A fine evening to eat in the middle of the street!

It’s a fine evening to eat dinner in the middle of the street–Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter, that is!

Certain restaurants have begun to serve diners at tables in the middle of Fifth Avenue, from G Street down to L Street. “Curbside Gaslamp” has introduced this new way of coping with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the need for people to maintain six feet of social distance. Safely spaced tables occupy an “extended patio” right into the street, which is closed to traffic. Servers wear facial protection. And diners get to feast in the open air, surrounded by the dynamism and color of the historic Gaslamp Quarter!

Curbside Gaslamp is activated on Thursday and Friday 3 pm – midnight, and Saturday from noon to midnight. Safety rules are posted on a sign which I photographed. If you’re curious, click the photo below and it will enlarge for easy reading.

I believe as time goes on, more and more eateries will be participating!

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!

Six years of colorful Comic-Con trolleys!

It’s mid-June. If this were an ordinary year, brand new trolley wraps would be rolling out right now for San Diego Comic-Con. But, alas, like most events, Comic-Con has been cancelled in 2020 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

I’ve photographed just about every Comic-Con trolley wrap that has appeared in the past six years. As mobile billboards, they’re used to promote popular entertainment–primarily new or ongoing television series. They’re designed to catch the attention of Comic-Con fans and create a sense of anticipation and excitement.

This year I’ll miss watching the weeks of preparations that lead up to the world’s greatest pop culture convention. Seeing streets, buildings and trolleys massively transformed for the epic event is one more thing that makes living in downtown San Diego so much fun!

If you, like me, are saddened by the cancellation of Comic-Con in 2020, I figured we could revisit these very colorful trolley wraps from the past six years. How many do you remember or recognize?







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!

Kids learn while having fun with pop culture!

What’s the best way for kids to learn?

By having fun!

The very cool Comic-Con Museum@Home web page continues to grow and grow! It’s now bursting with fun activities for kids–educational activities that relate to the popular culture!

Not only are there oodles of downloadable, printable Fun Books, which are jam-packed with word puzzles, mazes, instructions on how to draw comic art, and fantastic coloring pages (including some by prolific San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel), but now you can watch lots of cool videos, too!

A brand new series of videos this summer will be showing kids how to create superheroes and other pop culture characters out of folded cardboard! The tutorials are by Connor and Bauer Lee. You might remember seeing their fantastic creations during December Nights here!

The first cardboard character kids can create by following a YouTube video is Wall-E!

The Comic-Con Museum has also partnered with Balboa Park’s Fleet Science Center for a series called Pop Culture Science. Celebrating the anniversary of the popular character Sherlock Holmes, there’s a video about how TV crime shows accurately or imaginatively portray real forensic science. Additional activities include how to detect fingerprints and write with invisible ink!

Learning is always best when it’s fun!

Check out the Comic-Con Museum web page with all of these great activities by clicking here!

A glorious day as Balboa Park reopens!

The day that many in San Diego have anticipated for nearly three months has arrived!

Balboa Park is reopening!

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Mesa area of Balboa Park–the beloved center of San Diego’s cultural life–has been closed to the public. But that changes today! While most of the museums aren’t quite ready to open yet, visitors will again be able to amble down El Prado and enjoy the park’s sunshine, gardens and architectural beauty.

And a few places in the park will be open!

The world-famous San Diego Air and Space Museum will be open! So will the Visitor Center, the Prado Restaurant and the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Tea Pavilion! Visitors will notice that modifications have been made to ensure social distancing and generally increase public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can bet I’ll be heading to Balboa Park first thing after work today. And I’ll be there all weekend. I miss it so much.

Here are a few photographs from my rather inactive blog Beautiful Balboa Park. These photos were taken at sunrise on a summer day almost three years ago.

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!

Life slowly returns to the Gaslamp Quarter.

People gather in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.
People wait in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.

Life is slowly returning to the Gaslamp Quarter. Some restaurants and bars have just begun to reopen. Dining at restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic is now permitted if establishments and customers abide by strict rules.

