Colorful flower mural at Mission Valley mall.

If you’ve driven down Camino de la Reina past Westfield Mission Valley, you might have glimpsed this colorful mural painted outside the mall.

The mural resembles a blue and yellow inkblot made of flowers–you know, one of those Rorschach psychological tests where a symmetric shape, depending on your perception, might seem like either a face or a vase.

Well, this huge mural appears to me like an explosion of flowers!

A couple days ago I went to the Westfield Mission Valley shopping center to watch a movie, and to look for a series of murals that I had once read about. But this was the only one I happened to stumble upon.

It’s pretty cool, as you can see!

The artwork was created by Nick Napoletano, a widely known artist from Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Photos of Viva La Frida in Barrio Logan!

A lively, very colorful event is going on this weekend in Barrio Logan!

Along Logan Avenue, southeast of Chicano Park, the neighborhood and local businesses are celebrating the iconic, enormously popular Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. The festive celebration is called Viva La Frida!

Early this afternoon, after enjoying the nearby Chicano Park Vive! lowrider event, I continued walking along Logan Avenue to check out Viva La Frida!

The sidewalks were full of people experiencing the colors, tastes, sounds and smells of the several blocks long festival. There was music, and lowriders, and families, and friendship, and plenty of tasty Mexican food, and lots of art on display, and vendors whose tables overflowed with Frida-themed wares. A traditional Día de los Muertos altar for Frida Kahlo honored the artist’s life.

I can only wonder what Frida would think if her spirit did indeed approach the altar and she was able to view this largely commercial event, and the endless variations of her self portraits everywhere people turn.

As I ambled along I noticed some new street murals on Logan Avenue that appear fairly new, and other street art that I’ve apparently missed during past walks. I’ll have to return in the near future, perhaps when the crowds enjoying the Viva La Frida celebration have departed and my camera has a better look.

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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Photos of Carlsbad’s grand, historic Twin Inns.

Several impressive landmark buildings can be observed during a visit to Carlsbad.

Perhaps the most prominent landmark stands at the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard (the local stretch of old Highway 101) and Carlsbad Village Drive. It’s called the Twin Inns. Look for the big blue Victorian building next to the Carlsbad gateway sign.

Approach the Twin Inns and you’ll not only be impressed by its grand architecture, but you’ll have the opportunity to view an informative plaque that relates a good deal of fascinating history.

The plaque by the front steps reads:

TWIN INNS

This Victorian structure was built in 1887 for Gerhard Schutte, whose role in the development of the town led to his being called the “Father of Carlsbad.” Schutte and partners Samuel Church Smith and D.D. Wadsworth founded the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company and had as their vision “a town of small farms and gracious homes.” To that end they bought 400 prime acres at $40 per acre for development as a community. They laid out a townsite, lined roads with eucalyptus seedlings, and named the streets. This property was converted to the Twin Inns Restaurant circa 1917 by Whiting and Reed and was purchased by Ed and Neva Kentner in 1919. It was named the Twin Inns since the building was identical to the nearby Wadsworth home, also used as an inn. The building was extensively remodeled with a large octagonal dining room added in 1922. The Twin Inns was a popular summer dining area frequented by many of the Hollywood set after a day at the races and later figured prominently in Carlsbad’s history serving as the site of the first City Council meeting and deliberations on the city’s incorporation. The building was also famous for its fried chicken dinners, which were promoted by large plaster chickens out front. After 60 years as a family business, the Twin Inns was sold in 1984 and became part of the Village Faire Shopping Center.

COURTESY OF THE CARLSBAD HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION

On either side of the steps you’ll find two decorative signs…

The Twin Inns – Famous Chicken Dinners
Built by Alonzo Culver for Gerhard Schutte in 1887.
The north side of the Twin Inns.
The south side of the Twin Inns. You can see a sign for one small business that presently occupies the building, Sun Diego Boardshop.
The southeast corner of the Twin Inns. This part of the historic building is now used by Pedego Electric Bikes.

I was told by a friendly employee of Pedego Electric Bikes that the above door, on the building’s east side, used to be an entrance to a speakeasy back during Prohibition!

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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Colorful murals at new Old Town Urban Market!

Some very colorful murals have recently appeared in Old Town at the corner of Twiggs Street and Congress Street!

The two newly decorated walls used to enclose Miranda’s Courtyard, which I blogged about many years ago here. The property is being redeveloped into Old Town Urban Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.

