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Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past

star-4.5363 Reviews
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Badge of Excellence
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San Diego, United States
Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past

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Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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icon2 hours 30 minutes  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

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Overview

Explore the best eats in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego on a walking tour with an expert guide who shares the inside scoop on the district's hopping restaurant and bar scene. Sample delicious dishes at several eateries, sip drinks, and learn about the history of the district as you discover its latest incarnation as a top nightlife destination. Colorful stories shared by your guide make the history of San Diego come to life on this 2.5-hour tour.
  • 2.5-hour food and walking tour of the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
  • Discover the seedy history of the Gaslamp Quarter
  • Enjoy food samples at four restaurants
  • Sample drinks at three stops
  • See where the early 'women of the night' worked
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Food tasting
Drink samples
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off
209 Fifth Ave , 209 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

We meet guests under the Gaslamp Quarter Sign on the Hard Rock Hotel side of the street (209 5th Avenue)

Gaslamp Quarter , Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

The tour will end at the last stop somewhere in the Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood.

After meeting your guide in the Gaslamp Quarter, set out on your food and walking tour of this vibrant nightlife district, which covers 16 square blocks in the the historic heart of San Diego.

Your guide outlines the scope of the impressive local restaurant and bar scene, and takes you into top eateries to taste their delicious fare. As you stroll at a leisurely pace, pass some of the 150 bars and restaurant, and 94 registered historic buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter. Hear about the origins of this neighborhood, including its notoriety for its red light district when San Diego started out, and illegal booze-running during Prohibition. The area has undergone significant renewal in the past two decades after falling into disrepair in the mid-1900s.

Please note: restaurants may change and are subject to availability.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Gaslamp Quarter
Often called the Historic Heart of San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter is the main dining and entertainment district of the city. With more than 150 bars and restaurants and 94 registered historic buildings, this nightlife playground has a lot to see and do, as well as a fascinating past. The Brothels, Bites and Booze tour will introduce you to the beginnings of San Diego as a port town – learn why it became one of the more notorious red light districts of its time, and find out how this once-undesired neighborhood became a fun and vibrant nightlife destination for both locals and visitors. After meeting your guide, you’ll embark on a journey of scandalous tales, unique cocktails and local cuisine. On the tour, you’ll make new friends, hear interesting stories, sing karaoke and explore new tastes at local restaurants*.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 18 years
  • There is a minimum of 4 passengers to operate. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there is not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
  • OPERATED BY So Diego, Inc.
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


