A silvery, sparkling tree in Little Italy.

Stand in certain spots on the North Embarcadero, look east toward Little Italy, and your eyes might be dazzled by a sparkling tree on a large wall.

The glittery abstract tree decorates the west side of the Broadstone Little Italy building, near the corner of Grape Street and California Street. The branches of the mirror mosaic rise above train and trolley tracks. As the sun descends toward San Diego Bay, the silvery tree really shimmers and shines.

I’ve learned that the artist’s name is Stephanie Clair and that her piece is called The Shimmer Tree!

The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.
The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.

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 of Vietnam War Memorial in La Mesa.

At the center of La Mesa's HYFD Vietnam Memorial Park stands a three-sided monument containing many plaques.
At the center of La Mesa’s HYFD Vietnam Memorial Park stands a three-sided monument containing many plaques.

A beautiful memorial in La Mesa remembers Vietnam Veterans who gave their lives for their country. The Heartland Youth for Decency Vietnam Memorial Park was originally built in 1970, then restored and rededicated in 2014. It can be found at the corner of University Avenue and Nebo Drive.

A community group of young people called Heartland Youth for Decency (HYFD) built the monument at a time when there was a great deal of contention about the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to honor veterans from San Diego’s East County who were killed during that horrible war.

Here are photos that I took today. The small Memorial Park can seem lost in the endless hustle and bustle of surrounding streets. But words that speak of courage, grief and honor stand quietly waiting, for any who wish to see.

Read the captions for a bit more description.

Flags fly in the January breeze. A helmet atop a cross, signifying those killed during the Vietnam War.
Flags fly in the January breeze. A helmet atop a cross, signifying those killed during the Vietnam War.
Greater Love Hath No Man... Heartland Area Vietnam Deaths
Greater Love Hath No Man… Heartland Area Vietnam Deaths
We of Heartland Youth for Decency dedicate this monument to the young men from our own generation who have given their lives that we might be free.
We of Heartland Youth for Decency dedicate this monument to the young men from our own generation who have given their lives that we might be free.
A man died for me today...
A man died for me today…
A beautiful tile mosaic bench in the park with American flag and peace sign.
A colorful tile mosaic bench in the park with American flag and peace sign.
A second bench has a star at either end.
A second bench has a star at either end.
A bald eagle, symbol of the United States. Freedom Is Not Free.
A bald eagle, symbol of the United States. Freedom Is Not Free.
A simple, emotionally powerful letter at the base of the flagpole. ...Most of all, Father, I love you.
A simple, emotionally powerful letter at the base of the flagpole. …Most of all, Father, I love you.
To one side stands the POW/MIA Empty Chair. And the words: Lest We Forget.
To one side stands the POW/MIA Empty Chair. And the words: Lest We Forget.
Powerful symbols in a small La Mesa park.
Powerful symbols in a small La Mesa park.
American eagle and flag mosaic art on rear of the POW/MIA Empty Chair is by the Rainforest Art Project.
American eagle and flag mosaic art on rear of the POW/MIA Empty Chair is by the Rainforest Art Project.

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!

Strange beauty of a brick wall downtown.

Stand at the corner of India Street and A Street in downtown San Diego, turn north, and you’ll probably notice an old brick wall on the other side of a parking lot. Approach the wall and you’ll see a complex mosaic of paint and mortar. Like the brushstrokes of a painting, they tell a unique story.

I’m under the impression this building was once a soda bottling plant. I posted a couple photographs of the Hires Root Beer graphics five years ago 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!

More photos of art observed while walking.

Colorful fish swims through a wall at Petco Park near the Sun Diego Beach.
Colorful fish swims through a wall at Petco Park near the Sun Diego Beach.

Here’s a collection of random art that I’ve observed while walking around San Diego. Some of these photos are recent; others have been languishing for a year or two unused in my computer.

Enjoy!

