Cool smiles and sights along Sixth Avenue downtown.

I rely on Christine's hot chocolate on rare super cold San Diego mornings. She's been smiling near the corner of Sixth and B Street for as long as I can remember!
I rely on Christine’s hot chocolate on rare super cold San Diego mornings. She’s been smiling near the corner of Sixth and B Street for as long as I can remember!

These photos were taken during a morning walk down Sixth Avenue in downtown San Diego. They contain cool smiles and glimpses.

Walking south along Sixth Avenue in downtown San Diego, approaching Ash Street.
Walking south along Sixth Avenue in downtown San Diego, approaching Ash Street.
Reflection in glass panes of the Parking Palace shows the iconic sign atop the El Cortez.
Reflection in glass panes of the Parking Palace shows the iconic sign atop the El Cortez.
Still walking down Sixth Avenue, now approaching A Street.
Still walking down Sixth Avenue, now approaching A Street.
Ornamentation near roof of the old World Trade Center, which has been converted into housing for the homeless. The Art Deco building was once home of publishers Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Ornamentation near roof of the old World Trade Center, which has been converted into housing for the homeless. The Art Deco building was once home of publishers Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
A bird flies between skyscrapers.
A bird flies between skyscrapers.
Looking up at a corner of the America’s Finest City mural on Sixth Avenue.
Looking up at a corner of the America’s Finest City mural on Sixth Avenue.
A Kurt Cobain quote over doors at the downtown House of Blues. "If it's illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail."
A Kurt Cobain quote over doors at the downtown House of Blues. “If it’s illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail.”
Banner promotes romance in the Gaslamp Quarter. The nearby Jewelers Exchange in the Timkin Building at the corner of Sixth and E Streets is packed with dozens of small jewelry vendors.
Banner promotes romance in the Gaslamp Quarter. The nearby Jewelers Exchange in the Timkin Building at the corner of Sixth and E Streets is packed with dozens of small jewelry vendors.
Photo of moon, high above towers of Louis Bank of Commerce Building's facade, one block over on Fifth Avenue. This famous location was home to Wyatt Earp's Oyster Bar gambling hall and saloon.
Photo of moon, high above towers of Louis Bank of Commerce Building’s facade, one block over on Fifth Avenue. This famous location was home to Wyatt Earp’s Oyster Bar gambling hall and saloon.
Rear of Reading Cinemas Gaslamp building. The movie theater closed in February. The complex opened in 1997 as Pacific Theatres. It has been used for film festivals and San Diego Comic-Con screenings.
Rear of Reading Cinemas Gaslamp building. The movie theater closed in February. The complex originally opened in 1997 as Pacific Theatres. It was used in past years for popular film festivals and San Diego Comic-Con screenings.
Angels in flight on rear of the now closed Gaslamp movie theater.
Angels in flight on rear of the now closed Gaslamp movie theater.
Old faded words painted on rear wall of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building in San Diego's Gaslamp spell Tin Shop.
Old faded words painted on brick exterior of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building in San Diego’s Gaslamp spell Tin Shop.
Utility box on Sixth Avenue painted with tea, sandwiches, coffee, salads, burrito and bagels. It made me so hungry, I wanted to step through that cafe's door!
Utility box on Sixth Avenue painted with tea, sandwiches, coffee, salads, burrito and bagels. It made me so hungry, I wanted to step through that cafe’s door!
Hotel Z really really catches the eye with that flamboyant paint job. According to their website, their slogan is A Piece of Pineapple Hospitality.
Hotel Z really really catches the eye with their new, flamboyant paint job. According to their website, their slogan is A Piece of Pineapple Hospitality.
Funny sight inside the window of Cute Cakes. San Diego's Swinging Friar is seated by a big Petco Park frosted cake filled with sprinkle fans!
A funny sight glimpsed inside the window of Cute Cakes. San Diego’s Swinging Friar is seated by a big Petco Park frosted cake filled with sprinkle fans!
Morning deliveries and jogger near electric guitar on employee door of the Hard Rock Hotel.
Morning deliveries and jogger near an electric guitar on the employee door of the Hard Rock Hotel.

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Fun photos of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day!

