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!

Punk rockers hang out at Fall Brewing Company!

The Fall Brewing Company seems to attract a rather interesting crowd!

I took these photographs a little over a month ago during a walk up 30th Street in North Park. A mural teeming with punk rockers adds character to a wall by the brewery’s front patio!

I didn’t realize punk rockers like chugging craft beer!

You live and you learn.

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!

Images of the pandemic tragedy downtown.

As I walk around San Diego, I try to find what is uplifting and keep a positive attitude. But these photographs from the past few days aren’t happy. They show tragic aspects of the long COVID-19 pandemic nightmare.

Throughout downtown San Diego it seems time has stopped. It seems the life of my city keeps draining away.

It’s now December and I still see posters for events scheduled last March or April. I see hundreds of boarded windows and a steadily increasing number of For Lease signs. I see people avoiding people. I see more and more who are homeless. And now we’re told a second lockdown in San Diego is imminent.

They tell us this terrible pandemic will finally end in the coming months as vaccines are distributed. But for the time being the tragic scene downtown seems to only worsen.

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!

Escondido community paints street barriers on Grand!

The community of Escondido has come together in the past few weeks to paint about a hundred concrete barriers along Grand Avenue with beautiful, inspiring artwork!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries along Grand Avenue in historic downtown Escondido have been allowed to open outdoor patios on the sidewalk and street. To keep lanes of traffic safely separated from diners, ugly gray concrete barriers were placed along the avenue. But those who love to create art saw numerous blank canvases!

The Beautify Escondido mural project has resulted in numerous colorful works of art that promote love, hope, friendship and community, not to mention businesses along Grand Avenue. I see the Escondido Art Association has been instrumental in coordinating this very cool project.

I must admit, when I last visited Escondido on a Sunday and took photos of the Maple Street Plaza, my brief look at Grand Avenue didn’t do it justice. To my eyes Grand Avenue had appeared quiet, deserted. But had I walked a block or two east into the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown, I would’ve seen many people eating, walking, looking in the windows of antique stores, and enjoying life.

I took additional photos of my adventure on Grand Avenue yesterday, and will share them shortly!

Okay, ready to see lots and lots of awesome artwork?

Here we go!

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!

Businesses board up before Election Day.

This is not a cool sight. Not for those who want to live in a representative democracy. Free to vote for their candidate or party of choice, no matter which side. Free to live without political violence or the threat of violence.

I noticed while walking through downtown San Diego that some businesses are boarding up doors and windows anticipating the possibility of destruction and looting.

No matter the outcome of this year’s election, no matter who is disappointed or who is elated, whether power over others is increased or diminished, may a shared sense of our common humanity prevail.

Cool sights along Third Avenue in Chula Vista!

Colorful art painted high on a building that is for lease on Chula Vista's Third Avenue.
Colorful art painted high on a building on Chula Vista’s Third Avenue.

Two years ago I walked along Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista during the annual Lemon Festival. At the time I took a few photos of murals and public art that I happened to notice. To see those photographs, click here.

Last weekend I walked along Third Avenue again and discovered all sorts of cool sights that are either new or that I hadn’t seen previously. (Or, in the case of the street clock and big landmark sign, that I hadn’t thought to photograph.)

As you can see, downtown Chula Vista has a very friendly vibe. And the village appears to be getting even more inviting. I noticed that improvements along Third Avenue’s median are underway.

Forgive me if I don’t know who created much of the artwork. All of it is very cool, however!

Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.
Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.

Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.
Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.

Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.
Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.

This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.
This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.

Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.
Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.

Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.
Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.

A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.
A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.

A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.
A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.

The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.
The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.

The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista's historic downtown.
The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista’s historic downtown.

According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista's Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.
According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista’s Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.

Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.
Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.

Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!
Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!

Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista's early history.
Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista’s early history.

I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.
I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.

Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.
Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.

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!

Gaslamp restaurants make a comeback!

Restaurants in the Gaslamp have set up outdoor patios right into Fifth Avenue.
Restaurants in the Gaslamp have set up outdoor patios right into Fifth Avenue.

Many restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter are making a slow but steady comeback during the coronavirus pandemic. When I walk up Fifth Avenue every weekend, I notice that more and more tables are out on sidewalks and the street, and that more and more diners are filling them!

San Diego’s city leaders have taken extraordinary steps to mitigate an extraordinary problem. Dining indoors is not permitted in California, because indoor settings are where most people become infected with COVID-19. So eateries around town have been given permission to move their dining rooms outdoors!

In the Gaslamp Quarter, the extended patios of restaurants go right out into Fifth Avenue. It’s a concept that is growing, and the people I’ve spoken to say diners really enjoy the unique experience!

Gaslamp Quarter banners show workers at eateries pledging to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gaslamp Quarter banners show workers at eateries pledging to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

El Chingon always seems a popular destination in the Gaslamp.
El Chingon always seems a popular destination in the Gaslamp.

