Discover, Dine and Explore in the San Diego Gaslamp District

January 14, 2011
San Diego Padres
by MPR529

by Barbara Wade

With a rich history dating back two centuries, San Diego’s Gaslamp district melds an eclectic mix of modern and historic sites. Its interesting array of activities offer so much to do, you can easily spend days on end exploring the district. Hotel chains as well as independently operated hotels found in the Gaslamp district put you within walking distance of practically everything. With plenty to interest families, couples and solo travelers, an excursion to this popular downtown area makes for an exciting vacation regardless of age.

With humble beginnings, the town of San Diego was originally founded by William Heath Davis in 1850; his own home being the first building constructed. However, the depression ended Davis’ dream of developing a thriving waterfront area. That dream would be realized 17 years later under the direction of Alonzo Horton. It wasn’t until the construction of the wharf was completed in 1869 that the town began to boom.

Today, you’ll find a bustling area in the San Diego Gaslamp district. A wide selection of hotels, over 125 restaurants and coffeehouses plus theaters, casinos and shops make their homes in the 94 buildings located within 16 blocks. The district itself is in a prime location, only three miles from the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and just one block from PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres.

World-Class Cuisine

With selections from around the globe, kids and adults alike can find amazingly diverse options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Time-honored favorites including delis and steakhouses are available as well as Italian, Mexican, Irish and sushi. Those looking for a little culinary adventure can feast at Indian, Thai and Persian restaurants which are also found in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The exceptional cuisine is due, in part, to San Diego’s proximity to fresh California produce and artisan products. Locally grown varieties of lettuce, colored peppers, citrus products, peaches and more abound practically year round. In addition, California’s cattle population means fresh dairy products are always at hand.

San Diego Luxury Hotel Accommodations

At the heart of the area is the carefully preserved business district of the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. Luxury hotel accommodations give you the freedom to explore the area on foot and easily access all the goings-on (and avoid the sometimes difficult task of parking in the Quarter). A short walk back to your room let’s you trade shopping bags for baseball tickets or dinner reservations, or take a well-deserved nap.

Tours, Festivals and Entertainment

Filled with regal Victorian architecture, the Gaslamp district is stunning to behold. Virtually all the buildings were constructed in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Taking center stage, fittingly, is the “pillbox” home of William Heath Davis that still stands to this day. But it’s what takes place on the streets that is often equally as interesting.

Walking tours are available from professional guides, many of whom adorn period-style costumes. Take an in-depth look at the William Heath Davis house, the Chinese Mission School or numerous other interesting buildings in the Gaslamp district.

If visiting during February, attending Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp is a must. This street festival is reminiscent of the best New Orleans has to offer, including Cajun cooking and Zydeco and jazz music. March introduces the annual Latino Film Festival as well as St. Patrick’s Day’s ShamROCK festival where live bands keep the fun going from morning till night. In addition, spring training for the San Diego Padres gears up in March followed by regular season activity beginning in April. The San Diego Zoo has special happenings during spring and summer including their annual Garden Celebration in May as well as spring and summer camps and sleepover events for both children and adults.

Loosen your belt in June for the Taste of Gaslamp festival when countless restaurants prepare one-of-a-kind recipes and house specialties for all to indulge in. Thankfully, the Rock and Roll Marathon is also held in June with a 26.2-mile course laden with 26 entertainment stages, 40 cheerleading squads as it winds from Balboa Park through the Gaslamp Quarter ending at Point Loma. Fall ushers in another exciting season of Chargers football just a few miles from the Quarter at Qualcomm Stadium.

With so much to see, do and taste in the San Diego Gaslamp district, one day is never enough. To experience everything, plan a longer stay or return to San Diego frequently. The beautiful Southern California weather combined with the diversity and excitement of this remarkable city makes for a perfect getaway all year long.

Barbara Wade writes articles for the Hotel Solamar, a hip San Diego luxury hotel in the heart of the gaslamp district. Guests find a unique experience with each stay. Visit Hotel Solamar online at © 2007, All Rights Reserved

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