Early this evening–the Friday of Memorial Day weekend–I walked up Fifth Avenue and observed small groups of people waiting in line on the sidewalk and seated at outdoor tables. Many Gaslamp eateries are still closed. I was told that for some it remains a wait-and-see situation.

So life downtown is becoming a little more vibrant.

It will be fascinating to watch how long it might take the Gaslamp Quarter to regain its former popularity, given the fact that COVID-19 is still among us.

I suspect there are many who remain cautious.

Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, on Memorial Day weekend.
Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! If you love Mexican food, it's the place to go!
I learned that El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! Mexican food is their specialty!

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!

How to support the museums of Balboa Park.

This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.

Do you love Balboa Park?

One big reason the park is so wonderful is its many diverse museums. World-class museums. Museums that enhance the culture of our city and document the life of this planet. Museums that educate, entertain, highlight beauty and provide inspiration. Museums that bring our community together.

But these nonprofit institutions are always in need of public support. Especially during the present coronavirus pandemic, when Balboa Park is closed to all visitors. Today many of these beloved museums really need your help.

Would you like to make a donation to one or more of the museums of Balboa Park, or perhaps find another way to give them a helping hand?

I’ve visited each museum’s website and created the following list of links. These links will take you to web pages that explain how you can provide each museum with support.

Every little bit helps in this difficult time!

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Here come the links where you can provide help…

Museum of Photographic Arts

San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Automotive Museum

Fleet Science Center

Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Centro Cultural de la Raza

Marston House

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!

WorldBeat Center

Timken Museum of Art

Mingei International Museum

Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

The San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego History Center

San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Natural History Museum

Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.

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!

Friday in the Gaslamp during the pandemic.

The Gaslamp Quarter early this evening appeared almost like a ghost town. Partly boarded up. Mostly lifeless. Very unlike Fridays before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, huge crowds of people would fill the streets on a late Friday or weekend. The restaurants, bars and nightclubs would be packed. But those good times and that party atmosphere have suddenly ended.

I took photos early this evening around 6 pm as I walked up Fifth Avenue through the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

The mermaid and those hopeful, thankful messages you see in two upcoming photographs were in front of the Starbucks at the Hard Rock Hotel. They are one of the few places that are open. A nice lady came out, hoping for business. I promised her I’d let my readers know that Starbucks is open. But you must wear a mask.

A few restaurants up and down Fifth Avenue were offering take out, but I saw virtually no business. Almost no people were about, even as California and San Diego slowly lift the pandemic lockdowns and allow businesses to reopen under certain conditions.

I wonder how many of these establishments will survive.

Before the pandemic, many of the businesses in the Gaslamp had a tough enough time of it. Between the many homeless who drive potential customers away, and the sky high rents, I’ve been told it can be difficult to keep doors open. In recent years I’ve seen storefronts constantly change, and FOR LEASE signs on some buildings that never go away.

There have been audacious plans to create an upscale, world-class pedestrian Gaslamp Promenade along Fifth Avenue. But I wonder. A virus seems to have other plans. Economic disruption continues. The future is in doubt.

It seems there’s a chance the Gaslamp Quarter might return to what it was decades ago. An area of downtown in slow decay. Or consider this harsh possibility: might the Gaslamp once again become San Diego’s seedy “Stingaree” red-light district, as it was a century ago?

Large signs up and down the streets contain hopeful messages, such as Stay Strong and Things Will Be Okay.

As a downtown resident, I do hope the Gaslamp comes out of this crisis okay.

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 desktop wallpapers of San Diego!

An amazing photograph of Balboa Park, perfect for your computer desktop wallpaper, provided by the San Diego Tourism Authority.
A breathtaking photo of Balboa Park, perfect for your desktop computer wallpaper, courtesy of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

I just made the above photograph the wallpaper background on my desktop home computer. It’s one of seven stunning images that were made available today by the San Diego Tourism Authority. I learned about it because I subscribe to their email list.

