Cortez Hill blooms at Jacaranda Flower Fest!

Many jacaranda trees add color to downtown San Diego's Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Jacaranda trees add color to downtown San Diego’s beautiful Cortez Hill neighborhood.

Today I headed to Ocean Beach to check out a big kite festival. As I left my home atop Cortez Hill, and when I returned home a few hours later, I wandered through a fun neighborhood event just outside my front door. What in years past was playfully called the Jacaranda Spring Thing is now the Jacaranda Flower Fest. The event is organized every spring by the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

One nice aspect of living atop Cortez Hill are all the flowers. Especially along Tweet Street Park.

Another reason why I love to walk outdoors every day!

As I was leaving home in the morning, I spotted this nice lady setting up a table for the Jacaranda Flower Fest on Cortez Hill.
As I was leaving home in the morning, I spotted this nice lady setting up a table for the Jacaranda Flower Fest on Cortez Hill.
Later in the day, the Flower Fest was underway. Neighbors relax and enjoy a fun community event.
Later in the day, the Flower Fest was underway. Neighbors relax and enjoy a fun community event.
Little Dandelions had some activities at the Flower Fest. They are a non-profit organization based in Imperial Beach. Their mission is to inspire and teach the importance of agriculture to all ages.
Little Dandelions had some activities at the Flower Fest. They are a non-profit organization based in Imperial Beach. Their mission is to inspire and teach the importance of agriculture to all ages.
Visitors to the Jacaranda Flower Fest could propagate a succulent cutting in a small pot.
Visitors to the Jacaranda Flower Fest could propagate a succulent cutting in a small pot.
There are many flowers on Cortez Hill along linear Tweet Street Park.
There are many flowers on Cortez Hill along linear Tweet Street Park.
I took this beautiful photo at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Date Street.
I took this beautiful photo at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Date Street.
More flowers!
More flowers along Tweet Street!
Local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creates a beautiful jacaranda themed work of art on Date Street.
Local artist Cecelia Linayao creates a beautiful jacaranda-themed piece of chalk art on Date Street.

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!

Tuna fishermen remembered at Piazza Pescatore.

Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place to relax and linger at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.
Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place where neighbors can relax and mingle at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.

In Little Italy, at the corner of and Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street, you’ll find Piazza Pescatore. The small community gathering place features a bronze sculpture and beautiful fountain, and plaques that remember the history of the many hard-working tuna fishermen that inhabited this San Diego neighborhood decades ago.

The artists who created this cool public artwork are sculptor Gregory Reade and mosaic artist Kim Emerson.

A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego's Little Italy.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego’s Little Italy.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who helped to make San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who made San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.

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!

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Art on construction fence at MCASD La Jolla.

Images from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on a construction fence at the La Jolla campus.
Images from the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego decorate a construction fence at their La Jolla campus.

During my walk through La Jolla last weekend, I noticed some graphics on a construction fence in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. As I approached the fence, I read signs that provided an explanation.

This cool, temporary Inside-Out Gallery features images of works that are in the museum’s permanent collection. An expansion of the museum’s La Jolla campus is underway. Please read to the photo captions to learn about MCASD’s very bright future!

The Inside-Out Gallery features images from the museum's permanent collection. The La Jolla location is closed for construction. The gallery space is being greatly increased.
The Inside-Out Gallery features images from the museum’s permanent collection. The La Jolla location is closed for new construction. The gallery space is being greatly increased.
Red Blue Green, Ellsworth Kelly, 1963.
Red Blue Green, Ellsworth Kelly, 1963.
An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), Yasumasa Morimura, 2001.
An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns), Yasumasa Morimura, 2001.
Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art, John Baldessari, 1966-1968.
Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art, John Baldessari, 1966-1968.
No Splash, Ramiro Gomez, 2013.
No Splash, Ramiro Gomez, 2013.
Bottles, Philip Guston, 1977.
Bottles, Philip Guston, 1977.
Sinjerli 1, Frank Stella, 1967.
Sinjerli 1, Frank Stella, 1967.
Under the Table 2, Nicole Eisenman, 2014.
Under the Table 2, Nicole Eisenman, 2014.
Pool Party, John Valadez, 1986.
Pool Party, John Valadez, 1986.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is expanding its La Jolla campus. The gallery space will be quadrupled from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is expanding its La Jolla campus. The gallery space will be quadrupled from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet.
A rendering shows the future museum after expansion. The design by New York City-based Selldorf Architects will offer dramatic views of the nearby ocean and coast.
A rendering shows the future museum after expansion. The design by New York City-based Selldorf Architects will offer dramatic views of the nearby ocean and coast.
Another rendering depicts a front corner of the museum after expansion.
Another rendering depicts a front corner of the museum after its expansion.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla is currently closed due to the construction.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla is currently closed due to the construction.
A plaque near the museum's entrance. In Memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. The building was her former La Jolla home.
A plaque near the museum’s entrance is In Memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. The original building whose facade is still visible was designed by famed architect Irving J. Gill and considered one of his masterworks. The building was commissioned by Scripps and became her La Jolla home.
Flowers, Andy Warhol, 1967.
Flowers, Andy Warhol, 1967.

