Lively, smart and a rare peek into the US' fascinating past
In Britain we're used to seeing man-made structures many hundreds of years old. Not so in the USA, which is why San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Historic District, recent as it is in UK terms, is such a big deal. Expect a 16.5 block chunk of late Victorian splendour dating to 1897, studded with entertainment, eateries, nightlife, events and festivals including the Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday parade, the Monster Bash Halloween Block Party and Taste of Gaslamp.
Is there a type of food you love? You can eat it here. This is a real Mecca for foodies.
The Gaslamp Quarter runs from Broadway to Harbor Drive, 4th - 6th Avenue, and includes 94 historic buildings to admire. So what's on the sightseeing menu in this very special district?
Take in cool live jazz and sip on classic cocktails at the Prohibition Lounge
Forget cars. Grab a ride into the area on a trolley instead – AKA a tram – which you can pick up from Fifth Avenue
Choose from loads of different tours, each exploring a different aspect of the area
Crack on with all three of the above to build up a detailed picture of the area, the unique Zeitgeist and the famous Gaslamp's vibe.
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Cheer the pianists who duel so skillfully, playing tunes at record speed. Drink sublime cocktails at the excellent Shout! House or make a toast to your holiday 20 storeys up at the dizzying Altitude Sky Lounge.
Authentic live blues every night at Patrick's Gaslamp Pub, plus nightclubs galore
The Fallback Festival for Children and the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade (where pets and their owners dress up – such fun!)
The Chuck Jones gallery is an unforgettable destination if you love cartoons, since Chuck created the cartoon legends Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. But there's much more in the Quarter to keep art lovers happy.
Chinatown began life in the 1860s, settled by abalone fishermen. It was once home to Chinese and Chinese-Americans who were not allowed to live in other areas of the city.
Enjoy the excellent exhibits at the New Children's Museum, always thought-provoking and fun. Explore the amazing USS Midway Museum, or fill up on sweet stuff at the famous Seaport Village candy store. Take a moonlight cruise with dinner. Enjoy a Gaslamp Murder Mystery Adventure and take in some top class comedy. This area offers the 'best nightlife in San Diego'. Head to the lovely William Heath Davis House, the oldest wooden structure in town, a classic of its times and open to visitors.
Once the night falls and the lights come on, the entire Gaslamp Quarter transforms into a sophisticated wonderland of live music, fabulous food, great bars, legendary cocktails, varied entertainment and top nightclubs. The area's many rooftop bars offer gorgeous views over the Quarter, the rest of the city, the San Diego bridge and the beautiful, blue bay itself, sparkling in the sunshine or glistening in the moonlight. The Exclusive Collections Historic Gaslamp Gallery sells paintings, sculpture and glass art, a great place to pick up a quality souvenir of your time in this unique area of town. You'll find it on the corner of 5th Avenue and Market.
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