Photos from past US Sand Sculpting Challenges!

The annual US Sand Sculpting Challenge was cancelled this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. The world-class event takes place each Labor Day weekend and draws huge crowds to San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Having gone to this mind-blowing international competition for the past six years, I’ve accumulated lots of cool photos! The world’s top sand masters can produce absolutely astonishing works of art!

To recall past wonders from this event, I’ve linked to blog posts containing hundreds of photographs. Before you check those out, however, in no particular order, here are some of the sand sculptures I’ve particularly enjoyed!

The following links provide six years of photographs from the US Sand Sculpting Challenge…

2014

Photos of world-class sand sculptors at work!

2015

Photos of amazing, incredible sand sculptures!

2016

The most amazing sand sculptures in the world!

2017

World’s top sand sculptors create fantastic art!

2018

Masterpieces by World Master sand sculptors!

2019

Amazing art at U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

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!

A good Saturday to surf near the OB Pier!

I couldn’t believe how many surfers were out in the water on Saturday afternoon. I watched the action from the OB Pier and strove to get a few decent shots with my little camera.

So many people were paddling out, bobbing on their surfboards and catching waves that the action was frequent and entertaining! Sometimes multiple surfers would wipe out simultaneously, and boards and bodies would be flying every which way!

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!

Even more changes come to Balboa Park!

Another weekend, another walk in Balboa Park.

I passed through the sunny park about noontime today and noticed even more changes to San Diego’s crown jewel!

First, the Museum of Man has changed its name. It’s now the Museum of Us. Which not only sounds more inclusive, but it strikes me as less stodgy and more personally relatable. Various banners hung about the California Quadrangle reflect the anthropology museum’s recent name change.

Next, I noticed that scaffolding is now up around the House of Charm’s tower and in front of the historic building’s facade. The Mingei International Museum’s huge renovation and expansion continues!

On the west side of the Plaza de Panama a new bronze plaque honors winners of the Patrons of the Prado ICON Award for Arts and Culture. Winners have greatly benefited many of San Diego’s leading cultural institutions.

Then, as I headed through the park, I noticed a fifth new structure is finally rising at the International Cottages. This cottage, when finished, will be home to the House of the Philippines. I took a photo of an informative banner on the construction fence.

Lastly, I took photos of a small but beautiful change that occurred a couple of months ago. But until today I haven’t blogged about it.

At the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way, at the southwest corner of the Veterans Museum parking lot, a small flower-filled succulent garden has been created!

There are so many changes happening in Balboa Park, it’s hard to keep track of them all!

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!

Walking along the beaches of Vacation Isle.

Yesterday I walked along the beaches of Vacation Isle, which is an island located at the center of enormous Mission Bay.

Many people were out enjoying the sunshine on a summer Sunday. They sat on the sand or nearby grass talking, eating, enjoying life. All sorts of boats were in the water, including kayaks, sailboats and personal watercraft.

Vacation Isle is a kind of paradise, as you can see in my photographs.

I just walked along, taking it all in.

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!

Walking part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway.

View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
View of Interstate 5 over the Sweetwater River from the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

In my last blog post, I shared some photos that I took during yesterday’s walk along part of the Sweetwater River Bikeway. Those surprisingly artistic images were from the path beneath Interstate 5.

Now I’ll share additional photographs from my walk.

I began at the trailhead at the south end of Hoover Avenue. Once I reached the Sweetwater Bikeway, I headed west along the river, with a short detour to check out the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.

If you recognize Paradise Marsh and those overgrown old railroad tracks, that might be because a couple years ago I posted photos of them a little farther north here.

I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
I walked onto the Sweetwater Bikeway from the trailhead at Hoover Avenue and W. 33rd Street in National City.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Turning a corner, about to go under a ramp from I-5 to U.S. Route 54.
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
Here comes a Blue Line San Diego trolley!
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
About to find myself on the Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
I begin walking west toward various bridges.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
This guy and his bike found some summer shade by the water.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
If you continue west, you eventually reach Pepper Park.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
Bicyclists on Sweetwater Bikeway about to go under Interstate 5.
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
I took a bunch of cool photos under the freeway and shared them on my previous blog post!
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
The head of a bicyclist is visible coming down the Gordy Shields Bayshore Bikeway Bridge.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
I turn for a moment to look back east.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
The Gordy Shields Bridge is dedicated to a civic leader who advocated for bicycling.
Now I'm walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Now I’m walking south on the bike bridge, heading over the Sweetwater River channel.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
Looking east at traffic on Interstate 5.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
A guy on a skateboard passed me.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That's Pier 32 Marina on the right.
Looking west down the Sweetwater River channel toward San Diego Bay. That’s an old train bridge. That’s the Pier 32 Marina beyond it on the right.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Someone made this cool peace sign out of some artificial wreath material.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Another look east. That peak in the distance is San Miguel Mountain.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Freeway ramp swings south over part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Sign at intersection of Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
I’m back by the water’s edge. A sign at the intersection of the Bayshore Bikeway and Sweetwater River Bikeway.
Biking west along the river channel.
Biking west along the river channel.
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out today!
Continuing west. Lots of bikes out for the weekend!
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Looking north at Paradise Marsh, part of San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Part of Paradise Creek, which winds its way through the protected marshland.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
Paradise Marsh is a refuge for many local and migratory birds.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.
These old train tracks pass south over the Sweetwater River on a bridge that is no longer in use.

