Stars, constellations and one night in a sidewalk.

Walk along the west side of Highway 101 in Solana Beach, a short distance south of Plaza Street, and your curious eyes might see the night sky in the sidewalk. If you aren’t careful, you might plunge downward into bright stars and constellations!

This public artwork celebrates the City of Solana Beach’s incorporation on July 1, 1986. The star map underfoot shows what one would have seen gazing up into the night sky at a minute past midnight on that date.

I had some fun with these photographs, gradually increasing the contrast. Be careful! You might find yourself tumbling through space!

(Curious about that colorful mural in the distance? It’s titled Myths at Play, and you can see closer photos and learn more about it by clicking 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!

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!

Is this what the Wise Men saw?

See that tiny, tiny dot in the night sky directly above the photographer’s knuckles? People are calling it the Christmas Star. Astronomers call it a great conjunction, when the two largest planets in our solar system–Jupiter and Saturn– appear very close together to eyes viewing from Earth.

Today is December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice. I took this photograph with my little camera from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park shortly after dark. That’s downtown San Diego you see on the left.

The last time Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction this closely (and could be seen in most of the Northern Hemisphere) was the year 1226. You’ll have to wait sixty years to see it again. I suppose I won’t be around.

I’ve read and heard conjecture that the biblical Magi were guided to Bethlehem by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the year of Christ’s birth. Some believers claim the timing would have been about right.

Can you make out that miniscule dot? Is that the same “star” the Wise Men saw?

Another good question might be: Is a light from far away what the wise see?

Jupiter and Saturn will continue their orbits around the sun, as will the Earth, long after you and I and every worldly thing we have done and hold dear has vanished, turned to dust, to be swirled by an unseen finger, transformed into something else.

Great conjunctions will continue hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the future. A billion years from this moment–give or take a century–there will be another Christmas Star.

Christmas lights brighten historic house in Bankers Hill!

The historic Forward House in Bankers Hill is brightly lit with Christmas decorations once again! This amazing holiday display has become a tradition in San Diego!

The Forward House, located at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ivy Street, was built in 1905 for John F. Forward Sr., who would become San Diego’s mayor from 1907 to 1909. The historic house is now home to American Security Mortgage.

I walked through Bankers Hill as night fell to see these fantastic Christmas lights. I wasn’t the only one snapping photos!

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!

Holiday lights on two landmark buildings!

After sunset I photographed two landmark buildings in San Diego that are illuminated with colorful lights this holiday season!

Until this Friday, December 18, the County Administration Building is lit blue and white to celebrate Hanukkah.

The County Administration Building in San Diego lit blue and white during Hanukkah.

And as usual in Bankers Hill, the Manchester Financial Centre building, long-time home of Mister A’s, is lit red and green and strung with many colors to celebrate Christmas!

The colorfully lit Manchester Financial Centre building in Bankers Hill with Christmas trees at each corner!

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!

Bright holiday lights fill Little Italy!

Today has been a pleasant Saturday in early December. I walked through Little Italy this evening after dark and looked about in wonder at the many holiday lights.

Crowds filled India Street. Diners sat at tables outside. Beautiful Christmas trees illuminated the night at Piazza della Famiglia and Piazza Basilone.

I took these photographs!

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 tradition of holiday lights at the Marriott!

For as long as I can remember, the Marriott Marquis hotel on San Diego’s bayfront has maintained a holiday tradition. Every year they string up a huge red “Christmas tree” made of lights between their two towers!

I took a long walk after work and found myself in front of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (the hotel’s official name) shortly after nightfall.

The beautiful tree of lights was shining in front of my camera!

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 bit of holiday magic in Balboa Park!

A bit of familiar holiday magic has returned to Balboa Park!

On Sunday the Old Globe had a virtual online event for the annual lighting of their Christmas Tree. Tonight, shortly after sunset, I walked from Bankers Hill into Balboa Park to see if the “Grinchmas Tree” was lit.

It was!

Fewer people than usual were walking about the park in the early evening. It’s the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in the night the recently enacted curfew would begin.

As I continued walking down El Prado I saw no other holiday lights in the park, but I’m sure that will change during this year’s “drive-through” December Nights event.

Balboa Park might seem strangely quiet this holiday season, but in front of the Old Globe bright magic has reappeared!

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!

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!

Lights brighten the night on The Boulevard.

Last night, very early in the morning, I took photographs of interesting “lights” in the vicinity of the iconic “The Boulevard” landmark sign, near the west end of historic El Cajon Boulevard.

The next photo is of an illuminated mural that depicts ostriches, which are symbols of the University Heights community. Many years ago University Heights was home to an ostrich farm! This fun mural can be found at the corner of Park Boulevard and Howard Avenue.

As I headed north up the sidewalk, a glowing Eye of Buddha gazed mysteriously down upon me! The sign hovers above a small strip mall at the corner of Park Boulevard and El Cajon Boulevard.

I then crossed El Cajon Boulevard and Park Boulevard to take a good photo of an absolutely extraordinary sign.

The wonderful Frank the Trainman neon sign is an iconic sight in itself, a beloved little landmark that San Diego residents treasure.

It can be seen at the south end of a building that features another amazing work of art. At its back, on a large wall that very few people see, is a mural painted by internationally recognized Chicano artist Mario Torero.

Photos of the mural, called Cosmic Train of Wisdom, can be seen here! (You can also see a photo I once took of the Frank the Trainman neon sign during the daytime.)

I then started east down El Cajon Boulevard. My walk was quite early in the morning with few cars and people about.

Mysterious globes of light seem suspended in a window ahead…

It’s the very cool BLVD North Park Apartments building. Light coming through an interesting structure at the front entrance spells out one gigantic BLVD!

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!

Balboa Park celebrates anniversary of 19th Amendment.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

This week the California Tower in Balboa Park will be lit purple and gold at night. It’s part of a nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote.

The Forward Into Light campaign has asked that monuments across the nation be lit up to mark this important anniversary, which officially takes place tomorrow. The 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920.

In addition to the California Tower, every night this week the San Diego Convention Center’s sails and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument will be turned purple and gold.

This morning I walked from downtown up to Balboa Park to see the tower just before sunrise. The California Building’s elaborate facade was illuminated with soft purple light, and a golden Museum of Us was splashed upon the tower. The Museum of Us is the new name for the Museum of Man, which occupies the iconic building that was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

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!