Cool urban art on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach.

Cool art on a music store window on Garnet Avenue.
Cool art on a music store window on Garnet Avenue.

Yesterday I went for a very long walk through Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, two extremely popular beach destinations just a few miles north of downtown San Diego.

I began by walking west along Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, from around Ingraham Street all the way to the beautiful and historic Crystal Pier. This stretch contains more bars, tattoo parlors, smoke shops and swimwear stores than just about anywhere else in Southern California. It’s a young, hip, beachy sort of place, that’s mostly laid back and unpretentious. You’ll see bikinis and skateboarders and tourists and families and surfboards atop cars and under arms just about everywhere you go.

You’ll also see a lot of very cool urban art: on walls, on windows, on rooftops, in alleys…all over the place! Here are some random pics I took as I walked westward in the sunshine…

Aloha Spirit mural on side of Pacific Beach building.
Aloha Spirit mural on side of Pacific Beach building.
Surfers are a major theme in this popular beach city.
Surfers and the ocean are major themes in this popular beach community.
Mural shows lifeguard climbing a tower among palms.
Mural shows lifeguard climbing a tower among palms.
Street art between two buildings on Garnet Avenue.
Funky street art between two buildings on Garnet Avenue.
Pacific Beach public art features a large seagull.
Pacific Beach public art features a large seagull.
Street art in an alley behind a tattoo parlor.
Street art in an alley behind a tattoo parlor.
Hubcaps and tiles add flavor to a colorful local eatery.
Hubcaps and tiles add flavor to a colorful local eatery.
Another tattoo parlor embellished with urban art.
Another tattoo parlor embellished with bold swirls of urban art.
Photo mural on one wall shows old Crystal Pier and Garnet Avenue.
Photo mural on a wall shows old Crystal Pier at west end of Garnet Avenue.
Sunny Pacific Beach has a sunny utility box.
Sunny Pacific Beach has a sunny utility box.
Images of surfers and beach scenes are everywhere.
Images of surfers and beach scenes are everywhere.

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Horrible monsters seen in downtown San Diego.

Funny monster faces on utility box by Pokez.
Funny monster faces on a utility box by Pokez.

Yikes! Horrible monsters are on the loose in downtown San Diego, just outside the Pokez eatery! Stay clear! You’ve been warned!

Creature with four eyeballs and crooked teeth.
Creature with four eyeballs and crooked teeth.
Cool purple monsters often have green drool.
Cool purple monsters often have green drool.
Looks scarier than that Alien creature.
Looks scarier than that Alien creature.
Crazy street art on a downtown utility box.
Crazy street art on a downtown utility box.
Pink monster with messed up green eyes.
Pink monster with messed up green eyes.

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Bibbey’s crazy, cool pop culture mural!

Bibbey's mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.
Bibbey’s mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.

Bibbey’s gift shop, which sells sea shells, rocks and other great stuff, is located across the street from the Imperial Beach pier. It’s hard to miss. The building is one big crazy mural! Check out the wild creativity which blends images from television, movies and the popular culture.

Cosmic ocean imagery in an Imperial Beach mural.
Cosmic ocean fantasy and an Imperial Beach mural.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
A mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
A sexy mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Someone enters Bibbey's gift shop.
Someone enters Bibbey’s gift shop.
Another great section of Bibbey's crazy mural.
Another great section of Bibbey’s crazy mural.
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!

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Lots of street art at SILO in Makers Quarter.

SILO in Makers Quarter is a cool venue in East Village.
SILO in Makers Quarter is a cool venue in East Village.

People entering downtown San Diego from Highway 94 might glimpse on their left what appears to be a large dirt lot full of odd items and graffiti. At first glance, I figured it was just a junky, neglected old vacant lot. Upon closer inspection, however, I realized the place was something completely unexpected, and pretty cool!

A large black silo rises near the center of the lot, hence the name of this interesting events venue: SILO in Makers Quarter. Beer festivals, bazaars, film festivals…these and other events are staged here in this neglected portion of East Village. According to the Makers Quarter website: SILO in Makers Quarter will be the launch pad to encourage the early adopters in San Diego to embrace the neighborhood and bring about positive change. SILO in Makers Quarter is being established as a year round event venue to bring collaborative community and creative culture to East Village.

I took these photos through a surrounding fence. Very cool!

A black silo rises behind a smile!
A black silo rises behind a smile!
Painted on a building wall: You are important.
Painted on a building wall: You are important.
Fun events are held in this unusual urban space.
Fun events are held in this unusual urban space.
Large eye peers from behind chain link fence.
Large eye peers from behind chain link fence.
Lots of fantastic street art at SILO in East Village.
Lots of fantastic street art at SILO in East Village.
Another example of colorful street art.
Another example of colorful street art.
Makers Quarter's goal is to attract energy to part of the city.
Makers Quarter’s goal is to attract energy to part of the city.
Bold graphics seen from the nearby sidewalk.
Bold graphics seen from the nearby sidewalk.
Photo taken through fence of twisted sculptures.
Photo taken through fence of twisted sculptures.
Bales of hay, funky images create a party atmosphere.
Bales of hay, funky images create a party atmosphere.
SILO in Makers Quarter on 15th Street in East Village.
SILO in Makers Quarter on 15th Street in East Village.

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Balboa Park’s vibrant WorldBeat Cultural Center.

Ancient Egypt inspires much of the vibrant mural.
Ancient Egypt and its symbols inspire much of the vibrant mural.

Folks heading up Park Boulevard beside Balboa Park often turn their heads as they pass the amazing, enormous mural painted on the side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.

The WorldBeat Cultural Center, based in a former water tower, is a multi-cultural arts organization that promotes and preserves the African and indigenous cultures of the world through music, art, dance, education and technology. The center is also used as a venue for concerts and other special events.

Last Saturday I walked around the structure and took some pics of the huge, colorful mural. It completely spans the outside wall of the cylindrical building.

Front entrance of the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Front entrance of the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
The WorldBeat Cultural Center is based in an old water tower.
The WorldBeat Cultural Center is based in an old water tower.
A variety of bold faces gaze in every direction from the mural.
A variety of bold faces gaze in every direction from the mural.
Fantastic images catch the eye of people passing on Park Boulevard.
Fantastic images catch the eye of people passing on Park Boulevard.
The north side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
Egyptian figures painted on the north side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
The back door looks like a magical entrance to another realm.
The back door looks like a magical entrance to another realm.
Exotic falcon with spread wings.
Exotic falcon with spread wings.
Diverse cultures from around the world are celebrated.
Diverse cultures from around the world are celebrated.
Image in mural similar to Tutankhamun's mummy mask.
Image in mural similar to the Mask of Tutankhamun.

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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Three utility boxes on Bankers Hill.

Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.

Here are three colorful utility boxes along Laurel Street on Bankers Hill. I really like the message on the first one.

Exotic face on a utility box on Bankers Hill.
Exotic face on a utility box on Bankers Hill.
Koi and pond flowers adorn a colorful utility box.
Koi and pond flowers adorn a colorful utility box.

Stylish street art in a dark, unexpected place.

Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.
Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.

I was surprised to discover this polished bit of street art in a place where few venture in Mission Valley:  in the darkness under Highway 163, along Camino de la Reina, among graffiti and windblown litter.  Joggers and the homeless pass through here, but not very often.  Who was the artist?  Why did they paint a stylish image in this location?  It’s a mystery!

UPDATE!!!

This morning, February 5th, exactly one day after the first photo was taken, I walked to work again and the street art and graffiti were painted over! I don’t know if this is pure coincidence, or the result of my blog yesterday…

The street art has been painted over!
The street art has been painted over!