History mosaics at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

Eight extraordinary mosaics decorate two sides of the Chase Bank at Mission Bay Drive and Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Six of the mosaics depict figures representing San Diego history; the other two show delightful scenes unique to our city.

This beautiful public artwork was the creation of Millard Owen Sheets, who in the mid-20th century designed Home Savings Bank branch buildings around Southern California. Sheets Studio in Claremont, California employed a team of artists that produced numerous amazing mosaics for the buildings, one of which Chase Bank now occupies. You can see another very fine example in Coronado, which I blogged about here.

These eight mosaics set in travertine were created in 1977. Like the mosaics that were created for other bank branches, they celebrate the local community’s unique heritage.

These mosaics–at least one–appear specifically to be the work of Sheets Studio artist Susan Hertel. The initial S.H. can be seen in the corner of the mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

Mosaic depicting a Native American.
Mosaic depicting a Spanish explorer.
Mosaic depicting a Californio.
Mosaic depicting a frontiersman or 49er.
Mosaic depicting a tuna fisherman.
Mosaic depicting a construction worker or shipbuilder.
Mosaic titled The Harbor.
Mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

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!

Revisiting some strange, weird, bizarre stuff!

Over the years, I’ve shared photographs of some really weird stuff!

Given how I just blogged about a yellow bison on a Golden Hill rooftop, and how I recently posted photos of that goofy Wienerschnitzel street art in Imperial Beach, I thought I’d revisit other examples of strange, weird, wonderfully bizarre stuff that have appeared on Cool San Diego Sights!

In addition to viewing artwork that’s highly unusual, by clicking the following links you’ll feast your eyeballs on crazy cosplay, bizarre cars, flamethrowing bagpipes, a cattle drive through downtown San Diego, and other wacky stuff!

Click the following links to see these oddities!

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

Strange, bizarre cars of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Cleverly designed furniture is surprising, playful art!

Amazing, fantastic, crazy cosplay everywhere!

Street musician plays flamethrower bagpipes!

Photos of cattle drive through downtown San Diego!

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

A (strange) Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes!

World’s most amazing car, displayed in San Diego!

Bart Club street art on a San Diego corner.

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.

Big surf at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

A sunny, very warm winter Sunday.

Big surf.

High tide.

A perfect combination for some dramatic photographs at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

Many others had gathered at viewpoints above the tidepools and at Cuvier Park to watch distant surfers catch some amazing waves, and to gasp as huge geysers of foaming water crashed against the offshore rocks and rugged sandstone cliffs!

La Jolla is indeed one of the most beautiful places anywhere.

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!

Amazing look at a gray whale off San Diego!

Today I went on an amazing winter whale watching adventure!

We were able to watch a gray whale as it migrated south toward Mexico along the coast of San Diego!

I and other passengers aboard the Adventure Hornblower tour ship left San Diego Bay as the sun broke through morning clouds, and we set about searching for whales and other marine wildlife off Point Loma.

Not only did we get a great view of a gray whale repeatedly surfacing, spouting, then fluking before its longer dives, but we spotted a pod of feeding dolphins out on the beautiful Pacific Ocean, too!

I must say the crew of the Adventure Hornblower was super nice and provided a really memorable experience!

Here come my photographs…

As I waited on the Embarcadero for our departure, I was able to rest on a bench and regard our whale watching ship, the Adventure Hornblower.
Looking back at the city as we head across San Diego Bay toward the ocean.
As we cruised down the channel, we got a good look at beautiful Point Loma.
I see two iconic landmarks in San Diego! The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and the slender statue of Cabrillo to the right of those Torrey Pine trees.
The end of the Point Loma peninsula. We’re almost out on the wide Pacific Ocean!
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect early January day. It was a good idea to wear layers and a jacket, however!
Here and there you’d see other boats out on the blue ocean. Those hazy mountains way in the distance are in Mexico.
This big fantastic sailboat had reported seeing a whale. The captains of competing tours cooperate out on the water, sharing their sightings, for the benefit of all.
We’re slowly, carefully nearing a solitary gray whale as it journeys through the ocean.
A spout! The passengers all rushed forward!
Our first look at a fluke!
This gray whale has lots of barnacles! Hence the gray appearance.
We keep following at a safe distance, not wanting to disturb a graceful giant of the deep.
Wow! A great zoom photo of a spout!
The gray whale has spouted, leaving a watery mist above. The enormous mammal begins to dive under again.
Another fluke, which means the gray whale will be submerged for perhaps five minutes.
As we head back in to San Diego after a couple of amazing hours on the ocean, we pass many sailboats heading out. Beyond the one in this photo is Point Loma’s modern lighthouse, down near the water.
The hazy downtown skyline is up ahead in the distance, on the other side of Coronado.
After entering San Diego Bay, we slowly swung by the live bait barge to check out lots of sea lions.
What a life. Catch a few fish, take a lazy nap in the San Diego sunshine.
Getting closer to home.
Back at the Embarcadero. That’s the Coronado Ferry about to dock in front of us.

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!

The Wall Speaks: photos of amazing Escondido mural!

An extraordinary 180 feet long mural was painted in Escondido, California last year. The mural celebrates the rich culture and history of this city in San Diego’s inland North County.

The mural is titled The Wall Speaks. It was created by artists and long-time Escondido residents Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters. You can find it along a winding pathway next to a low wall outside the Escondido Community Child Development Center, located at 9th Avenue and Tulip Street.

