Colors of December Nights in Spanish Village!

Enjoy these photos taken in Spanish Village Art Center during December Nights!

Balboa Park’s colorful Spanish Village is one of my favorite spots in San Diego at any time of year, but during the Holiday Season, it really shines!

Without further ado, here are photographs that I captured today, the first day of 2022 December Nights. I wandered through Spanish Village before dark–before the crowds really grew!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

December Nights returns to Balboa Park!

After a two year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, December Nights has returned to Balboa Park! San Diego’s epic holiday event appears to be back in a big way, with large crowds filtering into the park this evening.

I walked around before it became too dark for my old camera, taking in the festive scene. I saw Christmas decorations, lights, food, and many smiling faces. I saw Santa, too! My photos were taken before sundown, when I turned my feet for home and Balboa Park became really crowded!

Please enjoy these photos. If you’ve never been to December Nights, you can get an idea of what it’s like. The big event will continue tomorrow, Saturday, 11 am to 11 pm!

Holiday entertainment is featured throughout December Nights on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Cookies, cocoa and coffee at the Gingerbread House, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Viewing the Nativity Display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Fun holiday inflatables at the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Write Out Loud tells a story at the Japanese Friendship Garden using a storybox, or kamishibai.

Making ornaments at the Japanese Friendship Garden! Hello!

Santa and his reindeer visit Balboa Park once again.

Cool outfit!

The colors of Christmas fill Spanish Village.

I sampled Chider, a mix of hot chocolate and apple cider. It was really good!

I’ve never seen so many food trucks in one place.

Lots of Christmas sweaters spotted on El Prado. Whether they’re ugly or not, you decide.

Those Seals sunglasses I won with your prize wheel are awesome! Thank you!

Some cloggers take the stage near the Bea Evenson Fountain.

A vendor had these fun Santa Claus gifts.

The International Cottages serve up all sorts of holiday food from around the world.

Heading down toward Balboa Park’s Palisades.

Nice smile! (Took a little coaxing!)

Gloved thumbs up. I guess I’m on the “nice” list.

Yummy smells everywhere you walk.

These smiling nutcrackers would be performing on stage later.

These mimes would perform later, too!

December Nights has returned to San Diego in 2022.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Students paint Santa’s reindeer in Balboa Park!

San Diego artist Kris Finch and several of his students were busy painting reindeer in Balboa Park this morning, hours before the beginning of 2022 December Nights.

Kris and his friendly students were kind enough to let me photograph their works in progress.

You often see artists painting the ornate Spanish Colonial Revival buildings of Balboa Park, or the beautiful, reflecting lily pond, or the many gardens and fountains. But this is the first time I’ve seen brushes rendering Santa’s reindeer!

Very cool!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

San Diego’s forgotten Community Christmas Tree.

About three years ago, a new Community Christmas Tree was planted in San Diego’s wonderful Balboa Park. It replaced a beloved old Christmas tree that still shines brightly in the memories of many. But over the decades that aging tree became overgrown, gangly and misshapen.

San Diego’s new Community Christmas Tree has grown considerably. It’s now large and shapely. You’d think it would be a part of December Nights this year.

No.

As you can see in my photos taken this morning, hours before December Nights will begin, the new Community Christmas Tree is half concealed behind vendor tents. No lights, no ornaments, nothing. All but forgotten, it appears.

Yesterday I spoke to a gentleman who was helping to supervise the setting up of December Nights, and he had absolutely no clue about the tree’s existence. Very sad.

You can see the old tree, and how the new tree has grown, by clicking here.

That original Community Christmas Tree had a plaque near it, just within the fence. That plaque is now gone. What became of it, I don’t know. I now regret that I never photographed the plaque. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Cool photo memories from December 2017.

Another year is flying by!

It just turned December, so it’s time to revisit selected blog posts from five years ago.

Back in December of 2017, I posted a wide variety of interesting photographs. There were holiday events, as one might suspect, plus other discoveries that my camera recorded around San Diego.

If you’re curious, click the upcoming links!

Here are links to past blog posts that you might enjoy…

Photos of 54th Annual North Park Toyland Parade!

Refugee students learn job skills at city farm!

A golden Christmas present on Broadway Pier.

Star of India’s magical holiday lights at night.

Boy Scouts improve Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Photos of Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town.

San Diego African American fine art exhibition.

Navajo Code Talkers at Marine aviation museum.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Eating the flesh of a Sumatran tiger skull!

Why was there a Sumatran tiger skull outside in Balboa Park today?

Because the skull’s flesh had been devoured by a mass of skin beetles. And those beetles (and their very hungry larvae) would be a nuisance if they escaped indoors!

Scientists from the nearby San Diego Natural History Museum were carefully preparing the Sumatran tiger skull for their collection!

