The area where we stayed for the first few days in San Diego wasn't near the beach, but instead right in the downtown area. The area specifically was called the "Gas Lamp" area, - though I'm not quite sure why. Probably because of all the old fashioned lamp posts lining the street, which maybe were once lit by gas. It was an area full of old theatres, nice little restaurants and cute, quirky cafes. There was a shopping area right in the middle of it too, where we spent some time - in the lovely outdoor mall!