Another sunny day in beautiful San Diego!

A spring day in San Diego that feels a whole lot like summer.
A spring day in San Diego that feels a whole lot like summer.

Many say San Diego has the best weather in the whole wide world. I can’t disagree. Most days in San Diego are comfortable and sunny.

As I walked along the Embarcadero this fine Sunday afternoon I felt like I was on summer vacation. Even though it’s still spring.

Come along with me…

Working up a sweat at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Working up a sweat at Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Dancing in some Seaport Village sunshine.
Dancing in some Seaport Village sunshine.
Bubbles and kites at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Bubbles and kites at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Pure joy.
Soaring joy.
A didgeridoo like deep magic by the water.
A didgeridoo summons deep magic by the water.
A sun smiles at Alamo Flags.
A friendly sun smiles at Alamo Flags.
Three lazy dogs in hammocks. It's not quite the dog days of summer--not yet!
Three lazy dogs in hammocks. It’s not quite the dog days of summer–not yet!
Lots of sails between blue sky and gentle San Diego Bay.
Lots of sails between blue sky and gentle San Diego Bay.
Walking by Ruocco Park. It's always a good time for ice cream!
Walking by Ruocco Park. It’s always a good time for ice cream!
Beautiful spring blossoms by the USS Midway.
Beautiful spring blossoms by the USS Midway.
Stopping for a moment on bikes at the end of Broadway Pier.
Stopping for a moment on bikes at the end of Broadway Pier.
Disney Wonder cruise ship at dock in its sunny, welcoming home port.
Disney Wonder cruise ship at dock in its happy, welcoming home port.
A smiling sun on one of the tile benches along the Embarcadero.
A smiling sun on one of the tile benches along the Embarcadero.
My goodness! A large lady bug has landed nearby!
A large ladybug has landed nearby! Fun artwork on the Embarcadero.
It must be another summerlike day in beautiful San Diego!
It must be another summerlike day in beautiful 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!

Tasty upgrades coming to the Gaslamp!

The large Reading Cinemas building on Fifth Avenue is being renovated. Once reopened, the interior will be radically altered.
The large Reading Cinemas building on Fifth Avenue is being renovated. Once reopened, the interior will be radically altered.

Early yesterday morning I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter. As usual, I was amazed at all the ongoing renovation of buildings and businesses up and down Fifth Avenue.

It isn’t unusual for restaurants and nightclubs to come and go, but several projects are in progress that will upgrade long-time San Diego destinations.

The two projects that I observed were a radical transformation of the building that used to be home to the now closed 15-screen Reading Cinemas, and an expansion and redesign of the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.

The old Reading Cinemas building is being converted into a luxury movie theater and two restaurants. The developer is part owner of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The Gaslamp’s new 8-screen Theatre Box will host film festivals, San Diego Comic-Con events, and be within steps of a tasty new Sugar Factory restaurant (which includes a candy store with superhero themes) and a Landshark Bar and Grill (part of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville food and hospitality empire).

A somewhat confined Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop down the street is being expanded and made much more roomy and inviting. When completed, it will once again welcome visitors to the Gaslamp Quarter with a tempting array of delectable, mouth-watering treats!

Fifth Avenue south of Broadway is the hub of San Diego's popular Gaslamp Quarter.
Fifth Avenue south of Broadway is the hub of San Diego’s popular Gaslamp Quarter.
Workers beautify a building that will be home to a luxury theater and two new restaurants.
Workers beautify a building that will be home to a luxury theater and two new restaurants.
One of several Gaslamp destinations undergoing renovation. Many downtown establishments strive to be attractive and upscale.
One of several Gaslamp destinations undergoing renovation. Many downtown establishments strive to be attractive and upscale.
The iconic Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop will also see various changes.
The iconic Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop will also see various changes.
Square footage is being increased and counters repositioned. The interior will be less crowded, more inviting.
Square footage is being increased and counters repositioned. The interior will be less crowded, more inviting.
A graphic on a construction fence designed to make people drool! All these Ghirardelli treats and more will be returning to the Gaslamp!
A graphic on a construction fence designed to make people drool! All these Ghirardelli treats and more will be returning to the Gaslamp!

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!

Golden hour photos in Balboa Park.

