Amazing, monumental The Shell nears completion!

Oh my goodness! Look at these photos! I took them today during a walk along San Diego’s waterfront, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

San Diego Symphony’s monumental The Shell is nearing completion and it’s more amazing than I anticipated!

As I understand it, the San Diego’s Symphony’s popular summer concerts will resume this year, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the very first time, Bayside Summer Nights will be held at this permanent outdoor venue.

I spoke to a construction worker and he said the project is indeed nearing completion. I could see that landscaping is now underway, and that most of the structures seem about ready to go.

If you’d like to compare how the project appeared in late 2019, as it was just getting started, you can check out photos I took here. At the time the venue was referred to as Bayside Performance Park.

Today this outdoor stage, the only venue of its kind on the West Coast, whose acoustic quality is said to be as good as any indoor concert hall, and whose white “shell” is made of the same material as the San Diego Convention Center’s iconic sails, is simply called The Shell.

As I walked outside the construction fence peering at The Shell, I could immediately see that this extraordinary landmark will help further distinguish San Diego from every other city in the world, and is destined to become a beloved part of the already beautiful 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!

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!

An extraordinary Mercado del Barrio mural.

One of the most extraordinary pieces of public art in San Diego is small and seen by few. It’s located in Barrio Logan’s Mercado del Barrio, near the entrance to the Estrella Del Mercado Apartments.

The beautiful mosaic mural, made of sculpted clay tiles and found objects, was created by Betsy K. Schulz in 2012 with the help of Perkins Elementary students, whose written thoughts can be read in the roots of a tree.

I posted a photo of this mural (and various others) almost seven years ago here during a walk around the new Mercado del Barrio. When I walked past the mosaic a couple weeks ago, I was so struck by its beauty that I had to take these close up photos.

To learn more about this extraordinary mosaic mural, that “celebrates our community’s past and the children’s hopes for the future,” visit artist Betsy Schulz’s website 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!

Nature’s wonders at Ranch House Crossing.

I spent nearly the entire day walking. Part of my journey was through a small part of the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.

Even my short, easy hike at Los Peñasquitos Creek just west of Black Mountain Road was awe-inspiring.

As I walked beside the water at the Ranch House Crossing, nature’s wonders enveloped me. The overhanging oaks and willows, their thirsty roots, sunlight in fluttering leaves….

Put on a pair of sturdy shoes and see for yourself!

Benthic organisms, or bottom dwellers, such as water snails and freshwater clams are a good indicator of the water quality in the stream.
A riffle is an area where the water is shallow and moves fast. Rounded stones called cobbles are formed by ages of tumbling and water wear.

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!

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!