Horton Grand History

Ghosts, Ghouls and The Gaslamp This Halloween Season

davis-horton houseThe spookiest time of the year is rapidly approaching, and the Gaslamp Quarter is making ample preparations. One of the most historical areas of San Diego, chilling tales, haunted buildings, and eerie folklore are not too difficult to come by in the Gaslamp.

It just so happens that the oldest building in the entire Gaslamp, the Davis-Horton house, located on Island Avenue, is known to be a ghost-hunter’s dream come true. Convinced there’s been paranormal activity, paranormal research teams flock to the house each halloween to try and prove it to brave witnesses.

horton halloween collageLooking For a Fright….?

Enough about that, don’t want to frighten you out of the Gaslamp… or do we? Whatever your level of fright may be, there’s a Gaslamp halloween event for you. For the partiers, the Monster Bash will make dreams come true. For those who love fake frights, the Haunted Hotel never disappoints. For those who get a thrill from potentially, very real, frights, you must go on a paranormal investigation tour with none other than the San Diego ghost hunters.

Stay Close Together, Or Risk Being Alone When the Ghosts Arrive

Celebrating the spooky season is always tons of fun, no matter what the activities are. Being spooked in real, or fictitious, haunted houses is great for some, and for others, carving pumpkins and eating candy corn is the preferred method of celebrating. This year, we recommend throwing your very own ghastly ghoul extravaganza… or whatever you’d like to call it! What better way to incorporate your friends and family’s favorite halloween activities than providing it all in one space!

Horton Grand HotelThe Gaslamp is teeming with historical spaces ripe for the most spectacular halloween bash. There’s quite the plethora of San Diego Historic buildings, but the Horton Grand Hotel, a San Diego Historic Hotel, takes the cake for the classiest venue. Just in time for the spooktacular season, the elegant hotel is offering… package deal??? 


Horton Happenings :: Event Extravaganza July 2015

tonight in san diego logoTonight in San Diego
: July 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th we have our Tonight in San Diego talk show live tappings. Find all the details regarding guests, show times etc. here.

Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon by James McLure: Limited dates: Friday July 17th 8:00pm – Saturday July 18th 8:00pm AND Sunday July 19th 2:00pm – Sunday July 19th 6:00pm. Tickets available here.

San Diego County Fair: June 5-July 5. San Diego’s largest annual event becomes “A Fair to Remember: A Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Park” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition, and features car shows, animals, games, exhibits, carnival rides, arts and crafts, food vendors and concerts. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 858.755.1161. Fair ticket information and more here.

san diego comic conSan Diego Comic Con: Comic-Con International: San Diego returns to the San Diego Convention Center in 2015, beginning with Preview Night on Wednesday, July 8 with the four days of the event running Thursday, July 9 through Sunday, July 12. 2015 marks the 46th year for the show, making it the country’s longest continuously-run comics and popular arts convention. Find out about all the action here.

The San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) – Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed: theNAT welcomes guests to explore ancient Maya. Their newest exhibition Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed opened on June 12 and will run until January 3, 2016. The exhibit showcases hands-on activities, immersive environments, large-scale replica monuments, bilingual text panels and more than 200 authentic Mayan artifacts. 1788 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.232.3821. More information here.

Night Flight: Every Thursday night through Labor day, visitors can catch a free performance from pro flowboarders at Belmont Park’s WaveHouse. The Night Flights start after sunset with a backdrop of bright neon lights. Viewers can enjoy drink specials and adrenaline fueled entertainment. 3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach, 858.228.9283. Find out what else is going on at Belmont Park here. 

Little Italy Summer Film Festival: June 27-Sep. 5. Starting Saturday, Little Italy kicks off its weekly tradition of showcasing an Italian film at the Amici Park Amphitheater. On June 27, guests will enjoy We have a Pope about horton musiciansa man’s confrontation with the great responsibilities of the papacy in the Vatican. English subtitles. 8 p.m. $5/pp. W. Date & State Streets, Little Italy, 619.233.3898. Find out more information here. 

The Palace Bar: Whether you’re closing a business deal in the early hours of the day, looking for a drink after work or looking for a night on the town, the Palace Bar provides the perfect location to unwind. Join us on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings for live and local entertainment. Below is our musician lineup for the month of July 2015. To find out more or listen to music samples from each musician, click on the artist name below.

