Open House San Diego is happening this weekend on March 23rd and 24th! This free event celebrates the best of our city’s architecture by offering behind-the-scenes access to 40+ iconic sites. Each one contributes in a unique way to the fabric of our city, with architectural, historic or cultural value. Some will offer scheduled talks and guided tours on a first-come, first-served basis. Others will require reservations. Check out below for a list of locations in the Gaslamp Quarter!
For more information, please visit Open House San Diego.
THE US GRANT HOTEL
Harrison Albright, 1910 / Renovation, 2017
SUN 10AM – 1PM / Self-guided tour
Built by the son of 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, this hotel is a treasured historic landmark. Designed to crown San Diego’s ‘City Beautiful’ movement, the architect combined several classical architectural styles and employed the use of steel and reinforced concrete as a fire and earthquake–proof frame. The regal surroundings highlight the hotel’s presidential legacy and the heritage of the current owners, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. The hotel’s rich history includes stays by 15 US presidents, Charles Lindbergh, and Albert Einstein.
SAN DIEGO CHINESE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
404 Third Avenue
Louis Gill, 1927 / Joseph Wong, 1996
SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM / Self-guided tour
This Mission Revival style building served as the home of the Chinese Community Church of San Diego’s Chinatown for many decades. When it was slated for demolition in the 1990s, the community rallied together and saved the building. It was relocated to its current site and converted into a museum exploring San Diego’s rich Chinese history. Visitors may also enjoy the serene Chinese–style garden with its traditional entry gate, waterfall and koi pond.
GASLAMP MUSEUM AT THE DAVIS-HORTON HOUSE
410 Island Avenue
SAT & SUN 12PM – 4 PM / Self-guided tour
The Davis–Horton House is the oldest building in downtown San Diego. Home to two of the founding fathers of modern San Diego, William Heath Davis and Alonzo Horton, this pre–fabricated saltbox house was originally shipped all the way from Portland, Maine. It was relocated to its current site in 1981 and restoration began, including electricity being installed for the first time in 1984. Today, the museum showcases San Diego’s early history and is thought to be haunted by a former resident.
530 Sixth Avenue
Built 1924 / Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells, 2015
SAT & SUN 11AM – 4PM / Self-guided tour
Now a contemporary art gallery, this site was originally the historic Sterling Hardware Building. Over the years, it functioned as a vaudeville theater, carriage repair shop, and glass works. The brick and timber structure was thoughtfully re-purposed and modernized while remaining true to the vintage feel of the space. The original maple floorboards and brick walls were restored and a steel-framed mezzanine, inspired by traditional exterior fire escapes, was added.
ROESLING NAKAMURA TERADA ARCHITECT
363 Fifth Avenue, Suite 202
SAT 1PM – 4PM / Self-guided tour
The historic Brunswig Drug Company building is home to this contemporary architectural firm. Originally built as a two-story warehouse, a third story was added during renovations following a devastating fire. Though remodeled, the interior still features original exposed brick and structural elements.
GASLAMP ARCHITECTURAL WALKING TOUR
900 Fourth Avenue
SUN 1PM / Reservation required / Meet at Broadway Fountain in Horton Plaza Park
Professor at New School of Architecture and former San Diego City Architect, Mike Stepner will bring to life the history and architecture of the Gaslamp Quarter. Mike’s tour includes significant structures of the period including Old City Hall (1874) and the Baroque Revival Louis Bank of Commerce (1888).