I noticed the Riverside Raincross symbol stamped on the outside of a fairly ugly parking structure.  Then I noticed the same symbol stamped in the concrete walls along the 91 Freeway.  I saw it in the street lights in downtown.  I realized that this is what great communities do - they create a symbol of their uniqueness and incorporate it in highly visible places.  This makes traveling and exploring cities fun and is a wonderful antidote to the placelessness of franchise centers and formula stores.
The Riverside Raincross symbol was created by Mission Inn owner Frank
Miller and architect Arthur Benton evoking both the Mission period and
native American symbols.  It has become the City's most cherished icon.

As you travel about, keep an eye out for what different communities do to create a sense of place.  Here are the major ways cities are "branding" themselves.

1)  COMMUNITY SIGNS:  Whether they are entry monuments, street signs or community directional signs, cities are getting hip by letting you know where you are.  Entry monuments incorporate a city's most important symbols.  Street signs often use the city logo, and community directional signs reinforce this sense of place.
Riverside's Victoria Ave. sign has palm trees and orange blossoms. Ventura's
downtown street signs incorporate their mission.

   2) COMMUNITY DISTRICTS - Lots of cities like to let you know that you are in a special place within the city, like a historic district or ethnic enclave.  Here, they have created signs to create a sense of arrival.
This planned community in southern Orange County evokes its
legacy as a Mexican land grant.
Los Angeles is so enormous that it has created blue community signs
identifying hundreds of districts throughout the city and county.
LA has done a nice job creating unique symbols for its diverse downtown.
3)  ENTRY MONUMENTS AND STREET-SPANNING ARCHES - Sometimes you've got to hit people over the head with your entry statement.  And why not?  Street spanning arches are fun conversation pieces and entry monuments distinguish your city from others.

Reno Nevada has a two street spanning arches: one a more glitzy downtown
design and the other a more historic version.

Dana Point's arch incorporates beautiful mosaic art depicting the city's natural
beauty and history.

4)  COMMUNITY MURALS - Murals represent public art that strengthens sense of community.  Such art can enliven otherwise dead space, provoke discussion and simply delight the eye.

The City of Orange celebrates its citrus industry on a wall facing a parking lot.
Artist Weyland's Whaling Wall is visible to southbound traffic on Pacific Coast
Highway in Laguna Beach.
Artist and architect Millard Sheets famously decorated Home Savings (now Chase)
Banks with his murals.  This one is on Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim.

5)  ARCHITECTURE AS COMMUNITY SYMBOLS: In some cases, a famous building or typical architectural style serves as a reminder of a community's image.  Not only by preserving the buildings but also incorporating its forms on community graphics, cities are reinforcing their uniqueness.
Anaheim's Packing House in the Historic Colony district is not only a community
icon but an entertaining array of shops and restaurants.  This 1919 Mission Revival
structure represents adaptive reuse at its finest.
Wonderful Claremont converted their historic packing house into a mixed-use
amalgam of stores and restaurants
Ventura chose its mission tower as a cherished community symbol.
Pride of Place revisited:  So, as you travel about, take a careful look at what communities are doing to enhance their sense of place.  On my recent trip to downtown Riverside and the Mission Inn, I met some wonderful people in the Mission Inn Museum.  They love their downtown and community and are very proud of their place!  And what were they doing?  Well, buy some Raincross symbols for their family members who had to move out of town.  Now that's "pride of place."

Notice the Raincross incorporated into downtown Riverside's
street lights.