Happy “early risers” before the parade!

The big Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, billed as America’s Largest Balloon Parade, was held this morning along the Embarcadero.

My camera captured a few happy “early risers” before I jumped onto the trolley for work.

The annual parade features all sorts of popular characters, including Garfield, Mr. Potato Head and many, many others.

Several hours before the start of the parade, the balloons were being inflated one after another in a parking lot near the County Administration 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!

Christmas beauty in one magical place.

One of our city’s most magical indoor spaces can be found floating above San Diego Bay. Those who’ve stepped onto the passenger deck of the historic ferryboat Berkeley know what I’m talking about.

People once crossed San Francisco Bay in style. That’s where this old steam ferry originated. Now the Berkeley makes its home at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and those who visit its elegant interior are in for a treat. Especially during the holiday season.

I hadn’t planned on blogging today, but during a short walk between winter showers my feet carried me to the museum. The Christmas decorations inside the Berkeley simply had to be photographed.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll have to wait another year for Christmas, so what better time to post these photos?

Happy Holidays!

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 special message from Santa Claus for San Diego!

I’ve just been contacted by Santa Claus. He has an important message for all of San Diego!

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

I hope you have a safe and dry Christmas Day with family and loved ones. Omicron is worse than getting coal in your stocking. Get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Santa hopes the pandemic will end and we all can return to “December Nights in the Park” next year.

Santa held his COVID-19 Vaccination Card during 2021 “Taste of December Nights.” (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
After “Taste of December Nights,” Santa went to visit the Nativity scenes at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
A week later, a well-dressed Chihuahua sporting a stylish Mohawk posed with Santa at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
This cute little girl came to visit Santa while he was eating breakfast at Harry’s. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
… and this little guy was impressed with Santa’s baseball card. We want the Padres to win the World Series in 2022. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

Be good to one another. Have fun. Laugh and be joyous, but also remember the meaning of the season.

Your friend,

Santa Claus

Santa Claus sightings around San Diego!

Santa Claus parachutes from a helicopter onto the deck of the USS Midway!

Two days until Christmas!

Over the years, Santa Claus has been sighted countless times around San Diego. And I’ve captured (or received) some fun photographs of jolly old Saint Nick!

I’ve seen Santa jumping from a helicopter, flying above San Diego Bay using a water jetpack, in holiday parades, and, of course, magically granting Christmas wishes to good boys and girls.

Please enjoy this happy collection of Santa photos!

Santa and Mrs. Claus read a joyful story during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, during the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon.
Jolly old Santa makes somebody laugh in front of Balboa Park’s Federal Building. Are those two guys naughty or nice?
Surfing Santa arrives at Seaport Village by flying a water jetpack.
Multiple bearded Santas at the Over-the-Line tournament on Fiesta Island. They encourage everyone to eat healthy! (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa and Mrs. Claus smile for a photo during a Toys for Tots charity event on Navy Pier.
There’s Santa once again at Seaport Village! Looks like I took this photo during the summer of the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.
Mrs. Claus poses with Santa during Christmas on the Prado. But he doesn’t appear like the real Santa to me.
Santa Claus waves from a fire truck during the North Park Toyland Parade.
Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during Taste of December Nights in 2020. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa in Balboa Park once again. Like everyone else in San Diego, he must love the place.
And there’s Santa again! He’s now at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A smiling Santa Claus helps warm an elf nose during Christmas on the Prado. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa Claus brings joy to the brightly lit Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Christmas magic during December Nights in Balboa Park!

I wish everyone Happy Holidays!

I plan to take a little time off from blogging this week and next, just to relax and enjoy the season. But I’ll continue to walk, weather permitting, and take photos!

When I return in the New Year, be ready for many more Cool San Diego Sights!

Take care!


Christmas tree and wreaths on Crystal Pier!

The holiday season in Pacific Beach is so overflowing with “good tidings” that decorations extend over the ocean!

Perhaps this post should be titled “Christmas tree, wreaths, and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine on Crystal Pier” because that’s what I saw this afternoon!

(I learned The Mystery Machine golf cart, decked with tinsel and Christmas ornaments, is utilized by the operator of the Crystal Pier Bait and Tackle store. The vehicle has won awards in many parades!)

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!

Photos from Posada Navideña in Barrio Logan.

Late this afternoon I headed to Barrio Logan to experience a little of Posada Navideña along Logan Avenue. The holiday event was billed as the community’s first Christmas street procession!

Before nightfall I walked along the sidewalk, looking at vendor’s wares and seasonal decorations and even a few murals celebrating the Christmas story. The traditional religious procession would begin well after dark, when my old camera performs very poorly.

When I poked my head into one open door, I was happy to learn how Don Diego VFW Post 7420 has held substantial food drives recently, helping many in the community. I was given a quick tour of this local VFW’s museum, which features many Medal of Honor recipients. I’ll return another day for a much better look.

After dark the street scene became more active, with many colorful lights on fences, shops and houses.

Please enjoy a few daytime photographs. Everyone I spoke to was super nice!

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!

Chaldean Family Christmas in Balboa Park.

Today during my walk through Balboa Park I stumbled upon a special holiday event in the Hall of Nations. Families were celebrating a Chaldean Family Christmas with traditional music, dancers in folk dress, tables overflowing with food, lots of smiles and the arrival of Santa Claus!

The Chaldean Family Christmas–From Babylon to Balboa–was brought to life by the Chaldean American Family Foundation, an organization that aids the local Chaldean community.

I took a few photos of the festive event. That above first photograph was framed perfectly, but came out much too blurry. So I ran it through GIMP’s oilify filter. The joyful image really captures the Christmas spirit.

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 gathers to sing Christmas carols!

Is it possible for perfect strangers to come together spontaneously and sing as one? It happened this afternoon in San Diego in Balboa Park!

Audience members from today’s free Sunday concert were summoned to the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. A smiling Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez and local singer and songwriter Lauren Leigh Martin led one and all through many joyful Christmas carols!

Is a single picture worth a thousand words? Here’s a many thousands of words story…

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!

Beautiful poinsettias before a Balboa Park closure.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is set to be closed next year as the historic lath structure undergoes its major restoration. So this holiday season is your last chance for a while to see the popular annual poinsettia display.

I walked through the Botanical Building today to experience the bright Christmas reds and floral beauty. I took these photographs.

If you’d like to learn more about the Botanical Building’s upcoming renovation, check out the Forever Balboa Park web page concerning the project here!

This year’s 35th Annual Poinsettia Display lasts through December 31, 2021.

As many history buffs know, poinsettias have an important connection to San Diego’s North County city of Encinitas. That’s where years ago the Paul Ecke Poinsettia Ranch was located. Paul Ecke, Sr. was almost singlehandedly responsible for making the poinsettia an important part of Christmas celebrations around the world.

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 wonderful Christmas concert in Balboa Park!

This evening a wonderful Christmas concert was enjoyed in Balboa Park. The San Diego Ballet, San Diego Opera, and Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez performed holiday favorites for a large crowd at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Ballerinas filed onto the stage to dance to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, then soaring voices filled the chilly night air with warm selections from Handel’s Messiah, and many favorite Christmas carols.

The concert concluded with a rousing Hallelujah Chorus.

I’m delighted to see how this annual free Christmas concert has grown in popularity to become a true San Diego holiday tradition.

On one special December evening some our city’s finest cultural institutions unite, bringing joy to young and old alike.

I sat in the pavilion and listened, and managed a few okay photos from afar.

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!