The 22nd Taste of Gaslamp, happening on Sunday, June 26, has it all: art, culture, history and most importantly - fantastic food. With more than 40 restaurants offering samples and only three hours to visit them, plus live music, artist demonstrations, museum tours and boutiques to check out, you're going to need some serious strategy to get the most out of your day.
Here are some time-tested insider tips:
The 6th & K Parkade and Park-It-On-Market paid lots are just a few blocks from Pocket Park, where you'll check in to get your Taste of Gaslamp passport. But if you'd rather not drive and park downtown, use a ride share service or take the Green Line on the Trolley to the Gaslamp Quarter stop.
The event starts at 1 p.m., but plan on getting to the check-in booth at Pocket Park (410 Island Ave.) by noon or 12:30. Check-in will go much faster if you print out your ticket (not just the confirmation email) in advance, and getting there early will give you time to pore over the map and decide on a "foodie game plan" so you can get to all your "can't miss" spots.
Pocket Park is roughly on the southern edge of Taste of Gaslamp, and many attendees will want to start tasting as soon as they check in - so the closest restaurants, such as Bice and Dick's Last Resort - will get swarmed with lines right away. Your ticket includes free rides on the Old Town Trolley, which will be running on a special loop for Taste of Gaslamp. Take it north to Fifth Avenue and Broadway and taste your way south to help avoid crowds.
Plan in advance
A map of all the participating restaurants, museums, galleries and boutiques will be posted at TasteofGaslamp.com. Use this to create a "plan of attack" before you go - maybe you'll want to try all the restaurants you haven't visited yet and circle back to old favorites at the end.
Yes, you can use the trolley, but it's a walking tour. Wear comfortable shoes, and if you plan on staying in the Gaslamp after the event ends, wear layers (loose ones in case you need to hide a food baby after all the samples).
Use your passport
In addition to being your "ticket" to get samples, your Taste of Gaslamp passport will have a "tasting notes" section so you can note your favorite samples and the restaurants, galleries and boutiques you want to visit again.
Super pro tip: Go VIP
This is the first year the Gaslamp Quarter Association will offer VIP tickets for Taste of Gaslamp ? for those who really want to get the most from the day. In addition to the three hours of tasting, VIPs get exclusive additional tastings from 4 to 7 p.m., including unlimited beer and wine tasting at some locations. They'll also get a travel tote with coupons and promotional items from Gaslamp businesses and access to live artist demonstrations and museum tours.
For more information about Taste of Gaslamp, read DiscoverSD's event story, here.