Holiday fun at the new SMARTS Farm in East Village!

People check out many planters full of vegetables and flowers at the new SMARTS Farm in East Village.
People check out many planters full of vegetables and flowers at the new SMARTS Farm in East Village.

Today I walked to East Village in downtown San Diego to check out a holiday event at SMARTS Farm. I didn’t realize that this cool community garden had recently moved. Their new and improved location is at the corner of 13th Street and Broadway.

At SMARTS Farm, anybody is welcome to become an urban gardener–growing flowers or vegetables in the heart of our sunny city. Downtown residents can relax here, kids can learn about farming, botany and nature, and I believe photography classes are still offered.

If you’re ever downtown, swing on by to see for yourself!

SMARTS Farm in San Diego's East Village is a community garden where hearts can grow and minds thrive.
SMARTS Farm in San Diego’s East Village is a community garden where hearts can grow and minds thrive.
A wreath is hung on the barn inside SMARTS Farm to celebrate the holiday season. They've moved to a new location and are open to everyone in the community!
A wreath is hung on the barn inside SMARTS Farm to celebrate the holiday season. They’ve moved to a new location and are open to everyone in the community!
Someone makes a wreath the week before Christmas during a special SMARTS Farm holiday event.
Someone makes a wreath the week before Christmas during a special SMARTS Farm holiday event.
These guys were rolling out yummy pizzas!
These guys were rolling out yummy pizzas!
Walking around the large colorful garden. Schools and community groups can grow their own plants in an urban environment downtown.
Walking around the large colorful garden. Schools and community groups can grow their own plants in an urban environment downtown.
Lessons about how to plant urban crops were underway in the late morning.
Lessons about how to plant urban crops were underway in the late morning.
A young gardener sows some seeds at SMARTS Farm.
A young gardener sows some seeds at SMARTS Farm.
Hands on farming includes a children's garden and plants grown by nearby school KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy--my neighbor on Cortez Hill.
Hands on farming includes a children’s garden and plants grown by nearby school KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy–my neighbor on Cortez Hill.
A pleasant day can be had tending a garden and learning about gardening in the middle of downtown San Diego!
A pleasant day can be had tending a garden and learning about gardening in the middle of downtown San Diego!
Nature, Water, Air. At SMARTS Farm, every day is Earth Day!
Nature, Water, Air. At SMARTS Farm, every day is Earth Day!

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!

Cool mural celebrates diversity in Golden Hill.

Colorful faces and complex depth are elements of a public mural located in Golden Hill.
Colorful faces and complex depth are elements of a public mural located in Golden Hill.

I haven’t taken a walk through Golden Hill for several months. But this morning I discovered some photos of a cool Golden Hill mural languishing in my computer. I forgot!

This public art at the corner of 25th Street and B Street celebrates the diversity and the vibrancy one encounters in San Diego’s small Golden Hill community. It’s an enlarged version of a 8.25 by 19 inch mixed media collage, created by artist Giancarlo Pia in 2013. I love how three dimensional and richly colorful this mural is!

Giancarlo Pia. Golden Hill, 2013. Mixed Media Collage. This mural is dedicated to the residents of Golden Hill and reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the community.
Giancarlo Pia. Golden Hill, 2013. Mixed Media Collage. This mural is dedicated to the residents of Golden Hill and reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the community.
Many lively images can be seen in this artwork. The rich culture and history of Golden Hill is celebrated.
Many lively images can be seen in this artwork. The rich culture and history of Golden Hill is celebrated.
A very cool mural at a street corner in Golden Hill.
A very cool mural at a street corner in Golden Hill.

UPDATE!

Here’s a much better complete photo of the mural that I took on a later walk…

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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!

Powerful symbols of love for bridge crash victims.

A large memorial remains in Chicano Park, almost four weeks after a tragic accident here took the lives of four people.
A large memorial remains in Chicano Park, almost four weeks after a tragic accident here took the lives of four people.

Almost a month after a tragic accident in Chicano Park, a large, spontaneously created memorial remains. It was created by many hands and hearts in the Barrio Logan community.

The memorial contains flowers, candles and other tokens of love, along with photographs of the deceased. Four were killed on October 14 when an automobile driven by a drunk driver plummeted from the Coronado Bay Bridge.  Remembered are Annamarie Contreras, Cruz Elias Contreras, Andre Christopher Banks and Francine Denise Jimenez. Also remembered is Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, who recently passed away. He was a beloved musician and inspiring leader in the local Chicano community.

Many candles are kept lit.

Candles, flowers and other expressions of love stand beside a Chicano Park mural. They memorialize Cruz Elias Contreras, Andre Christopher Banks and Francine Denise Jimenez.
Candles, flowers and other powerful expressions of love stand beside a Chicano Park mural. They memorialize Annamarie Contreras, Cruz Elias Contreras, Andre Christopher Banks, Francine Denise Jimenez and Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez.
Potent symbols of love, grief and memory.
Traditional symbols of love, grief and memory.

