Smiles at Escondido’s Grand Avenue Festival!

Escondido’s big Fall Grand Avenue Festival was held today.

Around midday I headed up to Escondido to experience the popular event.

Along the main stretch of Escondido’s historic downtown I saw a community gathered to enjoy a sunny, carefree Sunday. I saw neighbors and friends and food and entertainment and lots of vendors and fun.

There were local high school students demonstrating their competitive robots, which launched balls into the air.

Very creative artists showed their “Art In The Garden” at the Heritage Garden.

Diners along the sidewalks enjoyed lunch at their favorite eateries while engaged in people watching.

And, of course, there were many 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!

Festive fun at House of Czech and Slovak Republics!

Accordion music, costumes, dance and tasty treats can be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park this weekend at the International Cottages. The House of Czech and Slovak Republics is presenting their festive lawn program!

I swung by to enjoy a bit of culture and ended up gobbling some yummy strudel. I also got a few colorful photos!

I stepped into the House of Czech and Slovak Republics cottage and discovered a beautiful painting on one wall of Prague. And artwork depicting folk costume and dance!

Then a smile and book titled FAVORITE RECIPES Czech & Slovak Cottage was promptly followed by sweet temptation!

The lawn program will be held tomorrow, Sunday, as well! The public is invited!

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!

Taste of the Philippines at Waterfront Park!

A huge, very colorful event was held today on San Diego’s Embarcadero at Waterfront Park. Taste of the Philippines, presented by the House of the Philippines, offered food, culture, entertainment and fun galore!

After walking through Balboa Park (incidentally passing the new House of the Philippines cottage), I headed down toward San Diego Bay to check out this event.

I was amazed by the huge crowd! I guess it shouldn’t have been surprising, given how San Diego is home to the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.

I recognized various organizations that I’ve seen at past House of the Philippines lawn programs at the International Cottages. But at this epic event there was much, much more, including a big stage, beer garden, endless choices of food, and a kids play zone!

Enjoy some photos…

I learned that the PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company will be hosting a Parol Lantern Festival on December 13, 2021 at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. It’s now on my calendar!
A parol is a Christmas lantern in the Philippines. These star-shaped lanterns are hung along streets and outside homes. They are an expression of shared faith and hope.
All these poster displays concerning culture and history in the Philippines were created by students at Southwestern College.
A fascinating collection of old photos. Image of the Pilipino: 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
A San Diego Paré fan!
Photos of folk dance at the Samahan Philippine Dance Company table.
Traditional entertainment at the big stage during Taste of the Philippines.
Live mural painting at the festival.
Cecelia Linayao, local chalk artist, created this portrait of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who is part Filipino! You’ve seen her art many times on my blog.
Dane’s a super cool guy who paints custom longboards! His page on Instagram is @Kinjo_arts.

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!

A fun Harvest Fair in Balboa Park!

A very fun Harvest Fair and Marketplace could be enjoyed today in Balboa Park!

The San Diego Floral Association hosted this annual event–which they call Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees–at the Casa del Prado’s outdoor courtyards.

During my walk through Balboa Park, I lingered at this autumn festival to look about and meet some cool people.

This is what I discovered…

The family friendly event provided many educational opportunities.
Vendors had all sorts of unique crafts and art for sale.
Representatives from the organization Senior Gleaners pose for a photo. They’ll pick your fruit and donate to local agencies that feed the hungry. Or you can volunteer and help pick fruit!
Ikebana International had a table with some beautiful flower arrangements.
The San Diego Audubon Society was present. We talked about local estuaries, lagoons and feral parrots in my Cortez Hill neighborhood!
I learned there’s a College Area Community Garden in a canyon near San Diego State University.
These cool folks in costume were representing the San Diego Costume Guild!
The San Diego Beekeeping Society was showing this hive of bees. Hundreds of people around San Diego County keep bees. Many are hobbyists.
If you happen to come upon an injured parrot, call these friendly ladies at They perform urban wild parrot rescues.
The San Diego Floral Association had lots of helpful and interesting information on display.
The colorful Harvest Fair included a “Flower Power” floral design competition!

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!

Oceanside festival celebrates Filipino culture!

The 20th Annual Filipino Cultural Celebration was held today at Oceanside’s Civic Center Plaza. I arrived at the popular festival as it opened and stayed for a bit to enjoy all sorts of colorful entertainment!

After National Anthems were sung and presentations were made by community leaders, costumed dancing and singing commenced. The audience was wowed by an incredible fire dance by Dane Kaneshiro. You might’ve enjoyed his energetic performances at SeaWorld. As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, he also custom paints longboards with great Polynesian inspired art. See his Kinjo Arts Instagram page here.

I also enjoyed chatting with a representative of the House of the Philippines about their new cottage in Balboa Park and watching kids perform tricks with tiny fingerboards on a model miniature skatepark. Of course, there was lots of food, vendors and educational opportunities, too!

The family-friendly festival was presented by the Filipino-American Cultural Organization and the Oceanside Public Library.

I was surprised to learn the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines resides right here in San Diego!

Another big Filipino festival is coming up next weekend in downtown San Diego at Waterfront Park. I plan to be there!

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!

Food, fun and smiles at La Mesa Oktoberfest!

Today’s the final day of 2021 La Mesa Oktoberfest. I rode the trolley to the Village of La Mesa as the free street festival opened and quickly found lots of food, smiles and fun!