Last Friday, before joining a small group at dusk searching for bats by the lily pond, I walked around Balboa Park and captured a series of photos.

The golden hour before sunset is indeed magical.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

A discouraging visit to Harbor Island.

Early this morning I headed to Harbor Island, hoping to capture photos of the sun rising over downtown San Diego. Alas, the sky remained gray and overcast.

Even worse, I observed something that was ugly and very discouraging.

I’ve never seen gang-style graffiti on Harbor Island. Not until today.

Harbor Island, the home of large bayfront hotels, elegant restaurants and marinas, has always seemed immune from any negative influences from downtown San Diego. Growing homeless and drug problems downtown and in neighboring communities haven’t seemed to reach this tourist destination. That appears to be changing.

I seldom post photos of the street people, the drug addicts and drug dealers on stolen bicycles, and the many broken souls that now fill most corners of downtown. I try to keep my blog positive. But this extremely sad and sometimes frightening reality seems to be growing worse.

Fortunately, on my quiet morning walk along San Diego Bay, I also saw much that was beautiful and good.

And I discovered something cool! Fun photos of some colorful artwork on Harbor Island are coming up in my next blog post!

On the bright side, this friendly guy caught some fish at one of the beautiful Harbor Island marinas.
On the bright side, this friendly guy caught some fish at one of the beautiful Harbor Island marinas.
And grass is still green, and flowers still bloom.
And grass is still green, and flowers still bloom.

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!

Another funny sign at the Town and Country!

A funny sign at the Town and Country Hotel. Psychic convention canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.
A funny sign at the Town and Country Hotel reads: Psychic convention canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Every so often the Town and Country Resort Hotel and Convention Center delights passing motorists with a funny new message. Drive down Interstate 8 through Mission Valley and you might see this!

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!

Visit a world-class map museum in La Jolla!

World Map (Ptolemy), Johann Schnitzer, 1482 or 1486.
World Map (Ptolemy), Johann Schnitzer, 1482 or 1486.

I was surprised to learn recently that a world-class map museum is located in San Diego. The Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla is considered to be one of the best dedicated map museums in the entire world!

Out of curiosity, I swung by the small museum yesterday and lingered for at least an hour. I could have spent the entire day looking at the amazing collection of historical maps that fill several themed galleries.

Many of the rare maps are antique, dating from centuries ago when the world’s outlines were unknown, and sea monsters inhabited the watery margins. Every map in the collection is original and authentic, including the first map ever printed!

As I stepped through the door I was greeted by Richard, the friendly director of the museum. I learned that this free museum was founded by Michael Stone, a local businessman and collector with a love for maps. In his youth he collected baseball cards, stamps and coins, before maps and cartography became his passion. At any given time, about ten percent of his vast collection is on display. I was told that Michael is one of the top half dozen map collectors in the world.

There are antique maps showing Earth as the center of Creation, maps from the Age of Exploration, maps from the Revolutionary War, Victorian maps, tourist maps, even maps showing early San Diego. There’s a woodcut map that was created by Benjamin Franklin! There are artistic maps, humorous maps, playing card maps, practically every variety of map or atlas ever conceived by the human mind. There are also historical instruments used by the old explorers and map makers.

For history lovers, the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla is a jaw-dropping delight! Visitors might feel they’ve stepped into the vaults of the Smithsonian or National Archives. The collection is that extraordinary!

Richard wandered about the museum during my visit, greeting people and providing tidbits of fascinating information. He informed me many students come by the museum, where they can study history, cartography, design and art.

The museum contains such an abundance of cool stuff, I don’t know where to possibly begin. To provide an idea of what you will see, I offer a sampling of photos. I’ve roughly arranged these maps in chronological order. Read the captions!

In my opinion, this little-known attraction in San Diego is an absolute must see! You can find it in the lower courtyard level of the office building at 7825 Fay Avenue in La Jolla. Check out their website for hours and more info, including special exhibitions.

Visitors look at an amazing collection of historic maps at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
Visitors look at an amazing collection of historic maps at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
I was shown the museum's work room, containing a library containing many books that the public can access. A variety of projects like the scanning of historic documents is also done here.
I was shown the museum’s work room, containing a library of books that the public can access. A variety of museum projects like the scanning of maps and historical documents is also done here.