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!

Fun sights you can discover in San Diego!

How time flies! Cool San Diego Sights is almost five years old!

You might not realize it, but Cool San Diego Sights now has hundreds of unique blog posts, and thousands upon thousands of fun photos that you can explore!

One easy way to revisit old blog posts that share a particular theme or subject is to click a tag. You might be surprised by all the diverse, unexpected things you’ll discover!

Some of Cool San Diego Sight’s more interesting tags include: history, public art, nature, eventsarchitecture, Balboa Park, Gaslamp, Old Town, beaches, Comic-Con, street art and museums.

Click one that interests you!

As you explore my blog, you might notice there’s a whole universe of tags. You can find a handful of pertinent ones located at the bottom of each post. If you’re interested in a particular San Diego neighborhood, those tags exist, too!

There’s also a handy search box that you can use. Look for it in the sidebar.

Make exciting discoveries and have fun with me as I explore San Diego! I’m going somewhere fascinating this Saturday that very few people know about!

If you’d like, you can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Morning photos of new Piazza della Famiglia.

The fountain at the east end of Piazza della Famiglia.
The fountain at the east end of Piazza della Famiglia.

The new Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy is finally open to the public!

Yesterday morning I took a slow stroll through this amazing community gathering place. As I snapped photos I was awed by the space’s beauty. The European-style piazza is designed for pedestrians; it connects India Street and Columbia Street at Date Street. The delightful setting includes a tile fountain and lots of welcoming tables with umbrellas.

I noticed the apartment homes on either side of the Piazza della Famiglia aren’t quite completed. Construction workers were busy applying the final touches. I’ve also learned that eateries and other businesses along the piazza will be opening later in the year. Once the entire project is finished, the Piazza della Famiglia is sure to become one of the most popular destinations in downtown San Diego!

The illuminated fountain adds a touch of beauty to the European-style piazza in Little Italy.
The illuminated fountain and nearby planters add touches of beauty to the European-style piazza in Little Italy.
Construction workers were busy as I passed by with my camera.
Construction workers were busy as I passed by with my camera.
Someone walks through the piazza on a late March morning. There's still construction fencing for new buildings.
Someone walks through the piazza on a late March morning. There’s still construction fencing for one of the new buildings.
One of many seats at the tables in Piazza della Famiglia.
One of many seats at the tables in Piazza della Famiglia.
Flowers, warmth and beauty await one and all in Little Italy.
Flowers, warmth and beauty await one and all in Little Italy.
Someone else enjoys the peaceful, sunlit piazza.
Someone else enjoys the peaceful, sunlit piazza.
Another very cool sight has debuted in downtown San Diego!
Another very cool sight has debuted in downtown San Diego!

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!

Transformation of Mingei Museum previewed!

View of the House of Charm in Balboa Park, home of the Mingei International Museum.
View of the House of Charm in Balboa Park, home of the Mingei International Museum.

I made a very cool discovery today during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event!

After an amazing tour of the Timken Museum in Balboa Park, which I will be blogging about shortly, I crossed the Plaza de Panama to catch the final part of a special talk at the Mingei International Museum. I was astonished to learn the museum is about to undergo a complete transformation!

What I learned about the upcoming changes is really exciting! In order to make the museum more dynamic and accessible to the San Diego community, the first floor Plaza Level will become a free space where ordinary people can mingle and openly enjoy culture and expression with friends and other visitors. New additions will include a cool sculpture garden, a small sit-down restaurant, and a new theater space. A balcony overlooking the Plaza de Panama will provide amazing views of Balboa Park, and stairs to the second floor art gallery will ascend through the House of Charm’s iconic tower, with views of the beautiful Alcazar Garden below, where there will be a new west entrance!

I didn’t catch all the details, so I hope that what I’ve just told you is correct. You can see some of the plans on the Mingei’s website here. I did learn that this amazing transformation will begin later this year–I believe I was told around September–and the museum will close during construction. During the House of Charm’s renovation the museum will have surprise pop-up exhibitions around San Diego and other fun events to fill in the void.

I also learned the total cost of the project is $40 million, and more money needs to be raised. Can you help? If you’d like to help shape Balboa Park’s brilliant future, check out this page!

