San Diego's Historic Sights & Scenery

William Heath Davis House
Visitors to the Gaslamp District of San Diego should begin their trip at the William Heath Davis House, home to the Gaslamp Museum. The oldest structure in the district, this salt box style building was originally erected on the east coast. In 1850, Davis, who had purchased land in San Diego with hopes of establishing a community closer to the waterfront, had the home shipped there. Although the exterior seems out of place among the numerous architectural structures in the area, each interior room represents a different time period. Walking tours of the entire Gaslamp District also begin here.

National Register of Historic Places
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Gaslamp District encompasses more than 16 blocks, and contains many historic buildings. The architecture is what sets the Gaslamp District apart from the rest of San Diego. For instance, the four-story Louis Bank of Commerce building was erected in 1888. The baroque revival architecture, with its rising towers, is made of granite. The Keating Building is an example of Romanesque architecture, and houses the oldest steam-powered elevator in the city. One of the earliest brick buildings erected, the Yuma Building, was developed by a riverboat captain named Wilcox. In the late 1800s, this section of town was infamous for its gambling halls and brothels and was known as the Stingaree. During a raid in the early 1900s, the popular brothel in the Yuma Building became the first to be shut down.

When a meeting of community leaders convened in 1974 to discuss revitalizing the area, a decision was made to retain the Victorian style buildings and restore them accordingly. Fourteen years after this undertaking, an archway containing a sign, as well as various types of lighting, was erected. This entrance to what would become the entertainment and shopping hub of San Diego was dedicated in 1989, and serves as a tribute to the redevelopment effort.

USS Midway Museum
Close to the Gaslamp District, along the waterfront, is the USS Midway Museum. Filled with interactive exhibits, this aircraft carrier was the longest-serving Navy vessel to date. Planes from different wartime periods are displayed on the deck. There are three types of flight simulators as well, providing visitors an opportunity to experience what actual flight maneuvers are like. 

As exciting as the Gaslamp District is, visitors should not miss the breathtakingly scenic beaches of San Diego and neighboring La Jolla, known as the Jewel. Miles of sand and rocky cliffs shimmer in the sun, as surfers try to catch the perfect wave.