year turned one hundred years old. In 1913 Woodrow Wilson reserved a portion of Fort Rosecrans on the Point Loma peninsula for a statue of Cabrillo. Unfortunately, a statue was not immediately forthcoming, and the park’s development became the work of many decades.

The work in progress continues today. My last visit was a few years ago, and this time I noticed many big changes and improvements!

The first photo shows a bunch of people near the Visitor Center, on the walkway that leads out to the Cabrillo statue.

02 Nonprofit organizations display info in front of Visitor Center for Cabrillo centennial.
Various informative displays in front of Visitor Center for the centennial event.

For the centennial event, many community and government organizations had exhibits near the entrance to the Visitor Center. This pic shows what appeared to be the most popular table. The friendly lady had numerous snakes that fascinated young and old alike.

03 Yummy centennial cake was served to all park visitors.
Yummy centennial cake was served to all park visitors.

Everybody enjoyed a small slice of birthday cake!

04 Statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo overlooks the ocean.
Statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo overlooks the ocean.

Here’s the iconic statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the Portuguese explorer who sailed into San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain nearly five hundred years ago. It stands not far from the Visitor Center overlooking both the bay and Pacific Ocean.

05 Park sign shows where Cabrillo entered San Diego Bay in 1542.
Park sign shows where Cabrillo entered San Diego Bay in 1542.
06 Distant view of Cabrillo statue and Coronado Island.
Distant view of Cabrillo statue and Coronado Island.

As I walked up the hill to observe a reenacted air raid drill from World War II, I looked back at this beautiful view. Great views can be had at Cabrillo National Monument looking in almost any direction!

07 Tents of Army camp set up as historical reenactment.
Tents of Army camp set up as historical reenactment.

These tents and some nearby vehicles were on display for the centennial. During World War II, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, many feared an attack on San Diego. So defenses were quickly erected. In addition to a number of observation bunkers, a few gun emplacements were situated along the end of Point Loma to defend the mainland and bay.

A small museum nearby includes many photographs, recordings and artifacts from that period in San Diego’s history.

08 Mock air raid drill recalls duties during World War II.
Mock air raid drill recalls duties during World War II.

At eleven o’clock, a mock air raid was staged! An aircraft from nearby Naval Air Station North Island swept over the bluffs as World War II veterans and enthusiasts looked on from the hilltop near some old bunkers.

09 Visitors head down into Battery E bunker where a watch was kept during World War II.
Visitors head into Battery E bunker used during World War II.

After the air raid, we all took turns going down into Battery E.

10 A look inside Battery E and equipment to sight enemy ships.
A look inside Battery E and equipment to sight enemy ships.

We were surprised at what we found! The flash of my camera illuminated the small semi-dark bunker, capturing this instrument used to scan the horizon for Japanese warships during World War II.

11 A chart inside the bunker identifies Japanese warships.
A chart inside the bunker identifies Japanese warships.

Down a nearby ladder was a second small room containing beds for those who stood watch at all hours.

12 People walk toward the old Cabrillo lighthouse.
People walk toward the old Cabrillo lighthouse.

A short distance from Battery E is the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse. From 1855 to 1891 it stood as a beacon for those entering San Diego Bay, before being replaced by an automated lighthouse down near the water. This old lighthouse is one of San Diego’s most well-known sights!

13 A small museum by the lighthouse includes the original Fresnel lens.
A museum by the old lighthouse includes the first Fresnel lens to be used by the automated New Point Loma Lighthouse.

A small museum near the lighthouse’s entrance is worth a quick look. It includes an amazing Fresnel lens that magnified light to help sailors out at sea.

14 The front of the historic lighthouse and the large rainwater basin.
Front of the historic lighthouse and its large rainwater basin.

A large flat area in front of the lighthouse was used by the keeper and his family to capture rainwater. Back then this lighthouse stood isolated, far from the small town across the water that grew into metropolitan San Diego.