I headed up to Escondido yesterday to view this colorful artwork, which I’ve heard about on several occasions. It was well worth the trip! I started taking photos on the right side of the very long mural, and worked my way to the left.

Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Daley Ranch.
Daley Ranch.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Rube's Fabulous Country Corner store.
Rube’s Fabulous Country Corner store.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Cruisin' Grand.
Cruisin’ Grand.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia's Magical Circle.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Felicita County Park.
Felicita County Park.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Dam.
Lake Hodges Dam.

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!

Amazing sunset from Balboa Park’s West Mesa!

Would you like to see some amazing sunset photos?

I happened to be in the right place at the right time as the sun set this evening. I was walking along Balboa Park’s West Mesa, looking up at lace-like, brightly lit clouds, when color began to seep into the sky.

As I continued south the sun descended. When I reached Marston Point, the sun’s last red rays peeped over Point Loma in the distance.

In some of these photos you can see not only the nearby buildings of Bankers Hill, but distant Point Loma, and glimpses of San Diego Bay and even North Island. In one photograph you can see a small part of the downtown skyline.

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!

Lights brighten the night on The Boulevard.

Last night, very early in the morning, I took photographs of interesting “lights” in the vicinity of the iconic “The Boulevard” landmark sign, near the west end of historic El Cajon Boulevard.

The next photo is of an illuminated mural that depicts ostriches, which are symbols of the University Heights community. Many years ago University Heights was home to an ostrich farm! This fun mural can be found at the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue.

As I headed north up the sidewalk, a glowing Eye of Buddha gazed mysteriously down upon me! The sign hovers above a small strip mall at the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard.

I then crossed El Cajon Boulevard and Park Boulevard to take a good photo of an absolutely extraordinary sign.

The wonderful Frank the Trainman neon sign is an iconic sight in itself, a beloved little landmark that San Diego residents treasure.

It can be seen at the south end of a building that features another amazing work of art. At its back, on a large wall that very few people see, is a mural painted by internationally recognized Chicano artist Mario Torero.

Photos of the mural, called Cosmic Train of Wisdom, can be seen here! (You can also see a photo I once took of the Frank the Trainman neon sign during the daytime.)

I then started east down El Cajon Boulevard. My walk was quite early in the morning with few cars and people about.

Mysterious globes of light seem suspended in a window ahead…

It’s the very cool BLVD North Park Apartments building. Light coming through an interesting structure at the front entrance spells out one gigantic BLVD!

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!

Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, 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!

Riding the world’s first outdoor glass elevator!

If you’re familiar with the history of the El Cortez in downtown San Diego, you probably know it featured the world’s very first outdoor glass elevator. (Although I’ve also seen information that says it was the first such elevator in the United States, second in the world.)

Based on an idea suggested by a hotel bellboy, an outdoor glass elevator, called the Starlight Express, was installed in 1956 on the side of the El Cortez Hotel, then the highest building in San Diego. People from all around Southern California would converge on the elegant hotel to be swept dizzily skyward to the chic Starlight Room restaurant on the twelfth floor.

Today I came across a black and white 1956 newsreel that has been released by Universal City Studios into the public domain. It shows thrilled passengers going up and down what was then the brand new, incredible, jaw-dropping Starlight Express!

Check out the “futuristic” costume (uniform?) of the smiling elevator operator! And check out how downtown San Diego appeared in the 1950s. A bit different than today, right?

I snipped sequential images from the old newsreel so you can enjoy a fun look!

By the way, the El Cortez Hotel also featured the world’s first moving sidewalk! You know–the sort of thing you might stand on in an airport terminal or at an amusement park. It was called the Travolator. Both the Starlight Express and Travolator were removed many years ago.

Read much more about the El Cortez and its extraordinary history in this detailed Wikipedia article. Among other things, you’ll learn how this Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style landmark was built on property once owned by a son of President Ulysses S. Grant, how a third of San Diego’s population showed up for the hotel’s opening day, and how it had an anti-aircraft battery on its roof during World War II!

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!

Amazing views on La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail.

The short but incredibly scenic Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla winds along the Pacific Ocean from the Cave Store on Coast Boulevard to Torrey Pines Road. You can find it by walking east up the hill from La Jolla Cove. Google Maps shows the trail.

Should your feet move down the Coast Walk, heading east, a short distance beyond rocky Goldfish Point, these photographs provide an idea of the breathtaking views you’ll likely experience…

We are the most perfect song.
The Coast Walk Trail follows the edge of high sandstone bluffs. It offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla Shores and the more distant cliffs of Torrey Pines.
Sign asks those who walk by to help save this historic Coast Walk Trail.
Sections of the Coast Walk follow a white wooden fence.
Gazing back at the 200-foot high sandstone bluffs where we walked a few photos back. You can make out some of the seven different La Jolla Caves that can be visited from the ocean.
Kayakers gather in the distance off Goldfish Point not far from the watery entrance to famous Sunny Jim Cave.
A couple enjoys the view east, toward La Jolla Shores.
Several kayakers paddle across the ocean, just off the rocks down below!
Another photo back toward the 75 million years old eroded sandstone cliffs, the La Jolla Caves and Goldfish Point.
As I near the east end of the Coast Walk Trail, I find a perfect bench with an incredible view.
A very beautiful and inspiring place to be.
Waves curling in brush white foam across the deep blue.
In a few places, at the cliff’s edge, if you aren’t afraid of sheer drops and dizzying heights, you can look straight down and see underwater features!
An amazing view from the east end of the Coast Walk Trail in La Jolla.

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!