Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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 paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

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!

An amazing Wyland mural cruises into San Diego!

An amazing, gigantic mural by the renowned artist Wyland cruised into San Diego this morning! The mural, titled Cruising with the Whales, is painted on the bow of the positively enormous cruise ship Norwegian Bliss, which was diverted into San Diego due to Hurricane Willa off Mexico.

Robert Wyland, who is based in Laguna Beach and Hawaii, has many works of marine art on display all about San Diego. I’ve photographed just a few of them, which can be spotted here, here and here.

A golden sunrise above downtown.

Early today I happened to be on Harbor Island just as the sun began to rise across San Diego Bay.

Downtown’s beautiful skyline slowly emerged from the night. The ascending light splashed the quiet morning with gold.

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!

Solve Who, world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

A crime scene at Solve Who titled Murder at PROstate Farm. A team of detectives gathers clues, watches video interrogations of three suspects, then deliberates to determine who the murderer is.
A crime scene at Solve Who titled Murder at PROstate Farm. A team of detectives gathers clues, watches video interrogations of three suspects, then attempts to determine who the murderer is.

A unique and very cool attraction recently opened in downtown San Diego. It’s called Solve Who!

Neither an escape room, nor murder mystery dinner theatre, Solve Who offers would-be detectives something far more immersive and realistic. Solve Who is the world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

Enter the front door of Solve Who and you suddenly become a detective investigating a detailed crime scene using your wits, a notepad and pen, and a variety of forensic tools. Groups of up to ten people operate as a team, collecting clues, watching short video interrogations of three suspects, then deliberating to determine the identity of the murderer.

Questions one might ask during the investigation include: Was the crime premeditated? Who had the motive to commit murder? Was there a break-in? Was there a struggle? What was the murder weapon? Are any fingerprints that you find with an ultraviolet light relevant? What is the meaning of a series of emails that periodically appear on one computer? Is any object at the crime scene out of place?

I was given a little bit of a preview this evening and I must say this entertainment concept is absolutely unique and brilliant! The super friendly guys behind Solve Who have worked hard to make the experience very realistic–they have even worked with law enforcement experts to ensure this fully interactive crime scene simulator is very close to authentic. With some crazy humor injected for fun!

It seems to me that Solve Who would be an ideal place for corporate team building, having a night out with friends, or for simply meeting new people. Right now they offer one scenario titled Murder at PROstate Farm, with three new, completely unique crime scenes to appear in the future. Solve Who will also offer beer and wine to participants in the near future.

Check out the Solve Who website here and perhaps make a reservation. You’ll be one of very few people in the entire world to have experienced a realistic interactive crime scene simulator!

A brief video introduction explains how each team of detectives can work together to logically deduce which suspect is guilty of murder.
A brief video introduction explains how each team of detectives can work together to logically deduce which suspect is guilty of murder.
The funny, satirical brochure of PROstate Farm. The insurance agent was murdered, and his three employees are suspects.
The funny, satirical brochure of PROstate Farm. The insurance agent was murdered, and his three employees are suspects.
Inside the mock insurance office. PROstate Farm has policies to protect the insured against icebergs, apocalypse, zombies, talking apes and much more.
Inside the mock insurance office. PROstate Farm has policies to protect the insured against icebergs, apocalypse, zombies, talking apes and much more.
Some of the tools used by participants at Solve Who include forensic lights, magnifying lenses, string for trajectory pinpointing, and more.
Tools used by participants at Solve Who include forensic lights, magnifying lenses, string for trajectory pinpointing, evidence markers, and more.
The crime scene includes many clues--a few are critically important. Deductive reasoning and acute observation are required to identify the murderer.
The crime scene includes many clues–a few are critically important. Deductive reasoning and acute observation are required to identify the murderer.
An overturned chair and a big blood stain on the carpet.
An overturned chair and a big blood stain on the carpet.
Blood splattered on the wall!
Blood splattered on the wall!
Detectives at Solve Who will watch as three suspects are interrogated. It is important to listen to words and watch body language.
Detectives at Solve Who will watch as three suspects are interrogated. It is important to listen to words and watch body language.
Solve Who is a very cool new attraction in San Diego, located at 1570 Fifth Avenue. It is the world's first interactive crime scene simulator!
Solve Who is a very cool new attraction in San Diego, located downtown at 1570 Fifth Avenue. It is the world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

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!

New art installed at InterContinental hotel.

This evening I was walking along Broadway past the new, almost completed InterContinental San Diego when I noticed a couple of guys installing artwork near the waterfront luxury hotel’s entrance.

I spoke briefly to one of the workers and learned they were following a general design that was provided to them. I’m not sure who the artist is, but I like what I see so far!

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 virtual reality tour around San Diego!

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.
Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.

During my random walk through Balboa Park today, I stumbled upon something that is unique and really fun! I wandered into the San Diego History Center and was immediately drawn to a sign at the entrance to one gallery that read: Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure.

I wasn’t looking to blog anything after my walk today, but this short VR tour around San Diego is so cool, I definitely want to share it!

After having my VR headset strapped on, I suddenly found myself transported to a wide variety of places and events around San Diego. I was standing atop the California Tower in Balboa Park, turning my head to gaze in every direction . . .

Then suddenly I was floating over Oceanside in a hot air balloon . . . standing among hockey players during a San Diego Gulls game . . . riding a helicopter along our beautiful coast . . . right up close among the dolphins at SeaWorld . . . riding the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach . . . flying above the desert in Anza Borrego State Park . . . floating on a boat among sea lions on San Diego Bay . . . and much more–all in virtual reality!

The whole experience is made possible by 4DSCI. A ticket costs just five dollars and the virtual reality tour lasts for perhaps ten minutes. If you want to experience San Diego in a whole new way, head down to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and check it out!

Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Around the corner is the VR Theater...
Around the corner is the VR Theater…
The fun kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can experience the virtual reality in every direction.
The fun, kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can easily turn and experience the virtual reality in every direction.
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the places that will surround you--as if you are there!
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the beautiful places that will surround you–as if you are there!

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!