Taste event expands to include historical tours
By Kai Oliver-Kurtin
Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend the 22nd annual “Taste of Gaslamp” — San Diego’s original neighborhood taste event — June 26, from 1 – 4 p.m.
New this year, guests can upgrade to a VIP ticket for additional tour stops including museums, galleries and hotels.
After taking a hiatus last year while transitioning between executive directors, the Gaslamp Quarter Association (GQA) holds the Taste of Gaslamp event as a fundraiser to support the business improvement district. The nonprofit represents more than 400 businesses within the Gaslamp Quarter.
“We’re making sure people get a taste of the entire Gaslamp — not just the restaurants,” said Erin Liddell, GQA’s marketing and communications manager. “We’re excited because patrons will also get a tour of historic museums, deals on retail, and special exhibits and shows at galleries.”
More than 40 restaurants are participating in the event, including some of the district’s newest eateries: Biga, Cajun Kitchen, Pipirins and Ramen Yamadaya. Check-in for the self-guided walking tour will be at Pocket Park (410 Island Ave.), where guests will receive a tasting passport and map of participating businesses.
Old Town Trolley will assist with transportation during the event, including three stops each along Fourth and Fifth avenues. Liddell recommends taking an alternate method of transportation Downtown and getting to the event early to check-in and maximize tasting time.
“We’ll have a map on the GQA’s website so guests can pre-plan their route, but it would be wise to take the trolley to some of the further destinations first, to avoid congestion,” Liddell said. “Guests can purchase tickets online beforehand to save time, should wear comfy shoes and bring a group of friends.”
For the first time in the event’s history, VIP tickets are available for guests who want an expanded behind-the-scenes tour of the Gaslamp Quarter.
In addition to getting extended hours for the tasting tour (until 7 p.m.), VIP ticketholders can enjoy beer tastings within various galleries and retail shops, a gin tasting and live music at Horton Grand Hotel, and ghost tours of the William Heath Davis House Museum. These extra concessions can also be purchased during the event for general admission ticketholders.
“We want people to know we’re the historic heart of San Diego,” Liddell said. “The Gaslamp is not only a place to dine and go for entertainment, but we have so many incredible galleries and museums.
“We want people to come back here,” she continued. “In the tasting passport, there’s a notes page so people can make notes for their next trip to the Gaslamp. By visiting these places, you reveal some secret stories about their history.”
Proceeds from the Taste of Gaslamp help with GQA’s maintenance efforts within the historic district, planned district ordinances, and for marketing Gaslamp businesses.
General admission tickets are available in advance for $30 ($40 day of) and VIP tickets are $75 ($85 day of). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tasteofgaslamp.com.