The Gaslamp District
The Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego is filled with food, entertainment, nightclubs and shopping. The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway between Fourth & Sixth Ave. down to K Street, and also includes part of Third Ave between Island and Market.
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Downtown Gaslamp – San Diego, California.
The Gaslamp Quarter today is filled with new residential lofts that have been incorporated into many of the historic structures. The Gaslamp Quarter is also known for its nightlife, with the proliferation of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and musical venues. The Gaslamp Quarter also hosts the annual San Diego Mardi Gras festivities and the annual Street Scene musical festival. In addition to these annual events that draw large crowds, the Gaslamp Quarter draws locals and visitors alike with its nightclubs and world class restaurants.
A few of the Gaslamp Quarter’s most popular nightclubs include Café Sevilla, Stingaree, Ole Madrid, the Bitter End, the Shout House and Martini Ranch. Café Sevilla is known for its Salsa & Merengue dance lessons on weekdays and its weekend Flamenco show. After each, Café Sevilla opens up into a nightclub and tapas bar. Stingaree, the nightclub, derived its name from the history of the Gaslamp Quarter (see below), is one of the area’s most contemporary and state of the art nightclubs. Ole Madrid has a bit of Spanish flair, while the Shout House is best known for its dueling pianos. Martini Ranch and the Bitter End are long standing favorites that locals frequent.
The Gaslamp Quarter is also popular for its street side cafes and restaurants. Oceanaire boasts its fresh seafood menu, while Dick’s Last Resort offers obnoxious wait staff as comic relief in its very casual outdoor setting.
San Diego Gaslamp History
The Gaslamp District wasn’t always so snazzy.
Alonzo Horton originally built a wharf at the end of Fifth Avenue, which was a pillar contribution that sparked the growth of the Gaslamp Quarter. The area was originally intended to be the major financial and business district of San Diego; however, the area suffered and showed signs of decay during times of recession, with a growing homeless population and trash along the roads. Additionally, the Gaslamp Quarter was known as the “Stingaree” district because of the large quantity of prostitutes roaming the streets. The saying was that you could get stung just as badly in that district as by the stingrays in Mission Bay. In the early 1900s, the area was already flooded with 71 saloons. In 1912, there was an attempt to revamp and renew this area, and police conducted the infamous “Stingaree Raids” when they arrested 138 prostitutes in the area. This area kept on its motif of decay and despair and remained a very low rent and undesirable area until the 1970s. In 1974, the Gaslamp Quarter Association was founded to unite locals residents, protect historic buildings and restore this downtown district. Public opinions began to shift to support the reestablishment of this urban area and efforts by the public were made to clean up and expand it. To establish design guidelines for expansion and redevelopment of this area, the City of San Diego adopted a Planned District Ordinance for the Gaslamp Quarter in 1976. In 1980, the Gaslamp Quarter even received the honor of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.