Visitor to the Mingei learns about the museum's upcoming transformation during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's 2018 OPEN HOUSE event.
Visitor to the Mingei learns about the museum’s upcoming transformation during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event.
Images were displayed after a talk by celebrated architect Jennifer Luce. This one shows a theater space to be added to the building's southeast corner.
Images were displayed after a talk by celebrated architect Jennifer Luce. This one shows a theater space to be added to the building’s expanded southeast corner.
Rendering of the theater that will add even more life to the Mingei International Museum.
Rendering of the theater that will add even more life to the Mingei International Museum.
Stairs to the second floor Gallery Level will ascend through the House of Charm's iconic tower. A new entrance to the museum will be added at the east end of the Alcazar Garden.
Stairs to the second floor Gallery Level will ascend through the House of Charm’s iconic tower. A new entrance to the museum will be added at the east end of the Alcazar Garden.
Rendering of daytime activity on a new second floor balcony overlooking the Plaza de Panama.
Rendering of daytime activity on a new second floor balcony overlooking the Plaza de Panama.
Rendering shows diners at night on the balcony. Illumination along the balcony will add a signature touch to the museum's appearance.
Rendering shows diners at night on the balcony. Illumination along the balcony will add a signature touch to the museum’s appearance.
People freely enjoy a new pocket park-like sculpture courtyard at the Mingei.
People freely enjoy a new pocket park-like sculpture courtyard at the Mingei.
Photo taken today of the House of Charm and its iconic tower from the Alcazar Garden. Big changes are coming!
Photo taken today of the House of Charm and its iconic tower from the Alcazar Garden. Big changes are coming!

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!

Beautiful sanctuary of historic San Diego church.

Today I visited six truly amazing buildings in Bankers Hill and Balboa Park. All six are featured locations in the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event.

I enjoyed fascinating looks inside architectural gems–special looks the public seldom experiences. I took lots of photos and intend to tour a few more iconic locations tomorrow. So I have a lot of blogging to do the next week or two!

My very first stop this morning was the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, located in Bankers Hill on Date Street, between Third and Fourth Avenue. The friendly church manager greeted visitors at the front door, and he was very nice to give me a short tour inside the building.

The first thing I learned was that this is actually the First Presbyterian Church’s third structure in San Diego. The initial congregation came together in 1869 in what was then called New Town–now downtown San Diego. The first church structure was built at Eighth and D Streets on land donated by Alonzo Horton. As the membership grew, a second church building was begun in 1887, on property adjacent to the first. Unfortunately the land boom of that time soon came to an end. Somehow that building was completed in spite of financial difficulties.

The present building, the focus of this tour, had its first service in 1913 in the Assembly Room, about a year before the amazing sanctuary was finally completed and this third church was dedicated. Located near the base of Bankers Hill overlooking downtown, the imposing cathedral-like structure incorporates huge stained glass windows that were preserved from the previous building, including the exquisite central panels Christ the Sower.

Sowing seeds of compassion in our community, the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego makes it a point to feed many of the homeless downtown–almost 250 souls every Sunday. These good folks practice what they preach.

Like many grand old churches, the exterior of the present-day building might appear a bit worn by time and weather, but the interior, with its warm wood and glowing stained glass at every turn, seems like a tiny glimpse of heaven.

I must say I was really impressed by the grace, grandeur and beauty of the sanctuary. And the kind smile of my tour guide.

View of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego from Fourth Avenue. The stained glass window shines its light into a very beautiful sanctuary.
View of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego from Fourth Avenue. A large, historic stained glass window shines its light into a very beautiful sanctuary.
View of the church's south side along Date Street.
Partial view of the church’s south side along Date Street.
Plaque on building indicates the First Presbyterian Church was erected in 1913.
Plaque on building indicates the First Presbyterian Church was erected in 1913.
An historical photo near the church office shows the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego about a hundred years ago, in what was then considered the outskirts of town.
Historical photo near the church office shows the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego about a hundred years ago, in what was then considered the outskirts of town.
Entering doors that lead to the magnificent sanctuary.
Entering doors that lead to the magnificent sanctuary.

The church's nearly 6,000 pipe Casavant organ rises like rays of silvery light crowning the chancel.
The church’s nearly 6,000 pipe Casavant organ rises like rays of silvery light crowning the chancel.
Heading up some handsome stairs near colorful stained glass. We will emerge on the sanctuary's balcony.
Heading up some stairs near colorful stained glass. We will emerge on the sanctuary’s balcony.

One of the finest examples of stained glass in San Diego shines light into the historic church.
One of the finest examples of stained glass in San Diego shines light into the historic church.
A scene from the Bible, to the glory of God.
A scene from the Bible, to the glory of God.
The likeness of Christ, created in memory of one of the faithful.
The likeness of Christ, in memory of one of the faithful.
A place for religious faith and worship. Amazing beauty inside the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.
A place for religious faith and worship. Amazing beauty inside the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego.

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!