Hotel, shops coming to Santa Fe Depot!

Today I learned a very big change is coming to downtown San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot!

This morning, after noticing the building’s exterior is getting a new paint job, I spoke to a gentleman outside the Amtrak office and asked if he knew whether the new owner still plans to renovate the building. I was surprised to hear that this year there will indeed be a major renovation of the building, including the opening up of an interior stairwell that will lead to a small new hotel and shops on the depot’s second floor!

I asked if there were plans to develop the depot’s old forecourt by Broadway, where there are tile benches and a broken fountain, and where streetcars picked up passengers arriving by train a century ago, but he knew nothing concerning that.

He and I agreed that it would be a amazing if the large Santa Fe sign atop the historic depot were finally lit up at night, adding more character to San Diego’s skyline. I’d heard a couple years ago during an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that lighting the sign was a project that might lie in the future.

This all was news to me!

Very cool news!

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 hopeful New Year in the Gaslamp.

It’s New Year’s Eve. This morning and afternoon I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter to see what’s in store for the midnight celebrations.

Up and down Fifth Avenue the restaurants, bars and hotels were getting ready. Workers were sweeping sidewalks, putting up balloons.

I see the Gaslamp Quarter has big plans for the future. According to some information you can read in one photo, Fifth Avenue is to become the Gaslamp Promenade–a sprawling urban plaza. I’m sure it will be opulent and amazing.

Apart from one photo in particular, in the morning I didn’t point my camera at the numerous homeless, who sleep on the sidewalk and in doorways before being ushered along.

The Gaslamp Quarter contains some very stark contrasts. There is material self-indulgence, and there is despair.

Hopefully, in the New Year, there’s more heart.

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 holiday season is coming downtown!

Holiday season decorations now line the streets of Little Italy.
Many festive holiday season decorations now line the streets of Little Italy.

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. Winter is coming.

I enjoyed a long walk this morning, knowing that a big storm is headed our way. The next couple days will be wet!

What did I see?

Signs of the coming holiday season are popping up all around downtown San Diego!

The City Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Spreckels Theatre.
The City Ballet will perform The Nutcracker this year at the Spreckels Theatre.
A nutcracker guards the lobby of the Westgate Hotel.
A nutcracker guards the lobby of the Westgate Hotel.
Beautiful holiday gifts are beginning to appear in some downtown shop windows.
Beautiful holiday gifts are beginning to appear in some downtown shop windows.
One of several elegant Christmas trees in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
One of several elegant Christmas trees now in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
The Salvation Army will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate again at Golden Hall.
The Salvation Army will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate again at Golden Hall.
Buon Natale!
Buon Natale!

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!

Bad food, consequences, and the Hotel Chill.

There's a great sale on expired (antiqued) sardine cans.
There’s a great sale on expired (antiqued) sardine cans.

For your enjoyment and edification, I now present some photographic humor…

No more Mister Rice guy.
No more Mister Rice guy.
Beer Bank.
Time to make a withdrawal at the Beer Bank.
This candy cane must be left over from last Christmas.
This candy cane must be left over from last Christmas.
Ugh.
What happens when you eat all that bad food.
A call goes out. Good thing they have two fire engines.
A distress call goes out. Good thing they have two fire engines.
I think I'll lie down. Welcome to the Hotel Chill.
I really need to lie down. Welcome to the Hotel Chill.

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!

Hit a home run to end homelessness!

Come down to Lane Field Park at the corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive this Saturday and take part in something special!

The InterContinental Hotel, celebrating its first anniversary in downtown San Diego, is hosting a cool event that raises money for Alpha Project, which is working to help end homelessness. Hit a “home run” at Lane Field Park (site of the original home of the Padres) and run the bases for a very good cause!

You can buy tickets here.

Read the above sign which I spotted this morning for details! (Click the photo and it will enlarge.)

2019 Comic-Con building wraps get started!

Here we go!

The very first building wrap of 2019 Comic-Con is now being applied to the Omni hotel across from the San Diego Convention Center! It appears to promote FOX and their Animation Domination!

Gaslamp Square near the Tin Fish and Hard Rock Hotel is also fenced off now. I expect construction will soon begin for NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine offsite, which will include a Statue of Liberty!

UPDATE!

Early Friday evening I walked about and made lots of cool discoveries!

