Another sunny day at the Hotel Del Coronado.

view of hotel del coronado on a sunny day

The Hotel Del Coronado is one of my favorite places for a stroll. The beautiful architecture, the white sandy beach, the rich history, the sunshine and leisurely vibe, all combine for a wonderful experience.

The Del’s unique appearance makes it an unmistakeable landmark in San Diego. It’s a classic Victorian beach resort, and one of the largest wooden structures in California. In 1888, when it opened, it was the largest resort hotel in the world!

Today, the spacious beach that it overlooks is routinely considered a top beach in the United States.

Sixteen different American presidents have been guests at the Del, as well as numerous celebrities. These include royalty from many nations, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth, and loads of Hollywood movie stars: Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Vincent Price, James Stewart, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, to name just a few.

L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, did much of his writing at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Numerous movies have been filmed at the hotel, most notably Some Like It Hot, which starred Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.

Many photos and signs throughout the amazing hotel remind visitors of its rich past history!

Walkway winds past elegant cottages north of the Del.
Walkway winds past elegant cottages north of the Del.
People enjoy the grassy area in front of the famous beach resort.
People enjoy the grassy area in front of the famous beach resort.
Just relaxing and talking near the beach.
Just relaxing and talking near the beach.
Pushing strollers past some outdoor dining.
Pushing strollers past some outdoor dining.
This herb garden is used for the hotel restaurant.
This herb garden is used for the hotel restaurant.
The immense hotel has all sort of angles and contours.
The immense hotel has all sort of angles and contours.
Chandeliers in Crown Room were designed by Wizard of Oz author.
Chandeliers in the famous Crown Room were designed by Wizard of Oz author.
An interesting study in complex architecture.
An interesting study in complex architecture.
Clock stands on sidewalk among palm trees in front of hotel.
Old clock stands on sidewalk among palm trees in front of hotel.
The iconic Hotel del Coronado is unbelievably gorgeous.
The iconic Hotel del Coronado is unbelievably gorgeous.

Here are three more pics that I took on a somewhat more cloudy day!

View of Hotel del Coronado near the front entrance.
View of Hotel del Coronado near the front entrance.
The Hotel del Coronado is a California historical landmark.
The Hotel del Coronado is a California registered historical landmark.
During the summer facilities are set up for guests on the beach!
During the summer facilities are set up for guests right on the beach!

Cruise ships dock beside colorful public art.

cruise ships and murals on san diego bay

Here’s a photograph showing several of the murals on the north side of the cruise ship terminal, in downtown San Diego. These colorful new murals show cruise ships, marine life and other sea-related imagery. Last weekend two large ships were visiting, one docked on either side of the terminal. I believe it’s that time of the year when many ships visit San Diego as they transition from summer Alaska cruises and head down the coast to Mexico or the Panama Canal on their way to the Caribbean.

Here are some cruise ship pics taken on a later date:

Costa Deliziosa docked in San Diego.
Costa Deliziosa docked in San Diego.
Cruise ship Arcadia rises beyond tourists and pedicab.
Cruise ship Arcadia rises beyond tourists and pedicab.

More assorted pics of public art at the cruise ship terminal:

One of several promotional signs on the parking lot side of the terminal.
One of several promotional signs on the parking lot side of terminal.
Cruise San Diego! It's a beautiful place!
Tourists are encouraged to cruise San Diego!
Clock on street side of San Diego cruise ship terminal.
Clock on street side of cruise ship terminal resembles ship’s wheel.
These four sculptures were part of past Urban Tree exhibitions on the Embarcadero.
These sculptures were part of past Urban Trees exhibitions on the Embarcadero.

Colorful market on a corner in Old Town.

The Old Town Market is one very popular destination.
The Old Town Market is one very popular destination.

Little shops selling all sorts of colorful souvenirs, curios and crafts can be found everywhere in Old Town, both in the State Park and in the touristy area just to the south. Many of the items for sale are Mexican in origin or style. You can find pottery, painted tiles, jewelry, maracas, pinatas, lucha libre masks, and all sorts of unique leather and wood-carved crafts. A few stores have a Western theme and sell cowboy hats, boots, Native American art and other stuff related to the American frontier experience. It’s fun just to browse and soak it all in!

Kid checks out a bunch of Mexican Lucha Libre masks.
Kid checks out a bunch of Mexican Lucha Libre masks.
Tourists take a stroll through the colorful Old Town Market.
Tourists take a stroll through the colorful Old Town Market.
Very colorful pottery can be found everywhere.
Very colorful pottery can be found everywhere.
Painted tiles for sale hang on an orange wall.
Painted tiles for sale hang on an orange wall.
Vendor at Old Town Market at work with a power drill.
Vendor at Old Town Market at work with a power drill.
Painted plates for sale in a corner of Old Town.
Painted plates for sale in a corner of Old Town.
Many Western items on display in an Old Town shop.
Many Western items on display in an Old Town shop.
Hundreds of Mexican ornaments and trinkets.
Hundreds of Mexican ornaments and trinkets.
Colorfully painted gourds and posters.
Colorfully painted gourds and posters.
A guitarist performs for shoppers.
A guitarist performs for shoppers.

Ghosts from history and a walk through Old Town.

ghost from history walks through old town

No, that isn’t really a ghost. At least, I don’t think so!

This cool photo shows a fellow dressed like a past resident of San Diego. I spotted him walking through Old Town in the early morning, before the daily throng of tourists began to filter in.

