Head to San Diego’s buzzing downtown area, just around the corner from the airport, and you’ll have plenty to see and do. One area worth dropping into is the Gaslamp Quarter. What you’ll see is a fusion of old Victorian buildings, along with fresh architecture. There’s galleries, loads of shops and food and drink aplenty – to suit all tastes and budgets, and at night, it comes alive with a beating nightlife. It’s spread across more than a dozen blocks, all that are easily walkable.
What’s in the name?
If you’re thinking about what to do in San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is a must for your bucket-list. There’s loads of history worth checking out.
The original heart of San Diego was in what’s still called the Old Town today. Later, the New Town was developed and dozens of gas lamps were put up in the streets. The New Town name faded over the years, but the area kept a sense of Victorian times, including the gas lamp designs. And that’s where its name came from.
Back in 1980, the Gaslamp Quarter won a place on the National Registrar of Historic Places, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that a special archway sign was put up in the district. And not just any old sign, the original one weighed six tons and cost around $150,000.
Old meets new
Many of the Quarter’s historic buildings have been turned into hotels, bars, restaurants, museums and shops among other things.
If you want to check out some of the architecture, some of the most interesting buildings are the Old City Hall, the Yuma Building, the Royal Pie Bakery Building and the Spencer Ogden Building.
A good way to explore is to sign up to one of the local tours, including walking tours. Giving you a chance to soak up your surroundings and get the lowdown on some of the history of this part of San Diego.
Don’t be freaked out! But the Gaslamp Quarter is touted as having some spooky goings-on. The Davis-Horton House and museum is said to be the most haunted house in the area, with talk of loads of paranormal activity. If you love this sort of thing, you can catch all sorts of ghostly tours, including the Ghost of the Gaslamp Walking Tour. Check out local listings when you’re in town.
A taste of China
Overlapping with the Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll come across a Chinese area. The historic Chinatown, which spans eight blocks, is known as the Asian Pacific Thematic Historic District (APTHD). If you want to find out more about the significance of the area, and its history, drop into the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and grab yourself a tour.
Getting around Gaslamp
The Gaslamp Quarter is in the urban area of San Diego, close to the airport, so there’s no shortage of ways to get to this part of town. And once there, you can get around by car, public transport, on foot and by bike!