Unexpected movie star in the Gaslamp Quarter!

San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter has attracted celebrities from all around the world, particularly during big international events like Comic-Con. But did you know there’s one movie star that calls the Gaslamp home?

Walk down Fifth Avenue past the 7-Eleven and you’ve spotted a “movie star” that has appeared in two films. The convenience store occupies the 1930 Manila Cafe building, which was used as a “backdrop for scenes in the movies In God We Trust, with Marty Feldman, and Writer’s Block, with Morgan Fairchild.” That’s what a corroded historical marker by the 7-Eleven’s front door reads!

According to this article, the old Manila Café building has been occupied by a variety of restaurants over the years, and by a billiard hall during World War II. In 2014 the exterior was renovated, but the roof with its red Spanish tiles and Asian contours, and the building’s distinctive upper story, haven’t changed.

Have you watched either movie? Have you spotted San Diego’s “famous” Manila Cafe building in the background?

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!

Comic-Con week cosplay parade in the Gaslamp!

In 2021 lovers of San Diego Comic-Con are enjoying an online experience of the international pop culture convention at home. But that hasn’t stopped fans in San Diego from having fun in the Gaslamp Quarter!

This afternoon I took a bunch of photographs of cosplay at the San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine by the Tin Fish Restaurant.

At one o’clock the cosplayers started up Fifth Avenue in a big parade! Diners along the street and those watching from the sidewalk were in for a treat!

I followed the parade as superheroes and supervillains passed a simulated torch from one to the other. The costumed characters finally gathered at the parade’s end for an amazing group photo!

Check it out!

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!

Friday morning at SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine!

The San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine is kicking off in the Gaslamp Quarter by the Tin Fish restaurant this morning. What was referred to in 2020 as the Comic-Con Shrine has grown for 2021 into a full-fledged event!

Today through the weekend, the Causeplayer Community Shrine will feature chalk art, cosplay (including afternoon parades up Fifth Avenue), 91X FM dance parties, and, most importantly, a big blood drive by the San Diego Blood Bank! Everyone is invited to swing by and add their own words and Comic-Con memories to the shrine, this second year that San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I captured these photos this morning as I walked by the shrine!

The SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine has many memories from past San Diego Comic-Cons.
It’s Dude Vader and Lightning McQueen!
Dude Vader chalk art.
I met my girlfriend at SDCC.
Look at all the Funkos!
Free Funko for every blood donor!
Thor holds up her hammer at the 2021 Causeplayer Community Shrine!

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!

San Diego’s two historic Civil War cannons.

Two cannons dating from the American Civil War now make their home in San Diego. You can find them floating above the bay on the barge behind the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

According to plaques at the museum and this very detailed article from the The Journal of San Diego History, these two “Napoleon guns” (also called a 12-pounder Gun, Model 1857) were utilized by the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1886 they were brought to our city by the U.S. Army and placed at the San Diego Barracks. The old barracks was located near today’s Seaport Village. (You can see a photo of the historical plaque marking the old barracks site here.)

The two “bronze” or “gun metal” cannons are named Big John and El Justin. Each cannon without the carriage weighs over 1,200 pounds. At the barracks they were fired at sunrise and at sunset, and whenever visiting ships came into San Diego harbor.

In 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish-American War, the two Napoleon guns were moved to Fort Rosecrans where they defended the newly laid Ballast Point minefield, and they “were fired nightly, despite complaints that the noise frightened the horses…”

Afterward they were moved from place to place in San Diego, thrown aside as junk, then finally restored in the 1980’s. For much more information, read the detailed article here.

You can view historical black-and-white photographs of the two Napoleon guns in San Diego here!

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!

The historical Carriage Works building downtown.

There’s an unusual old building in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter called the Carriage Works. You can find it at the corner of Fourth Avenue and G Street.

If the Carriage Works with its wide arched doorways appears different from other historical buildings in the Gaslamp, that’s because it used to be a place where San Diegans would go to purchase horse-drawn buggies and wagons!

Today the Carriage Works is home to music venues and eateries including GARAGE Kitchen + Bar, Tin Roof, and The Shout! House.

I took these photos about a month ago. You can see how outdoor dining areas were set up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I also photographed a plaque that provides a brief description of the building’s history.

Carriage Works, 1890

Constructed to house the wholesale business of Todd and Hawley, which operated here until 1902. Their stock was purchased by Lyons Implement Company, which carried a complete line of Studebaker vehicles, including buggies and wagons. Along with Lyon, San Diego Gas & Electric, San Diego Farm and Dairy Supply, a tent and awning company and the Volunteers of America have occupied the building.

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!

Bike and scooter murals in East Village.

Two colorful murals in East Village promote riding bicycles and scooters. They’re painted on the north side of the old Farkas Store Fixtures building, on G Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenue.

