If you spend any time in San Diego, there is no doubt you will make your way down to the Gaslamp District at least once during your stay. It is full of shopping, fine dining, sports bars, nightclubs, and history. It is the true city center of San Diego, especially at night. A little history on the Gaslamp District is as follows.
“The area is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District. Its main period of development began in 1867 when Alonzo Horton bought the land in hopes of creating a new city center closer to the bay and chose 5th Avenue as its main street. After a period of urban decay, the neighborhood underwent urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s and is today a dynamic business and entertainment district. The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings, most of which were constructed in the Victorian Era, and are still in use with active tenants including restaurants, shops and nightclubs.”
Having not a lot of interest in clubs and bars, I took the time to walk the Gaslamp District in search of cool places to photograph as well as interesting people to watch ( I even saw three people dressed as waldo drinking Starbucks). Let me tell you, at any given night on the weekend, this place is flowing with people. You can hardly walk down the street without bumping into someone and hearing the music or smelling the booze emanating from every building you pass by. However, the heart of the city is in the lights and the people that make up this unique place.
The best thing for the photographer in Gaslamp District is that almost every building seems to have a perfect mix of old-style architecture with new style additions such as neon lights and signs. This makes the buildings interesting at night and provides an old school allure to the crowded streets. I was especially fond of the Balboa building that had a huge neon sign, as well as the Ghirardelli shop, which was open late and gave out samples of their chocolate.
Right in the middle of the hustle of Gaslamp is the Ramada Hotel (the building with the Hotel St James sign on top), complete with an elevator that is decades old and interesting to ride. However, the real allure of that hotel is the balcony that guests can hang out on, which sits on the roof of the hotel. This area is directly behind the Hotel St James sign and provides a beautiful view of the city below, as well as a pleasant atmosphere to hang out and get away from people. The first picture in this post was taken from this location, as is the below photo.
I loved exploring this part of the city at night, but was more of a fan of the numerous adventures the city holds during the day. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.