Great nightclubs, trendy restaurants, and unique boutiques compete for attention in San Diego’s most vibrant neighborhood. Alonzo Horton’s 1867 New Town seemed doomed to the wrecking ball in the 1970s, but a civic revitalization program transformed the dilapidated area into a showcase destination. By 1980, the Gaslamp Quarter was decreed a National Historic District.
Ingle Building: 801 4th St
San Diego Hardware: 840 5th Ave
William Heath Davis House: 410 Island Ave 619 233 4692; open 10am–5pm Tue–Sat, noon–4pm Sun; adm $10
Louis Bank of Commerce: 835 5th Ave
Keating Building: 432 F St
Lincoln Hotel: 536 5th Ave
Balboa Theatre: 868 4th Ave
Old City Hall: 664 5th Ave
Yuma Building: 643 5th Ave
A mural marks the Golden Lion Tavern that was once located here. Note the lion sculptures, stained-glass windows, and 1906 stained-glass dome over the bar.
Once a dance hall, then a five-and-dime store, this building housed one of San Diego’s oldest businesses, founded in 1892. Though the store relocated in 2006, the original storefront remains on Fifth Avenue.
Named after the man who tried but failed to develop San Diego in 1850, the museum is home to the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. It’s the oldest wooden structure in the downtown area.
A bank until 1893, this Victorian structure was the favorite bar of Wyatt Earp. It once contained the Golden Poppy Hotel, a notorious brothel.
San Diego’s historic district is named after the quaint green wrought-iron gas lamps that line the streets– they actually run on electricity.
Fannie Keating built this Romanesque-style building in 1890 in honor of her husband George. It once housed some of the most prestigious offices in the whole town.
Built in 1913, the four-story tiled structure features Chinese elements, the original beveled glass in its upper stories, and its original green-and-white ceramic tile facade. Japanese prisoners were housed here before departing for internment camps during World War II.
This landmark 1,500-seat theater started out as a grand cinema with waterfalls flanking the stage. Notice the beautiful tiled dome on the roof. A restoration project converted the building into a venue for live performances.
Dating from 1874, this Italianate building features 16-ft (5-m) ceilings, brick arches, Classical columns, and a wrought-iron cage elevator. In 1900, the entire city government could fit inside. Today, the building houses condos, shops, and a restaurant.
Captain Wilcox of the US Invincible owned downtown’s first brick structure in 1888. The building was named for his business dealings in Yuma, Arizona. Airy residential lofts with large bay windows now occupy the upper levels of the building.
After its legitimate businesses relocated in the late 19th century, New Town was home to brothels, opium dens, saloons, and gambling halls, some operated by famous lawman Wyatt Earp. It became known as “Stingaree” because one could be stung on its streets as easily as by the sting-aree fish in the bay. After police tried (and failed) to clean up Stingaree in 1912, it slowly disintegrated into a slum until rescued by the Gaslamp Quarter Foundation some 50 years later.