A walk down Escondido’s Grand Avenue.

On Sunday I returned to Escondido. I wanted to explore Grand Avenue–the heart of historic downtown Escondido–a little more thoroughly.

Earlier this year I visited Maple Street Plaza on a Sunday and took a quick look from its south end up and down Grand Avenue. What I glimpsed wasn’t encouraging. Few people. Inactive storefronts. But had I walked a block or two east I would have found a much more lively scene!

Grand Avenue resembles the historic old main streets of many American towns. What used to be the central business district is now home to a multitude of cozy eateries, specialty shops, salons and antique stores. There’s an old restored movie theater, a Rotary Club street clock, a gazebo in a small sunny park, and a friendly feeling of community. During my walk I saw many families just walking along like me, enjoying a late Sunday morning.

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Escondido. If you don’t either, enjoy these photos of Grand Avenue as if we are walking together.

I started at the big Escondido landmark sign at Centre City Parkway and headed east. To see some great mosaics in the sidewalk at the intersection, check out my earlier blog post here!

You see that unusual sculpture in the median? I know nothing about it!

I really enjoyed peering into the window of the Timekeepers Watch and Clock Shop and took several photos. Indeed, my walk felt a little like travelling back in time.

After I passed the south end of Maple Street Plaza, I enjoyed looking into the windows of more antique stores. I noticed more and more people sitting in front of various restaurants enjoying Sunday breakfast or an early lunch. (People are dining on sidewalks and streets this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

There’s a very cool display near the entrance to the restored The Ritz Theater, which originally opened in 1937. You can see old film reels and all sorts of interesting equipment that was used in this historic movie house. Unfortunately bright street reflections were impossible for my camera to overcome.

I turned around at Valley Boulevard and headed back west along the opposite sidewalk.

According to a nearby plaque, that great mural on the corner of a building is titled Escondido, the Hidden Valley. It’s by artist Daniel Hernandez.

Finally–you see that cool old car coming down the street near the end of my photos? Grand Avenue is probably best known for its popular Cruisin’ Grand vintage auto show event on Friday nights! (Something I haven’t experienced yet.)

Here we go…

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.

Beautiful mosaics in Escondido sidewalk!

My Sunday walk along Grand Avenue in Escondido began at Centre City Parkway–the Mercado area across from the big Escondido landmark sign. Just as I started east down the sidewalk my eyes suddenly fell upon a gorgeous tile mosaic at my feet!

A quick exploration of the intersection and I found three more similar mosaics!

I’ve since learned that the four circular mosaics were created by local artist Tama Dumlao and installed in 2003. As you can see, they pay tribute to art, entertainment and shopping in Escondido’s historic downtown, and its Friday night Cruisin’ Grand tradition!

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!

Escondido community paints street barriers on Grand!

The community of Escondido has come together in the past few weeks to paint about a hundred concrete barriers along Grand Avenue with beautiful, inspiring artwork!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries along Grand Avenue in historic downtown Escondido have been allowed to open outdoor patios on the sidewalk and street. To keep lanes of traffic safely separated from diners, ugly gray concrete barriers were placed along the avenue. But those who love to create art saw numerous blank canvases!

The Beautify Escondido mural project has resulted in numerous colorful works of art that promote love, hope, friendship and community, not to mention businesses along Grand Avenue. I see the Escondido Art Association has been instrumental in coordinating this very cool project.

I must admit, when I last visited Escondido on a Sunday and took photos of the Maple Street Plaza, my brief look at Grand Avenue didn’t do it justice. To my eyes Grand Avenue had appeared quiet, deserted. But had I walked a block or two east into the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown, I would’ve seen many people eating, walking, looking in the windows of antique stores, and enjoying life.

I took additional photos of my adventure on Grand Avenue yesterday, and will share them shortly!

Okay, ready to see lots and lots of awesome artwork?

Here we go!

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!

Mother and child sculpture on Escondido bench.

Today I enjoyed walk down Grand Avenue, through the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown. I have many colorful photographs coming up!

During my walk I was struck by a wonderful sculpture in front of Felipe’s Restaurant. Life-size cast bronze figures sit on a public bench. A mother holds a small child, who is reaching curiously into her purse. It’s a celebration of ordinary living.

This public art is by T.J. Dixon, whose many extraordinary sculptures can be viewed all around San Diego. Created in 1990, the piece’s title is Reflections on Downtown.

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!

A walk through Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.

Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.
Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.

After my weekend visit to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, I walked south to check out Maple Street Plaza. This “festival plaza” joins the area around the Escondido Civic Center to the historic old business district along Grand Avenue.

On a Sunday afternoon the place was surprisingly empty. When I reached the plaza’s south end, I noticed that Grand Avenue, which appeared to have many vacant old storefronts, was similarly quiet.

