Live organ concerts return to Balboa Park!

Hooray! Live organ concerts are returning to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park! The free Sunday concerts at two o’clock resume this weekend!

The COVID-19 pandemic made public gatherings of this sort out of the question for a very, very long time. Weekly concerts, performed on the Spreckels Organ by world-renowned San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez, could only be heard online.

But that horrible episode is over, and one of my very favorite activities is back!

Be sure to mark Sunday at 2:00 pm on your calendar. I just did!

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 of Mother’s Day in Balboa Park!

If there’s one place in San Diego that seems to be made for Mother’s Day, it’s Balboa Park.

I took these photographs today during my usual Sunday amble through the park.

Spring flowers were everywhere. The warm air seemed to shimmer with music.

Out enjoying their special day were many Moms with loved ones.

Smiles were plentiful.

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 morning walk downtown on Mother’s Day.

This morning I took a quiet walk around downtown San Diego.

As I got started, it seemed an ordinary Sunday morning. A bit of May gray . . . very light traffic . . . city dwellers gathering on sidewalks for coffee . . . families lining up for a special weekend treat at the Donut Bar . . .

Passing through the Gaslamp Quarter, I saw that many friends and families were already enjoying a Mother’s Day breakfast at outdoor tables. Others were perusing Gaslamp Artisan Market booths along Fifth Avenue.

During my modest journey, I paused to aim my camera at the old Hard Rock Cafe’s fading mural, a forlorn Saturday night drink, and a mysterious fire escape.

Then I noticed a colorful little pop-up flower cart with a smiling person beside it!

Mother’s Day flowers!

To all the Moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

To those with loving Moms, cherish them.

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!

Making new memories in Balboa Park.

Another easy Sunday in Balboa Park. Creating new memories. Remembering good times.

Another sunny day with more ice cream, more music, more people laughing and smiling.

I recognized some people in the park I hadn’t seen in years. I saw Fast Heart Mart playing his banjo. I saw Brandon riding his big-wheeled penny-farthing.

I observed how memories are now being made in the new Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park’s Palisades area, where tables welcome families and roller skating has become popular.

Every visit to Balboa Park is unique.

And to think another Spring will soon be here!

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!

Valentine’s Day love in Balboa Park!

Love could be seen everywhere in Balboa Park today!

On signs, on banners, on balloons, on surprising canvases, even on hands! But mostly on the faces of those passing through the park on a sunny Sunday in February.

Perhaps that’s because today is Valentine’s Day…

Many vendors set up in the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain had love-themed crafts and goodies for sale.
Two love birds on a banner, beside the Balboa Park Visitors Center front door.
A heart-shaped balloon in colorful Spanish Village.
Artist Susan Mae Hull of Studio 23 was creating beautiful Valentine’s Day cards in Spanish Village Art Center. I noticed her delicately brushed images include animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
A henna tattoo artist on El Prado could put your heart on your hand. (Or maybe you can wear your heart on your sleeve.)
Artist Jean Pierre made all sorts of colorful hearts and had them for sale near the International Cottages.
One of Jean Pierre’s many bright hearts.
Love balloons could be found everywhere!

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!

Between winter storms in Balboa Park.

Late this morning I walked through Balboa Park before another storm hits this evening. We’re between winter storms.

It was very quiet. When I departed shortly after noon, a few more people were trickling into the park, but it’s winter, rain’s coming, and we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I did buy some snacks at the Japanese Friendship Garden and San Diego Air and Space Museum gift shops which were open. The museums are suffering during the pandemic like almost everyone else. They appreciate whatever help they can get.

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!

Big surf at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

A sunny, very warm winter Sunday.

Big surf.

High tide.

A perfect combination for some dramatic photographs at the La Jolla Tide Pools!

Many others had gathered at viewpoints above the tidepools and at Cuvier Park to watch distant surfers catch some amazing waves, and to gasp as huge geysers of foaming water crashed against the offshore rocks and rugged sandstone cliffs!

