A crabby waiter serves a surf monkey!

surf monkey in hillcrest is served by a crab

A boring old utility box in Hillcrest was transformed by an inspired artist into a colorful canvas. This fun example of urban art depicts a meditating monkey sitting by the surf, with white clouds and a volcano in the background. He’s being served a beverage by a crab!

Colorful samples of fun Horton Plaza.

Horton Plaza is a feast for the eyes everywhere you turn.
Horton Plaza is a feast for the eyes everywhere you turn.

Horton Plaza, located in downtown San Diego, is a fun and interesting place for shoppers to visit. The unique mall’s crazy, whimsical design makes an interesting contrast to the restored old buildings in the adjacent Gaslamp Quarter. Many bright colors and types of architecture have been cleverly integrated into a visual feast. Horton Plaza was designed so that people intentionally get a bit lost, to provide a feeling of adventure and the unexpected.

Here are some random pics for you to enjoy…

Elegant Jessop's clock in the midst of colorful whimsy.
Elegant Jessop’s clock in the midst of colorful whimsy.
Many bridges and walkways connect different areas.
Many bridges and walkways connect different areas.
Looking north along several shopping mall levels.
Looking north along several shopping mall levels.
Looks like someone yarn bombed this stair railing.
Looks like someone yarn bombed this stair railing.
Downtown buildings can be seen projecting into the sky.
Downtown buildings can be seen projecting into the sky.
Cool places to eat overlook the layered central area.
Cool places to eat overlook the layered central area.
Just another place to explore on an upper level.
Just another place to explore on an upper level.
Lots of great vistas near Horton Plaza's food court.
Lots of great vistas near Horton Plaza’s food court.
A small decorative touch adds fun flavor to the scene.
A small decorative touch adds fun flavor to the scene.
Many arches that shoppers can pass over or through.
Many arches that shoppers can pass over or through.
Go up or down in unexpected places.
Go up or down in unexpected places.
Banner welcomes visitors in many languages.
Banner welcomes San Diego visitors in many languages.
Just walking along and enjoying the many sights.
Just walking along and enjoying the many sights.

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!

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Cool street art in downtown San Diego.

cool street art in downtown san diego

This colorful street art dazzles the eye on a downtown parking lot wall. It contains elements from many different cultures. You can find the cool art on the west side of Ninth Avenue just south of C Street.

I took a closer, more complete pic about half a year later. The bold black graffiti has obliterated part of the old artwork.

Street mural has been altered months later with graffiti.
Street mural has been altered months later with graffiti.

Three more pics! The fence around the parking lot was open one morning, so I could walk up close to the mural!

Close look at very cool mural on 9th Avenue.
Close look at very cool mural on 9th Avenue.
Beautiful spray painted face behind some fencing.
Beautiful spray painted face behind some fencing.
A great face on a striking example of street art in San Diego.
A great face in a striking example of street art in San Diego.

Mexican cafes and cantinas in Old Town.

Just one of many colorful eateries along San Diego Avenue.
Just one of many colorful eateries along San Diego Avenue.

These pics offer a sample of the sort of Mexican-themed eateries one encounters in the commercial part of Old Town, which runs several blocks south of the State Park along San Diego Avenue. Lots of seating outdoors, an eyeful of festive colors and a cool, laid-back Southern California atmosphere.

Eating great Mexican food outdoors in San Diego's Old Town.
Eating great Mexican food outdoors in San Diego’s Old Town.
Fountain and splash of color in courtyard of an Old Town restaurant.
Fountain and splash of color in courtyard of an Old Town restaurant.
Keep Calm and Drink Tequila.
Keep Calm and Drink Tequila.
Old Town pedestrians can buy hot buttery tortillas.
Old Town pedestrians can buy hot buttery tortillas.
Ladies prepare fresh tortillas for people passing on the sidewalk.
Ladies prepare fresh tortillas for people passing on the sidewalk.
Bienvenidos a Old Town! Where great food and a festive atmosphere mingle with San Diego's rich, colorful history.
Bienvenidos a Old Town! Where great food and a festive atmosphere mingle with San Diego’s rich, colorful history.

