Category Archives: Downtown San Diego

San Diego Harbor

San Diego Harbor is undergoing a major revamp these days. As you can see from my pictures below there is construction equipment in the background and old buildings being torn down to make way for the new. It is hoped that the future harbor will rival big city waterfronts like San Francisco or Seattle at some point. The most recent projects to have completed were the cruise ship terminal and the visitor information center and kiosks such as the popular Carnitas Snack Shack.

 

Phase 2 and 3 remain to move forward on what is known as the Embarcadero re-development project. If you are interested, you can find out more here: https://www.portofsandiego.org/central-embarcadero.html and here: http://fw.to/o2HaWMK

The San Diego harbor is really a gateway to San Diego and downtown though, so it is a great place to either start your visit to San Diego, check out what is happening as a local, get some exercise on the walking paths, take the kids for some low cost fun at the new waterfront park or even head on over to Little Italy for some great dining options.

Waterfront Park

Parking can be a bit tricky in this area, the waterfront park pictured above has some underground parking for a fee, otherwise you may have to lace up those walking shoes and be prepared for hitting the blocks down here or opening up the wallet for some pricey downtown parking fees–whichever eases your mind the most is up to you.

One of the biggest attractions here is the San Diego Harbor tours–Hornblower and Flagship are the two main ones and they are all located just to the left of the above photo. You can do a 1-hour tour or go out further for some whale watching which is a nice, relaxing way to see San Diego from another perspective.

Tour Boats lined up

The Embarcadero walking path also tells a little history of San Diego’s military and its contributions. At the southern end of the walking path, you will see one of San Diego’s more famous landmarks, (which can also be seen in the background of my homepage ;-)) along with other memorials and sights to see.

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All in all, there is a little something for everyone at the Embarcadero and is an area with a lot of history for San Diego.

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Summer is Swinging–Balboa Park After Dark

A chance encounter of the Balboa Park after Dark event last Friday had that jazz standard going in my head:

Balboa Park was alive with food trucks lined up all along the promenade, jugglers and plenty of live music–a DJ, a jazz group at Panama 66 and other bands playing throughout the park. The museums were all open late and a new sculpture exhibition scattered throughout the main plaza.

It was nice to see young and old enjoying the park. Taking in the ambience, eating a churro or fish n’ chips or looking at the duck family parading around the pond.

This is a great event to bring a date, bring your family or friends and dance a little, eat something and check out a little cult-chah…this Balboa Park after Dark event will run every Friday up until September 2nd.

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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