Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter
The Gaslamp Quarter is notorious for having a vibrant nightlife with jazz, rock, R&B, shows, pubs, sports bars, nightclubs, and lounges.

Gaslamp Quarter

The historic Gaslamp Quarter is a trendy, touristy, hip section of downtown San Diego. Gaslamp is
8 blocks by 2 blocks in size: from Broadway to
Harbor Dr; along 5th avenue and spilling over onto 4th and 6th avenues. See map.

There are 94 historic buildings in this area of town and some of them were built during the Victorian era. Some buildings have been renovated giving them much character and charm. The boutiques here are quirky and may cause you look twice. Many of the restaurants have open-air, outdoor seating so that you can watch and be watched.

In total, there are over 200 restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, boutiques and galleries. At the Gaslamp district, you can grab a slice of pizza, honker down to a slab of steak, dabble on desserts, or anything in between. Expect to find these types of eateries:

Coffee / Desserts    
Japanese / Sushi
Sports Bars & Breweries
Wine Bars
Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter The nightlife - what are you looking for?
  Low-key sophistication?
  Luxuriously swanky?
  Bar hopping?
  Socializing on the roof?
  High-energy dancing at the basement?
It's all here for the taking!

Historic Importance

In the early 1820's, Mexicans, explorers, and pioneers decided to set camp in a place currently called "Old Town". This is the birthplace of San Diego - where it all started.

But, in the 1850's, some people like William Heath Davis decided that a place closer to the waterfront would prosper better. Davis bought & developed land in what is currently called "Gaslamp Quarter". He had hoped to make the waterfront a prosperous business district. Unfortunately, it's not easy being first. Willian Heath Davis did not find success and his efforts were sometimes referred to Davis' Folly. He died in 1909: he was in financial distress.

But good ideas don't die. In the late 1867 Alonzo Horton continued in this vein: he bought & developed more land, built a wharf, built a public theater, and opened a bank. Alonzo found great success and managed to lure residents, merchants, and prospectors away from Old Town and into "New Town". Horton managed to make it work; San Diego had entered the "boom" years in a district by the waterfront.

By the 1880's, the district had a life of its own but not quite what Davis and Horton had envisioned. Sailors on leave came into New Town looking for a good time. Soon, the district was populated with brothels, gambling halls, opium dens, saloons, and characters who use these facilites.

Sometimes the district was tooted as "New Town", other times it was called "Rabbitville" because the majority of the citizens were rabbits. And still, sometimes it was called "Stingaree" suggesting that you could be stung (as in "stung by a stingray") if you didn't watch yourself, and sometimes the "Sailor's Entertainment" district. Needless to say, the area went through stages of boom and bust.

In the 1970's and 1980's, there was a huge movement to restore, revive, and regenerate the district. It is now the heart of San Diego's nightlife.

The name "Gaslamp Quarter" is a reference to the gas lamps used in San Diego during the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter
along 5th avenue from Broadway to Harbor Dr
see map