San Diego is a great place for a road trip about a hundred south of Los Angeles. If you are just spending the day, the downtown Gaslamp Quarter should be on top of your list of things to do. Gaslamp Quarter is more of a night time place to visit, but it’s defiantly worth taking a walk through even if it is during the day.
The Gaslamp Quarter is the historic heart of downtown San Diego. The district covers eight square blocks off shopping, sidewalk bars, restaurants, and specialty shops. The most popular attraction here is the sidewalk restaurants and bars which line fifth and Sixth avenues. Followed by the numerous stores that occupy the Victorian Era buildings.
Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
Gaslamp Museum to features information about San Diego’s early history through exhibitions, tours of the house, and guided tours of the Gaslamp neighborhood. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. $5 admission for the self-guided tour. 410 Island Avenue San Diego.
Built in 1924, the Theatre was once a vaudeville and movie palace that included storefronts along Fourth Avenue, and offices on the upper floors. In the late 50s, the building was facing demolition. It was saved from the wrecking ball and used as a movie house. In 1986 the city of San Diego purchased the historic theatre After 20-years and a $26 million restoration the theatre reopened on 2008. Balboa Theatre – 868 Fourth Avenue @ E Street.
San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
This museum is located at 404 Third Ave in an area that used to be San Diego’s Chinatown. Founded in 1996 San Diego the museum houses the artifacts about the Chinese history in San Diego along with a small garden, and koi pond. Across the street, the museum has a second building that is used as an art gallery and for special exhibits. The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is well worth a look if you are visiting the Gaslamp Quater during the day. website.
Gaslamp Walking Tours
Walking tour takes place every Thursday at 1:00 PM starting at the Davis-Horton House. After a tour of the museum, you take a tour around the district where you will learn about the many historic buildings in the area. This tour takes place rain or shine. Advance reservations are recommended. Ghost, shady lady, and food tours are also offered. website.
Nightlife Gaslamp Quarter
As the sun sets, the streets come alive in the Gaslamp Quarter. The old-fashioned gas lamps begin to glow and the more the sidewalk cafes come to life. There is an abundance of dining venues, nightclubs along the streets of the quarter. Ranging from the modern ALTITUDE Sky Lounge with a rooftop bar to The Tipsy Crow Pub & Grub housed one of the oldest structure in the Gaslamp Quarter. Most of the action is along Fifth and Sixth avenues.
Gaslamp Quarter History
At one time, the district was not quite the same law-abiding area it is today. From the late 1880s through 1920 numerous gambling halls, saloons and brothels were the norms. Up until the mid-1970s, the district was a run down place with small hotels and bars the average person would not be caught dead in. In 1976, the City of San Diego adopted a Planned District Ordinance for the Gaslamp Quarter that led to the vibrate place it is today.
Close to the Gaslamp Quarter is the USS Midway Museum and up the hill is Balboa Park home of the world-famous San Diego Zoo. With so many things to see and do in San Diego, you may want to spend more than one day.
Getting to the Gaslamp Quarter
The San Diego Gas Lamp Quarter is eight blocks long (from Broadway to Harbor Drive) and two blocks wide (from Fourth to Sixth Avenues). It includes 94 historic buildings. many that are still in use. Parking can be found in nearby lots and garages. Metered spots are Free on Sunday.