I noticed the Animation Domination wrap on the Omni has some more panels. I also noticed NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine activation is now under construction. Some banners promoting various NBC shows have also been hung nearby at the Gaslamp trolley station.

Plus I noticed the beginnings of three new building wraps!

Two I can’t identify yet–one is on a tower of the Marriott Marquis and the other, a CBS show, is on the Hilton Gaslamp. (The first might be upcoming TBS series Snowpiercer and the second might be Star Trek: Picard. Can you identify them?)

A third very cool wrap on the Marriott promotes Gundam on its 40th anniversary!

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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!

Dramatic clouds from atop convention center!

A stormy day today. Dramatic clouds marched across the sky.

After work I climbed to the top of the San Diego Convention Center for a sweeping view.

To the south, the Coronado Bay Bridge and Hilton caught a few late rays from the sun. To the north, magnificent clouds glowed above the Flame of Friendship sculpture and Marriott. In the distance, beams of light touched the bay, making the water shimmer.

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 cool sculpture at Humphreys on Shelter Island.

I’ve always wondered about the cool sculpture that stands in front of Humphreys Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island. It’s situated right next to one of the hotel’s driveways.

Last weekend, during my walk along Shelter Island Drive, I paused by the sculpture and looked about for some information. And I found it!

A plaque at the sculpture’s base reads:

OCEAN SONG

The sculpture is inspired by waves
breaking on the shores of the bay.
It Reflects the play of sunlight throughout
the day on the surface of the ocean.
It recalls the connection of the moon and
the tides.
So as waves on the ocean it also portrays
waves of sound.
The mass of the sculpture transforms itself
from baritone to soprano
Creating a song that tells the story of the
place where we have found shelter.

ALBER DE MATTEIS, SCULPTOR

To have discovered such a poetic description was a wonderful surprise. I also noted the sculpture is dated 2004.

If the name of this artist seems familiar, you might recall seeing photographs of abstract sculptures by Alber De Matteis in National City and Liberty Station.

I blogged those photos years ago here and here!

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Evening magic at Embarcadero Marina Park North.

This evening, just before sunset, I walked around Embarcadero Marina Park North.

Here are some photos of the magic…

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 trees appear in downtown San Diego!

A bright, happy Christmas tree has appeared inside the Donut Bar.
A bright, happy Christmas tree has appeared inside the Donut Bar.

Many colorful Christmas trees have suddenly popped up all around downtown San Diego!

Step into the lobby of any elegant hotel or large office tower and you’re sure to be dazzled!

This morning and evening I walked through downtown searching for Christmas trees to photograph. A couple of my photos turned out a bit grainy due to dim lighting, but hopefully you get the sense of how amazingly beautiful many of these trees are!

I also got pics of some fun ornaments in shop windows!

One of the slender Christmas trees adding holiday cheer to the north entrance to the 701 B Street office building.
One of the slender Christmas trees adding holiday cheer to the north entrance to the 701 B Street office building.
A large Christmas tree has appeared in the lobby of the Wells Fargo building. When I dropped by in the morning it hadn't been decorated yet.
A large Christmas tree has appeared in the lobby of the Wells Fargo building. When I dropped by in the morning it hadn’t been decorated yet.
A beautiful, shining Christmas tree in the grand lobby of One America Plaza.
A beautiful, shining Christmas tree in the grand lobby of One America Plaza.
One of several creative, elegant Christmas trees in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
One of several creative, very elegant Christmas trees in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
San Diego sand dollar and disco ball ornaments inside the window of Best of Gaslamp.
San Diego sand dollar and disco ball ornaments inside the window of Best of Gaslamp.
One of the dazzling Christmas trees in the posh lobby of the historic US Grant Hotel
One of the dazzling Christmas trees in the posh lobby of the historic US Grant Hotel.
A simply magnificent Christmas tree in the lobby of Symphony Towers.
A simply magnificent Christmas tree in the lobby of Symphony Towers.
A gorgeous Christmas tree inside the luxurious Westgate Hotel.
A gorgeous Christmas tree inside the luxurious Westgate Hotel.
A snowy Christmas tree inside the west entrance of the 101 W. Broadway office building.A snowy Christmas tree inside the west entrance of the 101 W. Broadway office building.
A snowy Christmas tree inside the west entrance of the 101 W. Broadway office building.
A funny surfing Santa ornament in the window of San Diego Trading Company!
A funny surfing Santa ornament in the window of San Diego Trading Company!

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!