24 hours in San Diego’s Gaslamp District

If you’re looking for fun in San Diego, look no further than the Gaslamp Quarter. This downtown area dates back to the 1950’s, when it was first developed for trade near the waterfront. Now, the historic district is known for its restaurants, bars, and pedestrian zones—everything is easily walkable within a few blocks, from the sunny marina to the streets teeming with nightlife, so you can make the most of the Gaslamp on foot. Here’s where to eat and drink throughout the day in the area while you get in your stride, take in the scenery and up your appetite.

breakfast: Chef’s Cafe

Named after the owner’s dog (and the cafe’s mascot), Chiefy is a breakfast and brunch destination for locals and visitors alike. The namesake pup is often on site for pets, although the foods and drinks offered are just as tempting. Start with our signature latte with flavors like lavender mocha or honey lavender, and fill it with a smoothie sandwich, croissant, or gluten-free waffles piled high with strawberries and whipped cream. There is indoor and outdoor seating available, and everything can easily be taken on the go.

lunch: Havana 1920

For lunch, escape to Cuba at Havana 1920, a two-level Cuban restaurant that isn’t afraid to embrace a theme. Climb upstairs under the breeze of wood-belt fans to sit at one of two domino tables, and enjoy the eclectic collection of memorabilia in the dining room of this colorful oasis. To eat: All the classics, rightfully so, plus a wide selection of rum. Share a platter of bocadetos with tropical ceviche, plantain chips, chicken croquettes, stuffed piccadillos, ham and cheese empanadas. Next, follow up with a Cubano or ropa vega and make room for some soft drinks for dessert.

happy hour: Op . coin

Coin Op is the perfect place to relax, cuddle your inner child, and sip on an adult drink. In conditioning of course. Craft cocktails use house brew and mixer-approved ingredients, and are highly absorbent while playing a game of Skeeball. Picks, shakes, and plenty of beer are also on offer, as well as bites like pretzels and corn dogs. Visit 4pm-6pm on weekdays for discount drinks, and the last Sunday of every month to play for free. Otherwise, you will need to load a card with money to play Mrs. Pacman, Pinball and much more.

Dinner: lyme

An outdoor rooftop sushi restaurant with a nightclub vibe, Chef Akira Back’s Lumi is the perfect place in San Diego to grab and enjoy excellent sushi and Nikkei cuisine. Local ingredients stand out and DJ sets the mood for frozen cocktails. Start with several raw fish dishes, such as tuna tiradito and salmon crudo, followed by charcoal grilled skewers, sashimi and nigiri to order. Trust the chef with omakase or go to the mystery box with all kinds of sweets.

in late Time of night: Hooray! a house

This interactive piano bar is the highlight of many visits to the Gaslamp. The nightly show shows two pianists go head-to-head at grand pianos, as they compete for the most musical pleasure. Song, sing, and dance requests are encouraged, and food and drinks are available during the performance.

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