History and some memories in Civic Center Plaza.

Looking east past the Bow Wave fountain in San Diego Civic Center Plaza. The skyscrapers you see are in the heart of downtown's Financial District.
Looking east past the Bow Wave fountain in San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza. The skyscrapers you see are in the heart of downtown’s Financial District.

When I walk through downtown San Diego, sometimes I’ll pass through Civic Center Plaza to see if anything new or interesting is going on at the San Diego Civic Theater, or at Golden Hall in the San Diego Community Concourse.

I personally have a fond memory of Golden Hall. It’s where I attended my first San Diego Comic-Con with a school friend who happened to be a huge comic book fan. I believe that was in 1982, because I remember the artist Mike Grell was there, and penciled a free detailed sketch of his creation the Warlord for my friend. Back then the initial Superman and Star Wars movies were huge sensations. Yes, that was many, many years ago!

Civic Center Plaza today contains several cool sights. So far my blog hasn’t included images of the Memorial to Alonzo E. Horton plaque and the impressive Official City of San Diego Seal in the passage under the City Administration Building. So here they are!

(You might recall that in the past I’ve posted photos of the Bow Wave fountain, the terrazzo image in the plaza of Cabrillo’s galleon sailing into San Diego Bay, and the Sister City signs. Not to mention photos of other incidental stuff encountered during walks.)

Walking west into Civic Center Plaza from Third Avenue. Golden Hall is directly ahead.
Walking west into Civic Center Plaza from Third Avenue. Golden Hall is directly ahead.
Lots of people are excited that the smash hit Hamilton is playing right now at the San Diego Civic Theater.
Lots of people are excited that the smash hit Hamilton is playing right now at the San Diego Civic Theater.
Cool photo of Bow Wave, created by artist Malcolm Leland in 1972.
Cool photo of Bow Wave, created by artist Malcolm Leland in 1972.
A few people stroll through Civic Center Plaza. Windows in the old (and many say outdated) City Administration Building rise over a passage to C Street.
A few people stroll through Civic Center Plaza. Windows in the old (and many say outdated) City Administration Building rise over a passage to C Street.
Charles C. Dail Concourse conceived by citizens of vision. This community concourse is dedicated by the people of San Diego as a tribute to culture, industry and good government. 1965
Charles C. Dail Concourse conceived by citizens of vision. This Community Concourse is dedicated by the people of San Diego as a tribute to culture, industry and good government, 1965.
Memorial to Alonzo E. Horton, 1813-1909. Founder of the new city of San Diego 1867. Placed by the San Diego Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution in the Bicentennial year 1976.
Memorial to Alonzo E. Horton, 1813-1909, founder of the new city of San Diego, 1867. Placed by the San Diego Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution in the Bicentennial year 1976.
People walk toward the San Diego City Information Center past a large terrazzo Official City of San Diego Seal.
People walk toward the San Diego City Information Center past a large terrazzo City of San Diego Seal.
Detail contained in the Official City of San Diego Seal.
Detail contained in the official City of San Diego Seal.

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Fun photos of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day!

A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!
A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!

Today was Bike to Work Day in San Diego! There were over a hundred pit stops around the county, and I’ve learned that nearly ten thousand bicyclists participated!

This morning I started a bit earlier than usual so that I could walk past 5 pit stops downtown. (As followers of Cool San Diego Sights might know already, I happen to be a walk/trolley/bus to work person. Because I simply love walking and the outdoors, plus living downtown makes it very convenient.)

The city was still a bit sleepy as I headed west along B Street–about 6:30–and the morning light wasn’t ideal for photography when I passed two bicycle pits stops at The Donut Bar and the Wells Fargo building. I did manage to get some sharp pics once I arrived at Civic Center Plaza! Lots of people were smiling!

A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
These friendly guys representing Engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
These friendly guys representing engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
Someone pedals past San Diego's historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful morning.
Someone pedals past San Diego’s historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful day has begun.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego's Bike to Work Day.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Ship’s bow splashes water into Civic Center Plaza!

A ship's bow splashes water into downtown San Diego's Civic Center Plaza!
A ship’s bow splashes water into downtown San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza!

This evening my route home included a meandering stroll through downtown San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza, which is home to the City Administration Building, the San Diego Community Concourse and the San Diego Civic Theater. I observed that the extremely popular musical comedy The Book of Mormon is playing at the theater tonight. I hope the arriving theatergoers watched their step. Because I also noted a large ship’s bow was splashing water right into the center of the plaza!

But seriously, the iconic bronze water fountain called Bow Wave, created by Malcolm Leland in 1972, was looking beautiful as dusk fell and the lights of surrounding buildings began to glow. It seemed the mysterious ship was arriving just in time for the performance!

The unique water fountain Bow Wave, by Malcolm Leland, 1972. Outward splashing water tricks the eye and the bronze sculpture seems to move forward!
The unique water fountain Bow Wave, by Malcolm Leland, 1972. Outward splashing water tricks the eye and the bronze sculpture seems to move forward!
A strange ship seems to pull into a downtown plaza, to dock beside the San Diego Civic Theater!
A strange, dark ship seems to pull into a downtown plaza, to dock beside the San Diego Civic Theater!
People arrive to watch The Book of Mormon as night approaches and lights come on in downtown San Diego.
People arrive to watch The Book of Mormon as night approaches and lights come on in downtown San Diego.
An iconic water fountain in the heart of San Diego is yet another cool sight!
An iconic water fountain in the heart of San Diego is yet another cool sight!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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San Diego County Administration Building.

san diego county administration building

This unmistakable landmark has been photographed a million times. Now make it a million and one.

Yes, it’s the San Diego County Administration Center. Finished in 1938, designed by several renowned local architects including William Templeton Johnson, Richard Requa and Louis John Gill, the historic building is Spanish Revival/Streamline Moderne in style with Beaux-Arts classical touches. ┬áIt stands overlooking the Embarcadero, just across Harbor Drive, not far from the Star of India. For several decades it also served as the Civic Center of San Diego. Today, a large public park is being developed on either side of the building, where parking lots recently existed. I considered posting a photo of the construction, but all you’d see is dirt and bulldozers.

County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.
County Administration Building seen from Pacific Highway.

The first two pics are of the building’s east side, which faces downtown’s Little Italy. The other pics from the very similar west side I took during a walk along the Embarcadero on a later day…

Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Looking up at the west entrance of San Diego County Administration Building.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Tiles depict fish, Navy ships on the bay, Mission San Diego, Balboa Park and an airplane.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
Ornamental column near entrance with eagle on top.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.
View from the west, across Harbor Drive.

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.

Signs point toward San Diego’s sister cities.

distance signs at san diego civic center plaza

Should you ever walk through Civic Center Plaza, you’ll probably see this unusual group of signs. These are a few of San Diego’s sister cities. Pointing in almost every direction, the signs indicate distances in miles and kilometers.

Another similar group of fun signs can be found directly across the plaza.

San Diego’s 16 sister cities are:

Alcala de Henares, Spain
Campinas, Brazil
Cavite, Philippines
Edinburgh, Scotland
Jalalabad, Afghanistan
Jeonju, South Korea
Leon, Mexico
Perth, Australia
Quanzhou, China
Taichung City, Taiwan
Tema, Ghana
Tijuana, Mexico
Vladivostok, Russia
Warsaw, Poland
Yantai, China
Yokohama, Japan

UPDATE! I walked through Civic Center Plaza about half a year later and I noticed brand new signs!

New sister city signs at the Civic Center!
New sister city signs at the Civic Center!
More San Diego sister cities around the world.
More San Diego sister cities around the world.