Cabrillo’s galleon sails in Civic Center Plaza.

cabrillo's galleon san salvador sails in civic center plaza

Walking recently through San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza, I enjoyed a variety of historical images and colorful designs inlaid in the central courtyard.

Check out Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s galleon the San Salvador. In 1542, the Portuguese explorer discovered San Diego Bay on behalf of Spain while searching for a mythical water route across North America.

An actual working replica of the San Salvador is being built by the San Diego Maritime Museum. One of these days I’ll walk north along the bay to Spanish Landing in order to take some pics!

Wider view of Civic Center Plaza.
Wider view of Civic Center Plaza.

Homecoming statue on Greatest Generation Walk.

homecoming statue on greatest generation walk

I love this statue. It’s located on the Embarcadero a little south of the USS Midway, just off a bike and pedestrian path, in an area called the Greatest Generation Walk. Other statues, plaques and memorials can be found in the vicinity, but this bronze sculpture expresses such genuine feeling and humanity, it’s hard to take one’s eyes from it.

It’s called Homecoming. It depicts a sailor newly returned from deployment, reunited with his wife and small child. It’s a scene often televised by local news stations. San Diego is home to several large Navy bases, and is the homeport of many naval ships.

The artist who created this is named Stanley Bleifeld. According to the Port of San Diego website, this sculpture is identical to the artist’s original work, which is featured at the entrance to the Naval Heritage Center next to the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

View of touching public art from different direction.
View of touching public art from different direction.
Love and thankfulness depicted on face of a Navy wife.
Love and thankfulness depicted on face of a Navy wife.
Sailor's expression of love.
Sailor’s expression of love.
Child is happy that Dad is home from deployment.
Child is happy that Dad is home from deployment.
Woman photographs Homecoming sculpture.
Woman photographs Homecoming sculpture.

Seaport Village portrait artist draws faces.

seaport village portrait artist at work

A whole variety of street performers, entertainers, psychics and artists can be found along the path that separates Seaport Village from Embarcadero Marina Park North. It’s a lively scene, especially during the summer. I snapped a great photo of a portrait artist sketching the faces of a couple who were seated together. Some of the artists seem more skilled than others; some paint, some draw, some do cartoons and caricatures.

The following pic is from another sunny summer day…

Street artist by Seaport Village paints kids sitting on wall near the bay.
Street artist by Seaport Village paints kids sitting on wall near the bay.

Join me on Facebook or Twitter!

Henna tattoo body art at Seaport Village.

henna tattoo body art at seaport village

Just steps from the Seaport Village carousel and Ben and Jerry’s you’ll find a henna tattoo artist. They must’ve been out to lunch when I walked by. But it was interesting to check out the display of possible designs and the table full of colorful materials.

Another pic taken on a day the artist was at work:

Henna tattoo applied to arm of Seaport Village visitor.
Henna tattoo applied to arm of Seaport Village visitor.

And then, one day, I took another stroll through Seaport Village…

I learned the henna tattoo artist is named Natasha! Great smile!
I learned the henna tattoo artist is named Natasha! Great smile!

Click to follow the Cool San Diego Sights blog on Twitter or Facebook!

Public art shows Coronado’s Tent City.

public art shows history of coronado island

“Imagine Tent City” is a cool bit of public art I discovered while walking along Coronado’s Glorietta Bay. The artwork is composed of photographic images arranged like a mosaic, embedded in ceramic tiles. It depicts the historic Tent City, which was a popular tourist destination for many years just south of the Hotel Del Coronado.

Established in 1900 by entrepreneur John D. Spreckels, the beach tents could be reached by Coronado Belt Line trains operated by the Coronado Railroad Company, running from San Diego around the bay and up the narrow Silver Strand. (Coronado is technically a peninsula, not an island.) The tracks have since been replaced by a very popular bike and pedestrian pathway.

mosaic of old photos shows coronado history

Here’s a pic taken from the south side, walking toward the Hotel Del Coronado’s old Boathouse. The building you see is part of the Coronado Shores condo complex.

