Almost autumn beauty by the river.

It’s almost autumn. Tomorrow we’ll experience the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. And the weather feels a bit like it.

I rose early this morning and found myself walking by the San Diego River in Mission Valley, enjoying the cool air. I moved slowly along the river wondering when the sun might break through the gray clouds. Maybe later in the morning.

Even though the very gradually yellowing leaves and gray, wrinkled trunks of nearby cottonwood trees seemed dull under the overcast, in places I found patches of unexpected light. Here and there new green was pushing through. I even found tiny flowers.

Nature in every season is beautiful.

It’s right there in front of you.

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!

Life returns to Balboa Park one strange summer.

It’s late summer. It has been a very strange year.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives. But even though we still wear face masks and keep our social distance, there’s a sense in Balboa Park that a more normal life is slowly returning.

Earlier in the spring and summer the park was eerily quiet. But in the past week I’ve noticed growing numbers of visitors. There seems to be a desire to recover a small part of a disrupted summer.

Some of the museums have reopened. Vendors and street performers along El Prado are back. Picnics on the grass have become numerous. People are once again posing for pictures by the lily pond.

The sunshine and beautiful flowers never went away.

I took these photographs during walks through Balboa Park yesterday and on Labor Day.

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 September 2015.

Five years ago in September a whole lot of activity could be found in San Diego. No coronavirus pandemic back then! I must’ve been really busy walking around the city, checking out cool events, because I posted lots of photographs!

Following are links to a variety of interesting blog posts from five years ago.

As you can see, there was a US Sand Sculpting Challenge and Festival of Sail the Labor Day weekend of 2015. And there were other great events that September, including Fiestas Patrias in Old Town, the Trolley Dances, and the Pacific Islander Festival. On top of that, a unique new city park had just opened in East Village and a huge fantastic mural had been painted downtown…

Click the following links for lots of fun photos!

Team USA Olympics sand sculpture in San Diego!

Museum exhibit brings Coney Island to San Diego!

Beautiful tall ships visit San Diego for Festival of Sail!

Listen to the Earth whisper at Fault Line Park!

Photos of Fiestas Patrias in Old Town San Diego.

Photos of Coastal Cleanup Day in Ocean Beach!

Get out of jail free at old police headquarters!

Fun photos of Trolley Dances in water fountain!

Smiles, life and culture at Pacific Islander Festival!

Cool new parking garage mural in downtown San Diego!

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.

A foggy Labor Day morning by the water.

After two days of sweltering heat in downtown San Diego, early this morning it was nice and cool. Fog had rolled in from the Pacific Ocean overnight. Perfect for a long Labor Day morning walk!

I set out very early while most of the city was asleep. Once the sun had risen and there was sufficient light for photographs, I took out my camera. The fog lingered throughout my walk. The sun was just breaking through as I arrived home mid-morning.

These photos begin at the G Street Pier, where several fishermen were already up and getting ready for another day out on the wide ocean. I proceeded around Tuna Harbor, through Ruocco Park and Seaport Village, did a loop through Embarcadero Marina Park North, continued past the Marriott Marina, and ended up near the fishing pier at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

I haven’t captioned these photos. I like how the fog provides a sense of mystery. But you might notice the San Diego Symphony’s new outdoor summer concert venue, The Shell, appears to be almost complete.

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!

Photos from past US Sand Sculpting Challenges!

The annual US Sand Sculpting Challenge was cancelled this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. The world-class event takes place each Labor Day weekend and draws huge crowds to San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Having gone to this mind-blowing international competition for the past six years, I’ve accumulated lots of cool photos! The world’s top sand masters can produce absolutely astonishing works of art!

To recall past wonders from this event, I’ve linked to blog posts containing hundreds of photographs. Before you check those out, however, in no particular order, here are some of the sand sculptures I’ve particularly enjoyed!

The following links provide six years of photographs from the US Sand Sculpting Challenge…

2014

Photos of world-class sand sculptors at work!

2015

Photos of amazing, incredible sand sculptures!

2016

The most amazing sand sculptures in the world!

2017

World’s top sand sculptors create fantastic art!

2018

Masterpieces by World Master sand sculptors!

2019

Amazing art at U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

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!

UCSD: a walk back in time, and into the future.

Carved likeness of a famous naturalist at UC San Diego's John Muir College. The college motto is Celebrating the Independent Spirit.
Carved likeness of a famous naturalist at UCSD’s John Muir College. The college motto is Celebrating the Independent Spirit.

I was a student at UC San Diego’s John Muir College in the early 1980’s. Every so often I’ll walk through the campus and try to recrystallize those memories. But the older I get, the hazier those memories become.

My walk through UCSD yesterday did make it clear how, after nearly four decades, everything about the university has changed. The explosion of growth is ongoing. New buildings are everywhere. Muir College–once one of UCSD’s most esteemed pillars along with the original Revelle College–is now just a small part of a sprawling university that’s considered one of the best in the entire world.

It’s summer. Almost nobody could be seen as I walked around. That is, until I reached the north edge of John Muir College. Construction workers were busy.

The two enormous parking lots that I remember between Muir and Marshall Colleges are being transformed into what’s called the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood. And I learned from a friendly worker that the two new dormitory buildings near North Torrey Pines Road will be finished in a couple of weeks! Other impressive buildings, which include new academic centers—one for Social Sciences and one for Arts and Humanities–will be completed in a month or two!

