First PRONTO ticket machine at a trolley station!

I’m a frequent user of public transportation in San Diego. I live downtown and work in Mission Valley. There are several different combinations of buses and trolleys that I can take for my commute. So I have a convenient monthly pass on my MTS Compass Card.

But there’s a new ticketing system on the way this summer that will replace the Compass Card. The new system is called PRONTO.

Today I saw the very first PRONTO ticket machine, which has been installed at the Convention Center trolley station!

If you want to learn more about PRONTO and how it will work, check out this website.

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 mural to Spread Love in Valencia Park!

Check out this very colorful mural!

It’s painted on a wall near the corner of Harbison Avenue and Division Street in Valencia Park, a neighborhood in southeast San Diego.

A painted sign amid scenes of natural beauty urges the viewer to Spread Love! I see all sorts of wildlife depicted. I believe I recognize deer, a snake, a swan, a raccoon, a bear, an owl, a rabbit and even a monkey!

This happy mural was painted by a duo of artists who go by the name of Arte Atolondrada. Shirish Villaseñor and Isabel Garcia have previously volunteered painting with the Southeast Art Team. I’ve documented some of their work already–here and here and here!

If you like their style and need to have a mural painted, check out the Arte Atolondrada website here!

UPDATE!

I received a photo of the artists in front of a Welcome to/Bienvenidos a Valencia Park sign they painted off Logan Avenue!

And I learned that monkey is actually a Bigfoot sighting!

Photo courtesy Arte Atolondrada.

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!

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Cool photo memories from January 2016.

2021 has finally arrived!

Hopefully we’ll eventually return to a more normal state of affairs, once vaccines are widely distributed and the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. The past year has been extremely difficult.

What was going on back in 2016?

Plenty!

It’s time to look back at photographs that I took five years ago…

Click the following links to see some of the photographs I shared on Cool San Diego Sights in January 2016!

Pianos placed around San Diego for public to play!

Amazing public art is a hidden San Diego gem.

Photos of Chinese New Year celebration in Balboa Park.

Amazing art in San Diego: Classic paintings of ships!

Photos of Mormon Battalion Commemoration in Old Town.

Photos of Love Your Wetlands Day in Mission Bay.

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.

Christmas donuts: Santa, Rudolph and the Grinch!

I swung by the world-famous Donut Bar in downtown San Diego this morning to grab some fun Christmas-themed donuts!

I found Santa Claus, Gingerbread Woman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Grinch!

They all were very sweet–the Donut Bar people I mean!

Wishing all my readers Happy Holidays!

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!

Love in San Ysidro for those lost.

AMOR spelled out on a fence in San Ysidro. A project for Día de los Muertos in 2020 to remember lost loved ones during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Today I enjoy a long walk in South Bay.

As I wandered through San Ysidro, I passed the parklike space where the neighborhood celebrates Día de San Ysidro/San Ysidro Day each year. I found the Spanish word AMOR, which in English means love, spelled out on a fence.

As you can see, AMOR was made from numerous small circular tags. They represent the many who’ve passed away this year from COVID-19. It was a project earlier this year of Casa Familiar, a South Bay community development organization.

Unfortunately, the virus is still taking a very big toll in mid-December, as the world waits to be vaccinated in the months ahead.

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!

Fun photos from Social Distance Santa!

Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during 2020 Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.

Santa Claus sent me a batch of fun photos!

Every year Santa travels down from the North Pole to greet the young at heart in Balboa Park during December Nights.

In 2020 the holiday event, however, turned into a socially-distanced Taste of December Nights. Families drove through Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point parking lot to partake of the offerings of food trucks. Everyone stayed in their car. Santa waved as they passed. During this year’s very serious, very contagious COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic we all are advised to avoid mingling.

Because a visiting Santa Claus wanted to provide a good example, he renamed himself Social Distance Santa. And his elves constructed a special six-foot ruler!

Bill Swank ordinarily greets all comers as Santa Claus in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during December Nights. He has been Santa since 2002. This rather unusual year he had to adapt, as you can see!

As San Diego’s preeminent baseball historian, Bill Swank also brought along a photo of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.

Santa reports that he recognized many people that have visited him over the years, both young and old.

Fortunately, Santa Claus possesses strong magic. His smile beams directly through a face mask, and a friendly wave transmits his powerful love.

Social Distance Santa holds a six-foot ruler with a Balboa Park Ranger during Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer waved at Santa and Mrs. Claus from the first car to enter Taste of December Nights on December 4, 2020. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa holding a picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa cards were given to the first 500 cars each day during Taste of December Nights in Balboa Park. Santa’s Safety List is included.

This has been a challenging year for all of us, but Santa and the City of San Diego are thankful we can come together and celebrate in the special way with all of you!

If you want to learn more about the history of Christmas in San Diego and read a book concerning the subject written by Bill Swank, click 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!

A downtown burial site at Dead Men’s Point?

At the south end of Pacific Highway, a short distance from Seaport Village, an historical marker can be observed by the sidewalk. In 1954 it was placed adjacent to the old San Diego Police Headquarters, which today is home to the shops and eateries of The Headquarters.

The marker reads:

LA PUNTA
DE LOS MUERTOS
(DEAD MEN’S POINT)
BURIAL SITE OF SAILORS AND MARINES IN 1782
WHEN SAN DIEGO BAY WAS SURVEYED & CHARTED
BY DON JUAN PANTOJA Y ARRIAGA, PILOT, AND
DON JOSE TOVAR, MATE, OF THE ROYAL FRIGATES
“LA PRINCESA” AND “LA FAVORITA” UNDER
COMMAND OF DON AGUSTIN DE ECHEVERRIA.
STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 57
MARKER PLACED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
AND THE HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
ERECTED 1954

But according to The Journal of San Diego History’s article A Monument to an Event that Never Happened, this marker is wildly inaccurate! There is no burial site and no one died on the Pantoja voyage. And “dead men” probably refers to pine logs! Huh?

To read the article, click 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!

Justice League heroes wear face masks!

I noticed a cool graphic on the side of an AT&T truck parked downtown. DC Comic’s powerful Justice League superheroes are all wearing face masks!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman want you to be a hero!

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!

Thousands of origami cranes help heal San Diego.

A large display case inside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s beautiful Inamori Pavilion contains “one thousand” colorful origami cranes. They were created by members of the community from March through July of 2020 to help reassure and heal San Diego during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

A sign in the display case explains: “In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of longevity and happiness. The one thousand origami cranes were originally popularized through the story of a Japanese girl, Sadako, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. She soon developed leukemia and began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend…”

According to Wikipedia: “The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years.” You can learn more about the ancient Japanese senbazuru legend by clicking here.

People throughout San Diego actually contributed over 2000 paper origami cranes for this very powerful display. Many hopeful hands worked together to help us all get through an extremely difficult period.

If you’d like to be moved and comforted by these “one thousand” cranes, head to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The Inamori Pavilion can be found in the Lower Garden.

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!