Quiet morning walk into Balboa Park.

morning walk into balboa park

Here we are strolling eastward across the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park as the sun rises. To the left we see the California Tower, directly adjacent to the domed Museum of Man. During the day, the tower’s carrilon can be heard throughout the park marking time every 15 minutes. At noon the electronic chimes play a medley of beautiful music.

Many walkers and joggers love the peaceful morning atmosphere of wonderful Balboa Park.

Here's the same view during the day.
Here’s the same view during the day.

Beautiful hotels along the San Diego bayfront.

Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.
Beautiful hotels along San Diego Bay.

Visible in this photo, taken from the walking path at the south end of the Marriott Marina, are two prominent hotels on San Diego’s picturesque waterfront. To the left is the elegant Manchester Grand Hyatt, and in the center are the two curved, shining, sail-like buildings of the Marriott Marquis. On the far right you can see the north end of the long San Diego Convention Center.

After gazing awhile at the hundreds of sailboats and small yachts docked in the marina, you might head a short distance west to enjoy views of the grassy Embarcadero Marina Park South and its fishing pier on San Diego Bay.

San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
Two San Diego bayfront hotels seen through trees.
View of Hilton Hotel behind tall masts and trees.
View of Hilton San Diego Bayfront behind tall masts and trees.

You’ll find the Hilton on the other side of the San Diego Convention Center.

Hilton Hotel seen beyond Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Hilton hotel seen beyond San Diego Harbor Excursion ticket booth.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Marriott Hotel as seen from the bayside walkway.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
Looking north from the silvery Marriott toward the sandy Hyatt.
The two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.
One more look at the two Manchester Grand Hyatt towers.

Stairs up and down: Horton Plaza, Lyceum Theater.

Stairs head up into Horton Plaza. Lyceum entrance is below.
Stairs head up into Horton Plaza.  Lyceum entrance is below.

Just a few quick pics.  In the above one you can get a glimpse of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. In the photograph’s center are the main stairs that sweep upward into the Horton Plaza shopping center. The red building to the left has walkways on each level that provide fantastic views of the mall’s colorful, surprising interior.

During my walks I’ve taken many pics inside Horton Plaza. I’ll blog about that one day!

Near the north entrance of Horton Plaza.
Near the colorful main entrance of Horton Plaza.
Broad stairs ascend into San Diego's Horton Plaza.
Broad stairs ascend into San Diego’s unique Horton Plaza shopping mall.
Gazing down at unique entrance of the Lyceum Theatres.
Gazing down into the unique underground entrance of the Lyceum Theater.

Here’s a bonus pic I happened to take many months later…

Musician heads down stairs toward entrance of the Lyceum Theater.
Musician heads down stairs for a rehearsal.

Colorful animal obelisk in front of Horton Plaza!

colorful obelisk by horton plaza

Here’s a much better look at the obelisk in question. (See my last blog post.) It thrusts out of the ground right in front of Horton Plaza, marking the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater. Animals of the water, land and air, fashioned out of colorful tiles, frolic together in a mosaic beneath a smiling crescent moon!

This playful work of art and the beautiful architecture of the building behind it is just a small hint of the fun that awaits visitors inside the Horton Plaza shopping mall!

Looking down at the obelisk and Lyceum Theatre.
Looking down at the obelisk and underground entrance to Lyceum Theater.
A closer view of colorful tile fish on the Horton Plaza obelisk.
A closer view of artistic fish on the Horton Plaza obelisk.

Statues of historical figures in front of Horton Plaza.

horton plaza statue beside ticket lady

The lady in this ticket booth in front of Horton Plaza seems unconcerned that a dark silent person looms ominously beside her! That person, in the form of a statue, is Ernest Hahn.  He’s a famous San Diego developer and the driving force behind the popular Horton Plaza shopping mall.

What you see in the first pic is a colorful scene near the entrance of Horton Plaza. An obelisk with a tile mosaic juts out of the underground entrance to the Lyceum Theater, which is home of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. The domed building in the upper left corner of the photograph belongs to the Balboa Theatre.

Ernest Hahn statue by Horton Plaza.
Ernest Hahn statue by Horton Plaza.

Across from the statue of Ernest Hahn is a bronze representation of Alonzo Erastus Horton, a gold miner, shop owner, and finally an influential real estate developer in the second half of the 19th century. He purchased cheap land for development adjacent to San Diego Bay where ships docked, well south of the established settlement below the old Spanish presidio.  Alonzo Horton’s New Town had supplanted Old Town in importance by the beginning of the 20th century.

Statue of Alonzo Horton, who helped steer the course of San Diego's history.
Statue of Alonzo Horton, whose ambitious business plans helped to steer the course of San Diego’s history.
Alonzo E. Horton established New Town where downtown San Diego exists today.
Alonzo E. Horton established his New Town where downtown San Diego exists today.

The third statue stands a bit to the west, on the other side of Horton Square. You can find it in the shade of a tree. The figure is Pete Wilson, who served as San Diego mayor from 1971 to 1983. He went on to serve as United States Senator and governor of California.

Statue of Pete Wilson, a popular San Diego mayor and prominent political figure.
Statue of Pete Wilson, a popular San Diego mayor and prominent political figure.

San Diego’s landmark El Cortez Hotel.

san diego's landmark el cortez hotel

The historic El Cortez Hotel, now converted into condominiums, has been an iconic landmark in San Diego since 1926. Decades before gleaming skyscrapers rose to shape our modern skyline, the El Cortez dominated Cortez Hill and was the city’s tallest building.

The large sign on top, illuminated at night, brightly flashes the sequenced letters of “El Cortez” like a beacon out of the past. The El Cortez years ago had the world’s very first outside glass elevator. Known as the Starlight Express, the elevator brought visitors to the hotel’s penthouse restaurant, which featured amazing views of the growing city and the bay below. The hotel also had the world’s first motorized moving sidewalk!

I live several blocks from this wonderful building and love to gaze at it whenever I walk or drive past!

Looking up at the famous El Cortez sign.
Here’s the famous El Cortez sign.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
The elegant front entrance of the El Cortez.
Looking up at the stately old building.
Looking up at the stately old building.

A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.

A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.
A beautiful photo of reflection in Balboa Park.

I like this photo…even though an optical illusion makes it appear a bit tilted!

This was taken in the early morning from the short walkway that passes over Balboa Park’s shimmering reflecting pool. You are looking toward the splendid Spanish Colonial Revival buildings on El Prado.

Later in the morning, when the world has yawned, stretched and put on its shoes, people will be sitting on the white benches. Children will be standing at the pond’s edge, gazing down at Japanese Koi and myriad other critters in the water. An older gentleman will probably be heard nearby, playing Mariachi music with his guitar. And dozens of photographs will be taken. Each as beautiful as this one!

Here are some additional pics taken at various times…

View of the entire reflecting pool from the Botanical Building.
View of the entire reflecting pool from the Botanical Building.
Side view of the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
Side view of the Balboa Park’s reflecting pool.
Photographer at work beside Balboa Park's reflecting pool.
Photographer at work beside the beautiful water.