At this point the Sweetwater Bikeway turns away from the river and starts around the Pier 32 Marina.

That’s all for now!

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!

A fun idea for Fourth of July weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this Fourth of July weekend? Are you disappointed that most public events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic? I’ve got a great idea!

Head downtown to the Embarcadero and enjoy an hour or two at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! You know, that cool attraction on the bay with the tall-masted ships, including world-famous Star of India. They’re going to be open all weekend long!

I visited the museum this afternoon (I’m a member) and learned they reopened yesterday. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they and other local museums might be ordered to close again as soon as next week if cases continue to rise in San Diego. So now might be your best chance to visit this year.

Much of your museum adventure will be spent in the healthy, sunny outdoors, exploring the Maritime Museum’s beautiful, historic ships. I noticed that plenty of measures have been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure to bring your face covering–it’s required.

Sadly, you will not be allowed to enter inside the two submarines, or step aboard the HMS Surprise, because of her ongoing redecking. But there’s plenty else to see and experience!

Those of you who follow my blog know that the Maritime Museum of San Diego is one of my favorite destinations. If you like history and the sea, and standing over the bright water, gazing up at white sails while imagining you’re on a journey across the wide blue ocean, you might love it, too!

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!

Life slowly returns to the Gaslamp Quarter.

People gather in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.
People wait in front of Barleymash as some restaurants reopen in the Gaslamp for dining during the coronavirus pandemic.

Life is slowly returning to the Gaslamp Quarter. Some restaurants and bars have just begun to reopen. Dining at restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic is now permitted if establishments and customers abide by strict rules.

Early this evening–the Friday of Memorial Day weekend–I walked up Fifth Avenue and observed small groups of people waiting in line on the sidewalk and seated at outdoor tables. Many Gaslamp eateries are still closed. I was told that for some it remains a wait-and-see situation.

So life downtown is becoming a little more vibrant.

It will be fascinating to watch how long it might take the Gaslamp Quarter to regain its former popularity, given the fact that COVID-19 is still among us.

I suspect there are many who remain cautious.

Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, on Memorial Day weekend.
Much of the historic Gaslamp Quarter was still quiet early Friday evening, at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
A few customers sit in front of The Field Irish Pub.
El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! If you love Mexican food, it's the place to go!
I learned that El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter is open and ready for diners! Mexican food is their specialty!

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 simple, fun walk in Point Loma!

Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.
Looking at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church from the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard. The traditional New England style Red Brick Church was built in 1954.

First of all, I’d like to welcome new visitors to Cool San Diego Sights! I’m not sure how my website suddenly merited inclusion in Google News, but, what the heck, this amateur photo blogger will take it!

Cool San Diego Sights is mostly about a guy with a little old camera walking around our big city semi-randomly, experiencing the wonder of its neighborhoods, its people, and the world in general. Occasionally I’ll report something that’s newsworthy, but only if I happen to stumble upon it. All this walking and taking photos is really just a hobby and personal pleasure.

On Saturday I enjoyed a long walk that included several areas of Point Loma. After climbing those hidden stairs I blogged about on Saturday, I headed through residential Loma Portal and down into the tiny business district near the intersection of Voltaire Street and Chatsworth Boulevard.

I walked in a short counterclockwise loop, from the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, toward Point Loma High School, down to the Point Loma Library, and back up to the spot where I had begun.

I had no plan other than to take photos of whatever caught my fancy!

I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
I spotted a long mural along the roof of the building at 2168 Chatsworth Boulevard.
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
Part of the mural titled San Diego from 1769 to 1969, painted by Jorge Imana. (I took many photos of this amazing mural and will post them to my blog shortly.)
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
An electrical box up the street was painted with all sort of guitars.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
More colorful guitar street art on another side of the box.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
As I walked by European Cake Gallery, I noticed the pastry chef peering out at Point Loma from the rooftop.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
Some fun but simple artwork on the windows of Coastal Sage Gardening.
The front entrance of the James Edgar and Jean Jessop Hervey Library in Point Loma.
Dedication plaque near library's front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Dedication plaque near library’s front entrance. Dated September 20, 2003.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago.
Looking back at where I was a moment ago. It’s a gray, overcast day.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
The other side of the architecturally interesting Point Loma Library. The glass near the roof resembles waves breaking on the beach.
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It's all good!
As I walked past the library I saw words written at my feet. It’s all good!
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
Then I saw this rather interesting Padres fan.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
A mouse has a secret door near the ground by the door of a Point Loma business.
That church looks familiar!
I'm already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!
I’m already back at the Red Brick Church. A simple but fun walk in Point Loma!

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!

A waterfront walk before the shutdown.

