Evening music during summer in Balboa Park.

This evening, about an hour before sunset, after the daytime crowd had greatly thinned, I walked through Balboa Park.

In the Plaza de Panama some guys were producing beautiful music. The group is called the Sunshine Brass Quintet. I’ve seen them other days playing in the plaza.

When I finally walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was excited to see the Twilight in Balboa Park concerts are returning for 2021!

The evening concerts will take place Tuesdays through Thursdays during the month of August. They start at 6:30 pm in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Performers include Marine Band San Diego, Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista, the Coronado Concert Band, and many others! Check out the photo I took of the sign below, or visit the concerts page here.

Here are a few more photos of the Sunshine Brass Quintet this evening in the Plaza de Panama…

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!

Big community celebration coming to Balboa Park!

There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.

An exciting community celebration will be held in Balboa Park at the end of July!

Everyone is invited to gather at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, July 31, 2021 to enjoy this amazing free event, featuring notable performers from all around San Diego.

Participating in the celebration will be Opera4Kids, San Diego Civic Dance Arts, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Grupo Folklórico Sabor de México, San Diego Master Chorale accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, and the fun Organ Pavilion Rock Band! The entertainment starts at 5:30 pm!

What is this big community celebration all about?

The reopening of San Diego after the pandemic!

Learn more by clicking here!

What does it feel like to play the Spreckels Organ?

What does it feel like to play the Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest musical instrument located in the heart of Balboa Park?

Raul Prieto Ramírez, internationally renowned San Diego Civic Organist, played Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterpiece Toccata and Fugue in D minor to start today’s free Sunday concert.

Perhaps this series of photos can transmit a bit of the feeling…

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!

Live organ concerts return to Balboa Park!

Hooray! Live organ concerts are returning to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park! The free Sunday concerts at two o’clock resume this weekend!

The COVID-19 pandemic made public gatherings of this sort out of the question for a very, very long time. Weekly concerts, performed on the Spreckels Organ by world-renowned San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez, could only be heard online.

But that horrible episode is over, and one of my very favorite activities is back!

Be sure to mark Sunday at 2:00 pm on your calendar. I just did!

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!

Musicians rock at Starlight Bowl pop-up!

Great musicians gathered this afternoon and rocked Balboa Park’s Pan American Plaza during a pop-up performance in front of the Starlight Bowl!

I happened to walk past as the musicians were getting ready, and I stuck around to hear several songs. And I’m glad I did! Their absolutely rocking rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic Proud Mary is still echoing in my head!

This cool pop-up event was not only terrific, but it also helped to raise awareness about Save Starlight‘s efforts to completely renovate and revitalize Balboa Park’s historic Starlight Bowl amphitheater.

In the past I’ve blogged about my own experiences at the Starlight Bowl as a youth, and more recently about the plans to bring the amphitheater, built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, back to life. You can revisit that old blog post here.

Today I learned that a “Beyond Starlight” concession will be opening at one end of the old box office this summer, offering Community, Coffee, Treats and Beats. Perfect for the nearby tables that now fill the Pan American Plaza, which was completed a few months ago!

I also learned that the spacious outdoor amphitheater that seats over 4,000 will be available to the public for a whole variety of potential events. According to this page: “Once we are open for operation it will be available, and affordable for everyone. Starlight will be open to the entire San Diego performance and event community to host their productions.”

So in a small way, today’s pop-up at the Starlight Bowl’s entrance is a tiny taste of the good times to come!

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!

Amazing, monumental The Shell nears completion!

Oh my goodness! Look at these photos! I took them today during a walk along San Diego’s waterfront, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

San Diego Symphony’s monumental The Shell is nearing completion and it’s more amazing than I anticipated!

As I understand it, the San Diego’s Symphony’s popular summer concerts will resume this year, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the very first time, Bayside Summer Nights will be held at this permanent outdoor venue.