A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!
A San Diego Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of 550 West C Street early in the morning. Hello!

Today was Bike to Work Day in San Diego! There were over a hundred pit stops around the county, and I’ve learned that nearly ten thousand bicyclists participated!

This morning I started a bit earlier than usual so that I could walk past 5 pit stops downtown. (As followers of Cool San Diego Sights might know already, I happen to be a walk/trolley/bus to work person. Because I simply love walking and the outdoors, plus living downtown makes it very convenient.)

The city was still a bit sleepy as I headed west along B Street–about 6:30–and the morning light wasn’t ideal for photography when I passed two bicycle pits stops at The Donut Bar and the Wells Fargo building. I did manage to get some sharp pics once I arrived at Civic Center Plaza! Lots of people were smiling!

A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
A couple of bicyclists pedal up Third Avenue near Civic Center Plaza during Bike to Work Day.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
This pit stop in Civic Center Plaza near City Hall was already seeing some incoming cyclists at this early hour. There is an active City of San Diego Bicycle Program.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
Bike maps, information and other goodies were given away to promote commuting by bicycle to work around San Diego.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
A huge Share The Road banner hung in Civic Center Plaza.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
Morning commuter on a bicycle waits alongside a bus for a traffic light on Broadway.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
On Harbor Drive at the Broadway Pier, a pit stop included a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce table.
These friendly guys representing Engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
These friendly guys representing engineering company CH2M Hill did the wave for me, but I liked this photo of them smiling better!
Someone pedals past San Diego's historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful morning.
Someone pedals past San Diego’s historic tall ship Star of India. Another beautiful day has begun.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego's Bike to Work Day.
A bicyclist rolls down Pacific Highway on the morning of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Swirly, curly, windswept clouds above San Diego!

The sun rises behind trees on Cortez Hill, in downtown San Diego.
The sun rises behind trees atop Cortez Hill, the neighborhood where I live in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday morning, just after sunrise, the clouds high above San Diego were absolutely amazing. They were delicate and windswept, like angels’ wings and painted dreams. The clouds were so swirly and curly, it seemed the wind knew not which way to go.

I took these photos during a short walk from Cortez Hill to Bankers Hill.

Eucalyptus trees at southwest corner of Balboa Park, beneath glowing, fantastic morning clouds.
Eucalyptus trees at the southwest corner of Balboa Park, beneath glowing, fantastic morning clouds.
Mother Nature put on quite a sky show for those who thought to look upward!
Mother Nature put on quite a sky show for those who thought to look upward!
Swirly, curly, windswept clouds high in the blue San Diego sky, like a delicate dream.
Swirly, curly, windswept clouds high in the blue San Diego sky, like a delicate dream.
Morning clouds above Bankers Hill make for a truly cool sight in San Diego, the beautiful place I call home!
Morning clouds above Bankers Hill make for a truly cool sight in San Diego, the beautiful city I call home!

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Spring rain and flowers in Little Italy!

A wheelbarrow full of colorful flowers on a spring morning, following a light rain. Photo taken near base of the Little Italy landmark sign on India Street.
A wheelbarrow full of colorful flowers on a spring morning, following a light rain. Photo taken near base of the Little Italy landmark sign on India Street.

Early this morning I headed through Little Italy. The streets were still wet after a slight rain in the night. I was admiring all the brightly damp flowers up and down one sidewalk, when it occurred to me I should pull out my camera. So I did!

I love springtime in San Diego. Lots of walking and photos ahead!