The Bratwurst was delectable. The garlic fries were yummy. The German oompah music was infectious. Vendors had all sorts of artsy and inventive wares. The Weiner Dog Races were hilarious. (So much fun, in fact, that a separate blog post concerning the races is coming up!) The three beer gardens and big Ferris wheel were attracting huge crowds. There was fun stuff to do and see in every direction.

My favorite part of Oktoberfest, however, is the smiles.

Of course I’m going to promote a fellow writer. Particularly one who has written an inspirational book full of daily positive messages that are like poetry, and who opened the pages to share words with me concerning October 3. John L. Wagner is the author of Daily Ripples and you can find his book 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!

A cool Car and Bike Show in City Heights!

A very cool Car and Bike Show was held this afternoon in City Heights!

The event took place in the outdoor community gathering place on University Avenue just east of Interstate 15. If you’ve ever driven by, you’ve probably noticed all the sculptures and murals and the circus tent. Yes, that place!

My friends at Love City Heights put on this show, which featured not only amazing cars and bikes, but vendors and artists and food and music and a bunch of great people!

I took photos as I walked around enjoying myself. Read the captions!

Perfect day for a car show in City Heights! (Okay, the weather was a bit hot.)
Cool cars parked near some outdoor sculptures that were created earlier this year by City Heights residents.
Check out the awesome new mural on a shipping container painted yesterday by GMONIK!
One of my favorites!
Are these the coolest bikes you’ve ever seen, or what?
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition was present, fixing up bikes! They have workshop in a corner of this City Heights lot.
Smiles appear at the KNSJ radio table!
All sort of crafts were for sale by vendors under the outdoor Fern Street Circus tent.
You see that beautiful blue pillow by The Urban Art Shop? It’s mine now! (According to their website, they are located at 4201 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105, United States, Northern American Continent, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Virgo Supercluster, Universe, Third Dimension.)
These smiling faces belong to the Speeding Crow Pressing Co. They make custom apparel and goods!
Artwork created by Andrew Greyeyes. He has also painted murals in City Heights!

If you want to see two fun, very colorful City Heights murals painted by Andrew Greyeyes, click here and here!

A cool Car and Bike Show (and a new GMONIK mural) comes to City Heights!

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!

Cool photo memories from October 2016.

Many cool events could be experienced in San Diego five years ago!

Looking back at photographs I took in October 2016, I see an amazing Maker Faire was held in Balboa Park, and a Festa with lots of chalk art was held in Little Italy.

Five year ago I also enjoyed two very unique museum exhibits, took a walk through beautiful Los Peñasquitos Canyon, and had my mind blown during a special tour aboard an oceanographic research vessel!

If you’d like to see lots of colorful photos, click the links that are coming up!

Click the following links to revisit fun old blog posts!

Cool photos of creativity at Maker Faire San Diego!

Beautiful chalk faces created on a Little Italy street!

Photos of chalk art at 2016 Festa in Little Italy!

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

History of firefighting at San Diego Firehouse Museum.

Joan Embery’s My Animal World at Bonita Museum.

Nature and history on a walk in Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Photos aboard new Scripps research vessel Sally Ride!

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.

San Diego International Organ Festival returns!

Every time a world-class organist performs in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ shines.

Tonight the Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor instrument in the world, one of San Diego’s most unique and precious treasures, absolutely sparkled.

Concert organist Hector Olivera filled Balboa Park with magic during the first performance of the two-month-long San Diego International Organ Festival.

Hector Olivera, considered one of the greatest organists alive, took the stage with his humor and deft touch and created something extraordinary. I sat mesmerized throughout the concert. The music he summoned from the Spreckels Organ was subtle, luminous, alive.

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy. As a five-year-old he played for Eva Perón. Before he’d left his teens he’d performed for heads of state. He has since played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Tonight he started the 2021 San Diego International Organ Festival with an act that will be hard to top. But more top organists are coming, including San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

If you love listening to world-class musicians you must go to this free weekly event. The Spreckels Organ shines in Balboa Park every Monday at 7:30 pm through October 25, 2021!

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 extraordinary TwainFest at Heritage Park!

TwainFest returned to San Diego today. And it was just as wonderful as ever!

This year the festival of mostly Victorian-era literature was held in Heritage Park, a short distance from Old Town. Families turned out to enjoy games, readings, reenactments of scenes from beloved books, puppet shows, costumed literary characters…you get the picture!

TwainFest is presented by Write Out Loud, whose mission is to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading literature aloud to audiences of all ages.

Write Out Loud offers educational programs, including performances for high school students, and they present the annual San Diego ​Student ​Shakespeare Festival in Balboa Park! Visit this website to learn more!

As I walked around Heritage Park enjoying the festival, I watched Tom Sawyer induce visitors to whitewash a fence, laughed at the craziness of a delightfully manic Mad Hatter Tea Party, lifted my eyes to giant roving Twain, Poe and Shakespeare puppets, and saw characters from Treasure Island and even some steampunk cosplay! There was action in every direction!

I finally joined other visitors to listen to The Extraordinary Mark Twain. Two actors–an older gentleman and youthful girl–painted a picture of the great American humorist and author. They employed the biography written by Twain’s daughter Susy. Her observations were published in 1988 and titled Papa: An Intimate Biography of Mark Twain.

We learned that Mark Twain had a Roman nose and kind blue eyes. And that he used strong words and had a temper. And that he was frequently absent-minded.

He was funny and philosophical and always very earnest.

And, of course, he loved a good joke.

My photos provide a small taste of today’s fun!

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!