Four mermaids painted on tile in a shop in Old Town.
Four mermaids painted on tile in an outdoor shop in Old Town.
A deer dressed in a polo shirt. Humorous street art in Golden Hill.
A deer dressed in a polo shirt. Humorous street art in Golden Hill.
A silly pelican painted on a utility box on Mission Boulevard in South Mission Beach.
A silly pelican painted on a utility box on Mission Boulevard in South Mission Beach.
IMAGINE painted on a box in downtown San Diego.
IMAGINE painted on a box in downtown San Diego.
More imaginative street art downtown.
Imaginative, plant-like street art downtown.
Beautiful tile mosaic with Virgin Mary at its center on a wall in North Park.
Beautiful tile mosaic with Virgin Mary at its center on a wall in North Park.
A boy and a bird on an electrical box downtown.
A boy and a bird on an electrical box downtown.
I spied this small work of art leaning up against a garbage can downtown.
I spied this small unusual work of art leaning up against a garbage can downtown.
A branching tree enlivens a transformer box in Golden Hill.
A branching tree enlivens a transformer box in Golden Hill.
A whale, shark, dolphin, ray and other sea life painted on a community mural in Ocean Beach.
A whale, shark, dolphin, ray and other sea life painted by many hands on a community mural in Ocean Beach.

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!

Sea life mosaics at Solana Beach bus station!

Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.
Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.

Check out these colorful benches at a Solana Beach bus station on Pacific Coast Highway!

Passengers waiting for a North County Transit BREEZE bus at this station are surrounded by all sorts of sea creatures in the form of ceramic tiles. You can find the public art just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, on the west side of the Solana Beach train station. Bicyclists heading down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail can also pause to enjoy the artwork.

The fun mosaics, decorating 11 concrete benches, were created by artist Michelle Griffoul.

Here are photos from several benches that you might enjoy!

Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
More fish in their watery element.
More fish in their watery element.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego's North County.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego’s North County.
So much sea life it seems we're somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
So much sea life it seems we’re somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
Enjoy The Path.
Enjoy The Path.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
I've spotted a whale!
I’ve spotted a whale!

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.

Cool art and history in Solana Beach.

A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.
A woodie with surfboard under palm trees and a shining sun. This mosaic greets people walking down the sidewalk in Solana Beach.

During my visit to Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach last weekend, I walked around the area of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, South Cedros Avenue and Highway 101 searching for cool sights.

I found some colorful art and images of local history which I’ll now share!

Nearby Fletcher Cove was named after “Colonel” Ed Fletcher, who developed Solana Beach and contributed in the early 20th century to the history of San Diego. As businessman and politician, he was the driving force behind many important accomplishments. He created Lake Hodges and other area reservoirs; he built the plank road through the desert that connected San Diego to Yuma, Arizona; he helped save Balboa Park’s temporary buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition from destruction; he raised money to purchase land for the Naval Training Station on Point Loma; he also acquired a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that was a gift to California from Portugal–an iconic sculpture that now stands at Cabrillo National Monument overlooking San Diego Bay.

A fascinating electrical box at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Plaza Street contains photos of Solana Beach’s origin and early history.

Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
Grill in sidewalk marks historic U.S. Route 101 (also known as Pacific Coast Highway) where it passes through Solana Beach.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego's North County.
An electrical box celebrates the origin and early history of Solana Beach in San Diego’s North County. Pictured on the right is Ed Fletcher.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the shore. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Fletcher Cove opened on July 4, 1925, giving Solana Beach easy access to the ocean. A celebration was held that included horse races along the sand.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Early photo of Solana Beach, which was developed by Ed Fletcher as a commercial center for nearby Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Old photos decorating the electrical box were provided by the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Horses race along the beach as the opening of Fletcher Cove is celebrated.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
Cool mosaic artwork on Pacific Coast Highway shows marine life in the nearby ocean.
An octopus.
An octopus.
A graceful fish.
A graceful fish.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Another beautiful fish made of small ceramic tiles.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people on the deck of a luxurious ship.
Nostalgic artwork on an electrical transformer on South Cedros Avenue shows people lounging on the deck of a luxurious ship.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
More cool street art decorates a utility box on Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.

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!

Art and history at Lemon Grove Trolley Depot!

An enormous yellow lemon welcomes travelers passing through the heart of Lemon Grove, a community east of downtown San Diego.
An enormous yellow lemon welcomes travelers passing through the heart of Lemon Grove, a community east of downtown San Diego.

Step off an Orange Line trolley at the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot and you’re in for a surprise! On either side of the trolley station are several fun installations of public art. Signs also describe the unique agricultural history of Lemon Grove, which today is a sunny suburban community east of downtown San Diego.