The amazing photos were sized to be used as Zoom video communication virtual backgrounds, but the high quality .jpg images also work perfectly as wallpaper on a computer.

Anyone can freely download beautiful images of Balboa Park, Torrey Pines, Cabrillo National Monument and Windansea.

To download these wallpapers, visit the San Diego Tourism blog by clicking here!

Another recent post links to amazing virtual experiences from around San Diego, including many of the city’s most popular attractions. You can access live webcams at the San Diego Zoo and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, go on a virtual tour of the USS Midway aircraft carrier and the San Diego Museum of Art, listen to world-class music by the San Diego Symphony, view clips from some of the Old Globe’s famous productions, and much more.

To check out these virtual San Diego experiences, click here!

Very cool, indeed!

Photos from 35 colorful festivals in San Diego!

San Diego is full of life!

Every year, dozens of colorful festivals around the city and county celebrate diverse cultures, themes, communities and historical moments. Those who participate enjoy great music, art, food and all sorts of unique entertainment, not to mention the cool vibe of America’s Finest City!

Over the past six and a half years, I’ve attended many of these festivals. I’ve met lots of amazing people and have taken hundreds of photographs.

Unfortunately, with the current coronavirus pandemic, nearly all public events scheduled for the first half of 2020 have been cancelled or postponed. So, as we wait for life to return to “normal,” wouldn’t it be fun to have another look at some past festivals?

I’ve selected 35 festivals that have been featured on Cool San Diego Sights!

To see lots of colorful photographs, click the following links:

A taste of the Lemon Festival in Chula Vista!

Photos of Vista’s Annual Viking Festival!

Photos of 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival!

Photos of good times at Chula Vista’s HarborFest!

Fun photos of Chula Vista’s Pacific Rim Festival!

Colorful photos of Escondido Tamale Festival!

Photos of cool sand sculptures at Sun and Sea Festival!

Scenes from Without Walls Festival 2019!

Colorful photos of Founders Day in Old Town.

Readers, writers gather for Festival of Books!

Great writing, reading celebrated at TwainFest!

Dancing with joy at a big Greek Festival!

Photos at kite festival in Ocean Beach!

Photos of North Park’s Day of the Dead festival!

Photos of San Diego Scottish Highland Games.

Memorial Day weekend at Festival of the Sea!

Street art painted live at North Park festival!

Cool discoveries at the Encinitas Street Fair!

Fun photos of Cinco de Mayo in Old Town!

Colorful photos of San Diego Tet Festival.

Photos of the colorful 2019 Mariachi Festival!

Fun stage dioramas at Paper Theatre Festival!

Smiles and culture at San Diego Multicultural Festival!

Photos of the San Diego Brazilian Day Festival!

Festival celebrates Wizard of Oz in Coronado!

Cool photos of the Imperial Avenue Street Festival!

Photos of the San Diego Wooden Boat Festival!

Festival recreates landing of explorer Cabrillo.

San Diego history comes alive at Fall Back Festival!

Photos of art come to life at CityFest in Hillcrest.

Photos of Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach!

Smiles, life and culture at Pacific Islander Festival!

Celebrating San Diego history at Festival of the Bells.

Cool photos of fun, funky Ocean Beach Street Fair!

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

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.

Photos to remember beautiful Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it might reopen is anybody’s guess.

I didn’t go to Balboa Park this weekend, the way I usually do. I already miss it.

I miss the sunshine and smiles, the gardens and amazing architecture, the fountains and beautiful art, the dancing and music. Over the years, my Sunday visits to Balboa Park have become an important part of my life.

As the warming spring weather greens the grass and trees and opens bright new flowers everywhere, wouldn’t you love to walk through one of the world’s most beautiful parks?

Come along on a random walk back through time, and enjoy some of many colorful photographs that I’ve taken over the years.

The following photos are all new to Cool San Diego Sights. They were originally posted to one of my other blogging websites, which is titled Beautiful Balboa Park.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!