I had a chance today, after my meetings ended, to explore San Diego's famed Gaslamp Quarter, a 16-block neighborhood with personality to spare. The area was first developed in the 1860s. While the architecture resembles some of the East Coast cities that were built-up during the same timeframe, the atmosphere is strictly Californian. It's like M Street in Washington with a sense of humor.
From the start, the Gaslamp Quarter attracted an eclectic crowd. Wyatt Earp opened three gambling halls here shortly after winning the Battle at O.K. Corral. As the years went by, the area went downhill until, by the 1960's, it was known primarily as a "Sailor's Entertainment District." It wasn't until 1982 that the city mounted a serious effort to clean it up, though I'm happy to say the neighborhood is still true to its roots. Today, you can have dinner at The Gaslamp Strip Club: A Steak Place, then swing by The Tipsy Crow for a drink or two. My personal favorite is Croce's, a restaurant and jazz bar opened by Jim Croce's widow, Ingrid. I tried to order Time in a Bottle, but it wasn't on the menu ...!