I cruised into the trolley station last weekend to explore the immediate area. Of course, I had to direct my feet toward the big iconic lemon, which stands directly across the street from the depot, at the intersection of Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue. The 3000 pound lemon was originally created in 1928 as a proud civic float for San Diego’s big Fourth of July parade. It was afterward turned into a permanent monument with a generous application of plaster!

Read the photo captions to learn a little bit more about fascinating Lemon Grove!

The Lemon Grove Trolley Depot is a 1986 replica of the original 1895 train depot, which stood near the Lemon Grove Store and a fruit-packing shed.
The Lemon Grove Trolley Depot is a 1986 replica of the original 1895 train depot, which stood near the Lemon Grove Store and a fruit-packing shed.
The city of Lemon Grove boasts the Best Climate on Earth! I spotted this sign at a nearby bus stop.
The city of Lemon Grove boasts the Best Climate on Earth! I spotted this sign at a nearby bus stop.
Fun street art near the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot provides tasty advice for those times when life gives you lemons...
Fun street art near the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot provides tasty advice for those times when life gives you lemons…
...make lemonade!
…make lemonade!
Or a lemon cupcake!
Or a lemon cupcake!
A walkway between the Celsius residential building and the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot contains tile mosaic lemon slices!
A walkway between the Celsius residential building and the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot contains tile mosaic lemon slices!
What appears to be wind-driven public artwork near Celsius and the trolley station generates electricity.
What appears to be a tall, shiny sculpture near Celsius and the trolley station rotates in the wind and generates electricity.
Colorful tiles radiate at the base of the rotating, wind-driven blades.
Colorful tiles radiate at the base of the rotating windmill.
People wait for an Orange Line trolley at the Lemon Grove station. The original structure had an open cupola so the depot agent could wave signal flags at oncoming trains.
People wait for an Orange Line trolley at the Lemon Grove station. The original structure had an open cupola so the depot agent could wave signal flags at oncoming trains.
A farm's windmill and tractor are reminders of an agricultural past. They stand in a public park beside the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot.
A farm’s windmill and tractor are artistic reminders of an agricultural past. They stand in the promenade beside the Lemon Grove Trolley Depot.
Both sides of this fun public art tractor are composed of small tiles.
Both sides of this fun public art tractor are composed of small tiles.
A nearby bench in the park appears like a crate once used by the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association!
A creative bench in the public promenade. It appears like crates that were used by the Lemon Grove Fruit Growers Association!
A sign near the depot shows the old Lemon Grove Store, circa 1900. The store provided supplies for nearby ranches, contained the post office, and was a community gathering place.
A sign near the depot shows the old Lemon Grove Store, circa 1900. The store provided supplies for nearby ranches, contained the post office, and was a community gathering place.
Another sign contains a view of Lemon Grove orchards looking towards Mount Miguel across the McTear Orchard in 1910.
Another sign contains a view of Lemon Grove orchards looking towards Mount Miguel across the McTear Orchard in 1910.
Old photo of the Sonka Store in 1912. The building eventually became the Grove Pastry Shop.
Old photo of the Sonka Store in 1912. The building eventually became the Grove Pastry Shop.
Old photo shows the Lemon Grove float during the San Diego parade in 1920. The parade celebrated the opening of John D. Spreckels' railway, which ran where the trolley runs today.
Old photo shows the Lemon Grove float during the San Diego parade in 1920. The parade celebrated the opening of John D. Spreckels’ railway, which existed where the trolley runs today.
Another sign features a photo of local women working in the packing house during the Great Depression. During peak season 2-3 railroad cars would be packed with lemons per day.
Another sign features a photo of local women working in the packing house during the Great Depression. During peak season, two or three railroad cars would be loaded full of lemons per day.
The historical legacy of Lemon Grove is remembered around the site of the old train depot, which is now a stop of the San Diego Trolley.
The historical legacy of Lemon Grove is remembered around the site of the old train depot, which is now a stop of the San Diego Trolley.
Lemons have a history of thriving in Lemon Grove, a community that claims to have the Best Climate on Earth!
Lemons have a history of thriving in Lemon Grove, a community that claims to have the Best Climate on Earth!

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!