Outdoor tables throughout the Gaslamp were filling up this Saturday mid-afternoon.
Outdoor tables throughout the Gaslamp were filling up this Saturday mid-afternoon.

Sevilla was just beginning to set up their outdoor patio as I walked by.
Cafe Sevilla was just beginning to set up their outdoor patio as I walked by in the mid-afternoon.

The hostess at The Butcher's Cut Steakhouse greeted me with smiling eyes. I had already gotten some takeout for dinner down the street.
The hostess at The Butcher’s Cut Steakhouse greeted me with smiling eyes. I had already gotten some takeout for dinner down the street.

Diners enjoy the unique outdoor ambiance of the historic heart of San Diego!
Diners enjoy the unique outdoor ambiance of the historic heart of 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!

Colorful mural celebrates El Cajon Boulevard.

Gaze up toward the east side of a tall building in City Heights and you’ll see a colorful mural that celebrates El Cajon Boulevard. The building is home to the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.

In the late 19th century, long before San Diego became a thriving metropolis, El Cajon Avenue was a dirt road into East County that eventually developed a small business district. In 1937 the road was improved and renamed El Cajon Boulevard.

Old U.S. Highway 80 ran east from San Diego where much of El Cajon Boulevard is today–all the way to the East Coast! When Interstate 8 was built, the new freeway replaced a segment of U.S. Highway 80 through La Mesa.

Today El Cajon Boulevard is a very busy east-west route through many of San Diego’s oldest and most diverse neighborhoods. Generations of San Diegans have traveled along The Boulevard.

Every block echoes with history.

Eventually I’ll blog about the grand Lafayette Hotel, where Hollywood celebrities once flocked, and where Bob Hope was the first guest. Or the original Jack in the Box where modern drive-thru fast food service was invented. Or the nearly century-old Chicken Pie Shop, where legendary boxer Archie Moore, longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion, liked to hang out. Or…

Mural in City Heights depicts vintage cars heading down El Cajon Boulevard.
Mural in City Heights depicts vintage cars heading down El Cajon Boulevard.

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!

Friday in the Gaslamp during the pandemic.

The Gaslamp Quarter early this evening appeared almost like a ghost town. Partly boarded up. Mostly lifeless. Very unlike Fridays before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, huge crowds of people would fill the streets on a late Friday or weekend. The restaurants, bars and nightclubs would be packed. But those good times and that party atmosphere have suddenly ended.

I took photos early this evening around 6 pm as I walked up Fifth Avenue through the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

The mermaid and those hopeful, thankful messages you see in two upcoming photographs were in front of the Starbucks at the Hard Rock Hotel. They are one of the few places that are open. A nice lady came out, hoping for business. I promised her I’d let my readers know that Starbucks is open. But you must wear a mask.

A few restaurants up and down Fifth Avenue were offering take out, but I saw virtually no business. Almost no people were about, even as California and San Diego slowly lift the pandemic lockdowns and allow businesses to reopen under certain conditions.

I wonder how many of these establishments will survive.

Before the pandemic, many of the businesses in the Gaslamp had a tough enough time of it. Between the many homeless who drive potential customers away, and the sky high rents, I’ve been told it can be difficult to keep doors open. In recent years I’ve seen storefronts constantly change, and FOR LEASE signs on some buildings that never go away.

There have been ambitious plans to create an upscale, world-class pedestrian Gaslamp Promenade along Fifth Avenue. But I wonder. A virus seems to have other plans. Economic disruption continues. The future is in doubt.

It seems there’s a chance the Gaslamp Quarter might return to what it was decades ago. An area of downtown in slow decay. Or consider this harsh possibility: might the Gaslamp once again become San Diego’s seedy “Stingaree” red-light district, as it was a century ago?

Large signs up and down the streets contain hopeful messages, such as Stay Strong and Things Will Be Okay.

As a downtown resident, I do hope the Gaslamp comes out of this crisis okay.

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!

Handmade face masks for sale downtown!

If you need face coverings during the present coronavirus pandemic, today I discovered that handmade face masks are for sale downtown! They are being produced at Sante’s Tailoring located at 1150 7th Avenue, #1.

As I walked up Seventh Avenue, I saw a table covered with all sorts of colorful face coverings for sale, and met Luzney, who works in another of the building’s suites. Luzney’s Flowers and Gifts at 1150 7th Avenue, #2 has seen a sharp downturn in flower sales, as hotels are empty and weddings are put off during the COVID-19 crisis, so she’s helping to sew these cloth masks, too!

I learned from Luzney that the cotton, washable face masks will be for sale at this location Mondays through Fridays, from 9 am to 2 pm. If you live or work downtown, or just need some cool face masks once the countywide May 1 public face covering rules come into effect, either swing on by, or you can call their phone at 619-231-9898.

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!