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History & Nightlife in San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Soak up some Autograph Collection comfort here at Hotel Republic, and you’ve got one of downtown San Diego’s signature attractions within strolling distance: the historic (and happening) Gaslamp Quarter! It’s an awesome place to get a sense for our city’s history—and one of the best places in town for shopping, dining, live music, and more!

History of the Gaslamp Quarter

In 1850, William Heath Davis of San Francisco attempted to spur settlement of the San Diego waterfront by establishing “New Town” there, but it didn’t take off. In the late 1860s, however, developer Alonzo Horton purchased the land—which had become known as “Rabbitville”—and set the stages for a genuine boomtown in what would become the Gaslamp Quarter.

The Quarter’s early, fast-developing decades were quite rowdy, its red-light “Stingaree” neighborhood being populated by saloons, bordellos, and gambling halls (including some run by ex-lawman Wyatt Earp).

After a long run-down period from the late 19th through mid-20th century, the Gaslamp Quarter gradually revitalized through a concerted urban renewal initiative—partly an effort to preserve its many historic buildings. It’s now a National Historic District and one of the signature retail, culinary, entertainment, and sightseeing destinations in San Diego.

Appreciating the Gaslamp Quarter’s Heritage

Historic architecture, much of it Victorian era, abounds in the Gaslamp Quarter; many of the district’s lively bars, restaurants, and boutiques occupy venerable digs. Among the many impressive holdovers from the Gaslamp’s early days are the San Diego Hardware Company, the former Metropolitan and Callan hotels, the Samuel Fox Building, and the old Alan John Factory. You can bone up on Gaslamp Quarter history at its oldest surviving building, the Davis-Horton House, which hosts the Gaslamp Museum and serves as a jumping-off point for guided walking tours.

Other iconic landmarks of the Gaslamp Quarter are of more recent vintage but celebrate the past. Four working gaslamps mark the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Market Street, while the Gaslamp Quarter Archway makes a much-photographed welcome mat for visitors.

Nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter

What’s really special about the Gaslamp Quarter is how vivacious it is against that fascinating historic cityscape. You’ve got no end of nightlife options here: restaurants, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, plus performance venues such as the historic Balboa Theatre. After a day of historical sightseeing and hardcore shopping, you can wine and dine your way through the evening—just blocks from your Hotel Republic room or suite!

Enjoy the Gaslamp Quarter by day and by night with Autograph Collection accommodations here at Hotel Republic!

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