The Gaslamp District is an area of great architectural charm, its streets lined with original 19th-century buildings and others moved in from other parts of the San Diego, all restored to their original exuberance. Restaurants, shops and clubs occupy former brothels and saloons. A random walk will give you a sense of the place and it's only a few blocks in each direction - enjoy the nice buildings, do a little shopping and have a meal.
If you plan to stay in the area, check the recommended places to stay. A cadre of shiny new hotels stand on the edge of the district, but a few are also located in historic buildings.
San Diego's Gaslamp distrcit draws visitors to its shops, restaurants and night clubs. While San Diegans may not heap the same disdain on it that San Franciscans do on Fisherman's Wharf, there are similarities - and it seems fewer and fewer residents find their way to the area. You'll find boutique shops offer interesting wares alongside t-shirt shops and souvenir-sellers and Horton Plaza is the local shopping center.
The San Diego Gaslamp area got a slow start. The city's earliest residents shunned the waterfront, choosing instead to build at the elevated location of today's Old Town. An early development venture nearer the waterfront failed, so utterly that the area came to be called Rabbitville, in honor of its primary inhabitants. In 1867, entrepreneur Alonzo Horton built a new downtown near the water and soon, the area was booming. Gamblers and prostitutes moved in. The legendary (but by then retired) Old West sheriff Wyatt Earp ran three gambling halls here. Over the years, commerce moved toward Market Street and all that remained was a red-light district known as the Stingaree. The Gaslamp District languished for many years before its current renaissance.
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