Gaslamp District City Lights and Sign

With the history, mystery, and bright lights, it’s no wonder San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. As the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife scene, there is no better time to visit than after dark!

If you’re a family visiting San Diego or a couple looking for an exciting way to explore the area-  our guide will help you get to know this unique area in the best possible way.

Tip: Throughout this guide, you’ll see the 🔎 emoji. This means you can look out for whatever is being discussed while exploring the Gaslamp Quarter!

The Exciting History of the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp district night scene

Today, the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is a thriving neighborhood in downtown San Diego. However, that wasn’t always the case. Locals used to call it Rabbitville because only the rabbits made home of the area despite all the failed attempts to add infrastructure. In 2017, 15 Rabbit Installations were made to celebrate 150 years since the area was established. 🔎 Make sure you keep an eye out for these iconic bunnies!

The iconic buildings that line the streets were all fully restored to their former architectural glory adding a unique vibe to the Gaslamp area 🔎. However, their original use wasn’t as glorious- brothels and saloons! Luckily, today you’ll find a different mix of entertainment, from dive bars, clubs, and cocktail lounges to theatres, symphony halls, museums, and art galleries.

Where does the Gaslamp name come from?

Gaslamp with colorful City lights

While the vintage-styled street lamps 🔎 in Gaslamp give it an old-school feel, it was originally intended to give the area a more modern look. To contrast the “Old Town” that was more inland, 50 gas street lamps were installed in the “New Town” area. New Town didn’t stick and as the city expanded the Gaslamp Quarter was born.

Things to Do in the Gaslamp Quarter After Dark

There is something for everyone. Explore Gaslamp day and night- you won’t be disappointed.

Take a Gaslamp Quarter Tour in a GoCar

The Gaslamp Quarter is one of San Diego’s most popular destinations, but first-time visitors could easily overlook the many things to do and see in the area after dark. 

One fun activity that helps you make the most of your trip is a GoCar tour! Explore the area with these self-guided tours on battery-powered GoCars. 

You can choose from a variety of different routes that take you all over the Gaslamp Quarter and even other areas of the city. Whether you’re interested in learning about its history or having a little fun and checking out some of its hidden gems (like the hidden messages of hope 🔎 that replaced some unsightly graffiti), this is the ideal way to explore.

They’re so convenient and easy, especially for those who prefer to be in charge of their own itinerary.

You’ll have access to the headset to listen to the tour guide’s narration. Still, if you’d rather just enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown San Diego at night—from the twinkling lights of the gaslamps and clubs to the lively atmosphere of bars and restaurants serving up craft cocktails—you can do that too.

 

See the Supernatural side of Gaslamp with a Ghost Tour

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is known for its bustling nightlife, but there’s more to it than just clubs and restaurants. It’s also a hot spot for paranormal sightings! 

If you’re in the area at night make sure you book the ghost tour, during which you’ll hear the legends of the spirits that haunt the streets.- perfect for families and couples who want a different experience!

If you’re brave enough to explore the unusual side of one of San Diego’s most popular neighborhoods, or if you have a friend who loves to be scared (or a girlfriend who doesn’t!), then this is definitely something fun and entertaining to do.

Look out for the most haunted house in the Gaslamp Quarter- the Davis-Horton House🔎.

Book a show- Gaslamp is San Diego’s Entertainment Mecca

The Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s entertainment mecca, hosting a wide variety of shows and events year-round. 

With everything from standup comedy to magic shows and theater performances, there is something for everyone in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

Whether you are looking for a fun night out with friends or a romantic date night, you will find it here in this bustling downtown area.

 

Top Places to Explore | Gaslamp District Nightlife

Gaslamp Restaurants

Las Hadas Grill

Cafe Sevilla of San Diego

Lou & Mickey’s

Gaslamp Clubs

Onyx Room Nightclub

Rumba Lounge

Side Bar

Best Bars In Gaslamp San Diego

The Tipsy Crow

Prohibition Lounge

Henry’s Pub

Top Theatres 

Balboa Theatre

The Lyceum Theatre

Spreckels Theatre

Hilarious Comedy

American Comedy Co. San Diego

Mad House Comedy Club

The Laugh Factory

Top Shows

The Murder Mystery Company in San Diego

House of Blues San Diego

San Diego Civic Theatre

Best Gaslamp Tours

GoCar Tours San Diego

Ghost Tours

San Diego Club Crawl