The museum’s Birds and Mammals Department already contains tens of thousands of specimens. I was told preserved specimens, including this tiger skull, are very useful when it comes to comparative anatomy.

I’ve learned that Birds and Mammals Department curator Philip Unitt is the author of The Birds of San Diego County, which happens to be on my bookshelf! (It should be on yours, too.)

I noticed another critter in a nearby container waiting for the skin beetle (Dermestidae) treatment. A gray fox that was road kill in La Jolla would provide dinner for the beetles next!

Funny. I was visiting Balboa Park to check out the ongoing preparations for December Nights. Which just goes to show–you never know what you’ll discover when walking through this amazing park!

The San Diego Natural History Museum, like many other Balboa Park museums, will be open free to the public during December Nights!

Here’s the beetles’ next meal: a gray fox…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Setting up Festival of Trees for December Nights!

Balboa Park is bustling with activity today, as an army of workers and volunteers prepares for December Nights, San Diego’s epic holiday festival that kicks off tomorrow afternoon!

In Room 101 of the Casa de Prado, I saw many smiling people busy decorating Christmas trees for this year’s Festival of Trees!

The Festival of Trees is a 50 year tradition that began in 1972, inaugurated by the San Diego Floral Association. Visitors to the Casa del Prado during December Nights will see dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, sponsored by organizations throughout Balboa Park and San Diego.

It appears to me the Festival of Trees in 2022 will be just as spectacular as ever. It’s always a very popular family attraction during December Nights. Of course, admission is free!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Jewels of the Season shine in Balboa Park!

Some of the most amazing and beautiful Christmas ornaments are now on display in Balboa Park. Step through the entrance of the Timken Museum of Art and you can’t possibly miss them!

Jewels of the Season is a special exhibition of fine, hand-crafted Christmas tree ornaments. The elaborate jewel-like creations are the work of two artists: Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi.

If the name of the first artist seems familiar, perhaps that’s because she was married to renowned sculptor Donal Hord. Florence began making these unique ornaments as a hobby in the 1930s. Each one is a small work of art.

Elizabeth Schlappi met Florence when her mother started taking sculpture lessons from Donal Hord. The two began to make ornaments together.

If you see ornaments in the museum that seem more contemporary (such as one celebrating the Padres), they’re probably the work of Elizabeth. She also included fabric patches in many of her designs. You can see an example in one upcoming photograph: a lunar landing patch!

In 1995 Florence passed away, but a unique craft that she originated lives on through a network of creative friends.

If you’re going to December Nights this year, make absolutely sure you wander into the Timken Museum of Art. You’re eyes will open wide with delight!

By the way, on Monday, December 5, at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm, the museum will host an ornament-making workshop! Learn more and register here!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

International Cottages prepare for December Nights!

December Nights is almost here! The huge holiday event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around San Diego, will take place this Friday and Saturday in Balboa Park.

During my walk through Balboa Park’s International Cottages today, I noticed preparation for the event is already underway. Several of the cottages have put up Christmas trees and holiday decorations, and most of the other cottages, I was assured, will be joining them shortly.

Please enjoy a few photos!

This will be the first in-person December Nights since the closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I bet the crowds will be huge.

The first two photographs (above and below) were taken in the House of Mexico’s cottage.

At the House of Finland, traditional paper woven baskets called sydänkori were being created. They are used to decorate Christmas trees. Small presents such as gift cards fit neatly inside them!

Over at the House of Germany, I spotted a nutcracker, and a poster concerning a fall and winter Children’s Choir program!

At the House of USA cottage, I saw these Christmas decorations, including a bright, festive tree…

Look at all the Santa Clauses inside the House of Sweden cottage! I learned they’ll be for sale during December Nights.

Lastly, I discovered another beautiful Christmas tree inside the House of Denmark’s cottage…

If you head to Balboa Park during December Nights, make sure to visit the International Cottages. As usual, a wide variety of holiday food from all around the world will be a highlight!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Saturday morning at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Look at all the activity today at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!

Every Saturday morning, local fishermen bring their fresh catches to the pier between Seaport Village and Tuna Harbor, and lovers of seafood line up to buy fish and crabs and sea urchins and other edibles found in the ocean off San Diego.

I walked out on the pier this morning, marveling at how this outdoor fish market has grown. Can you believe it? Eight years have already passed since Tuna Harbor Dockside Market’s grand opening.

Anyone into photography would love strolling through this market with camera in hand.

There’s the whirl of life all around: diverse people from every walk of life rubbing elbows; families at tables devouring fish and chips; the picturesque commercial fishing boats; the human ebb and flow of commerce; circling gulls; playful sea lions barking down in the bay (I observed none today); and all those different species of fish, some of which can appear quite strange…

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post fresh blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!