I spoke to a construction worker and he said the project is indeed nearing completion. I could see that landscaping is now underway, and that most of the structures seem about ready to go.

If you’d like to compare how the project appeared in late 2019, as it was just getting started, you can check out photos I took here. At the time the venue was referred to as Bayside Performance Park.

Today this outdoor stage, the only venue of its kind on the West Coast, whose acoustic quality is said to be as good as any indoor concert hall, and whose white “shell” is made of the same material as the San Diego Convention Center’s iconic sails, is simply called The Shell.

As I walked outside the construction fence peering at The Shell, I could immediately see that this extraordinary landmark will help further distinguish San Diego from every other city in the world, and is destined to become a beloved part of the already beautiful skyline.

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New life shines at the Starlight Bowl!

Today I got a quick glimpse of the progress that has been made in renovating Balboa Park’s historic, long-unused Starlight Bowl!

The non-profit organization Save Starlight has been getting the 4,000 seat outdoor amphitheater ready for a brand new chapter in its life.

Not only is there new paint inside and outside, but the stage, electrical systems and other critical parts of the amphitheater are being restored and improved!

I see there are plans to open an outdoor café by the entrance to the Starlight Bowl this spring!

Check out the Save Starlight web page here. They are always looking for volunteers to help in this effort.

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!

Christmas carol performance at Waterfront Park.

Early this afternoon people converged upon Waterfront Park to listen to Christmas music, including many favorite carols.

I walked up a few minutes after the performance began. The festive Christmas Carol Sing concert was put on by the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, with joyful music provided by their Westminster Orchestra.

I walked around the group taking these photos, often capturing the County Administration Building and tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the background. I then settled in to listen for a while.

Many of the adults I saw were smiling. Many of the children were dancing.

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!

Historic Adams Avenue Theater restoration!

The historic 1930 Adams Avenue Theater building is being restored. The beloved Normal Heights landmark, home of Discount Fabrics for several decades, is now being remodeled according to a sign I spotted in a window near the entrance yesterday!

According to the posted sign, the new Adams Avenue Theater will be a “city chic, multi-purpose theater and private event space”–the perfect place for community events, concerts, weddings and social gatherings.

A little online research indicates the old movie house in the 1970’s and 80’s became a center for the punk rock and new wave music scene. Bands that performed here in concert include Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, R.E.M., the Stray Cats, Iggy Pop, the Cramps and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I love it when elegant old neighborhood movie theaters are returned to their former glory. Especially when the walls of those theaters encompass so much history.

I’m sure many have fond memories of this special place!

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!

An amazing center for creativity in Chula Vista!

Interior photo of Chula Vista's Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Interior photo of Chula Vista’s very unique Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.

Check out the amazing interior of Art on Third in the heart of Chula Vista!

I was walking down Third Avenue on Saturday, taking photos of interesting things, when I peered through the windows of what appeared to be a colorful art gallery. And out comes Rich Walker, the super friendly artist who runs the place!

We talked. He showed me inside his fantastic Art on Third. I learned that it’s far more than a gallery. It’s a creative space and cultural event venue, where there are concerts, poetry readings, and a whole variety of community gatherings. It’s a place where eyes are dazzled no matter which way they turn! I felt as through I had stepped into a completely different world. A world of uninhibited freedom, joy and creativity!

Take a look at these photographs!

Rich explained he’d like downtown Chula Vista to become even more dynamic–to become a magnet for artists and those who love the arts. To become a popular, widely-known destination.

I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen. There are cool eateries and intriguing little shops up and down Third Avenue’s historic business district. Chula Vista has plenty of artists. And there’s the ideal location. Chula Vista sits smack dab in the middle of two major international cities: San Diego and Tijuana.

And, of course, there’s the very unique Art on Third–a truly amazing place with a smiling proprietor who believes in the following: Enjoy Life. Be Creative. Laugh Often.

At Chula Vista's cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!
At Chula Vista’s cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!

Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.

Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.
Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.

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!