And here’s a bunch more cool pics I took at the beginning of 2015…

Imagine Tent City was created by artist Todd Stands.
Imagine Tent City was created by artist Todd Stands.
Water skiing in the past, and present-day boats in Glorietta Bay Marina.
Water skiing in the past, and present-day boats in Glorietta Bay Marina.
Two ladies row a pleasure boat.
Two ladies row a pleasure boat.
Kids prepare to jump into the water!
Kids prepare to jump into the water!
Sailor and sweetheart beside a beach tent.
Sailor and sweetheart beside a beach tent.
Old photographic portrait and postcard of Tent City.
Old photographic portrait and postcard of Tent City.
Coronado Tent City News was a popular newspaper.
Coronado Tent City News was a popular newspaper.
One image in this amazing mosaic of Tent City history.
One image in this amazing mosaic of Tent City history.
A postcard shows a crowd around Pavilion at Tent City.
A postcard shows a crowd around Pavilion at Tent City.
Small child and mom have fun in the sand.
Small child and mom have fun in the sand.
More nostalgic postcards from historic vacation spot.
More nostalgic postcards from historic vacation spot.
Illustration of people playing and relaxing on Coronado Beach.
Illustration of people playing and relaxing on Coronado Beach.
Just hanging out at Tent City and enjoying life.
Just hanging out at Tent City and enjoying life.
Postcard image shows layout of Coronado's Tent City.
Postcard image shows layout of Coronado’s Tent City.
Photo of Victorian-style Boathouse, which resembles nearby Hotel del Coronado.
Photo of Victorian-style Boathouse, which resembles nearby Hotel del Coronado.
Historic 1887 boathouse on bay side of island near Hotel del Coronado.
Historic 1887 boathouse on bay side of island near Hotel del Coronado.

(This is a photo of the Boathouse as it appears today, a bit to the north up a sunny walkway.)

Another part of cool Imagine Tent City public artwork.
Another small part of Imagine Tent City public artwork.
Lady hangs sign on tent: Our Tenth Season 1909
Lady hangs sign on tent: Our Tenth Season 1909
Swimmers enjoy the huge sandy-bottomed Plunge.
Swimmers enjoy the huge sandy-bottomed Plunge.
Lots of vacationers out in the ocean water.
Lots of vacationers out in calm water–possibly San Diego Bay.
Bicyclist pauses to admire wonderful public art in Coronado.
Bicyclist pauses to admire wonderful public art in Coronado.

Mermaid embraces dolphin on the sidewalk!

mermaid embraces dolphin on coronado island

Check out this very cool art on an electrical transformer! I discovered it near a bus stop, directly across Orange Avenue from Coronado island’s famous Hotel Del Coronado. Other utility boxes on the sidewalk closeby were painted in similar fashion. In addition to dolphins and a sexy mermaid, I saw some colorful coral and a sea turtle!

Yellow fish swims through an underwater scene.
Yellow fish swims through an underwater scene.
Turtle head peeks around Coronado utility box.
Turtle head peeks around Coronado utility box.

Retired man creates aluminum can airplanes.

man sells aluminum can airplanes

I had a busy weekend! On Sunday I took the ferry from downtown San Diego across the bay to Coronado. You’ll soon see some photos I took from the ferry.

In the middle of my island adventure, while walking down Orange Avenue, I met a friendly man in front of the VFW. He was selling a bunch of amazing airplanes that he’d created using soda and beer cans.

Before he retired, he explained, he’d worked on actual aircraft, so he transfered his knowledge to this very unique hobby. The models he makes all have propellers that whirl in the wind. Each design is aerodynamic, and every plane takes several hours to produce. Only a couple other people in San Diego produce similar work.

He went on to say that over the years, he’s sold thousands of these cool planes! He also displays them in Balboa Park and other locations. I almost bought one!