Public Art – The 25th Street Music Bridge

I’m going to add something a bit different on my blog. Finding joy is part of making life a bit sweeter. I find joy in being out and about and discovering new things. My family loves finding things “off the beaten path” — especially when we travel. But it’s even more wonderful to find something hidden within your own city. I was born and raised in San Diego and thought I’d know everything about everything about what our city has to offer. I’ve been pleasantly surprised recently, especially with discovering new things while afoot (running will do that for you).

My daughter and I went to Balboa Park a few weeks ago and I suggested we stop to see the 25th Street Music Bridge. I appreciate public art just as much as the next person. There are blatant displays of public art throughout San Diego — “trees” by the harbor, sculpted surfboards/green flashes by the beaches, and a whole bunch of other projects that refer to San Diego’s sailing, beach, marine life, location, etc. When I heard about the 25th street bridge, I was tickled. It wasn’t a sculpture of a dolphin, nor was it a new water feature, it was sound… music, to be exact. And music is ART.

I forget how I stumbled across the 25th Street Bridge. I’m sure Google had something to do with it. I’ve crossed this bridge many times when taking the “back road” to get to the zoo, navy hospital or Balboa Park. It’s not located in the prettiest part of town (although with all the Victorian homes in the area, it would be awesome to see them fixed up). The bridge is unassuming, but when you look closer at that pedestrian walkway, you’ll see chimes attached to the rails. When you bring a stick, walk rhythmically and strike the chimes, it makes music!

The improvements to the 25th Street Pedestrian walkway was completed in 2003. Along with the improvement, the project was awarded a $39,000 grant from the City of San Diego Arts and Culture to create the music railway. It plays a song called the “Crab Carillon” which is a palindrome (plays the same tune in both directions). I have to admit, it’s hard to hear with the “roar of the 94” freeway down below. But I think it adds to the effect – almost crashing-wave like, but in the city.


Here’s the video of my daughter striking the rails:

Here’s the original song:
Crab Carillon by Joseph Waters

Interesting, yes?

The 25th Street bridge is located at SR-94 and 25th Street. You can park on either F or G streets (both one-way streets, but not busy). Bring a ruler or a good stick and get walking!

What hidden treasures are in your city? Post them in the comments below!

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