San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Celebrates Milestone

One of San Diego's most iconic neighborhoods has kicked off a year-long celebration. The Gaslamp Quarter, located just steps from the San Diego Convention Center's front doors, is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

A community event commemorating the milestone was held under the famous Gaslamp Quarter archway above Fifth Avenue on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Councilmember Chris Ward and other downtown community leaders were on hand as the mayor issued a proclamation in honor of the Gaslamp's 150th anniversary.

The area was founded in 1867, when Alonzo Horton arrived in San Diego from San Francisco believing the waterfront was the best place for the city to develop. One-hundred-fifty years later, the Gaslamp Quarter is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, hotels and entertainment, tucked tightly into 16 ½ blocks directly across the street from the San Diego Convention Center.

"It's important to come together as a community and honor past and present leaders who have made the Gaslamp Quarter what it is today," said Gil Cabrera, Vice Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors. "We appreciate the synergy of our relationship with our customers in the meetings and conventions industry, the attendees who come to San Diego from around the world and the businesses in the Gaslamp. It makes for a walkable destination that is a win-win-win."

Since opening our doors in 1989, the San Diego Convention Center has welcomed over 21 million convention attendees, bringing a new wave of tourism to the city and energizing the Gaslamp area.  A major selling point for meeting planners who choose our facility is its close proximity to about 20 hotels and more than 200 shopping, dining and entertainment businesses. In fact, San Diego was just recently named the fifth most popular meeting destination in the United States by a recent survey. 

The partnership between the businesses that comprise this neighborhood and our facility has transformed Downtown San Diego.

Lined with Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers, the Gaslamp Quarter’s unique architecture helped earn the recognition by the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  One of the most iconic pieces of architecture lies across the street from the convention center along Fifth Avenue: the Gaslamp Quarter archway. Weighing in at 6,000 pounds, the archway has been an iconic landmark for more than 27 years.

"Millions of people have passed under the Gaslamp Archway since it was installed nearly 30 years ago," said Michael Trimble, Executive Director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association. "The Gaslamp Quarter’s colorful history, combined with its modern-day, world-class boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, makes the urban district unlike any other."

The Gaslamp Quarter’s rich history will be honored through a public art campaign called "Rabbitville." Before its boom, the neighborhood was more known for its bare, rabbit-ridden landscape. That nickname led to the fiberglass rabbit statues which will be painted by local artists and displayed around downtown San Diego for the public to enjoy over the next year.

This creative art exhibit is just the beginning of festivities planned for the year-long celebration. Here is some of the anniversary fun to look forward to:

  • Gaslamp mixologists, bars and restaurants are competing for the next four months in a "Dusty Rabbit" signature cocktail contest.  Patrons will have the opportunity to vote and the top five cocktails will be served at the Gaslamp's 150 birthday party at the end of the summer.  (Learn more about the contest and find the 18 participating locations here.)
  • The Gaslamp Quarter Association is partnering with the San Diego County Fair to launch this year's fair season themed "How the West is Fun" by hosting a cattle drive on Saturday, June 3, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Around 200 cows, accompanied by dogs and horses, will be corralled through a two-mile loop through Harbor Drive, Fifth Avenue and Market Street.
  • On Saturday, June 17, locals and visitors alike will indulge in the 23rd Annual Taste of Gaslamp, San Diego’s original culinary tour. This year, you can sample over 25 restaurants and enjoy a rooftop after party. 

Learn more about these events and enjoy a collection of Fun Facts about the neighborhood's history on the Gaslamp Quarter Association's website at

Rita de la Fuente's picture
Posted by Rita de la Fuente, on May 25, 2017
Attendees, Between Meetings, Events

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