Celebrities, giant chickens, and history in Carlsbad!

Did you know the historic 1914 Twin Inns restaurant in Carlsbad hosted a variety of celebrities over the years? (Including Groucho Marx, who took the occasion to promote his latest movie Duck Soup.)

Did you know the restaurant’s big plaster chickens along Highway 101 were featured in National Geographic Magazine?

Did you know the first Carlsbad City Council meeting took place underneath the restaurant where a teen hot rod club met?

Did you know the Twin Inns provided take out chicken dinners that were packed inside a hollow loaf of bread?

I learned all this and more during a visit to the Carlsbad Historical Society‘s museum, which occupies the old Shipley-Magee House at 258 Beech Avenue.

Walking through rooms filled with fascinating exhibits, I discovered several displays that celebrate and remember Carlsbad’s famous Victorian restaurant.

Should you visit the museum, you’ll find a glass display case that contains an elegant Twin Inns guest register. And examples of the Blue Willow pattern china that diners might remember. And you’ll see old photos of the architecturally amazing building and some very beautiful artwork.

Photographs I’ve taken of Carlsbad’s landmark Twin Inns building can be found 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!

Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison in North Park!

What in the world are Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison doing in North Park?

They’re decorating the exterior of the very unique San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s Substation F!

I happened to look up and see the two historical figures as I walked along the El Cajon Boulevard sidewalk just east of Iowa Street.

These gentleman made groundbreaking discoveries and inventions that remain important in our electricity dependent world. Both esteemed men, in North Park, are busts made of cast stone!

Learn more about SDG&E’s beautifully restored Station F, originally built in 1926, at this web page.

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!

Niki and Mingei and fantastic, exuberant creativity!

Are the above chairs awesome or what? I bet you’d like to sit in one!

When I visited the Mingei International Museum last weekend, I set my astonished eyes on this furniture. I then admired other fantastic furnishings, all designed by world-renowned French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle!

The many sculptures she created during her lifetime are widely known. But chairs and tables and vases and mirrors? Yes!

You’ll discover all sorts of crazily colorful objects when you visit the Niki and Mingei exhibition at the Mingei International Museum!

You’ll see an exuberant, irrepressible love of life.

Did I mention Niki became well known for her sculptures?

She has many around San Diego!

Should you walk outside the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, you’ll likely see two of her sculptures: Nikigator and Poet and Muse. And during your travels you might observe her sculptures at Waterfront Park, or UC San Diego, or by the San Diego Convention Center, or at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. If you haven’t stepped into Queen Califia’s Magical Circle at Kit Carson Park, you’re missing a mind-blowing, incredible experience.

Niki de Saint Phalle was closely connected with San Diego and the Mingei International Museum. She spent the later years of her life in La Jolla.

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!

Unarius Academy of Science students reenact past lives!

A fascinating display in one window of the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon shows students engaging in psychodrama, reenacting past-life experiences.

I walked past the Unarius Academy of Science today. It’s located in downtown El Cajon. You might have seen their flying saucer car or the space murals by their parking lot.

According to an educational sign in the window, beginning in the late 1970’s, students were filmed during their elaborate psychodramas to help them recognize and overcome past-life shocks and traumas.

A different display filled this particular window the last time I peered through it, a little over a year ago.

I can’t say I know anyone who has studied here, but no doubt the coursework is just a bit unusual!

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!

Golden hamburgers tempt eyes in Oceanside!

Huge juicy hamburgers, served with precious gold, tempt the eyes of those visiting the Oceanside Museum of Art!

I said gold?

Yes!

The hamburger paintings and a sculpture, by San Diego artist Duke Windsor, are made to shine with the application of gold leaf. He was inspired by the gilt religious icons in the collection of Balboa Park’s Timken Museum. (Would that make these hamburgers secular icons?)

This savory exhibition of rather peculiar still lifes is titled Duke Windsor: Nothing’s Impossible.

When you’re an artist, indeed all things are possible. Even a luscious golden hamburger fit for a king!

I wonder . . . did that butterfly land on lunch during a picnic? Or does it symbolize something in particular?

Better place your order soon. The fast food will expire next weekend, when this cool exhibition ends!

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 giant Red Shoe hidden in the trees!

An enormous, very fancy Red Shoe seems lost among the trees in a corner of UC San Diego!

