The Gaslamp Quarter is just as unique as its unusual name. Located in San Diego, this downtown neighborhood is teeming with liveliness around the clock. A stroll down the 4th and 5th avenues of the Gaslamp Quarter will put you in direct access to a variety of venues, including swanky nightclubs, rambunctious sports pubs, laid-back lounge bars, and several chic eateries.
Peppered beautifully with Victorian-style buildings, the Gaslamp Quarter boasts a rich history and plenty of activity. In fact, the neighborhood is home to the largest collection of Victorian-style buildings across the entire United States.
Whether you’re traveling to San Diego for business or pleasure, the Gaslamp Quarter should definitely top your must-visit destination list. For a truly genuine experience of this dynamic and absolutely gorgeous part of San Diego, make sure to book a hotel in the area. No matter the time of year, the Gaslamp Quarter is busy and full of the hustle and bustle of both tourists and residents alike. You’ll love the excitement flowing through the air as you walk 16 1/2 blocks down Gaslamp Quarter’s 5th Avenue. With more than 90 registered historic buildings, there’s a quaint and rich taste vibe that settles in like fog on a spring morning.
The History Behind the Gaslamp Quarter San Diego
The Gaslamp Quarter has always been a lively neighborhood. The area used to serve as San Diego’s first port, meaning it was here that American Sailors who were arriving from the East Coast would first touch land after spending at least 100 days out at sea.
Back then, the area was heavily dotted with saloons, brothels, lots of gambling parlors, and even several opium dens. It was known as one of the biggest red light districts throughout all of the West. And while quite a bit has changed since then, the energy hasn’t. You’ll find the area just as dynamic and energetic today as it was back in the day. The Gaslamp Quarter most definitely has a lot of scandalous history behind it, all of which you can learn about on a walking tour of the area and at the Gaslamp Museum at the David-Horton House. It’s the oldest house in the area and the place to learn lots of fascinating stories and the history of the residents.
Things to Do in Gaslamp Quarter
There are more than 100 eateries, including bars and restaurants, throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. This means whether you’re in the mood for Greek, Mexican, Italian, or just good ol’ American cuisine, you’re going to have plenty of places to choose from. When you’re on the hunt for fine dining, make sure to stop in at the Ostera Fish House or Bice Ristorante. If your taste buds are watering for gastro-pub cuisine, you’ll definitely want to swing by the Hopping Pig or the Union Kitchen and Tap. One of the best Gaslamp Quarter bars is Searsucker, where you can’t go wrong ordering the Peter Rabbit cocktail or a whiskey with sour apples.
During the daytime, you can fill up on a delicious brunch at Cafe 21. Then you can burn off the calories of your waffles by shopping up and down 5th Avenue. Not in the mood for shopping? There are lots of art galleries and museums in and around the Gaslamp Quarter, including the Chuck Jones Gallery.
At night, you are sure to love the breathtaking views at one of the area’s rooftop bars. Stop by the Altitude Sky Lounge for a phenomenal view like no other. The bar is located at the Marriott Gaslamp on the 27th floor. Another popular rooftop lounge in the area is Lounge Six. If you want to dance the night away, you’ll want to head over to FLUXX. Or if you’re in the mood for a good laugh, make sure to get tickets for the comedy show at The American Comedy Co.
Spending the day in Gaslamp Quarter also puts you within a 20-minute drive from some of the surrounding area’s most popular attractions. If you have the kiddos with you, you’ll definitely want to take the 14-minute drive to SeaWorld. Another great kid-friendly attraction, the Birch Aquarium, is only 20 minutes away. If you’re looking for even more family-friendly fun, you can head over to Belmont Park where you’ll enjoy carnival games, mini golf, laser tag, and so much more. Finish the day off right by stopping by one of the park’s Dole Whip trucks for a sweet treat, and then visit Draft, a great place to choose from 69 beers on tap. Even better, you’ll enjoy stunning ocean views as you sip on your brew. Once you’re finished, make sure to let the kids sink their toes in the sand as you sit back and relax after a fun-filled day of exploring some of Gaslamp Quarter’s best nearby attractions.
There’s so much to do in the Gaslamp Quarter. Don’t forget to grab a Go San Diego pass, which gives you maximum savings on some of the area’s most popular attractions, events, and restaurants.