The Central Library

I have been wanting to visit the downtown library since it opened in late 2013. I remember there was a lot of debate about whether the city with its budget problems should invest in what some consider an outdated service. Many argued it would just become a homeless encampment while others were more in favor of investing in new sport stadium that they felt would actually be used.

I think that the mark of a great city though is told by its civic structures and having a library helps mold San Diego into a 21st century city that also wants to be known for its culture and support of education of its populace. We have a lot of social and political issues facing this great nation in this day and age and I have to say it was encouraging and inspiring to visit the New Central Library. Yes, you will see plenty of homeless, but you see many young people comingling with the older generations. You see families and basically a cross-section of society all gathered in one place. There are not too many buildings anymore where you can see that.

I discovered during our brief visit that there are so  many programs and services that the library is offering that we didn’t even know about. Really cool stuff for all age ranges. Gatherings and programs for teens and tweens, activities and book readings with pets for kids, services for seniors, an office for the disabled and veterans and mental health services all on site!

There are a lot of innovative offerings as well, the Central library apparently has a 3-D printer available for use and professionals that come offer free services such as legal help along with presentations by other speakers on a variety of interesting topics. To get the best idea of all of the events offered at the Central Library, this online magazine has the most information here: Online Magazine

Or you can also visit this website: San Diego Central Library Programs and Events

On top of all of these services is a beautiful building, interesting artwork displayed throughout, a gift shop that supports the library with products made by locals and highlighting local points of interest, a Living Room Cafe’ on the ground floor with an outdoor atrium for seating, a kids section and a teen/tween section with computers and study rooms.

Parking can be a challenge as I learned on the day that I chose to visit, you have to be aware that if there is a major downtown event such as Comic-Con or a Padres game that unless you want to pay special event parking like the $25 they were charging on the day I visited, that you have to plan ahead and find street parking or take the trolley in. Fortunately, we found street parking just up the block.

If you are able to park underground, you get two hours free with validation at the front desk.

We found plenty of staff were available to help us find what we were looking for and they were more than willing to help take us around to show us what the library has to offer. These are resource pros! If they don’t have what you are looking for, they can help tell you where you can find it and that is pretty cool.

So, plan an afternoon checking out this great addition to America’s Finest City!

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Shiny, Happy Cupcakes

Ran into this place while going to get Greek food next door and fulfill my craving for a Gyro sandwich. Yeah, that’s right Donald, it’s happening, right now, baby! #periodsarenotaninsult No, not really, just a craving, but I digress…

Anyways, right next to the intended destination was this cute little shop that my copilot (daughter) zoomed in on and chirped up that we should check out. Now,  how could I argue with that?!

Now, my first impression was that if I were ever to be so inclined to open a cupcake shop, that this is how it would go down. Bright yellow everywhere, bright yellow sign with a cute name, Cupcakes a la Yola, yellow cupcake wallpaper and lots of cupcakes with fillings. This place is Prozac in a strip mall.

We had to settle on only three so we narrowed it down to a tiramisu with coffee cream filling, a lemon coconut with lemon curd filling and a chocolate chip cupcake with white buttercream frosting and chocolate shavings. The tasting committee universally approved of all three as delish!

Cupcakes a la Yola is centrally located in Mission Valley off of Mission Gorge and Friars Rd. and definitely worth a stop to support a local Yola.

Chollas Lake in Oak Park is Chula

This park flies under the radar of most people in San Diego, even people like us who have been living in San Diego over half of our lives and had no idea this place was literally under our noses in the neighboring community of Oak Park. Depending on which way you drive to get here you aren’t expecting much, but the proud residents of this recreational park and lake are keeping a good thing secret. I think….

The park has a fitness course, a cactus garden, walking trails and paths, fishing lessons for youth, picnic tables, a dock and lake, several different species of birds and a protected area for breeding and events such as the free summer lunches put on by San Diego Unified. A smart way to make sure neighborhood kids get to eat while school is out and also expose them to a nice setting out in nature.

I am glad there are places like this out there in such an urban, densely populated area, so that local residents don’t have to drive for miles to take a break out in nature. There has been some controversy lately in the local news because of the water source for replenishing the lake. Chollas Lake does not produce its own water so it has to be pumped in, but the community benefits of having this preserve make it a worthwhile sacrifice. Otherwise, there is nothing else like it out here for city dwellers other than Balboa Park which is for some people that live in this community and don’t have regular transportation, still a stretch to get to.

This is a place that helps bring the community together and offers urban youth fishing lessons at a low cost along with other activities such as summer camps, an annual egg hunt and reading with the Ranger.

Here are some links to learn more:

Chollas Lake Map

Programs at Chollas Lake