Holiday decorations appear early downtown!

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and holiday decorations are springing up all over downtown San Diego!

Yes, many of us express dismay when wreaths, ribbons and Christmas trees appear in shops, windows and everywhere you turn well before December. It happens every year.

But 2020 has been more chaotic and stressful than usual. Perhaps starting early with holiday cheerfulness and a message of hope is a good thing.

I took these photos in both the morning and the evening after dark. I’m sure many more holiday decorations will be materializing throughout the city in the days ahead!

The following three photos were taken at The Westgate Hotel, one of the city’s most elegant hotels.

I was walking down the sidewalk, taking photos of the hotel’s bright new outdoor holiday decorations, when a friendly lady who works there offered to show me the grand Christmas tree inside their lobby.

If you love French elegance, The Westgate Hotel is where you want to be!

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!

Balboa Park’s new Palisades plaza gets ready.

The new pedestrian plaza in Balboa Park’s South Palisades area is almost ready!

I noticed during my walk today that tables and colorful umbrellas have been placed around the new plaza’s perimeter. Remove that yellow tape, exchange sunshine for a drizzly afternoon, and I bet life immediately flows in.

The nearby San Diego Automotive Museum is also looking great with a fresh coat of paint!

We’re nearing Thanksgiving, a time for gathering. Unfortunately with the coming of cooler weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening in many parts of the world. Because of the growing rate of infection in San Diego, it seems likely most of Balboa Park’s museums will be forced to close again.

On this overcast, rainy November day, very few people were about. But a day will come when smiling crowds gather again in one of the world’s most amazing city parks. And it will be more beautiful than ever.

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!

Businesses board up before Election Day.

This is not a cool sight. Not for those who want to live in a representative democracy. Free to vote for their candidate or party of choice, no matter which side. Free to live without political violence or the threat of violence.

I noticed while walking through downtown San Diego that some businesses are boarding up doors and windows anticipating the possibility of destruction and looting.

No matter the outcome of this year’s election, no matter who is disappointed or who is elated, whether power over others is increased or diminished, may a shared sense of our common humanity prevail.

Día de los Muertos altar remembers COVID victims.

An altar at the County Administration Building in downtown San Diego was created for Día de los Muertos this year. It remembers loved ones from all around San Diego County who have died from COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has brought an abrupt end to so many lives.

Photographs represent just some of the family members, friends and loved ones. Every victim of this terrible pandemic is remembered.

The altar stands through today.

Tomorrow memories of smiles, laughter and love will live on.

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!

Historic Adams Avenue Theater restoration!

The historic 1930 Adams Avenue Theater building is being restored. The beloved Normal Heights landmark, home of Discount Fabrics for several decades, is now being remodeled according to a sign I spotted in a window near the entrance yesterday!

According to the posted sign, the new Adams Avenue Theater will be a “city chic, multi-purpose theater and private event space”–the perfect place for community events, concerts, weddings and social gatherings.

A little online research indicates the old movie house in the 1970’s and 80’s became a center for the punk rock and new wave music scene. Bands that performed here in concert include Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, R.E.M., the Stray Cats, Iggy Pop, the Cramps and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I love it when elegant old neighborhood movie theaters are returned to their former glory. Especially when the walls of those theaters encompass so much history.

I’m sure many have fond memories of this special place!

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!

Ride the bus or trolley free to vote!

This coming Tuesday, November 3 is MTS Free Ride Day!

The annual day when anyone can ride the San Diego Trolley or any transit bus for free coincides with Election Day in 2020. Even though most polling places aren’t far, and many will be voting by mail this year due to the unusual COVID-19 pandemic circumstance, having Free Ride Day on Election Day seems a great idea!

If you try riding the bus or trolley for the first time on Tuesday, make sure to bring your face covering.

I happened to see the above banner as I waited yesterday at the City Heights Transit Plaza for the 215 Rapid bus. Because I live and work near convenient transit centers, I always purchase a 30 day regional pass, which allows me to ride trolleys and most buses each month wherever and however I choose.

If, like me, you have things to do during your commute, or simply want to rest or look out the window, going by bus or trolley is a great option. Being a photo blogger and writer of fiction, I can be on the lookout for new “Cool San Diego Sights” or people watch!

Yesterday I rode transit from downtown San Diego to Normal Heights to City Heights to Lakeside and back to Balboa Park! Yes, way out east to Lakeside! I even got a photograph of a cowboy!

Stay tuned for many, many more blogs!

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!

View a Día de los Muertos altar in Normal Heights.

(Photograph courtesy Melody De Los Cobos.)

A special altar for Día de los Muertos is now on display in Normal Heights.

The community altar is dedicated to loved ones who have passed from this world. Among those remembered is Albert Jurado, who was well known in the San Diego, South Bay and Tijuana music communities.

You are invited to contribute a photograph, candle or special object to the altar to remember your own loved one.

The beautiful altar is located at 4720 32nd Street. It will be on display through Monday, November 2nd, 2020.

(Photograph courtesy Melody De Los Cobos.)
(Photograph courtesy Melody De Los Cobos.)

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!

Paint and love for the Balboa Park Carousel!

I saw today that the Balboa Park Carousel is receiving new paint and some much deserved love!

The historic 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel has been out of operation for most of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the idle time is being well spent. The Friends of Balboa Park have already applied new coats of paint to various elements of their carousel, including much of the structural framework that holds the wooden horses and other carved animals.

You can see in the second-to-last photo how recently painted parts of the Armored Horse like the saddle appear brand new. All of the animals will get the same treatment!

Want to read some Fun Facts concerning this carousel? Visit this page!

I’m told the Balboa Park Carousel will reopen eventually–the timing depends on the future course of the coronavirus pandemic in San Diego.

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!

Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park unveils new plan!

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

I just learned that the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has announced big plans for their future!

The long-hoped-for renovation of Starlight is now moving ahead! You can see the phased plan, including several renderings, by visiting their website page concerning the project here.

The visionary plan includes multiple stages, enhanced seating, a concession stand with healthier food offerings, and a digital media center that will be used by students across the county. As they explain: “Our goal is to empower students with an interest in the creative arts. Through seminars and a hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology, students gain the tools they need to pursue a future utilizing multimedia arts, and have the opportunity to connect with Balboa Park.”

I personally have very fond memories of the Starlight Bowl, which I’ve mentioned in the past. I remember that as a young man my family and I watched performances under the San Diego stars of several plays, including Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance. But that was decades ago, long before the San Diego Civic Light Opera went belly up in 2011.

For many years this large historic amphitheater in the Palisades area of Balboa Park has gone unused. Occasionally groups of volunteers have assembled to pull weeds between rows of seats.

Not only is the entire South Palisades area presently receiving a major upgrade (a new pedestrian plaza, the coming Comic-Con Museum and a beautified Automotive Museum with fantastic murals), but it appears that the Starlight Bowl is now set to enjoy a very bright and vibrant future!

Check out their amazing plans and perhaps become involved 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!

New mural by Carly Ealey debuts!

A wonderful, very colorful new mural by San Diego artist Carly Ealey debuted today in downtown’s East Village! I just happened to walk up early this evening as the mural was officially unveiled!

Carly Ealey is a popular local muralist whose work can be seen all over the city. And you can see why! This new mural, at the corner of Ninth Avenue and G Street, is sure to bring many smiles to those who pass by.

I briefly met Carly and her model Dot, who were busy with the mural’s debut event and very nice to pose for the final photograph.

San Diego is so alive!

San Diego artist Carly Ealey poses with her smiling model Dot in front of East Village’s newest mural at Ninth Avenue and G Street.

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!