The epicenter of San Diego’s party scene, the lively Gaslamp Quarter offers much more than just pulsating nightlife. The charming downtown neighborhood is also rich with cultural museums, art galleries, concert venues, and symphony halls, plus loads of lovely alfresco eateries. But back to the nightlife: Clubs, dive bars, and cocktail lounges draw the university crowd, while diverse audiences fill the Spreckels and Balboa theaters for performing arts, comedy shows, and live music.
The Gaslamp Quarter bustles day and (more so at) night, and exploring the area on a guided walking or Segway tour is a fun way to take in the sights no matter the time of day. The neighborhood is visited on most San Diego city sightseeing tours and is a highlight of San Diego pub crawl tours. Top Gaslamp Quarter sights include the streets lined with historic buildings, some beautifully restored to their 19th-century architectural glory; Horton Plaza Park and its grassy lawns and interactive fountain; an array of boutiques; and the 5-story Westfield Horton Plaza mall set on the district’s eastern border. Along with its many shops and cultural offerings, the district has the city’s highest concentration of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants—making it the No. 1 place to be after dark.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Gaslamp Quarter is a must-see area for shoppers, nightlife enthusiasts, and travelers who like to explore on foot.
- If you’re traveling with kids, it’s best to visit this area during the day—things can get a little rowdy at night.
- For a break from the bustling streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, head over to Third Avenue—the historic heart of San Diego’s Chinese community.
How to Get There
The Gaslamp Quarter is in downtown San Diego, extending from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from Fourth to Sixth Avenue. The district is easily accessible by bus and the San Diego Trolley, and is only one block away from PETCO Park—home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.
When to Get There
The historic Gaslamp Quarter’s sights, attractions, and businesses have varied opening hours. Visit after dark to see the neighborhood at its liveliest; stop by in the morning for a quieter experience.
Family Fun in the Gaslamp
The Gaslamp Quarter isn’t all nightclubs and cocktails—there’s plenty of fun for the whole family, kids included. The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House dives into the neighborhood’s colorful history, while families can explore the whimsical exhibitions at the New Children’s Museum; shout “all aboard!” at the USS Midway Museum; take the San Diego Trolley to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo; and ride the carousel in Seaport Village.