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Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
363 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 363 reviews
star-5
Tasty Treats of the Gaslamp
Sophia_R
, Aug 2022
Be prepared for a wonderful eating and drinking experience through the Gaslamp Quarter peppered with scandalous stories of the neighborhood's history. Our host Angela was knowledgeable and charming providing us with a great selection of bars, and restaurants during the tour and for the rest of our time in SD.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2022
We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time with Angela - we'll be sure to let her know! Thank you for choosing a local company to give you a taste of what San Diego has to offer!
star-1
Poor
Richard_A
, Aug 2022
Sorry to say but this was a very disappointing tour. If it was a food and drink tour, then both were substandard (ice-cream excepted) - and no “life” was brought to what ought to have been a fascinating historical area. Can’t recommend in any way.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2022
We are disappointed that you did not see the value in taking one of our tours. Aparna is a guest favorite and wonderful storyteller and typically gets 5* reviews so we are bummed you did not enjoy your time with her. By no means is this a gourmet food tour, but we offer fun and tasty items at each restaurant that are unique to the venues. On your tour, you should have tasted a Greek quesadilla paired with Greek sangria, house-made sausage flatbread with local beer taster, and California fries with carne asada and a margarita, and then a large ice cream sandwich. We are sorry that this was not to your liking but appreciate you giving us a try.
star-2
Poor value
Noah_G
, Jul 2022
Minimal food and drink. Lower quality than expected especially considering the cost. Tour was not incredibly exciting
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
It's a bummer to see that you did not see the value in our tour. We really try to create memorable and insightful experiences throughout San Diego. On your tour, you should have tasted a Greek quesadilla paired with Greek sangria, house-made sausage flatbread with local beer taster, and California fries with carne asada and a margarita, and then a large ice cream sandwich. By no means is this a gourmet food tour, but we offer fun and tasty items at each restaurant that are unique to the venues. The contents of the tour are all written out in pages and pages of scripts for our guides to follow, so I'm sorry that you felt that the guide fell short of sharing interesting stories. I'll chat with him about that, and make sure he's reading and studying before each tour. Thanks for giving us a try.
star-5
The food was really good....
Victor_P
, Jul 2022
The food was really good. The information we received while walking around the city was awesome as well.
icon Response from Host , Jul 2022
Great feedback! Thank you for joining us!
star-5
Tasty food and yummy...
melissa_f
, Jun 2022
Tasty food and yummy drinks with an informative history of the Gaslamp district. Our tour guide Angela was great! 👍😊
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thanks for joining us! We love Angela! Her sweet and fun personality make her an amazing host.
star-5
Great experience!! Highly recommend!!
Jesse_R
, Jun 2022
Our tour guide was awesome! Lots of walking, all of the food and drinks were amazing! Would highly recommend! For couples or groups.
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thank you for joining us!
star-5
Our tour guide was...
Michele_B
, Jun 2022
Our tour guide was amazing. This was a fun experience! Great people as well. Would totally do a tour like this again
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thank you so much for coming along!
star-5
Interesting and enjoyable experience
Geraldine_P
, Jun 2022
Our host Marissa was very informative, friendly and patient. The tour involves visiting 3 unique restaurants to sample their signature dishes and beverages (alcoholic) and finished with a visit to a gelateria.
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thank you so much for joining us! It's great to hear that Marissa did a great job! She's one of the newest members, and we've been training with her! :)
star-5
I really enjoyed getting...
Jackson_H
, Jun 2022
I really enjoyed getting to try so many restaurants that I would not otherwise have tried. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the many restaurants in the area, as well as about the brothels. 😋
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thanks for the great feedback!
star-5
Celebration for sassy sexy sis
Sheree_M
, May 2022
Friendly, informative, respectful Kurt our guide was fantastic! Plenty to eat and drink. History was so interesting
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Thank you so much for joining!
star-5
Gas Lamp tour enjoyed more than Ghosts and Graves
Debbie_P
, May 2022
tour conductor was very personable and knowledgeable. she saw that we were all engaged and food was amazing. Loved the ice cream that's not ice cream at the end.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Thank you for joining us! Happy to find that you had a great time.
star-5
A fun-filled “delicious” evening
Patricia_U
, May 2022
The tour was a highlight of our San Diego trip. Our tour guide, Angela (in photo) was enthusiastic and fun. She shared fascinating historical facts, stories and trivia tidbits that made the time fly by. We enjoyed the food and drink samples. The Horchata flavored ice cream and food at Meze were favorites! Thank you!
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Glad to find you had a great time with Angela! Thank you for joining us! :)
star-5
Tummy and brain were satisfied!
Jane_T
, May 2022
Food and drinks were great! History info about the area was very interesting! We had a great time. I would recommend.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Thank you!
star-3
Great tour…okay food and cocktails
Marie_L
, May 2022
Our tour guide had great stories about the history of the area. I loved her sense of humor. The food and atmosphere at the Greek restaurant was excellent. My husband and son really enjoyed the beer tasting and specialty hot dog at the second stop. The fish tacos at the third stop were just okay and they offered another beer. I was disappointed that two stops offered beer which I don’t drink. The ice cream at the end was delicious. The tour gave us a great overview of the Gaslamp District. We will definitely be back!!
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
We are so happy that you enjoyed your tour and guide and that most of the stops were enjoyable to you. We understand that beer isn't for everyone and we have been working to change up our routes so that there is only one stops with beer. The locations that we are currently working with that do serve beer are all local breweries which is a big part of the San Diego Food and Beverage scene. We hope that you will join us again in the future on one of our other tours for some tasty offerings that do not include beer.
star-2
The first stop was ok,...
Robert_S
, May 2022
The first stop was ok, the beverages at all places were not what we expected, very small shot glass size, the historical part was very poor, only food stop worth while at all was the first, way over priced for what it was
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Thank you for your feedback. We will take these suggestions, and work on making this a better experience for all. I'm sorry you didn't see the tour as a valuable experience.
star-5
Great to experience San...
Liz_G
, May 2022
Great to experience San Diego’s history while eating great food and having delicious drinks. Loved meeting a few new people and sharing this experience with them.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
We love to hear that our guests have a great time with the other guests on tour! Thanks for your positive feedback.
star-5
History, food and meeting...
Jeri_M
, May 2022
History, food and meeting new people. Tour guide was very knowledgeable and very friendly. The food and drinks were excellent
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Thank you for joining us, and for the great review!
star-4
History Tour
Adrianne_S
, Apr 2022
The tour was very informative but I would say more of a general area history lesson than scandalous brothel tour. While all the bites were excellent, none of the food tied into the brothel theme nor was it even discussed. Overall we had fun and enjoyed it.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Thank you so much for coming along on our tour and for the feedback. The tour should have quite a bit of scandalous history shared, so we will check in with our guides about that. Unfortunately, since the Gaslamp restaurants are constantly revolving, there aren't too many that represent the brothel/scandalous era. We try to work with restaurants that are local to the area, and each one has its own story. Happy to find you had a great time!
star-5
Stefan was personable.....
debbie_M
, Apr 2022
Stefan was personable.. let us take our time. Met some wonderful Canadiens and shared a joyous night
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Thanks for joining us on tour, and for writing a great review! I'm happy to find you had a great time!
star-3
Your was So so … need...
Anonymous
, Apr 2022
Your was So so … need more story / history / food was nice.and enjoyed meeting people from all over.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Thank you for the feedback. There is quite a bit of history in the Gaslamp, and I'm sorry our guide fell short in his/her storytelling. We will relay the feedback to the team.

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