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 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!

Christmas decorations appear around San Diego!

Putting up the Christmas tree at 600 B Street in downtown San Diego.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As one might expect, Christmas decorations are now going up all around San Diego!

During my walks in the past few days, I’ve taken photographs of the Holiday Season getting underway….

A worker puts up a holiday wreath in Seaport Village.

Poinsettias encircle the Homecoming sculpture at the Greatest Generation Walk near the USS Midway.

A big Christmas tree at The Headquarters.

Santa Claus has arrived in Old Town!

One of several wreaths decorating the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town.

Gorgeous Christmas trees and decorations inside the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

Wreath on a fantastic car at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Jingle and Mingle in the Gaslamp.

Santa is asked to stop at this shop.

Festive holiday decorations at the Gaslamp Museum.

A bright Christmas tree at downtown’s Donut Bar.

San Diego’s City Center is getting ready for Christmas and the Holiday Season!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you’d like, bookmark and check back from time to time.

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!

A special message from Santa Claus for San Diego!

I’ve just been contacted by Santa Claus. He has an important message for all of San Diego!

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

I hope you have a safe and dry Christmas Day with family and loved ones. Omicron is worse than getting coal in your stocking. Get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Santa hopes the pandemic will end and we all can return to “December Nights in the Park” next year.

Santa held his COVID-19 Vaccination Card during 2021 “Taste of December Nights.” (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
After “Taste of December Nights,” Santa went to visit the Nativity scenes at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
A week later, a well-dressed Chihuahua sporting a stylish Mohawk posed with Santa at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
This cute little girl came to visit Santa while he was eating breakfast at Harry’s. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
… and this little guy was impressed with Santa’s baseball card. We want the Padres to win the World Series in 2022. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

Be good to one another. Have fun. Laugh and be joyous, but also remember the meaning of the season.

Your friend,

Santa Claus

Santa Claus sightings around San Diego!

Santa Claus parachutes from a helicopter onto the deck of the USS Midway!

Two days until Christmas!

Over the years, Santa Claus has been sighted countless times around San Diego. And I’ve captured (or received) some fun photographs of jolly old Saint Nick!

I’ve seen Santa jumping from a helicopter, flying above San Diego Bay using a water jetpack, in holiday parades, and, of course, magically granting Christmas wishes to good boys and girls.

Please enjoy this happy collection of Santa photos!

Santa and Mrs. Claus read a joyful story during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, during the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon.
Jolly old Santa makes somebody laugh in front of Balboa Park’s Federal Building. Are those two guys naughty or nice?
Surfing Santa arrives at Seaport Village by flying a water jetpack.
Multiple bearded Santas at the Over-the-Line tournament on Fiesta Island. They encourage everyone to eat healthy! (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa and Mrs. Claus smile for a photo during a Toys for Tots charity event on Navy Pier.
There’s Santa once again at Seaport Village! Looks like I took this photo during the summer of the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.
Mrs. Claus poses with Santa during Christmas on the Prado. But he doesn’t appear like the real Santa to me.
Santa Claus waves from a fire truck during the North Park Toyland Parade.
Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during Taste of December Nights in 2020. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa in Balboa Park once again. Like everyone else in San Diego, he must love the place.
And there’s Santa again! He’s now at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A smiling Santa Claus helps warm an elf nose during Christmas on the Prado. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa Claus brings joy to the brightly lit Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Christmas magic during December Nights in Balboa Park!

I wish everyone Happy Holidays!

I plan to take a little time off from blogging this week and next, just to relax and enjoy the season. But I’ll continue to walk, weather permitting, and take photos!

When I return in the New Year, be ready for many more Cool San Diego Sights!

Take care!


Chaldean Family Christmas in Balboa Park.

Today during my walk through Balboa Park I stumbled upon a special holiday event in the Hall of Nations. Families were celebrating a Chaldean Family Christmas with traditional music, dancers in folk dress, tables overflowing with food, lots of smiles and the arrival of Santa Claus!

The Chaldean Family Christmas–From Babylon to Balboa–was brought to life by the Chaldean American Family Foundation, an organization that aids the local Chaldean community.

I took a few photos of the festive event. That above first photograph was framed perfectly, but came out much too blurry. So I ran it through GIMP’s oilify filter. The joyful image really captures the Christmas spirit.

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 holiday celebration in National City!

A big, wonderful holiday celebration is going on right now at Kimball Park in National City!

I walked through the community event just as it was getting underway this afternoon. I saw lots of families enjoying a Ferris Wheel, sledding on a snowy hill, dancing performances, arts and crafts, and even Santa himself!

If you read this blog in time, you might want to head on down to this free event!

A Kimball Holiday will go until 9 pm this evening, with the Christmas tree lighting at 6 pm!

A good crowd enjoys A Kimball Holiday as the festive event gets underway.
I walked by in the late morning and saw workers getting the Christmas tree ready. That’s how I learned about this event! After walking around San Diego’s South Bay for several hours, I returned in the afternoon…
Kids were enjoying the big Ferris Wheel.
How often do you see snow in sunny National City? Looks like fun!
Uh, oh. The Grinch showed up! That elf is trying to cheer the old grouch.
Lots of vendors had seasonal crafts and gifts for sale.
Santa waved! Hi Santa!
Malashock Dance was performing on the event stage in the early afternoon.
I love National City!

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 2016.

Many colorful Christmas photos from around San Diego appeared on Cool San Diego Sights five years ago!

It’s time to share some favorite blog memories from December 2016!

Going back in time, I see that I photographed festive holiday events in La Jolla, Balboa Park and downtown. (Unfortunately, the SMARTS Farm in East Village has since closed.)

And that month my camera captured more than Christmas images. Click the upcoming links and you’ll also view a little San Diego history and some truly fantastic art!

Click the following links for many fun photos!

Searching for Santa at December Nights!

Merry sights at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Faded signs painted on old downtown buildings.

Holiday fun at the new SMARTS Farm in East Village!

A heartwarming Christmas tradition in San Diego.

People meditate (or have fun) walking a labyrinth.

Santa eats lots of pizza in Little Italy!

Christmas lights turn downtown bright red and green!

Fun photos of Sun God bird sculpture at UCSD.

More photos of amazing, experimental holographic art!

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.

Two short stories about Christmas.

A bit later, Santa and Mrs. Claus read The Night Before Christmas to gathered children and the young-at-heart.

Would you like to read two very short stories about Christmas?

Both works of fiction might touch your heart.

The first short story is titled A Wise Man. It concerns how we all can become jaded over the years, and how one seemingly ordinary moment can renew our appreciation of life’s preciousness and beauty. Read it here.

The second short story is titled An Encounter With Santa Claus. It’s about the spirit of Christmas. About unselfishness, not rampant materialism. Read it here.

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!

Holidays and Chula Vista shop windows.

As I walked through Chula Vista’s historic downtown yesterday, I peered into shop windows up and down Third Avenue.

Looking back out at me were colorful signs of the holiday season!

I saw Christmas trees, wreaths, beautiful ornaments and works of art, Hanukkah decorations, Nativity scenes, and multiple Santa Clauses!

On a late Saturday morning not too many people were about yet, but as I walked along I noticed eateries were beginning to set up on the sidewalk for the lunch hour. It appears to me the Third Avenue Village would be an ideal place to do your small business Christmas shopping!

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!