Red Shoe is an unusual outdoor sculpture by Elizabeth Murray, created in 1996. It’s part of the University of San Diego Stuart Collection.

I say unusual, because it stands among eucalyptus trees and seems oddly–to me–out of place. Like a shoe from a fairy tale, dropped in a forest. But I think that was the intention!

Faceted, colored objects are scattered on the ground nearby, like fallen jewels.

The paths in this corner of the UCSD campus, by North Torrey Pines Road and Revelle College Drive, are seldom trod. By ordinary folk, that is.

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Beauty at San Diego Cactus and Succulent show!

There’s plenty of beauty to enjoy this weekend in Balboa Park, at the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society’s Winter Show and Sale!

The public is invited to check out tables full of amazing displays inside Room 101 of the Casa del Prado. There are jewel-like flowers, exotic species, and bizarre plant forms will make you look twice!

If you’d like to take a potted cactus or succulent home, there’s also a big sale in the Casa del Prado’s outdoor courtyard.

Learn more here!

This is some of the beauty you’ll see…

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!

The fantastic Silver Ship house in La Jolla!

Perhaps you’ve seen that very unusual house perched high on a hillside in La Jolla. You can’t miss it when you drive west down Nautilus Street.

It was designed by Eugene Ray, a San Diego State University professor who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996. He found his inspiration from UFOs and natural, organic shapes!

The house is called the Silver Ship.

Back in 1978, five SDSU students set to work building the unique structure. You can read about the project and see photographs of the construction on Eugene Ray’s blog here. For years it was his La Jolla home and studio.

I first learned about the Silver Ship in 2019 at an exhibition of Eugene Ray’s work at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Like many of his designs, it’s form is simple and symmetric and consequently unusual. He observed a UFO in his youth, and it influenced his architectural concepts throughout his life. See more of his groundbreaking designs, learn more of his unique story, and see blueprints of the fantastic Silver Ship by visiting my old blog post here!

When you compare these to the original photographs, you can see how the Silver Ship appears different today. If I recall correctly, a new owner redesigned the house somewhat. Interesting that now it appears a little more like a . . . silver ship!

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!

Unique architecture at the Solana Beach train station!

From any angle, the Solana Beach train station appears unusual and interesting. The architecture of this Coaster and Amtrak station makes it one of the most intriguing landmarks in San Diego’s North County.

The Solana Beach station opened in 1994. The building was designed by Rob Wellington Quigley, who is also known for the San Diego Central Library and its iconic dome, The New Children’s Museum, the Ocean Discovery Institute in City Heights, Bayside Fire Station No. 2, and the Beaumont Building in Little Italy. It seems all of his architectural work is just as surprising and visually stimulating.

The last time I rode the Coaster to Solana Beach I walked around the train station, taking these photographs. To my eye, there’s something undefinably attractive about the building’s sharp lines and simple curved shape, and its singular symmetry.

I particularly like the passenger waiting room. Those artfully arranged windows on either side are bright with outdoor sunlight, as if beckoning travelers to venture out into a magical, multi-faceted, welcoming big world.

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!

Unusual and brilliant designs in San Diego!

San Diego-Tijuana has become a finalist for the World Design Capital in 2024. The two cross-border cities together have made the first ever binational bid for this international honor, which is bestowed by the World Design Organization.

According to their website, the World Design Organization evaluates “use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development.” When you include the terms social and cultural, doesn’t that cover just about everything?

As I walked down Broadway this morning, I saw the street banners in the next photograph…

…and an idea suddenly popped into my brain.

Over the years Cool San Diego Sights has documented all sorts of interesting, unusual and brilliant designs: in art, in fashion, in architecture, in furniture, in quilts . . . you name it!

Not all of the fantastic designs you’ll see in the upcoming links originated locally. But many did!

Click the following links for fascinating photos and descriptions:

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

Malcolm Leland’s modernist designs in San Diego.

Kids create Minecraft-style Mona Lisa mural!

Cleverly designed furniture is surprising, playful art!

A visit to the California Surf Museum!

Amazing life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

A 180 ton teddy bear made of boulders!

Museum exhibit shows evolution of fashion.

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

Salk Institute architect Louis Kahn: an amazing exhibit!

Print Culture exhibit at San Diego Central Library.

Early American quilts: amazing color and patterns!

Ray Bradbury and crazy Horton Plaza.

Unfolding Humanity appears at Maker Faire!

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!