15 Recreated family room in Cabrillo lighthouse includes a Christmas tree.
Recreated family room in Cabrillo lighthouse includes Christmas tree.

Several furnished rooms in the lighthouse are on display behind glass. Very little space was available to accommodate the keeper and his family. In addition to this main room, there’s a kitchen area, closet, and two bedrooms up the winding stairs.

16 Looking down winding stairs from top of Cabrillo lighthouse.
Looking down winding stairs from top of Cabrillo lighthouse.

Speaking of the stairs, I couldn’t resist taking this pic!

17 Another view of Point Loma's historic old lighthouse.
Another view of Point Loma’s historic old lighthouse.

Another great look.

18 Grey whale sculpture near Pacific Ocean overlook.
Grey whale sculpture near Pacific Ocean overlook.

Interesting sculptures, artwork and signs can be found at the Pacific Ocean overlook. During the winter months, you can see gray whales spouting as they travel between the Arctic and Baja California.

19 A good place to spot migrating grey whales during the winter months.
A good place to spot migrating gray whales during the winter months.

You can see where the tidepools are below. I didn’t go down to the water on this trip, but it’s a fun place to see all sorts of sea creatures!

20 Walking down to Bayside Trail and folks who will talk about history.
Walking down to Bayside Trail and folks who will talk about history.

At noon there was a guided hike down the Bayside Trail. We walked down a short road to the trailhead, where an old military truck waited with some folks dressed in historic uniforms. They would show us some interesting stuff down the trail.

21 A group walks down the Cabrillo Bayside Trail on a beautiful December day.
Group walks down Cabrillo Bayside Trail on a December day.

Here we go down the Bayside Trail. The lady park ranger showed us a large number of native plants, including Coastal Sage, Lemonade Berry, Prickly Pear and more. The flora you see here is what is natural to the area. San Diego is located in a semi-arid zone, with very little precipitation. Most of the trees and other plants you see around town are not native.

22 Talking about a spotlight that protected San Diego Bay during World War II.
A spotlight protected San Diego Bay during World War II.

We’ve come to a small structure built into the hillside that houses an old electric spotlight. The huge lamp was used to watch the San Diego Bay’s entrance during World War II. It rolled out on a pair of tracks and plugged into an outlet that you can see by the trail.

23 Inside the small structure we look at the huge wartime spotlight.
Inside the small structure we look at the huge wartime spotlight.

My camera’s flash brightly illuminated the old spotlight inside.

24 Further down the trail is the spotlight's generator building.
Further down the trail is the spotlight’s generator building.

Now we’ve walked down to the electrical generator building–really just two small empty rooms. Usually these structures are closed to the public.

25 Rounding a corner of the sandstone cliff San Diego comes into view.
Rounding a corner of the sandstone cliff San Diego comes into view.

The group turned back, but I walked on…

26 America's Cup boat Abracadabra sails down the San Diego channel.
America’s Cup boat Abracadabra sails down the San Diego channel.

And I was rewarded with this view. Having lived in San Diego a good many years, I recognized the large sailboat leaving San Diego Bay. It’s the Abracadabra, a boat used in a past America’s Cup. I also spotted the Stars and Stripes, just out of this picture.

Beyond downtown San Diego I could see numerous mountains, from Cuyamaca on down to Otay. When it snows in the mountains, San Diego has a snow-capped backdrop viewed from here!

27 One last fond look at the beautiful Cabrillo National Monument lighthouse.
One last fond look at the beautiful Cabrillo National Monument lighthouse.

One last look!

Cabrillo’s galleon San Salvador returns from past!

01 Cabrillo's flagship San Salvador being built on Spanish Landing.
Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador being built on Spanish Landing.

Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain in 1542.  His flagship was a galleon named San Salvador.  Today, almost 500 years later, a replica of the historic ship is being built on Spanish Landing, across from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.  The ship is coming alive with the help of hard work from San Diego Maritime Museum volunteers, and it’s scheduled to be launched next year!  It will soon be another cool sight on the Embarcadero!

