Eerie, mysterious night photos downtown!

The photographs that follow are mysterious. Many are eerie. All were taken at night in downtown San Diego.

About half of these images were captured this evening after nightfall, as I walked from the Gaslamp Quarter toward Cortez Hill. Other photos (such as the one with the moon) have been sitting in my computer for a long time. I was waiting for an appropriate theme.

I must say San Diego has come back to life after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This evening I saw crowds converging on the San Diego Symphony’s new Shell on the Embarcadero, conventioneers partying and enjoying a sunset view from atop the San Diego Convention Center, and large Friday night crowds walking through and dining in the beautifully lit Gaslamp Quarter.

But even when surrounded by a bright whirl of life, one can find strangeness lurking in the dark…

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!

PRONTO transit ticket machines go live!

The new PRONTO ticketing system for transit in San Diego and North County is now operating. I received confirmation today from an MTS Supervisor.

This morning, before boarding a Green Line trolley at the Gaslamp station, I noticed one of the PRONTO ticket machines has been uncovered. And it’s ready to go!

The new PRONTO ticket machines appear somewhat similar to the old Compass Card machines. Compass cards will be gradually phased out.

You can learn more about PRONTO, and how this new fare system is more functional and convenient here.

If you ride the bus or trolley, all September trips will be free with a PRONTO card!

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!

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!

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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!

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!

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!

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!

Comic-Con Shrine returning for 2021!

The San Diego Comic-Con Shrine is returning for 2021!

Just like last year, when Comic-Con was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a fun, free, semi-spontaneous, fan-centric celebration of the popular arts will be taking place during Comic-Con week just outside the Tin Fish restaurant. You know, in Gaslamp Square, the public plaza across from the convention center, next to the trolley station. There will be cosplay, chalk art, a blood drive . . . even nightly dance parties!

I saw a couple of banners at the Tin Fish this morning and took the next photo. It looks like Dude Vader and the Science Fiction Coalition will once again be a big part of the Shrine experience.

While San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled again for health reasons in 2021, a Special Edition of Comic-Con will be coming to the convention center this November.

If you live in San Diego, make sure to check out the Comic-Con Shrine this summer from July 23-25. I see they have a website here!

Meanwhile, enjoy a sample of the photographs that I took last year at and near the 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!

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!