The murals encourage motorists to get out of their cars to clear the air of pollution, save energy and enjoy San Diego’s beautiful outdoors!

I took these pics the other day during a downtown walk…

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!

Returning to normal after the pandemic.

Thank goodness. Life in San Diego is returning to something more like normal. As a large number of people have become vaccinated against COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly subsided.

The virus took an unspeakably horrible toll. Lives were lost. Living was curtailed. Many were isolated. Livelihoods were decimated. The lockdowns were unprecedented. But we’re somehow getting beyond it.

In the last couple weeks I’ve taken a few photographs of signs that our city is returning to normal.

Indoor dining is back. Theaters are open or about to open. Stadiums are once again full. Museums and attractions are mostly open. More and more commercial planes are landing at San Diego International Airport. Traffic patterns are returning. Help Wanted signs are now everywhere.

One thing I really notice as I walk around is that tourists are traveling once again to sunny San Diego.

The new normal in the Gaslamp Quarter includes open-air dining.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego descend into the USS Dolphin submarine.
Old Town Trolley Tours is starting to get busy again, and these relaxing tour guides smiled for my camera!
The movies are back. I’m anxious to see Black Widow which opens next week!
Most restaurants–the ones that survived the pandemic–are open for indoor dining…and they’re hiring!
Two “smiles” at Fiesta de Reyes are symbolic of the gradual transition back to normal times.
Tourists check out pottery at El Centro Artesano in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A random fun photo that I took today. These fireplace “fire starters” are made using leftover wax at Toby’s Candle & Soap Shop in Old Town.
People are out and about, so downtown sidewalks must be kept clean!
The historic Balboa Theatre will be reopening in early August!

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 photo memories from July 2016.

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game AND Comic-Con! Both spectacular events took place in San Diego five years ago, back in July 2016!

That might have been the most exciting month ever for Cool San Diego Sights!

Five years ago I took hundreds of photographs outside both the MLB All-Star Game and San Diego Comic-Con, and I managed to check out some other cool stuff, too!

If you’d like to go back to revisit the excitement, follow the upcoming links. They’ll take you to some of the fun blogs that I posted.

Click the following links to see many photographs!

Cool photos: OB Pier celebrates 50th anniversary!

Fun photos: Old Town San Diego’s Fourth of July!

Kids have fun at All-Star Game’s PLAY BALL PARK!

Cool exhibit: Baseball and comic books combined!

A cool, rarely seen mural in downtown San Diego!

Fun photos of MLB All-Star Game’s Red Carpet Parade!

Threads of the Past: Living history in Old Town.

Photos outside Comic-Con. Everyone is getting ready!

Cool cosplay and crazy fun outside Comic-Con!

Photographs of cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con!

Wonder Woman mural being painted during Comic-Con!

Zombies gather in park, prepare to attack city.

More photos of super creative cosplay at Comic-Con!

Cool busts of FX characters outside Comic-Con.

Tiny surfing dogs ride big waves at Imperial Beach!

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 phone or 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.

Cosplay banners for Causeplayer Community Shrine!

Cosplay banners have been hung all over the Gaslamp Quarter in anticipation of the upcoming San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine. The event will be held July 23-25!

What has been referred to as the Comic-Con Shrine has recently been given a new name. The San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine (in Gaslamp Square near the Tin Fish restaurant across from the Convention Center) will be the site of a blood drive by the San Diego Blood Bank, not to mention fan chalk art, dance parties and lots of cosplay activity!

These banners up and down Fifth Avenue feature members of the Science Fiction Coalition and various other cosplay groups from around San Diego.

Look at all these very cool banners!

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!

The corner lit by San Diego’s first gaslamp!

The very first gaslamp that lit downtown San Diego was located in today’s Gaslamp Quarter. But where?

Stand at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and F Street, and you’ve found the location!

You’ll be standing next to the historic Marston Building. A plaque on this interesting old building reads:

Marston Block, 1881

In 1881, George Marston located his third department store in this two-story Victorian Italian-style building. It remained here until 1896 when it was relocated to a larger building. Until the 1970s, Marston’s was the largest and most successful San Diego-based department store and was purchased by Broadway Stores. The building suffered severe fire damage in 1903, and had to undergo extensive remodeling. The first gaslamp was placed on this corner in 1885, and on March 16, 1886, the first electric arc lamp was illuminated outside this building.

If any of you remember visiting the Marston Department Store as a young child, it was most likely Marston’s final location, in a large four-story, neo-Renaissance building on C Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. That building was demolished years ago. To learn more about George Marston’s various stores in San Diego, click here.

To view a historical black-and-white photo of Marston’s 1881 store–the location of San Diego’s very first gaslamp–click here.

As you can see, things have changed quite a bit in nearly a century and a half!

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!