Looking east from Kettner Boulevard in downtown San Diego's beautiful Little Italy neighborhood. Morning clouds catch the rising sun after some nighttime sprinkles.
Looking east from Kettner Boulevard in downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood. Morning clouds catch the rising sun after some nighttime sprinkles.
Little Italy streets have many public planters filled with flowers. Orange blooms in this hanging planter are still wet from the recent rain.
Little Italy streets have many public planters filled with flowers. Orange blooms in this hanging planter are still wet from the recent rain.
Many spring flowers provide a burst of color near the windows of a Little Italy restaurant.
Many spring flowers provide a burst of color near the windows of a Little Italy restaurant.
A small patch of color on India Street. A nearby sign reads Garden by Randall.
A small patch of color on India Street. A nearby sign reads Garden by Randall.
Some moisture has pooled in the leaves of this potted geranium on the sidewalk.
Some moisture has pooled in the leaves of this potted geranium on the sidewalk.
More happy flowers by the outdoor seating area of a restaurant. The clear plastic that provides protection from inclement weather is still wet with many raindrops.
More happy flowers by the outdoor seating area of a restaurant. The clear plastic that provides protection from inclement weather is still wet with many raindrops.
Bunches of hanging flowers. Gorgeous spring colors are all about Little Italy's friendly streets.
Bunches of hanging flowers. Gorgeous spring colors are all about Little Italy’s friendly streets.
Banner on a street lamp advertises the upcoming Mission Federal Art Walk in Little Italy. It's about a month away.
Banner on a street lamp advertises the upcoming Mission Federal Art Walk in Little Italy. It’s about a month away.
Some yellow blooms on a small table in the front patio of a Little Italy residence.
Some yellow blooms on a small table in the front patio of a Little Italy residence.
An eye-catching bird of paradise flower greets anyone who approaches this door!
An eye-catching bird of paradise flower greets anyone who approaches this door!
Walking with the dog up a sidewalk in Little Italy, early one spring morning after some rainfall.
Walking with the dog up a sidewalk in Little Italy, early one spring morning after some rainfall.
A peek through a window at flowers on a table inside a Little Italy breakfast spot.
A peek through a window at flowers on a table inside a Little Italy breakfast spot.
To see lots of bright flowers on San Diego's streets, perhaps swing by Little Italy during the spring!
To see lots of bright flowers on San Diego’s streets, perhaps swing by Little Italy during the spring!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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A delightfully unusual building in Little Italy.

The delightfully unusual Beaumont Building rises in Little Italy at 434 West Cedar Street.
The delightfully unusual Beaumont Building rises in Little Italy at 434 West Cedar Street.

In my opinion, the most delightfully unusual building in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood is the Beaumont Building. The design–especially the two cylindrical towers–is both visually distinctive and impressive. Those mysterious-looking towers make me look up with fresh surprise whenever I see them.

The Beaumont Building was built in 1988. It was designed by Rob Wellington Quigley, whose architectural work can be seen in various places around San Diego. The lattice-domed San Diego Central Library and The New Children’s Museum are two well-known examples.

I often walk past this building, and have taken many photographs over the years. But none of my photos fully capture this very unique structure’s truly amazing presence.

Looking upward near the front entrance to the unique Beaumont Building.
Looking upward near the front entrance to the unique Beaumont Building.
Another photo on a different day of this very cool building in San Diego's always interesting Little Italy neighborhood.
Another photo on a different day of this very cool building in San Diego’s always interesting Little Italy neighborhood.
The two high towers of the Beaumont Building almost appear like antennas, or an over-sized science experiment.
The two high towers of the Beaumont Building almost appear like antennas, or an over-sized science experiment.
An eye-catching sight during a morning walk!
An eye-catching sight during a morning walk!

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More cool murals in San Diego’s Little Italy!

Mural titled I Pescatori by artist Renee Garcia, 2003. Depicts tuna fishermen who lived in Little Italy (many were Italian immigrants) fishing off the coast of San Diego.
Mural titled I Pescatori by artist Renee Garcia, 2003. Depicts tuna fishermen who lived in Little Italy (many were Italian immigrants) fishing off the coast of San Diego.

About two years ago, I posted some photos of public murals that can be spotted in Little Italy, a beautiful neighborhood in downtown San Diego. This morning, soaking in the warm sunshine, I slowly strolled up India Street once again!

Camera in hand, I captured even more examples of fantastic, colorful artwork. Most of these pics were taken on India Street north of Ivy Street.

