Imagine this: you’ve arrived in San Diego one afternoon, showered up at your hotel, and are ready to hit the town. But what’s next? Read on for a full play-by-play of how you can spend 24 hours strictly in the Gaslamp Quarter.
While small in size, La Puerta delivers big on cocktails and a great atmosphere. Their happy hour runs from 3-7 p.m. every day – yes, weekends included! Munch on chips and guac, sip on a specialty margarita: after a long flight, this is just what the vacation doctor ordered. If you want a shot of tequila you’re in luck – La Puerta has over 100 of them on the menu. Note: this ‘Mexperience’ is only available to those 21 or older after 3 p.m.
Take in a Show
If you’re interested in live music, stand-up comedy, a live podcast, or even a magic show, you can find something of the sort in the Gaslamp. Venues like the Balboa Theater and Spreckles Theater offer a variety of programs throughout the year, including popular Broadway shows. If a laugh is what you’re after, check out the American Comedy Co. on Sixth Ave. Movie buffs will undoubtedly appreciate Theatre Box. The Gaslamp’s multiplex got a serious overhaul late last year, so moviegoers can enjoy watching a film in luxe leather recliners and a button for in-seat service.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of restaurants in the Gaslamp! You can always bank on a great meal at Cafe Sevilla, a restaurant serving up Spanish culture, cuisine, and live music. Their lounge also offers Flamenco dinner shows every Friday and Saturday night, and even five dollar dance lessons Tuesday through Thursday – just show up before 9:30 p.m. Enjoy sushi in style at Bang Bang, an uber-trendy upstairs restaurant, bar and club. Patrons love the specialty rolls, punch bowl libations, and instagrammable bathroom stalls decked out in oversized Hello Kitty stickers, Godzilla posters, and photos of Ryan Gosling. If a steak is calling your name, head to Gaslamp Strip Club. You’ll find elevated pub fare and choice cut steaks, strips and sirloins served family style. (Update: Gaslamp is currently closed for remodel)
There’s no shame in diving right back into your big comfy hotel bed after dinner. If you want to maximize your 24 hour stay, you’ve got plenty of options. Ready to hit the club? Take your pic from Side Bar, which just revealed their swanky renovation not long ago, to FLUXX, OMNIA, or Oxford Social Club located in at the Pendry hotel. Electronic music lovers should check out Bassmnt, and the nearby Vin de Syrah has regular DJ sets in a unique Alice In Wonderland inspired venue. Not one for dancing? Have one last drink at The Field, an Irish pub with a fireplace, live music and plenty of Guinness on tap. Right next door you’ll find Prohibition Lounge, a stylish speakeasy with a strict dress code, and rum cocktails at Cuban restaurant Havana 1920.
Your hotel likely has a great breakfast spread, but let’s say you want to venture out. There may be a line at Cafe 21, but this farm to table restaurant is worth the wait. They serve breakfast every day until 3 p.m. – perfect if after a leisurely morning of sleeping in! Rustic Root has a great weekend brunch menu; dine on the rooftop or make a reservation before 10 a.m. in the downstairs dining room and get a complimentary bottle of champagne. Searsucker also offers a weekend brunch menu with fun dishes like Green Eggs and Ham with pork belly. For a speedier morning meal, opt for Spill the Beans to grab a bagel sandwich, caffeine and a snapshot of their cheeky ‘Pot Head’ decor.
If you’ve got time, why not learn a little bit about the neighborhood you’re staying in? Several local companies offer tours of the Gaslamp and beyond. See the sites on foot, by bike, or even segway. Discover all there is to know about the hood’s -colorful, let’s call it – history, architecture, and more. For those who want all the juicy details of San Diego’s former red light district, So Diego Tours offers a Brothels, Bites and Booze tour on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.
Jonesing for one last meal in San Diego before your flight home? Grab a quick bite at Berkeley Pizza, where you can grab stuffed pie by the slice that tastes surprisingly light. The popular West-Coast chain Tocaya has a location on Fifth Ave, with a healthy take on tacos, bowls, salads and similar fare. If fish tacos are calling your name, stop by The Tin Fish at the edge of the Gaslamp district. It’s a laid-back spot with an outdoor patio, ideal for soaking up a few final moments of San Diego sunshine!