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Downtown & Gaslamp Quarter

The hottest nightlife scene on the West Coast

Discover San Diego's Urban Side

The heartbeat of every city lives in its downtown, and San Diego is no exception. Located only minutes from the airport, San Diego's thriving urban center offers an abundance of options for accommodations, activities, dining and cultural attractions, all easily accessible by foot, bike, car or public transportation. In the historic Gaslamp Quarter, where modern architecture and Victorian-Age buildings stand side-by-side, you'll discover eclectic galleries, chic boutiques, trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars, gastropubs, craft beer haunts and fine dining restaurants lining the streets.

During the day, families can enjoy compelling cultural attractions in San Diego's downtown, like The New Children's Museum, take in a baseball game at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, or catch the trolley to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. With plenty of places to eat, shop and explore, families can enjoy a true California urban safari.

After dark, the city transforms into a sophisticated playground for adults. With an endless variety of posh night clubs, sizzling music venues and sky-high rooftop bars, there's plenty of ways to enjoy a memorable night on the town.

The waterfront Embarcadero (or "landing place" in Spanish) lines the western edge of downtown. Its boardwalk hugs the San Diego Bay, home to the cruise terminal, the Navy Pier and Seaport Village. Climb aboard to explore the ships at the USS Midway Museum, the Star of India, or the Maritime Museum of San Diego. If a moving sea vessel is more your style, hop on a harbor cruise and explore the bay, while taking in the skyline views. For fun on land, head to the Headquarters at Seaport Village to grab a gourmet bite or browse for one-of-a-kind take-home treasures.

If you're looking for some authentic local flavor, immerse yourself in San Diego's Little Italy district, just north of downtown, where you can grab a slice of pizza or an espresso and biscotti from a local café, or dine at one of the celebrity chef restaurants located on bustling Kettner Boulevard known as "Top Chef Alley." Just south of downtown sits the vibrant East Village, a revitalized warehouse district with a hip social scene, and trendy cafes, craft beer bars and high energy vibe. East of downtown you'll find Barrio Logan, the epicenter of San Diego's Hispanic community, where art and food converge in a symphony of sights, sounds and tastes. The colorful murals and outstanding fare are worth the trip.

 

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Getting to Downtown & Gaslamp Quarter

Downtown is the heart of San Diego and there's not shortage of ways to get into the action. All major freeways go through the city including Interstate 5 and 805, and State Highway 163. Unlike many cities, traffic during rush hour flows away from the city in the morning, and into the city at night - so for tourists, the trip is quick! San Diego's public transportation system is efficient and cost-effective. The Red Trolley crosses the city in several key areas with major connections at downtown's Santa Fe Station. Amtrak and the Coaster rail service connects North County and its quintessential beach towns to downtown action. And once you are in the city, ride share programs including Car-To-Go, DecoBike, and FRED (Free Ride Everywhere Downtown) provide great alternatives to move around town.

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Barrio Logan

For years, the Barrio Logan neighborhood has been one of San Diego's best kept secrets. An epicenter of the city's Mexican-American culture, this neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotspot for cutting-edge art and authentic local culture.

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San Diego's Embarcadero

A great place for a stroll along the water

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San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter

Not only is this area the epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife scene, it is also rich with cultural offerings

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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 29, 2020

San Diego area residents and visitors are in for a special treat in February! Pick up your Museum Month discount pass at any of the libraries listed at the bottom of this page or when you stay at a Hilton to enjoy 50% off the cost of admission at more than 40 San Diego Museum Council member museums. The San Diego Museum Month pass is free; one pass can be used at several museums* throughout the month of February.

Whether you are an art aficionado, history buff, science or nature lover, the San Diego Museum Council has a variety of member organizations that are bound to capture your interest.

Take advantage of this annual program to visit both old favorites and new attractions you have never even heard of!

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San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 19 - Jan 26, 2020

The Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, January 19 through Sunday, January 26 for a delicious dining experience! With more than 180 participating restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County, you’re sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving.

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Dances of Love and Laughter

Feb 14, 2020

Celebrate this special Valentine’s Day weekend with San Diego Ballet. The evening will feature one of our enduring classics, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A whimsical take on Shakespeare’s eternal comedy, where “the course of true love n’er did run smooth.” Then take a romantic romp through the decades with pieces including songs by Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Roberta Flack, Brenda Lee, Les Paul plus many more by triple threat, Javier Velasco. Also featuring San Diego’s first ever performance of “Voices of Spring” by Frederick Ashton, world renown chief choreographer and former Director of the Royal Ballet, London. 

Great music, great dancing, and great fun! You will laugh, cry and be entertained by the technical feats and beauty of San Diego’s own professional ballet company!

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Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World

Jan 31, 2020

Meet Bellingcat. A team of volunteer truth-seekers that puts newspapers, networks and governments to the test, shedding light on the fight for journalistic integrity in the era of fake news and alternative facts.

The Museum of Photographic Arts hosts the 2020 San Diego Human Rights Watch Film Festival from January 30 to February 1.

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Barrio Logan

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San Diego's Embarcadero

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San Diego's Historic Gaslamp Quarter

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What's On

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Museum Month

Feb 1 - Feb 29, 2020
Discover

San Diego Restaurant Week

Jan 19 - Jan 26, 2020
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Dances of Love and Laughter

Feb 14, 2020
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Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World

Jan 31, 2020
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Downtown on Instagram

 

Deals just for you

Boating & Sailing

$5 off Whale Watching Cruises

Hornblower Cruises & Events
Valid: Jun 13, 2019 - ongoing

$5 off Whale & Dolphin Watching with Hornblower Cruises. Hornblower offers large comfortable Whale Watching boats with live narration from San Diego Natural History Museum's trained naturalists...

Accommodation

Save 10 Percent On Stays Of 2 Nights Or More

Ramada Gaslamp / Convention Center
Valid: Jul 2, 2019 - ongoing

Book a stay for at least 2 consecutive nights and receive a 10% discount off our best available rate!

Accommodation

Love on the Beach in Pacific Beach

Pacific Terrace Hotel
Valid: Dec 30, 2019 - ongoing

Spend a night at our beautiful San Diego beach location and let us set the most romantic mood for you with candles, rose petals, champagne and hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries. Linger...

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