The following is a tiny sample of the many original, rare maps you’ll see when you visit the museum:

The world's first printed map of a certain date, 1472. This woodcut T-O shaped world map is from Isidorus Hispalensis (Isidore of Seville).
The world’s first printed map of a certain date, 1472. This woodcut T-O shaped world map is from Isidorus Hispalensis (Isidore of Seville).
World Map, anonymous, 1491. This map was often hung in medieval monasteries or palaces. It first appeared in the Rudimentum Novitiorum of 1475.
World Map, anonymous, 1491. This map was often hung in medieval monasteries or palaces. It first appeared in the Rudimentum Novitiorum of 1475.
World Map (Ptolemy), Martin Waldseemuller, 1513. Even after the discovery of America, Ptolemaic maps devoid of a Western Hemisphere were still printed.
World Map (Ptolemy), Martin Waldseemuller, 1513. Even after the discovery of America, Ptolemaic maps devoid of a Western Hemisphere were still printed.
North Atlantic, Jacob Ziegler, 1532. Information for this map was obtained from two Archbishops in Rome. Newfoundland is Terra Bacallaos, or land of codfish.
North Atlantic, Jacob Ziegler, 1532. Information for this map was obtained from two Archbishops in Rome. Newfoundland is Terra Bacallaos, or land of codfish.
America, Sebastian Munster, Basle, 1540. This depiction of North America came from reports by explorer Giovanni da Verrazano.
America, Sebastian Munster, Basle, 1540. This depiction of North America came from reports by explorer Giovanni da Verrazano.
Eastern North America, Girolamo Ruscelli, 1561. Little was known about the inland geography.
Eastern North America, Girolamo Ruscelli, 1561. Little was known about the inland geography.
North America, Paolo Forlani, 1565. A map that shows America and Asia separated with a strait.
North America, Paolo Forlani, 1565. A map that shows America and Asia separated with a strait.
China, Japan and Korea, Jodocus Hondius, 1606. Copperplate engraving from the Mercator Atlas.
China, Japan and Korea, Jodocus Hondius, 1606. Copperplate engraving from the Mercator Atlas.
View of Macao, Theodore de Bry, 1607. A stylized map, the first published image of Macao.
View of Macao, Theodore de Bry, 1607. A stylized map, the first published image of Macao.
The Low Countries in the Form of a Lion, Petrus Kaerius, 1617. A map of the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Low Countries in the Form of a Lion, Petrus Kaerius, 1617. A map of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Northeast North America, Jan Jansson and Nicholas Visscher, 1655.
Northeast North America, Jan Jansson and Nicholas Visscher, 1655.
Second Hemisphere with the Christianized firmament, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The twelve apostles supplanted the old zodiacal constellations in this map.
Second Hemisphere with the Christianized firmament, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The twelve apostles supplanted the old zodiacal constellations in this map.
The Sizes of the Celestial Bodies, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The heavenly bodies compared with Earth, according to Ptolemy.
The Sizes of the Celestial Bodies, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The heavenly bodies compared with Earth, according to Ptolemy.
English colonies, Richard Daniel, ca. 1679. The first printed map of the colonies depicting roads.
English colonies, Richard Daniel, ca. 1679. The first printed map of the colonies depicting roads.
California on early maps was depicted as an island.
California on early maps was depicted as an island.
Southern and Southeast Asia, Frederick de Wit, ca. 1680. A standard Dutch published map.
Southern and Southeast Asia, Frederick de Wit, ca. 1680. A standard Dutch published map.
Eastern North America, Hermann Moll, 1715. Beautiful illustration on what is commonly called the beaver map, which was copied from an earlier 1698 map by Nicolas de Fer.
Eastern North America, Hermann Moll, 1715. Beautiful illustration on what is commonly called the beaver map, which was copied from an earlier 1698 map by Nicolas de Fer.
Nova Orbis Terraquei Tabula Accuratissime Delineata, Pieter Van Der Aa, 1713. I love the extensive Latin name given to this highly ornate copper-plate engraving Dutch map!
Nova Orbis Terraquei Tabula Accuratissime Delineata, Pieter Van Der Aa, 1713. I love the extensive Latin name given to this highly ornate copper-plate engraving Dutch map!
A display case at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla includes geographic playing cards from the early 18th century.
A display case at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla includes geographic playing cards from the early 18th century.
Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Benjamin Franklin, 1733. Franklin likely cut the woodblock himself. The map shows the newly delineated boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Benjamin Franklin, 1733. Franklin likely cut the woodblock himself. The map shows the newly delineated boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Battle of Long Island, Samuel Holland, 1776. A section of a map that shows the plan of the first major battle in the American Revolution.
Battle of Long Island, Samuel Holland, 1776. A section of a map that shows the plan of the first major battle in the American Revolution.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, William Faden, 1777. Plan of the Operations of General Washington, against the King's Troops in New Jersey.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, William Faden, 1777. Plan of the Operations of General Washington, against the King’s Troops in New Jersey.
Philadelphia, William Faden, 1777. Lower half of the map includes copy of the earliest known printed image of Independence Hall.
Philadelphia, William Faden, 1777. Lower half of the map includes copy of the earliest known printed image of Independence Hall.
The Wonderground Map of London Town, MacDonald Gill, 1915. This small section shows some of the delightful retail map's humor.
The Wonderground Map of London Town, MacDonald Gill, 1915. This small section shows some of the delightful retail map’s humor.
Mission Beach, San Diego, 1915. Map of the projected development of Mission Beach.
Mission Beach, San Diego, 1915. Map of the projected development of Mission Beach.
San Diego, Joseph Jacinto Mora, 1928. Corner of a map containing historic illustrations and important places, like the pictured Union Station (now Santa Fe Depot), Horton House (where the U.S. Grant Hotel stands today), Army and Navy YMCA, and Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, which was then called Ramona's Marriage Place.
San Diego, Joseph Jacinto Mora, 1928. Corner of a map containing illustrations of local history and important places, like the pictured Union Station (now Santa Fe Depot), Horton House (where the U.S. Grant Hotel stands today), Army and Navy YMCA, and Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, which was then called Ramona’s Marriage Place.
Another section of the same map showing areas around San Diego Bay including downtown, National CIty, Coronado and Point Loma.
Another section of the same map showing areas around San Diego Bay including downtown, National City, Coronado and Point Loma.
A Map of Ceylon showing her Tea and Other Industries, MacDonald Gill, ca. 1934.
A Map of Ceylon showing her Tea and Other Industries, MacDonald Gill, ca. 1934.
Mail Steamship Routes, MacDonald Gill, 1937.
Mail Steamship Routes, MacDonald Gill, 1937.
The Time and Tide Map of the United Nations, MacDonald Gill, 1948.
The Time and Tide Map of the United Nations, MacDonald Gill, 1948.
Southern California, Roads To Romance, a tourist map ca. 1958.
Southern California, Roads To Romance, a tourist map ca. 1958.
Thomas Jeffery's brass theodolite, part of the museum's collection. Jeffery was geographer to King George III. The antique theodolite is pictured in the book The Cartographical Collection of Michael R. Stone.
Thomas Jefferys’ brass theodolite, part of the museum’s collection. Jefferys was geographer to King George III. The antique theodolite is pictured in the extraordinary book The Cartographical Collection of Michael R. Stone.
The Location of the Earth, Encircled by the Celestial Circles, Andreas Cellarius, 1660.
The Location of the Earth, Encircled by the Celestial Circles, Andreas Cellarius, 1660.

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!

Fun sights you can discover in San Diego!

How time flies! Cool San Diego Sights is almost five years old!

You might not realize it, but Cool San Diego Sights now has hundreds of unique blog posts, and thousands upon thousands of fun photos that you can explore!

One easy way to revisit old blog posts that share a particular theme or subject is to click a tag. You might be surprised by all the diverse, unexpected things you’ll discover!

Some of Cool San Diego Sight’s more interesting tags include: history, public art, nature, eventsarchitecture, Balboa Park, Gaslamp, Old Town, beaches, Comic-Con, street art and museums.

Click one that interests you!

As you explore my blog, you might notice there’s a whole universe of tags. You can find a handful of pertinent ones located at the bottom of each post. If you’re interested in a particular San Diego neighborhood, those tags exist, too!

There’s also a handy search box that you can use. Look for it in the sidebar.

Make exciting discoveries and have fun with me as I explore San Diego! I’m going somewhere fascinating this Saturday that very few people know about!

If you’d like, you can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!