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

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San Diego, United States

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up to 24 hours in advance
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icon2 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


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
Hotel pickup and drop off
209 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Return Details

Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
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.

Expect to walk at an easy pace, stopping frequently to try various dishes at up to five eateries with enough samples to make up a full meal. Some of the places that you might visit include: Tin Fish, Meze Café and Grill, Bolillo Tortas, Rock Bottom, Heavenly Cupcake, El Pulpo, Cremolose, Bare Back Bar and Grill, and the Melting Pot.

Please note: restaurants may change and are subject to availability.
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*. *Restaurants are not guaranteed and are subject to availability. Tours may include stops at Meze Greek Fusion, Patron's Corner, Ciro's Pizzeria, The Field, El Pulpo, Le Parfait and CrunchTime
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 Tours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • 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.

Traveler Photos


232 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 232 reviews
A good time
, Feb 2020
Ben did an awesome job educating and entertaining our group. The fun and drink choices were excellent.
Below average
, Feb 2020
We were looking for unique experience and our guide made efforts to entertain us, but food was below average and far away from unique San Diego signature food. Just wasting of money.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Hi there. I'm sorry you didn't find this tour up to par with your expectations. The idea of the tour is to introduce you to the history of the Gaslamp Quarter while sampling food at a few of the local venues. San Diego is a melting pot of foods from around the world, and while we do have stories for every dish we serve, they might not be specific to the area. I'm sorry there was that misunderstanding.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Fun and interesting
, Feb 2020
What a fun afternoon- a little history, great bites, and some fun beverages! Dana was a great leader with interesting stories.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
So happy you had a great time with Dana! Thanks for the review. -Bianca
San Diego Old Town Food Tour
, Jan 2020
Our original food tour of The Gas Lamp District was cancelled so we were re-booked on the Old Town Food Tour, which we really enjoyed. Angela is a wonderful tour guide. We enjoyed her enthusiasm and knowledge of the area. The food tastings were pretty good and we enjoyed the variety of restaurants we visited. My only disappointment was for the dessert. Our dessert was rootbeer floats. The ice cream was so frozen that it was hard to get to it with the plastic spoons. And, I would have preferred a pastry, cake or perhaps a churro instead of ice cream.
icon Response from Host , Jan 2020
It was nice to hear about your experience with Angela. We appreciate you being flexible on switching tours. I'm sorry you didn't like the floats. We will keep this in mind. Our churro stop recently closed, so we are bummed about that. Thank you for the feedback! -Bianca
Loved the Factoids and Magic
, Jan 2020
Dana was very knowledgeable about the seedy history of San Diego. She gets 5 stars hands down. But the pizza place (Ciro’s) that was substituted for another spot, was crappy. They were rude, had mediocre pizza, but served an excellent local brew. But back to our guide...her personality was delightful and her patience was appreciated. And the coup de grace was Dana’s magic tricks. Awesome bonus!!!
Very fun night
Dianna F
, Jan 2020
Stephan was a great tour guide. We enjoyed the food and his very animated stories! We learned a bit about the city.
Good intro to SD
, Jan 2020
We took the 11am Friday tour. Our guide, Kirk, was entertaining, engaging, and informative. There were 4 stops, 3 of which also provided adult beverages. A fun way to learn about the history of San Diego and the Gaslamp District. Would absolutely take this tour again.
icon Response from Host , Jan 2020
This is an awesome review, and we couldn't be more grateful to you for joining us on our tour! Thank you!!! -Bianca
A day in the Gas Lamp District
, Oct 2019
I which the young lady were more knowledgeable about the area and given us more history, The food items were not all that great.
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
It's a bummer to find that you were not satisfied with your tour. Will you please tell me which day you came so that I have an idea of what restaurants you went to and who your guide was?
Brothels, Bites & Boose Food Tour San Diego
, Oct 2019
What a great food tour. We have go on this type of tour many times in other states. This was one of the best tours yet. The guide was so informative and gave us a great history lesson on San Diego up to its present revitalization. The food was fabulous and, as a person who does not eat meat, I was given the option for a vegan version of the offered dish at each stop. It was unusually hot weather and our guide made sure we were on the shady side of the street or in an air conditioned building. Very thoughtful of her. I would recommend this tour for everyone. Yes, there is walking involved but if I could do it anyone could!
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
Thank you for the awesome review! Looks like you came on both the Brothels, etc and Tequila, etc tours with us. We are so happy to know you had such a great time on both of them. We are beaming over here! :) Enjoy the rest of your time in San Diego.
Wonderful guide and food samplings along with great information about history of San Diego . We enjoyed gyros taco marga
, Oct 2019
Great food and beverage choices gyros tacos pizza and ice cream. Interesting overview of historical gas lamp district in San Diego
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
Thank you for joining us on tour! We appreciate the love on Tripadvisor, and hope you had a great time in the Gaslamp after the tour! -Bianca

Product code: 5356BBB

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