Maple Street Plaza, built in 2012, struck me as a very handsome place, but in need of more life. There are beautiful benches, tables and seats, trees and an interactive fountain, which was off. If I had wanted to purchase a sandwich or ice cream or cup of coffee to enjoy in the plaza, I didn’t see any obvious place nearby where I might go. Perhaps I missed something.

Set in the paver blocks at my feet I discovered interesting brief descriptions of Escondido and its history.

A beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.
A very beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.

Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.
Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.

A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944...
A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944…

Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.
Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.

Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows to San Elijo Lagoon.
Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows more than 26 miles to San Elijo Lagoon.

Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.
Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.

More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.
More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.

A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, quiet Sunday.
A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, very quiet Sunday.

Escondido is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.
Escondido, which means “hidden” in Spanish, is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.

Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.
Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.

One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat.
One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat. (The other nearby table was occupied by someone who appeared to be homeless.)

Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.
Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.

A bench at the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.
A bench near the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.

Plaque on the bench indicates it's For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.
Plaque on the bench indicates it’s For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.

Landmark sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.
A welcoming gateway sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in downtown Escondido.

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!

Artists celebrate Frida Kahlo in new exhibition.

Welcoming Frida to My Imagination, by artist Lin Wei, 2018. Oil painting.
Welcoming Frida to My Imagination, by artist Lin Wei, 2018. Oil painting.

A fantastic exhibition has opened in Escondido that celebrates the life and work of legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Today I stepped into the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido to experience The World of Frida. The juried exhibition recently arrived from the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, California.

Over one hundred highly creative pieces by artists who’ve been inspired by Frida Kahlo cover the walls of the Museum. Imaginative portraits of Frida Kahlo are plentiful, as are reimaginings of her works. Many different artistic styles delight the eye!

Like Frida’s paintings, most of these pieces employ lavish color and symbolism. Themes often reflect Frida’s own complex and sometimes mysterious personality.

In the artwork you will find pain and poise, vitality and frustration, sensitivity and anger, feminism and vulnerability, remoteness and love. It seemed to me that Frida’s emotional and intellectual complexity–the seeming ambiguity–provided many of these artists with a blank canvas upon which they could paint their own related ideas, feelings and experiences.

My photos are a small glimpse of this remarkable exhibition!

As you can see, another gallery at the Museum contains even more artwork, including a very cool car with a traditional Mexican altar in its trunk and a large Frido Kahlo Day of the Dead Altar. A third gallery features Frida-related artwork by local school students!

Head up to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido before November 15, 2020 when The World of Frida comes to a close.

Visitor to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido explores The World of Frida.
Visitor to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido explores The World of Frida.

Defiant Deer, by artist Jamie Burnside, 2018. Acrylic on canvas.
Defiant Deer, by artist Jamie Burnside, 2018. Acrylic on canvas.

Seed of Life, by artist Crystal Moody, 2017. Acrylic.
Seed of Life, by artist Crystal Moody, 2017. Acrylic.

Frida Kahlo Shrine Box Day of the Dead, by artist Monica Balmelli, 2016. Mixed media.
Frida Kahlo Shrine Box Day of the Dead, by artist Monica Balmelli, 2016. Mixed media.

Young Frida, by artist Kim Bagwill, 2018. Oil on panel.
Young Frida, by artist Kim Bagwill, 2018. Oil on panel.

Frida with Flower Crown, by artist Betsy Gorman, 2018. Mixed media collages.
Frida with Flower Crown, by artist Betsy Gorman, 2018. Mixed media collages.

Frida's Chair, by artist Marian De La Torre-Easthope, 2018. Oil on canvas.
Frida’s Chair, by artist Marian De La Torre-Easthope, 2018. Oil on canvas.

Frida #51, by Stikki Peaches, 2017. Mixed media on paper.
Frida #51, by Stikki Peaches, 2017. Mixed media on paper.

1954 Chevy Belair. Trunk altar honors family from Uruapan, Michoacan, and Mexico City, Mexico. Manuel Navarro Sr.
1954 Chevy Belair. Trunk altar honors family from Uruapan, Michoacan, and Mexico City, Mexico. Manuel Navarro Sr.

Frida Kahlo Día de los Muertos Altar by artist Daniel F. Martinez.
Frida Kahlo Día de los Muertos Altar by artist Daniel F. Martinez.

Celebrating Frida in the Afterlife, by Hayle V., San Pasqual Union School District Grade 7, 2020. Acrylic paint, markers.
Celebrating Frida in the Afterlife, by Hayle V., San Pasqual Union School District Grade 7, 2020. Acrylic paint, markers.

Corazon de Frida, by artist Juan Solis, 2018. Acrylic on canvas.
Corazon de Frida, by artist Juan Solis, 2018. Acrylic on canvas.