Much in San Diego will shut down starting tomorrow. I’ll still be working, but many San Diegans will not.

Schools throughout the city and county will be closed temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic. So too will popular attractions, including the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum.

I walked along downtown’s waterfront today, wondering what I might see. A cruise ship was docked at the Broadway Pier, but I saw no passengers. I noticed that the Portside Pier construction is well along. It’s Sunday, so lots of volunteers were busy at the Maritime Museum, but I was one of very few visitors. The usual lines at the USS Midway ticket booth were practically nonexistent.

A few tourists were enjoying a day on the Embarcadero, snapping selfies, but I saw no parked tour buses.

Several people were fishing.

I’m afraid I couldn’t resist buying an ice cream.

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!

San Diego scenes on a pandemic Saturday.

A downtown fast food restaurant has changed its practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A downtown fast food restaurant has changed its practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today is the first Saturday of the announced COVID-19 pandemic.

I thought I’d take a midday walk in San Diego, to see what I might see.

I headed from Cortez Hill up Sixth Avenue on the west side of Balboa Park, turned east on University Avenue in Hillcrest, then headed south down Park Boulevard. I meandered a little through Balboa Park, before returning to downtown San Diego.

I saw less traffic than usual. Fewer people were about. I suppose many are hunkered down, to avoid possible exposure to the coronavirus. I only saw a handful of older people, which is a good thing. They need to be particularly careful.

Balboa Park was much less crowded than usual.

As you can see in some of the upcoming photographs, various parts of the park have temporarily closed for public safety.

Balboa Park's West Mesa was much less active than usual for a Saturday around noontime.
Balboa Park’s West Mesa was much less active than usual for a Saturday around noontime.
The nearby Little Italy Farmer's Market has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and these guys had moved to a secluded spot on the grass near Sixth Avenue, hoping for some business.
The Little Italy Farmer’s Market has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and these vendors had moved to a secluded spot on the grass near Sixth Avenue, hoping for some business.
An older gentleman waits for a bus on University Avenue in Hillcrest.
An older gentleman waits for a bus on University Avenue in Hillcrest.
As I walked over Highway 163, I saw some traffic, but it appeared less than usual for a Saturday.
As I walked over Highway 163, I saw some traffic, but it appeared less than usual for a Saturday.
Some folks were out and about in Hillcrest, walking down the sidewalk or dining outdoors.
Some folks were out and about in Hillcrest, walking down the sidewalk or dining outdoors.
This old Before I Die interactive chalk board might have taken on a little more meaning during the current health pandemic.
This old Before I Die interactive chalk board might have taken on a little more meaning during the current dangerous coronavirus pandemic.
Human thought and endeavor endure in a bookstore window.
Human thought and endeavor endure in a bookstore window.
On a door: Good to meet you. Come in.
On a door: Good to meet you. Come in.
A lone jogger heads south down quiet Park Boulevard.
A lone jogger heads south down quiet Park Boulevard.
A mysterious shoe. A moment in somebody's life.
A mysterious shoe. A moment in somebody’s life.
The parking lot at the San Diego Zoo is much emptier than usual. Many are avoiding public places where there are crowds.
The parking lot at the San Diego Zoo is much emptier than usual. Many are avoiding public places where there are crowds.
The Balboa Park Carousel is shuttered on a Saturday afternoon.
The Balboa Park Carousel is shuttered on a Saturday afternoon.
Closed until the end of March as a proactive safety measure.
Closed until the end of March as a proactive safety measure.
Many artists studios in Balboa Park's Spanish Village were closed. This guy told me it's a good time to do a little maintenance!
Many artist studios in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village were closed. This guy told me it’s a good time to do a little maintenance!
Sign promoting shows in front of the Casa del Prado Theater is empty.
Sign promoting shows in front of the Casa del Prado Theater is empty.
A street performer and his dog on Balboa Park's normally busy El Prado.
A street performer and his dog on Balboa Park’s normally busy El Prado.
Balboa Park was much quieter than usual for a Saturday, but some folks were still out and about enjoying the day.
Balboa Park was much quieter than usual for a Saturday, but some folks were still out and about enjoying the day.
Hand sanitizing stations have popped up around Balboa Park.
Hand sanitizing stations have popped up around Balboa Park.
The House of Scotland at the International Cottages has cancelled its upcoming Tartan Day event.
The House of Scotland at the International Cottages has cancelled its upcoming Tartan Day event.
The parking lot in Balboa Park's Palisades area is almost empty.
The parking lot in Balboa Park’s Palisades area is almost empty.
So is this parking lot on President's Way. Ordinarily it would be full on an early Saturday afternoon.
So is this parking lot on President’s Way. Ordinarily it would be almost full on an early Saturday afternoon.
Almost no traffic on Park Boulevard. Very eerie.
Almost no traffic on Park Boulevard. Very unusual.
The hours of this downtown coffee shop have been changed due to the current situation.
The hours of this downtown coffee shop have been changed due to the current situation.
Almost no traffic downtown on A Street.
Almost no traffic downtown on A Street.

Everyone, take care!

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!