You can walk with a costumed tour guide and learn all about the early history of San Diego, back when the tiny, seldom-visited town belonged to Spain, then Mexico, then finally the United States. The hour-long walking tour is free and begins at the Robinson Rose building at the north end of the large central plaza. Several historic buildings and interesting museums are visited during the leisurely tour. Whether or not you see a ghost might depend on your imagination!  Two tours depart Wednesday through Sunday, at 11am and 2pm.

Tour guide shows native Lemonade Berry near Casa de Estudillo in Old Town.
Tour guide shows native Lemonade Berry near Casa de Estudillo in Old Town.
Friendly volunteer tour guide sums up San Diego's early history at end of a fascinating one hour tour.
Friendly volunteer tour guide sums up San Diego’s early history at end of a fascinating one hour tour.

Cannon in San Diego’s Old Town plaza.

cannon in san diego's old town plaza

One of my favorite areas in San Diego is Old Town. There’s so much to see and enjoy wherever you turn. For lovers of history, it’s a treasure trove of discoveries.

Here’s a photo taken inside the central Plaza de las Armas, the heart of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This old Spanish cannon is called El Capitan. It was one of ten cannons that long ago protected Fort Guijarros near the entrance to San Diego Bay. The Spanish fort was built in 1797 on Ballast Point out of adobe.

El Capitan was likely fired during the Battle of San Diego in 1803, when the Spanish attacked the American brig Lelia Byrd which was smuggling otter skins. This cannon was likely fired again at the American smuggler ship Franklin in 1828, when the fort was under Mexican control. The only other surviving cannon from Fort Guijarros is called El Jupiter, and can be seen in the Serra Museum atop nearby Presidio Hill.

Old Town is all about history. The grassy plaza, containing the cannon, historical plaques, a high flagpole and picnic benches, is surrounded by old adobe buildings preserved and recreated from the early 1800’s. San Diego originated right here, at the base of a bluff where a Spanish military outpost stood. The outpost, called the Presidio, was built by Gaspar de Portola in 1769. That same year, Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded on Presidio Hill by the ambitious Spanish Franciscan friar, Father Junipero Serra. This made Old Town the site of the very first European settlement in California.

Around the Plaza de las Armas visitors can check out numerous interesting small museums, including the original one-room schoolhouse, an old blacksmith shop, San Diego’s very first newspaper office, an early courthouse, and a stable with a large collection of antique wagons and stagecoaches. Tourists can find gifts and souvenirs in a smattering of craft-filled shops. Families can dine at several colorful restaurants. Plus, there are many additional historical and commercial attractions along San Diego Avenue to the south of the plaza.

Can you guess another thing I like? Admission to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and all of its museums is free!

Girl walks past cannon in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Girl walks past a cannon named El Capitan in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

A surprise around every corner in Seaport Village.

many enjoy san diego's seaport village

There’s a surprise around every corner in Seaport Village. The inviting place, with its meandering paths, specialty shops, eateries, historic merry-go-round, tranquil duck pond and fountains is a fine place to spend a sunny afternoon. Even native San Diegans enjoy it! One can fly a kite in the neighboring Embarcadero Marina Park, barbeque by a picnic bench, and watch buskers perform.  One can walk along the water and gaze out at the sparkling blue bay, sailboats and Coronado Island, or walk out on a working public pier for sweeping views from the Coronado Bay Bridge to the USS Midway, and beyond to Harbor Island.

Child takes delight at the Kite Flite shop in Seaport Village.
Child takes delight at the Kite Flite shop in Seaport Village.
Candied apples in window of the Seaport Village fudge store.
Candied apples in window of the Seaport Village fudge store.
Cookie shop lighthouse at Seaport Village.
Cookie shop lighthouse at Seaport Village.

You can see one of the Manchester Grand Hyatt towers in the background.

Folks board the Seal Tour amphibious vehicle for a harbor adventure.
Folks board the Seal Tour amphibious vehicle for a harbor adventure.
People sit on wall near the Pier Cafe.
People sit on wall near the Pier Cafe.
Pirate stands guard outside a Seaport Village nautical shop.
Pirate stands guard outside a Seaport Village nautical shop.
Seaport Village street performer prepares to swallow fire.
Seaport Village street performer prepares to swallow fire.

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Seaport Village’s historic carousel horses.

seaport village carousel horses

One of the best things about Seaport Village is its historic carousel. I like to buy a hot dog or onion rings from the nearby food court, or an ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, then sit down at a shady table and watch families and kids flock to the merry-go-round. It’s also pleasant to take in a bit of live music from local artists who perform near the carousel on weekends.

This fun Looff carousel was built in 1895 and features over fifty colorful animals including a dragon, a giraffe, a teddy bear, a lion, and two horse-drawn chariots. Master wood carver Charles Looff is famous for inventing the uniquely flamboyant Coney Island style of carousels. In his lifetime he produced many popular carousels, amusements parks, roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Very cool!

Horse decorates exterior of Seaport Village carousel.
Horse decorates exterior of Seaport Village carousel.
Signs details long history of this Looff carousel.
Signs details long history of this Looff carousel.
The fun merry-go-round is a big favorite of young and old alike.
The fun merry-go-round is a big favorite of young and old alike.
People enjoy a perfect day near the Seaport Village carousel.
People enjoy a perfect day near the Seaport Village carousel.

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