As you can see from this first photo, a great deal of progress has been made on the hull.  The detailed San Salvador recreation will be seaworthy and will sail out onto the broad ocean!  As it passes Point Loma, it will look like the ghost of Cabrillo has returned!  I remember seeing the hull about a year ago when there were only four or five “ribs” visible.

The public can visit the San Salvador build site.  You’ll see not only the ship, but various items of related interest, including the tools used centuries ago to construct a large galleon.

02 Another view of San Salvador ship replica build site.
Another view of San Salvador ship replica build site.

The walkway you see on the left runs the length of Spanish Landing, behind Harbor Island.

03 Maritime Museum volunteer works on San Salvador ship.
Maritime Museum volunteer works on San Salvador ship.

Several volunteers were working on the galleon.  Colorful banners were flying in the gentle sea breeze.

04 Blacksmith tools are some of the sights near the San Salvador.
Blacksmith tools are some of the sights near the San Salvador.

Lots of interesting stuff can be found about the build site.  Nobody was visiting at the moment, so this pic looks kind of empty.  I was told buses full of school kids often come by on educational field trips.

05 Volunteers work on the wooden hull of Maritime Museum's San Salvador ship.
Volunteers work on the wooden hull of Maritime Museum’s San Salvador ship.
06 Recreation of Kumeyaay village at San Salvador build site.
Recreation of Kumeyaay village at San Salvador build site.

This is the kind of primitive structure native San Diegans lived in at the time of Cabrillo’s “discovery” of the bay.

07 Working on the spars under Harbor Drive's boat channel bridge.
Working on the spars under Harbor Drive’s boat channel bridge.

This friendly lady greeted me as I walked under the Harbor Drive bridge.  She smiled for a photo.  She told me she was working on the ship’s spars for the sails.  I didn’t hear her words precisely, but I believe she’s coating them with linseed oil.

She asked if I wanted to volunteer.  A guy I met later asked the same thing!  They’d appreciate any help they can get!

08 Scraps of wood used to build replica of Cabrillo's historic ship.
Scraps of wood used to build replica of Cabrillo’s historic ship.

All this wood is being used in various ways by the shipbuilders.  It looks like a big lumber yard on the other side of Harbor Drive!

09 View of replica San Salvador from opposite side of Harbor Drive.
View of replica San Salvador from opposite side of Harbor Drive.

Lots of Balboa Park December Nights photos!

Here comes a batch of photos taken Friday afternoon and early evening at 2013 December Nights.  If you haven’t been to Balboa Park’s massive holiday festival, you’re really missing out.  Hundreds of thousands of people turn out during the two day event, enjoying colorful lights, decorations, music, Christmas carols, food, entertainment, and just a whole bunch of fun.  Every corner of the park is crammed with stuff to see and do.  And it seems half of San Diego comes out to experience it all!

Some might recall that December Nights was once called Christmas on the Prado.  Fortunately, the event is as joyful, bright, inspirational and heart-warming as ever.  And the crowds seem bigger than ever!

