The Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego is a National Historic District and one of the most distinctive and appealing aspects of the city. It is eight blocks long and two blocks wide and offers both residents and tourists a unique taste of San Diego. From compelling Gaslamp Quarter tours to fine dining restaurants to pulsating nightclubs, there is something sure to appeal to just about everyone here. And as an added bonus, it is also next door neighbors to places such as Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play.
The history of the Gaslamp Quarter goes all the way back to the middle of the 1800s when William Heath Davis began developing land near Market Street. Walking and self-guided Gaslamp Quarter tours are available and allow tourists a glimpse inside the historical development of this iconic destination in San Diego. More than 150 years after Davis first conceived of what would become the Gaslamp Quarter, the blocks between Broadway and Harbor Drive are home to some 150 restaurants, clubs, bars, and coffee shops. Both residents of San Diego and tourists flock to the Gaslamp Quarter for world-class entertainment at places including the Hard Rock Hotel, as well as for top-notch shopping and dining.
There are seemingly innumerable clubs and bars, many of which feature nationally known bands and DJs, making this one of the premiere party destinations in Downtown San Diego. It is a busy and vibrant scene in the Gaslamp Quarter. Be aware that parking is available at a charge at nearby parking garages and at meters if you can find one. Metered parking is free of charge on Sunday. Another viable option is to take the San Diego Trolley from places like Old Town or Mission Valley where there is more readily available parking.
The Hard Rock Café and House of Blues are two of the most popular destinations in Downtown San Diego for nationally known artists. It is not at all uncommon to see long lines of people extending down 5th Avenue, waiting for a big band to take the stage at the Hard Rock. The Gaslamp Quarter is also the undeniable center of clubbing in San Diego. There are several longstanding clubs that regularly feature national and internationally known DJs and wild, themed parties.
Shopping, dining, and lodging are three more big draws for the fabled Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego. Shopping in the Gaslamp Quarter runs the gamut from classic cars to high-end clothing to fine cigars and home furnishings. You have a virtually endless amount of options when it comes to dining, from Indian to Italian, Mediterranean to Japanese to local breweries and sports bars. There is something to suit the most eclectic tastes and sophisticated palettes as well as traditional favorites like steak houses and hamburger shops. And Gaslamp Quarter hotels are readily available, especially when booked far enough in advance.
For those serious about taking in the whole experience in the Gaslamp Quarter, consider staying a night or two at one of the hotels and leave your worries behind. Be sure to take in one of the Gaslamp Quarter tours, whether with a group and guide, or on your own. This is a great way to get acquainted with this Historic District beyond the frenetic and pulsing pace of its vibrant nightlife.
Image: San Diego CVB