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

New Barrio Logan mural honors four lost lives.

A long mural painted on a building at the corner of National Avenue and Evans Street honors four lives that were lost during a tragic accident in Chicano Park on October 15, 2016.
A long mural painted on a building at the corner of National Avenue and Evans Street honors four lives that were lost during a tragic accident in Chicano Park on October 15, 2016.

Here are photos of the new mural in Barrio Logan that honors the lives of four people who died tragically last month in Chicano Park under the Coronado Bay Bridge. On October 14, the four–Annamarie Contreras, Cruz Elias Contreras, Andre Christopher Banks and Francine Denise Jimenez–were attending the annual La Raza Run motorcycle festival in Chicano Park when a car driven by a drunk driver suddenly plummeted from the bridge onto the crowd below. The news that four were killed and eight were injured was shocking. Many were shaken. So many hearts were broken.

The new artwork, which includes a tribute to the four victims, can be found at the corner of National Avenue and Evans Street, a block southeast of Chicano Park. Chicano Park is famous for its many colorful murals that depict the civil rights struggles of Mexican Americans and immigrants.

On Saturday, October 16, the day we started our mural, four members of the annual Raza Run lost their lives in the tragic accident at Chicano Park.
On Saturday, October 16, the day we started our mural, four members of the annual Raza Run lost their lives in the tragic accident at Chicano Park.
The mural is titled Que Viva Barrio Logan, by artist Mario Torero. It's painted on the side of Diego and Son Printing. Making a difference in our community.
The mural is titled Que Viva Barrio Logan, by artist Mario Torero. It’s painted on the side of Diego and Son Printing. Words proclaim: Making a difference in our community.
The mural transmits great emotion. Many in the Barrio Logan community oppose gentrification.
The mural transmits great emotion. Many in the Barrio Logan community oppose gentrification.
The mural also includes a message opposing the building of a new stadium downtown.
The mural also includes a message opposing the building of a new stadium downtown.
Working under the Coronado Bay Bridge, home of Chicano Park.
Working under the Coronado Bay Bridge, home of Chicano Park.
A few of the many images in the mural. Breaking a chain of bondage. Music and pride. Protect the water.
A few of the images in the mural. Breaking a chain of bondage. Music and pride. Protect the water.
A bold face in Barrio Logan.
The face of Bob Dylan in Barrio Logan.
Skeletons on bicycles. Symbols, I believe, of past loved ones.
Skeletons on bicycles. Symbols, I believe, of past loved ones.
Withstanding with Standing Rock.
Withstanding with Standing Rock.
The face of a migrant worker.
The face of a migrant worker.
Walking down the National Avenue sidewalk, past a new mural that celebrates life, memory and history in Barrio Logan.
Walking down the National Avenue sidewalk, past a new mural that celebrates life, memory and history in Barrio Logan.

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

Cool urban art at Quartyard in East Village.

Some cool urban art by Exist1981, created for PangeaSeed's Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival. The artwork, located at the Quartyard in East Village, warns that melting sea ice due to climate change will affect polar bear populations.
Cool urban art by Exist1981, created for PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival. The public artwork, located at the Quartyard in East Village, warns that melting sea ice due to climate change will affect polar bear populations.

Whenever I walk past Quartyard in San Diego’s East Village, I look around to see what cool urban art I might discover. I took out my camera yesterday and snapped a few photos of the colorful artwork!

Quartyard, at the corner of Market Street and 11th Avenue in San Diego's East Village, is a place where people can gather to eat, drink, talk, and enjoy entertainment.
Quartyard, at the corner of Market Street and 11th Avenue in San Diego’s East Village, is a place where people can gather to eat, drink, talk, and enjoy entertainment.
Mail delivery person heads into Quartyard, an unusual community gathering place made from repurposed shipping containers. Coffee, beer, concerts and food trucks are found here.
Mail delivery person heads into Quartyard, a community gathering place made from repurposed shipping containers. Coffee, beer, concerts and food trucks are found here.
A colorfully painted parking meter stands strangely by the mail box.
A cheerfully painted parking meter stands strangely by a mail box.
The Meshuggah Shack occupies one shipping container. The funky place is known for their great coffee and friendly vibe.
The Meshuggah Shack occupies one shipping container. The funky place is known for their great coffee and friendly vibe.
The Meshuggah Shack offers coffee, tea, oddities, smoothies, noshes, and other fun stuff.
The colorful Meshuggah Shack offers coffee, tea, oddities, smoothies, noshes, and other fun stuff.
Words on one shipping container at the Quartyard proclaims this is Your City Block.
Words on one shipping container at the Quartyard proclaim this is Your City Block.
Sun, water, hungry sharks and a tropical island. I'm not exactly sure what is going on in this crazy street art created by Nick McPherson and MR DVICE.
Sun, water, hungry sharks and a tropical island. I’m not exactly sure what is going on in this crazy street art created by Nick McPherson and MR DVICE.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego!  Are you curious?  There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

A traditional Sicilian cart on display at 2016 Festa in San Diego's Little Italy.
A traditional Sicilian cart on display at 2016 Festa in San Diego’s Little Italy.