Vendors set up festive booths in courtyard in front of the Museum of Man.
Vendors set up festive booths in courtyard in front of the Museum of Man.
Front of the Old Globe Theatre features a banner of the Dr. Seuss Grinch.
Front of the Old Globe Theatre features a banner of the Dr. Seuss Grinch.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas holiday tree in Balboa Park's theatre complex.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas holiday tree in theatre complex.
Getting ready for the evening crowds in Balboa Park's central plaza on Friday afternoon of December Nights.
Getting ready for crowds in Balboa Park’s central plaza on Friday afternoon.
Funnel cakes, lemonade and kettle corn for the holidays!
Funnel cakes, lemonade and kettle corn for the holidays!
December Nights crowd grows in Spanish Village by late afternoon.
December Nights crowd grows in Spanish Village by late afternoon.
Santa awaits beyond colorful decorations in Spanish Village.
Santa awaits beyond colorful decorations in Spanish Village.
An enormous Christmas tree decorates the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Enormous Christmas tree decorates the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One nativity scene in the large creche at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One nativity scene in the large creche at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Tijuana school kids dressed as vaqueros and angels wait to perform at December Nights.
Tijuana school kids dressed as vaqueros and angels wait to perform.
Children perform in front of big Christmas tree on Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
Children perform by big Christmas tree on Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
The December Nights fun zone rides will become more active after dark.
The December Nights fun zone rides will become more active after dark.
This guy's shirt wishes everyone a Merry Solstice.
This guy’s shirt wishes everyone a Merry Solstice.
Food and yummy smells can be found all over Balboa Park.
Food and yummy smells can be found all over Balboa Park.
Sunset nears and the tower atop the San Diego Junior Theatre building turns gold.
Sunset nears and the tower atop San Diego Junior Theatre building turns gold.
A December day fades above Balboa Park and the clouds are tinged with color.
A December day fades above Balboa Park and the clouds are tinged with color.
Now the evening crowd is really growing at December Nights!
Now the evening crowd is really growing at December Nights!
Glee Club of Australia kids sing and dance in Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Glee Club of Australia kids sing and dance in Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One of several Santas in Balboa Park.
One of several Santas in Balboa Park.
San Diego Junior Theatre kids sing Christmas carols.
San Diego Junior Theatre kids sing Christmas carols.
Balboa Park Miniature Train in front of San Diego Zoo lit up with Christmas lights.
Balboa Park Miniature Train in front of San Diego Zoo lit with Christmas lights.
Balboa Park fountain and Natural History Museum illuminated for December Nights.
Balboa Park fountain and Natural History Museum lit up for December Nights.

Grounded warship signals Seasons Greetings.

USS Recruit with Seasons Greetings sign.
USS Recruit with Seasons Greetings sign.

How did this guided missile frigate end up sitting on the ground? Why does it have a tinsel sign that spells out Seasons Greetings? Did Santa drop it like an oversized toy from the sky?

This unusual sight is often glimpsed by San Diegans motoring along Harbor Drive between downtown and Point Loma. Built right there on the ground in 1949 to train Navy recruits, today this two-thirds model of a real warship is situated at the southwest end of the redeveloped NTC Liberty Station. The landlocked “non-ship” is officially named the USS Recruit and was originally modeled after a destroyer, and commissioned as a regular Navy ship!

Nicknamed by sailors the USS Neversail, she’s become something of a San Diego landmark. And every year around Christmas she wishes passersby a happy holiday!

UPDATE!

Here are a few pics taken during a walk in late September of 2014. The USS Recruit appears to be awaiting a new coat of paint!

Beautification in progress in late September 2014.
Beautification in progress in late September 2014.
Scaffolding along the side of the weathered old USS Recruit in Point Loma.
Scaffolding along the side of the weathered old USS Recruit in Point Loma.
A bicyclist passing the USS Recruit heads into Liberty Station.
A bicyclist passing the USS Recruit heads into Liberty Station.

I walked past the USS Recruit in early March, 2015. The ship has a new paint job! Of course, I had to take more photos…

This model of a destroyer escort helped instruct as many as 50,000 naval recruits annually in basic naval procedure. The Recruit was the Navy's only commissioned ship never to reach water.
This model of a destroyer escort helped instruct as many as 50,000 naval recruits annually in basic naval procedure. The Recruit was the Navy’s only commissioned ship never to reach water.
People walk past the newly painted USS Recruit near Liberty Station.
People walk past the newly painted USS Recruit at one end of Liberty Station.
Nicknamed the USS Neversail, this ship is an unusual sight that captures the attention of visitors to San Diego.
Nicknamed the USS Neversail, this ship is an unusual sight that captures the attention of visitors to San Diego.