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Colorful market on a corner in Old Town.

The Old Town Market is one very popular destination.
The Old Town Market is one very popular destination.

Little shops selling all sorts of colorful souvenirs, curios and crafts can be found everywhere in Old Town, both in the State Park and in the touristy area just to the south. Many of the items for sale are Mexican in origin or style. You can find pottery, painted tiles, jewelry, maracas, pinatas, lucha libre masks, and all sorts of unique leather and wood-carved crafts. A few stores have a Western theme and sell cowboy hats, boots, Native American art and other stuff related to the American frontier experience. It’s fun just to browse and soak it all in!

Kid checks out a bunch of Mexican Lucha Libre masks.
Kid checks out a bunch of Mexican Lucha Libre masks.
Tourists take a stroll through the colorful Old Town Market.
Tourists take a stroll through the colorful Old Town Market.
Very colorful pottery can be found everywhere.
Very colorful pottery can be found everywhere.
Painted tiles for sale hang on an orange wall.
Painted tiles for sale hang on an orange wall.
Vendor at Old Town Market at work with a power drill.
Vendor at Old Town Market at work with a power drill.
Painted plates for sale in a corner of Old Town.
Painted plates for sale in a corner of Old Town.
Many Western items on display in an Old Town shop.
Many Western items on display in an Old Town shop.
Hundreds of Mexican ornaments and trinkets.
Hundreds of Mexican ornaments and trinkets.
Colorfully painted gourds and posters.
Colorfully painted gourds and posters.
A guitarist performs for shoppers.
A guitarist performs for shoppers.

Umbrellas add color to Sunday organ concert.

colorful umbrellas at sunday organ concert

It must be around two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Time for the weekly free concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Crowds gather in the sun under colorful umbrellas to listen to the majestic sound of the Spreckels Organ, one of the largest outdoor organs in the world. The city of San Diego employs an official Civic Organist, none other than Dr. Carol Williams, one of the top performing organists in the world! Each Sunday she plays classical music, jazz, marches . . . and occasionally one of her excellent original compositions. The Spreckels Organ Society helps to raise funds to keep the tradition of free public concerts alive. It’s a tradition that has lasted a hundred years!

The beautiful Spreckels Organ Pavilion is used for various concerts and events throughout the year, including the yearly December Nights festival around Christmas. It’s also a favorite venue for wedding photography. The ornate, elegant architecture makes it interesting to visit even when the stage and benches are empty.

Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.
Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.

Mother and child mural on Little Italy building.

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Here’s a warm, colorful mural on a building in Little Italy. It depicts a mother and child.

I saw this artwork while strolling down the sidewalk. Thought you might enjoy it!

A closer examination of the mother and child tile mural in Little Italy.
A closer, higher contrast look at the mother and child tile mural in Little Italy.

Freakishly gigantic flowers in San Diego!

freakishly gigantic flowers in city

Flowers that are several feet across are growing in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. They’ve grown out of an artist’s paintbrush and onto a wall!

Check out another photo from the amazing, colorful mural I recently walked past and enjoyed. It’s a shame this public art is set back a bit from First Avenue and not immediately obvious to those driving past. To experience it best, you have to pull into a gas station’s parking lot.

This dolphin is swimming right next to those flowers!
This dolphin is swimming right next to those flowers!

Colorful fish survive out of water!

colorful fish survive out of water

Here are more photographs of that cool mural from the previous blog post. There’s a whole school of colorful fish in full view beside that gas station!

More exotic fish on a parking lot wall.
More brightly painted fish on a parking lot wall.
The nearby gas station must be underwater.
The nearby gas station must be underwater!
A bright orange fish swims through the city.
A bright orange fish swims through downtown San Diego.