This painting of two dancers was in the front patio of a shop or cafe or restaurant of some kind--I forget what, exactly. I had to snap a quick pic.
This painting of two dancers was in the front patio of a shop or cafe or restaurant of some kind–I forget what, exactly. I had to snap a quick pic.
Ben-Hur Coffee. A cool old advertisement on the side of an old brick building in San Diego's hip Little Italy neighborhood.
Ben-Hur Coffee. A cool old advertisement on the side of an old brick building in San Diego’s hip Little Italy neighborhood.
Just a fun artistic tile on a building wall that I noted as I walked up India Street this morning.
Just a fun artistic tile on a building wall that I noted as I walked up India Street this morning.
Several murals that together are titled Eredita Italiana. By Yakov Kandinov, 2004. According to a nearby plaque, this is a Precious Cheese Art Mural Project.
Several murals that together are titled Eredita Italiana. By Yakov Kandinov, 2004. According to a nearby plaque, this is a Precious Cheese Art Mural Project.
A portrait of a proud Italian family that might have lived in this neighborhood.
A portrait of a proud Italian family that might have lived in this neighborhood.
One of the grouped murals depicts the historic Our Lady of the Rosary church in Little Italy.
One of the grouped murals depicts the historic Our Lady of the Rosary church in Little Italy.
Looks like someone else was walking up the sidewalk on India Street--and they had wet shoes!
Looks like someone else was walking up the sidewalk on India Street–and they had wet shoes!
Just a fun sign on a Little Italy antique shop's door. The Bungalow Store.
Just a fun sign on a Little Italy antique shop’s door. The Bungalow Store.
A radiant Madonna above the front door of El Camino, a crazy, kitschy Mexican eatery and bar in San Diego's Little Italy.
A radiant Madonna above the front door of El Camino, a crazy, kitschy Mexican eatery and bar in San Diego’s Little Italy.
Many faces of beauty on exterior wall of El Camino.
Many faces of beauty on an exterior wall of El Camino.
Old, faded graphics on wood wall show a troupe of Mexican mariachis.
Old, faded graphic on wood wall shows a troupe of Mexican mariachis.
Colorful application of kitsch on the outside of El Camino.
Colorful application of kitsch on the outside of El Camino.
A large smiling senorita mural looks right at you.
A large smiling senorita mural looks right at you.
A muy guapo caballero in Little Italy!
Caballero muy guapo in Little Italy!

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A warm morning glow in San Diego.

Gazing east through trees into Balboa Park. The California Tower is a dark spike inside a golden sunrise.
Gazing east through dark trees into Balboa Park. The California Tower is a small spike inside a golden sunrise.

Early yesterday morning, the weather was so pleasant that I decided to walk to work. It’s about a four and a half mile journey. I started from downtown San Diego up Sixth Avenue along the west edge of Balboa Park, walked from Bankers Hill into Hillcrest, then finally descended Bachman Place into Mission Valley.

These photos capture the golden glow of a cloudless sunrise. Moving through the warm morning light was a modest adventure in a magical world.

Buildings along Sixth Avenue on Bankers Hill reflect breaking day one early January morning.
Buildings along Sixth Avenue on Bankers Hill reflect breaking day one early January morning.
A warm glow and reflection on the Redwood Bridge Club sign at the west edge of Balboa Park.
A warm glow and reflection on the Redwood Bridge Club sign at the west edge of Balboa Park.
A stately house at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street seems magical.
A stately house at Sixth Avenue and Upas Street seems magical.
Happy orange flowers poke through some bars along the sidewalk.
Happy orange flowers poke through some bars along the sidewalk.
The Tap House has a glowing light bulb on their business in Hillcrest.
The Tap House has a glowing light bulb on their business in Hillcrest.
The sky is gradually brightening above a shadowy Hillcrest alley.
The sky is gradually brightening above a shadowy Hillcrest alley.
A reddish splash in blue water. The fountain in front of Scripps Mercy Hospital.
A reddish splash in blue water. Morning photo of the fountain in front of Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Eucalyptus trees in warm winter morning light. Photo taken while walking down Bachman Place into Mission Valley.
Eucalyptus trees in warm winter morning light. Photo taken while walking down Bachman Place into Mission Valley.
Reflection in windows of the once-proud San Diego Union Tribune building in Mission Valley. The newspaper offices are moving to a smaller location downtown.
Reflection in windows of the once-proud San Diego Union Tribune building in Mission Valley. The newspaper offices are moving to a smaller location downtown.

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? Please click Short Stories by Richard.