San Diego 2006
In September 2006, I found myself between jobs and with a bit of time on my hands, so I went down to San Diego for a few days to look around.

La Jolla

I stayed in La Jolla, a gorgeous suburb on the northern edge of San Diego. The inland portion of La Jolla is being heavily developed with upscale office complexes and tasteful condo developments, but the waterfront still has an understated charm, with low-rise boutiques and restaurants. The architecture of San Diego is heavily Spanish, as you may imagine. This church is just a few blocks south of the main waterfront shopping/dining area (Prospect Place).

From the church, it's just a few steps to the waterfront, and this is the view north facing back towards La Jolla

Turning to face south from the same spot, you can see the interesting terrain of the beach. There's a wedding taking place down there!

Walking north, there is a hidden alcove, with the larger bay as a backdrop.

Some of the outcrops of rocks are favorite resting spots for large seabirds, some of which can be seen on the rocks here.

San Diego at night

At night, I headed into downtown San Diego, to the "Gaslamp" district, which has perhaps more restaurants per square mile than any other area I've ever seen. You can walk for at least 6 blocks and see nothing but bars and restaurants, with each one looking very tempting (and full!), and with throngs of people lining the streets. While it's true that a lot of cities in the west of the US are oriented more towards a car culture, there are plenty of examples of compact, pedestrian-oriented cities and this is one of them. Not only are the restaurants good, the buildings they occupy are not shabby either!

On an earlier trip to San Diego, I took this shot of the convention center complex, which is just south of the Gaslamp district, and the nicest looking convention center I've seen.

Heading back towards La Jolla, I pulled off the freeway to get this shot of the rather amazing Mormon temple. Why it's here, I have no idea (San Diego is not known as a religious stronghold!), but it does present an interesting view at night as you head in and out of the city!

Balboa Park

Most major cities have decent parks in their centers, and San Diego is no exception. Balboa Park is smack in the middle of San Diego, and has the most beautiful cluster of buildings at it's core. Comparing it to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, I'd say San Francisco's park has better 'natural' areas, but the buildings at the center of Balboa Park make the Golden Gate park's modern monstrosities an embarrasment. Click here for a pretty good map of the park. Here is the Casa del Prado theater.

Behind the museum complex, there is the fabulous 'Botanical Building', full of exotic, beautiful, and interesting plants from all over the world.

Immediately in front of the botanical building is a beautiful lily pond, with one of the many museum buildings behind

The lily pond holds many surprises, this being the one that most appealed to me

Looking back towards the botanical building, across the lily pond:

More museums ...

More interesting buildings ...

still more ...

And more ...

University of San Diego

In adition to the famous University of California at San Diego ('UCSD', part of the massive 'UC' system that also controls UCLA, UC Berkeley, etc), San Diego hosts USD, a private Catholic university that is set in fabulous grounds with beautiful buildings. I'd like to return someday and take more pictures, but for now this one will have to suffice - taken in the early evening with the sun setting to the left.