La Jolla is indeed one of the most beautiful places anywhere.

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!

Making music one Sunday in Balboa Park.

As I walked about Balboa Park this Sunday afternoon, it seemed a lot of people were outdoors making music. Not just the usual street performers.

I heard a flute playing beyond some trees. I heard mysterious bagpipes somewhere in the distance.

When I arrived at the courtyard of the Casa del Prado, some socially distanced musicians were spread about engaged in what appeared to be a jam session. I don’t know. All I can say is their fine music lifted the spirits of those passing by.

Walking through the park today was a sort of living impromptu concert, performed by many musicians.

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!

Balboa Park’s new Palisades plaza gets ready.

The new pedestrian plaza in Balboa Park’s South Palisades area is almost ready!

I noticed during my walk today that tables and colorful umbrellas have been placed around the new plaza’s perimeter. Remove that yellow tape, exchange sunshine for a drizzly afternoon, and I bet life immediately flows in.

The nearby San Diego Automotive Museum is also looking great with a fresh coat of paint!

We’re nearing Thanksgiving, a time for gathering. Unfortunately with the coming of cooler weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening in many parts of the world. Because of the growing rate of infection in San Diego, it seems likely most of Balboa Park’s museums will be forced to close again.

On this overcast, rainy November day, very few people were about. But a day will come when smiling crowds gather again in one of the world’s most amazing city parks. And it will be more beautiful than ever.

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 walk through Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.

Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.
Looking toward the Escondido Civic Center from the north end of Maple Street Plaza.

After my weekend visit to the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, I walked south to check out Maple Street Plaza. This “festival plaza” joins the area around the Escondido Civic Center to the historic old business district along Grand Avenue.

On a Sunday afternoon the place was surprisingly empty. When I reached the plaza’s south end, I noticed that Grand Avenue, which appeared to have many vacant old storefronts, was similarly quiet.

Maple Street Plaza, built in 2012, struck me as a very handsome place, but in need of more life. There are beautiful benches, tables and seats, trees and an interactive fountain, which was off. If I had wanted to purchase a sandwich or ice cream or cup of coffee to enjoy in the plaza, I didn’t see any obvious place nearby where I might go. Perhaps I missed something.

Set in the paver blocks at my feet I discovered interesting brief descriptions of Escondido and its history.

A beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.
A very beautiful blue mosaic tile bench curls like a river of water in Maple Street Plaza.

Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.
Another look at the sculpture that serves as a bench. You can see a fountain (that was off) beyond it, and the oak tree at the center of the plaza in the distance.

A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944...
A 100 foot flagpole was in the middle of the street at Grand and Broadway from 1927-1944…

Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.
Excerpt from 1887 article in Escondido Times extols the virtues of the Vale of Valleys.

Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows to San Elijo Lagoon.
Escondido Creek begins above Lake Wohlford and flows more than 26 miles to San Elijo Lagoon.

Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.
Escondido was established as a dry town even though vineyards were plentiful.

More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.
More attractive places to sit in Maple Street Plaza.

A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, quiet Sunday.
A fine setting in Escondido on a sunny, very quiet Sunday.

Escondido is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.
Escondido, which means “hidden” in Spanish, is often referred to as the Hidden Valley.

Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.
Standing by an oak tree at the center of Maple Street Plaza looking north.

One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat.
One of two interesting tables I spotted near the south end of the plaza. A cool abstract design unites the tabletop and seat. (The other nearby table was occupied by someone who appeared to be homeless.)

Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.
Sidewalks were installed on Grand Avenue in 1905 and the street was paved in 1912.

A bench at the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.
A bench near the south end of Maple Street Plaza on Grand Avenue.

Plaque on the bench indicates it's For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.
Plaque on the bench indicates it’s For the Citizens of Escondido. Escondido East Rotary.

Landmark sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in Escondido.
A welcoming gateway sign arches above the south end of Maple Street Plaza in downtown Escondido.

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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