The artwork was painted by “memuco” Guillermo Munro, whose other murals can be enjoyed here.

The murals depict Frida Kahlo, a tree full of positive messages, Día de los Muertos imagery, and some of the historical buildings in Old Town 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!

Beautiful mural in the Arcade Building in La Jolla.

I met the creator of beautiful murals today!

I was walking through La Jolla’s scenic Ellen Browning Scripps Park, gazing at the ocean, when I came upon a friendly artist selling some prints and a decorative surfboard. I soon learned that she is also a muralist, and that she has painted a very colorful mural in La Jolla’s Arcade Building!

So afterward I guided my feet in that direction!

Melanie Sojourner-Truth Atesalp is the artist’s name. Now that I’ve read her bio, I can see why her smile is so deep.

Her unique background and life experiences can be read at her website here. She’s all about imagination and laughter, healing and wisdom. She designed the large mural at the new SDSU Healing Garden and Meditation Space. Right now she’s concentrating on creating graphic novels and writing children’s literature.

If you like the mural you’re about to see, check out her website where there is art you can purchase!

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!

Hearts appear before Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is now less than a week away.

In the past few days I’ve noticed hearts popping up everywhere I walk. Hearts can be spotted in shop windows, on doors and signs…and shining from the faces of those who know love!

The final two photographs were taken in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. The artists were kind enough to let me snap the pictures.

Come to think of it, if you’re looking for a special gift that’s truly heartfelt and one-of-a-kind, Spanish Village would be an ideal place to visit.

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 look at the Woolworth Building in the Gaslamp.

Many fascinating old buildings stand in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Many were built in the late 1800’s during one of the city’s early booms.

I always enjoy looking at the 1886 Woolworth Building as I walk along Fifth Avenue south of Broadway. Not because its architecture is particularly unique or interesting. No, I see that word Woolworth near the rooftop and vague memories from my very early childhood flash inside my aged brain.

I recall how my parents would take me shopping at a Woolworth’s, and how I would always be treated to an ice cream at the store’s stainless steel lunch counter and soda fountain. Memories can be funny. Don’t ask me where this Woolworth store was. All I really remember is standing before all that ice cream, and always choosing Rocky Road.

So what happened to the F. W. Woolworth Company and their immense chain of retail stores? They morphed into Foot Locker! (Regrettably, I’m pretty sure most Foot Lockers don’t serve ice cream.)

Since you might have some difficulty reading the weathered plaque near the entrance to the Woolworth Building, I’ve tried to transcribe it correctly:

Woolworth Building, 1886. Originally Victorian in its architecture, this brick and wood frame building was used for retail stores on the first floor, offices on the second, and furnished rooms on the third. In 1922, Frank W. Woolworth, founder of the five-and-dime stores, had the building remodeled. The original Victorian bay windows were removed, and four Corinthian pilasters were added to a gray granite facade. Woolworth leased the structure for 50 years.

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!

Horton Plaza stripped and gutted!

Horton Plaza, the innovative outdoor shopping mall that was once a downtown San Diego attraction, has been stripped and gutted! Its redevelopment continues!

Six months ago I noted that demolition of parts of the old shopping mall had begun. I posted those photos and some information concerning the project here.

Well, take a look now!

UPDATE!

Several months later I took these photos. The southwest corner of Horton Plaza has risen and now appears quite different!

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!

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!

Bronze wildlife sculptures at Viejas outlet mall.

Many realistic bronze sculptures representing regional wildlife can be found all around the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, California. This unique shopping mall, filled with beautiful artwork inspired by Native American Kumeyaay life and culture, is operated by the Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation.

The wildlife sculptures are found throughout the mall, among trees, on pedestrian walkways, even lurking atop artificial rocks and waterfalls. Families turning corners might encounter a bear, mule deer, mountain lions, a rattlesnake, coyote, river otter, Canada geese, and even desert bighorn sheep. Adult animals are often accompanied by their young. The bronze sculptures depict the animals interacting with each other naturally in their small realistic settings.

The wildlife sculptures were created by award-winning El Cajon artist Robert G. Berry, who began as a taxidermist before turning animal sculptor. His work can also be enjoyed at the San Diego Zoo, Cypress Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is also in San Diego. To see a few examples of his half dozen bronze sculptures at Mission Trails, click here!

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