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!

Art-filled walks in San Diego’s North County!

This year I’ve walked quite a bit in San Diego’s North County. Many of those journeys filled my eyes with wonderful art.

I’ve amassed so many photos over the years, I’ve decided to list the following links. They take you to blog posts concerning a variety of art-filled walks in North County. (No, there’s no listing for San Marcos or Rancho Bernardo. I’m sure there’s cool art in those places which I’ll discover in the future!)

Are you ready for some fun?

Click the following links to see cool murals, street art, sculptures . . . and one world-famous installation by a major international artist that is tucked away in a place few visit. What am I talking about? I’m afraid you’ll have to do a little exploring! (Hint: it’s magical.)

The following links include hundreds of photos!

Carlsbad

Cool street art throughout Carlsbad Village!

Faces painted with words of confusion, revelation.

Del Mar

Del Mar’s sculpted Journey and A River of Time.

Amazing mosaic wall at the Del Mar Library!

Breeders’ Cup horses race on a Del Mar street!

An amazing Sunset Seat on the cliffs of Del Mar.

Encinitas

Photos of cool Sea Walls mural in Encinitas.

Cool pics from a wonderful walk around Encinitas.

Fun tile mosaic art on Encinitas sidewalk!

The miracle of the Surfing Madonna.

Amazing walk from Swami’s to the Cardiff Kook.

Escondido

Happy art and the Escondido Students’ Tile Mural.

Colorful art in Escondido celebrates nature!

Unusual public art at Escondido Transit Center.

Beautiful public art near Escondido City Hall.

Public art in Escondido: two female bronzes.

Carving stone and the Blue Granite Shift.

Star Streams at the Center for the Arts.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s Grande Step Totem.

Photos of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle!

The gigantic bronze leaves of Kit Carson Park.

Leucadia

Murals in Leucadia along Coast Highway 101.

A colorful walk through nerdy, artsy Leucadia.

Oceanside

Sculptures near the Oceanside train underpass.

Flying pigs and other cool Oceanside murals!

The cool Cruisin’ carhop mural at 101 Cafe!

Poway

The Pioneers sculpture at Old Poway Park.

Photos of Tony Gwynn statue at Lake Poway.

Solana Beach

A walk down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

Sea life mosaics at Solana Beach bus station!

Cool mural overlooks Solana Beach train tracks!

Cool art and history in Solana Beach.

Sea-themed mosaics at Fletcher Cove and Overlook Park.

Vista

Amazing sculptures around downtown Vista!

Wild Horses run through Vista Village!

Murals in and around Alley Art Man Way!

Letters Home: A fallen soldier and a memorial.

Love Locks many hearts together, forever.

Stained glass panels beautify Paseo Santa Fe!

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.

Carving stone and the Blue Granite Shift.

Fascinating public art can be found at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, in the outdoor space between the Concert Hall and the Museum. Scattered among trees and shadows are the stones of the 200-foot Blue Granite Shift, created by artist Mathieu Gregoire in 1995.

At the north end of the installation lie natural, uncarved stones. As you proceed south, the stones are subjected to human action, until they finally become sculpted and polished into smooth geometric forms.

When you walk back and forth through Blue Granite Shift, it’s like moving forward and backward through time, observing how complex natural forms that slowly evolved over eons are abruptly transformed by human ideas and cutting, reducing tools of creativity.

Every stone, touched or untouched by human hand, is part of the larger world, where all things, including the viewer, exist under one sun in a clock-like cycle of shifting shadows.

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!

Star Streams at the Center for the Arts.

As you approach the front entrance of the Museum at California Center for the Arts, Escondido, you might think you’re flying through the coronas of two fiery stars. Looking down, you see beautiful Star Streams beneath your feet!

Star Streams/THRESHOLD TESSELATION is the name of some very cool artwork that was installed in front of the Museum in 2017.

The 128-square foot LithoMosaic was created by artists Robin Brailsford, Wick Alexander and Doris Bittar. It’s the first of a series titled COLD CALL/ Museum as Muse, which involves the creation of LithoMosaic plaza public artwork for six museums across the United States.

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!

Happy art and the Escondido Students’ Tile Mural.

Do you ever blink your eyes at an oh-so-serious adult and wonder what they were like as a small child? Before growing up and becoming terribly sophisticated, did they love to draw simple things like hearts, flowers and smiles?

I saw this amazing tile wall in Escondido last weekend as I walked from the California Center for the Arts toward Grape Day Park. A plaque states it’s the 1994 Escondido Students’ Tile Mural. Hundreds of names from local schools appear on this happy, quilt-like mosaic.

The tiles were painted 26 years ago.

I have no doubt that many who painted their tile with small hands long ago still love hearts, flowers and smiles.

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!