Optical magic at the Bay Overlook.

I took a few photos today at Tuna Harbor Park’s popular Bay Overlook. The sun had fallen low. Sunset colors were rising.

Glass, water, clouds and sunlight created optical magic.

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!

More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good photographs.

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? Please visit my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Walking around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.
The beautiful Old Point Loma Lighthouse and the nearby Assistant Keepers Quarters building at Cabrillo National Monument.

I’ve visited Cabrillo National Monument many times over the years. I’ve blogged about it on several occasions. It’s one of the most wonderful places in San Diego.

Today, September 30, is National Public Lands Day, so admission to Cabrillo National Monument was free all day.

I grabbed my camera, jumped into my car and drove this morning to the tip of the Point Loma peninsula. Once again, I wanted to enjoy some amazing views and a pleasant walk above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Most of my time was spent around the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

To see and learn more about the lighthouse, including its interior and the adjacent museum, and to enjoy other fascinating aspects of Cabrillo National Monument, please feel free to explore Cool San Diego Sights.

The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
The historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a major attraction at Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Visitor to Cabrillo National Monument looks up at the lighthouse.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Built in 1855 at the end of the Point Loma peninsula, above the entrance to San Diego Bay, the old lighthouse used to guide sailors to safety with a powerful fresnel lens.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
Walking around the old lighthouse is a wonderful experience, with amazing views in all directions.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
The cluster of trees near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse are rare Torrey pines, which are native to this region.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Walking along the cliffside trail north of the lighthouse.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
Someone sits high above the blue Pacific Ocean enjoying the cool breeze and natural beauty.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
South of the lighthouse, people walk toward the gray whale migration overlook.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument scan the watery horizon for ships and whales.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
A park ranger and volunteers were removing non-native plants among dry stalks of California sunflower and buckwheat. Invasive species can crowd out native species.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
People approach the handsome lighthouse from the south.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Photo of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the small museum beside it and the large Rain Catchment Basin.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. A very special place.
Visitors to San Diego are strongly encouraged to enjoy some time at Cabrillo National Monument. It’s a very special place, with many paths to walk.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

San Diego Convention Center stripped of sails!

Replacement of the San Diego Convention Center’s white “sails” is underway. The old fiberglass sails, dating from the time when the beautiful convention center debuted in 1989, have been removed.

Without the Sails Pavilion’s roof, which shelters the enormous 90,000 square foot exhibit space below, the glass walls, the supporting structures and crisscrossing cables combine with levels of scaffolding to form something that resembles an unusual crystal lattice. Which makes for intriguing photographs!

This afternoon I walked across the top of the San Diego Convention Center and took a close look for myself. As you can see, one can discern all sorts of unique patterns. The geometric complexity is a delight for the eye.

If you find yourself in downtown San Diego, check it out for yourself!

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 along rocks south of the OB Pier.

Walking south along the Ocean Beach boardwalk near the foot of the OB Pier, toward the old Silver Spray Apartments and Plunge.
Walking south along the Ocean Beach boardwalk near the foot of the OB Pier, toward the old Silver Spray Apartments and Plunge.

Let’s take a walk along the shore! We’re going to start at the boardwalk near the foot of the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier, pass quickly around the historic, ruin-like Plunge, then head along a rocky trail between cliffs and the crashing ocean.

We’ll see tide pools, tiny pocket beaches and amazing scenery. Many refer to this stretch as a part of San Diego’s Sunset Cliffs, even though the official Sunset Cliffs neighborhood lies farther south down the Point Loma peninsula.

Ready to go exploring? Let’s start!