The new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood is to become the home of Sixth College.

Six colleges now?

Time marches on.

Campus sign details the legacy of famous naturalist, environmentalist, explorer, and nature writer John Muir, advocate for America's national park system and one of the founders of the Sierra Club.
Campus sign details the legacy of famous naturalist, environmentalist, explorer, and nature writer John Muir, advocate for America’s national park system and one of the founders of the Sierra Club.
A grove of tall eucalyptus trees near the center of John Muir College, where there's an emphasis on individual study.
A grove of tall eucalyptus trees near the center of John Muir College, where there’s an emphasis on individual study.
McGill Hall behind trees of an outdoor common area.
McGill Hall behind trees of an outdoor common area.
It's summer. School's out. And there's the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, too.
It’s summer. School’s out. And there’s the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation, too.
A John Muir quote on a banner. How fiercely, devoutly wild is Nature in the midst of her beauty-loving tenderness.
A John Muir quote on a banner. How fiercely, devoutly wild is Nature in the midst of her beauty-loving tenderness.
To the north of John Muir College, multiple large buildings will be finished in the near future.
To the north of John Muir College, multiple large buildings will be finished in the near future.
Banner on fence shows rendering of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.
Banner on fence shows rendering of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.
Part of UCSD's large expansion near North Torrey Pines Road.
Part of UCSD’s large expansion near North Torrey Pines Road.
A student dorm building that will be finished in a matter of two weeks. Time marches forward.
A student dormitory building that will be finished in two weeks.

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!

Watching a coronavirus game at Petco Park.

During this shortened coronavirus pandemic baseball season, is it possible to actually watch a Padres game at Petco Park? Assuming you aren’t positioned in one of the nearby high-rise buildings? Well, sort of…

Today after work I headed to Petco Park, knowing a Padres afternoon game would be in progress. I was curious to see whether anything interesting was going on at the ballpark–if there was anything to see at all. The Padres and other Major League Baseball teams have taken many steps to protect the public and their staff from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

I did see the Arizona Diamondbacks buses parked outside. I did hear the distant announcer vaguely calling plays, music playing between at-bats and innings, and recorded cheering.

When I walked around to Social Tap and the nearby entrance of Gallagher Square (which used to be called Park at the Park), I noticed some fans were hanging out behind the fence bordering the kids’ small ball field.

I joined them.

We could see the video screen that faces Gallagher Square, and one of Petco Park’s faraway scoreboards. We could clearly hear the game–as one would hear it on television, without the play-by-play or commentary. Through a teeny tiny gap in the fence it was possible to see the tops of the heads of visiting bullpen pitchers, the pitcher’s mound and a little tiny bit of the home dugout. But you really couldn’t tell what was going on.

What was fun was the idea that I was actually at the ballpark, with a few other devoted fans!

I happened to walk up as the Padres were trailing the Diamondbacks 1-2. Right after I arrived, a huge rally began and the Padres were soon leading 6-2. Everyone cheered.

Even though nobody heard the few of us.

The Pads won!

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 few photos from the Hospitality Point jetty.

One last blog post from my Mission Bay adventure yesterday!

Loving the fresh air, I walked out onto the narrow jetty at Hospitality Point. To my left, beyond the San Diego River, I saw families and their playful dogs at Ocean Beach. To the right, I saw sailboats navigating out of the Mission Bay channel toward the Pacific Ocean. A couple was paddling kayaks nearby. Several guys were fishing from the rocks. Bicyclists also headed down the jetty.

I didn’t notice until I’d taken many photographs that the inside of my camera’s lens had fogged up! But I did capture some decent images. Hopefully you get an idea of what it’s like to walk out on the jetty on a summer Sunday afternoon.

A bright watery world stretches all around you.

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!

Walking along the beaches of Vacation Isle.

Yesterday I walked along the beaches of Vacation Isle, which is an island located at the center of enormous Mission Bay.

Many people were out enjoying the sunshine on a summer Sunday. They sat on the sand or nearby grass talking, eating, enjoying life. All sorts of boats were in the water, including kayaks, sailboats and personal watercraft.

Vacation Isle is a kind of paradise, as you can see in my photographs.

I just walked along, taking it all in.

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!

Walking part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway.

View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

In my last blog post, I shared some photos that I took during yesterday’s walk along part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway. Those surprisingly artistic images were from the path beneath Interstate 5.

Now I’ll share additional photographs from my walk.

I began at the trailhead at the south end of Hoover Avenue. Once I reached the Sweetwater Bikeway, I headed west along the river, with a short detour to check out the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

If you recognize Paradise Marsh and those overgrown old railroad tracks, that might be because a couple years ago I posted photos of them a little farther north here.

I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
Now I'm walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Now I’m walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That's Pier 32 Marina on the right.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That’s an old train bridge. That’s the Pier 32 Marina beyond it on the right.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Sign at intersection of Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I’m back by the water’s edge. A sign at the intersection of the Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
Biking west along the river channel.
Biking west along the river channel.
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out today!
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out for the weekend!
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

At this point the Sweetwater Bikeway turns away from the river and starts around the Pier 32 Marina.

That’s all for now!

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!