Festa is a celebration of Italian culture and history. Every year it’s held along several blocks of India Street, in the heart of San Diego’s historic Little Italy neighborhood. Thousands turn out to enjoy music, food, and all things Italian.

Here are a few photos I snapped yesterday. They provide a taste of what Festa is all about. Read the captions for explanations, and click the images of signs in the cultural pavilion if you’d like to read them. By the way, the food and music were great. I wish this blog could convey the deliciousness of my slice of Filippi’s pizza!

Thousands turned out along several blocks of India Street for the annual celebration of Festa.
Thousands turned out along several blocks of India Street for the annual celebration of Festa.
A cultural pavilion at Festa attracted people who were interested in Little Italy's rich culture and history.
A cultural pavilion at Festa attracted people who were interested in Little Italy’s rich culture and history.
An exhibit in the cultural pavilion included old photos of life in Little Italy, a neighborhood in San Diego once associated with fishing.
An exhibit in the cultural pavilion included old photos of life in Little Italy, a neighborhood in San Diego once associated with fishing.
The Italian neighborhood remained deeply rooted in social tradition revolving around family, work and church.
The Italian neighborhood remained deeply rooted in social tradition revolving around family, work and church.
The fishing industry defined the residents' lives and included labor in boat building, net mending, and tuna and sardine canning.
The fishing industry defined the residents’ lives and included labor in boat building, net mending, and tuna and sardine canning.
Historical photos of Little Italy fishermen at work off the coast of San Diego.
Historical photos of Little Italy fishermen at work off the coast of San Diego.
Photo of young man on a boat with a very large catch.
Photo of young man on a boat with a very large catch.
Old photos of life in Little Italy include workers at a cannery and fishermen mending nets.
Old photos of life in Little Italy include workers at a cannery and fishermen mending nets.
A display at Festa includes nets and old commercial fishing gear.
A display at Festa includes nets and old commercial fishing gear.
A pillar for San Diego's Italian community, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish as endured for more than 80 years.
A pillar for San Diego’s Italian community, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish has endured for more than 80 years.
Photographs and puppets provide a glimpse of San Diego's past.
Photographs and puppets provide a glimpse of San Diego’s past.
The Columbus Day Queens are presented on stage during 2016 Festa in Little Italy.
The Columbus Day Queens are presented on stage during 2016 Festa in Little Italy.
The Sicilian Band performs during Festa in San Diego.
The Sicilian Band performs during Festa in San Diego.
A crowd admires chalk art, or Gesso Italiano, during Festa. The amazing artwork celebrated Italy's history and culture.
A crowd admires chalk art, or Gesso Italiano, during Festa. The amazing artwork celebrates Italy’s history and culture.
A vendor at Festa sells funny signs and aprons to Italy lovers.
A vendor at Festa sells funny signs and aprons to Italy lovers.
Of course, lots of pizza, pasta and other Italian food could be found up and down India Street.
Of course, lots of pizza, pasta and other Italian food could be found up and down India Street.
Chef Boyardee (Ettore Boiardi) appears on a street lamp banner in Little Italy.
Chef Boyardee (Ettore Boiardi) appears on a street lamp banner in Little Italy.
People at Festa check out some shiny new Vespas.
People at Festa check out some shiny new Vespas.
An exhibition of Italian sports cars included Maseratis and Lamborghinis.
An exhibition of Italian sports cars included Maseratis and Lamborghinis.
A kid and gondoliers at Festa. Anyone can ride elegant gondolas in San Diego at the Coronado Cays.
A kid and gondoliers at Festa. Anyone can ride elegant gondolas in San Diego at the Coronado Cays.

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

Donate to help the San Diego Police Department.

Wreath in front of San Diego Police Headquarters' Wall of Honor, remnant of a recent memorial ceremony. The wall is inscribed with the names of all police officers killed in the line of duty since 1913.
San Diego Police Headquarters’ Wall of Honor. The wall is inscribed with the names of police officers killed in the line of duty since 1913.

Almost everyone in San Diego, and many across the country, know the heartbreaking news. Two San Diego gang-unit officers were shot in the Southcrest neighborhood late last night. One, Jonathan DeGuzman, has passed away. The second, Wade Irwin, remains in serious condition.

As an ordinary citizen, would you like to help the San Diego Police Department? It’s an extremely difficult job they do, and a noble one. Their task is to protect our communities. They risk their own lives every single day to save others, to protect and assist law-abiding citizens, and to keep the peace. Unfortunately, in some important areas our local police department is underfunded.

Please visit the San Diego Police Foundation website to learn how you can directly help, and consider giving a donation. Thank you.