People explore tide pools between the sand-filled, long-defunct Plunge and the OB Pier.
People explore tide pools between the sand-filled, long-defunct Plunge and the OB Pier.
The Plunge, often called the Sandbox, was built in 1917. Famous English Channel swimmer Florence Chadwick, who grew up in San Diego, trained here.
The saltwater Plunge, now often called the Sandbox, was built in 1917. Famous English Channel swimmer Florence Chadwick, who grew up in San Diego, trained in this historic pool.
We've passed the Plunge, which is officially part of the beach, and are now carefully traversing sandstone rocks along the base of cliffs. It can be very slippery.
We’ve passed the Plunge, which is officially part of the beach, and are now carefully traversing sandstone rocks along the base of cliffs. It can be very slippery.
Looking back north we see the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier and beach.
Looking back north we see the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier and beach.
People enjoy looking into small tide pools in the eroded sandstone. I occasionally saw some crabs.
People enjoy looking into small tide pools in the eroded sandstone. I occasionally saw some small crabs.
The easily carved sandstone is like a book containing years of names and often humorous images.
The easily carved sandstone is like a book containing years of names and often humorous images.
OB is a place for free spirits, and the rocks along the water attract many.
OB is a place for free spirits, and the rocks along the water attract many.
Looking north again. I see Pacific Beach and La Jolla in the distance.
Looking north again. I see Pacific Beach and La Jolla in the distance.
Splashing water and curious eyes.
Splashing water and curious eyes.
People peer down at us from the street level high above.
People peer down at us from the street level above.
A small group walks along the crude trail.
A small group walks along the crude trail.
A perfect day to explore nature's many wonders beside the ocean.
A perfect day to explore nature’s many wonders beside the ocean.
Someone heads toward one of the small pocket beaches tucked between rocky outcrops.
Someone heads toward one of the small pocket beaches tucked between rocky outcrops.
Standing on a tiny beach at the water's edge.
Standing on a tiny beach at the water’s edge.
The sandstone cliffs are unstable and sometimes you hear of people falling and needing rescue.
The sandstone cliffs are unstable and sometimes you hear of people accidentally falling and needing rescue.
Here comes a guy and his dog.
Here comes a guy and his dog.
As we continue to walk south, we can see the coast vanishing into the distance. The actual Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is farther down the Point Loma peninsula.
As we continue to walk south, we can see the coast vanishing into the distance. The actual Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is farther down the Point Loma peninsula.
A white sailboat out on the wide blue Pacific Ocean.
A white sailboat out on the wide blue Pacific Ocean.
In places the rocky and slippery sand footing is a bit difficult to navigate, even on the trail. Wear good shoes.
In places the rocky and slippery sand footing is a bit difficult to navigate, even on the trail. Wear good shoes!
Looking north. Spectacular scenery.
Looking north. Spectacular scenery.
More natural beauty.
More natural beauty.
The rough trail continues south. Fewer people seem to be in this section.
The rough trail continues south. Fewer people seem to be in this section.
Now we're approaching an interesting part of the walk, with a short, undulating path along a sea wall.
Now we’re approaching an interesting part of the walk, with a short, undulating path along a sea wall.
Looking back.
Looking back.
We've almost reached the end of our walk. The concrete pathway ahead has either been undermined by water, or intentionally made into a ramp for thrill seekers.
We’ve almost reached the end of our walk. The concrete pathway ahead has either been undermined by water, or intentionally made into a ramp for thrill seekers.
At the foot of old stairs that climb up to Orchard Avenue.
At the foot of old stairs that climb up to Orchard Avenue.
As we head up, someone begins down.
As we head up, someone begins down.
Two people begin their own adventure along the rocks.
Two people begin their own adventure along the rocks.
Looking back north at the short stretch we just finished.
Looking back north at the short stretch we just finished.
Someone gets exercise on the steps. At the top there is some fun artwork.
Someone gets exercise on the steps. At the top there is some fun artwork.
Sitting on a unique surfboard bench, gazing across the blue ocean.
Relaxing on a unique surfboard bench, gazing across the magical blue ocean.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Beautiful white sails on San Diego Bay.

Please enjoy these photos of beautiful sails out on San Diego Bay.

During my busy weekend I went on a harbor cruise aboard the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic Pilot boat. (Become a member of the museum and you get all sorts of complimentary tickets!)

I saw dozens of white-winged sailboats soaring across blue water.

It seemed like a dream.

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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!

I support restoring the Palisades in Balboa Park.

Some supporters of Balboa Park, including The Committee of One Hundred, would like to restore the Palisades area of the park to its former glory. I learned about this visionary effort on Labor Day while grabbing some napkins at the cafe inside the Casa de Balboa. A stack of postcards had been placed nearby. I picked one up. Here’s a photo:

Photos on a postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park's Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.
A postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park’s Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.

As you can see, in 1935, during the California Pacific International Exposition, the Palisades contained spacious lawns, flowers and benches where today you’ll find a large ugly parking lot.

Sounds familiar? For decades the Plaza de Panama on El Prado contained a similarly ugly parking lot. But after that parking lot’s removal and replacement with tables, umbrellas, potted greenery and public art, the Plaza de Panama has become a bustling hub of activity full of people enjoying the sunny San Diego outdoors, as was originally intended.

Now back to the Palisades area. After a little more research, I’ve learned The Committee of One Hundred is already working to replace the four long-lost murals that used to be above the entrance of the 1935 California State Building, which is home to the San Diego Automotive Museum. To see more about that project, check out The Committee of One Hundred’s 2017 newsletter.

Given what I’ve read and know, I must say I’m in full agreement with the idea of restoring the Palisades. The parking lot is an absolute eyesore and many of the surrounding buildings appear bare and decayed. Most people who park here don’t linger. They immediately head in the direction of El Prado.

The Palisades parking lot seems completely unnecessary. Today, without spending a penny in construction, it appears to me there’s already plenty of parking across Park Boulevard south of the Veterans Museum–that huge lower lot is usually mostly empty. Simply add signage and one or two more stops for the parking shuttle.

When San Diego Comic-Con opens their new museum in the Federal Building next year, I imagine many more visitors will be drawn into the Palisades area. It seems to me the energetic people at Comic-Con International and other museums who would greatly benefit from a revitalization of the Palisades–the San Diego Air and Space Museum in particular–could use their considerable combined influence to help speed a beautiful restoration.

And why must it be an exact restoration? Why not add more flowers, some new outdoor art, and even a lively, splashing fountain? Why not both restore history and make history? Balboa Park should be forward-looking, optimistic, alive! San Diego’s world-renowned gem could shine even more brightly! Just imagine!