Thursday, July 2, 2015 Lele Rose
Friday, July 3, 2015 Jimmy Dean/Phil Diorio
Saturday, July 4, 2015 Jimmy Dean/Phil Diorio
Thursday, July 9, 2015 Lele Rose
Friday, July 10, 2015 Ryan Brolliar
Saturday, July 11, 2015 Joseph Luna
Thursday, July 16, 2015 Kenny Beaumont
Friday, July 17, 2015 Joseph Luna
Saturday, July 18, 2015 Sophisticados
Thursday, July 23, 2015 Lele Rose
Friday, July 24, 2015 Ryan Brolliar
Saturday, July 25, 2015 Sophisticados
Thursday, July 30, 2015 Kenny Beaumont
Friday, July 31, 2015 Joseph Luna

Share an Experience with the Likes of Cowboys, Outlaws and Mad Men

Palace Bar Horton Grand Hotel Whiskey is woven deep within the American tapestry. Venture into nearly any decade within the late 1800s and early 1900s, and there’s at least a subset of the population very attached to whiskey. Whether it be the American Wild West with whiskey slugging cowboys, businessmen in the early 1900s sipping scotch, or the 1960s Mad Men getting sloshed at the office, whiskey has been the drink of choice for many a time.

Oh, and in the middle of all that there were the dark ages of prohibition, from which moonshine was born.

Now we’ve arrived to modern times. It’s 2015 and a whiskey revival is upon us. Whiskey didn’t die, prohibition didn’t happen again, but even so, whiskey seemed to fade out of the limelight for a while. Now it’s back, and better than ever with a whole new culture. A culture that’s an homage to all the epic periods of history whiskey has been a witness to.

Palace Bar Horton Grand Hotel Finding an establishment to enjoy the luxurious liquid can be challenging, for it’s not every bar that understands the art of the whiskey experience. Whiskey can be best enjoyed surrounded by lavish furnishings, sparkling glasses, and served by a top-notch bartender.

For that, you’ll need to saunter into the Palace Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel. The Palace Bar is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets for drinkers of any type, but especially whiskey admirers. Offering a seemingly endless array of whiskeys, you would be hard pressed to request a whiskey the bar doesn’t have. Causing even more interest – the hotel it’s attached to is drenched in San Diego’s most interesting, and even seedy, history.

If you’re lucky, the exquisite bartender, Danielle Lovette, will not only pour you a drink, but she may even tell you Horton-grand-Danielleher startling ghost story while you sip. Having traveled all over the U.S., and worked in a wide variety of restaurants and bars, Danielle is a wealth of knowledge regarding whiskey and the proper ways to present, and enjoy it.

If you’re a whiskey connoisseur already, or a burgeoning one, a trip to the Palace Bar is just what the doctor ordered. Enthrall your taste buds with sensational whiskey. Excite your imagination with historical surroundings and tales of the Stingaree and ghosts. Feel a connection as you drink alongside other whiskey enthusiasts. All the while prepare to be impressed by the unmatched skills of the Palace Bar’s finest bartender. Oh, and do all of this while listening to live music, each and every weekend. Who says you can’t have it all?

This Iconic San Diego Hotel was Once Home to Infamous Wyatt Earp

Horton Grand Hotel A fearless lawman, the deadliest man in the Old West, a lawman and an outlaw, a murderer, a gambler, a pimp. Wyatt Earp was all of those things and more. Since his day, there have been films, TV shows, and books made about him, yet he still remains a fairly mysterious historical character. One thing’s for sure, though, Wyatt Earp lived a colorfully dangerous life during an iconic time in U.S. history.

Mostly infamous for two main events in his life – his handling of the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey fight and the O.K. Corral gunfight, what’s slightly less well-known is that he, and his wife Josephine, spent quite a few years living and working in San Diego.

Horton Grand Hotel Oh yes, Earp, always one on the lookout for the next big money maker, headed to San Diego around 1887 after hearing of the new railroad that was to be built, and the likely real estate boom it would bring with it.

So after traversing throughout the Midwest, San Francisco, and San Bernardino, Earp moved to San Diego and began immersing himself in the colorful Stingaree lifestyle.

The Stingaree, as it was called back then, was block after block of saloons, gambling halls, and brothels. Except, Earp was very intelligent, and instead of opening up his gambling halls and saloons within the Stingaree, he opened them up in the respectable part of town. Earp, by this point in his life, was quite the gambler, and it’s said that on a good night, one of his gambling halls made up to $1,000 a night in profits.

Horton Grand Hotel Eventually Earp opened up the Oyster Bar, which became a very popular saloon within the Stingaree, mostly because the infamous Golden Poppy brothel was upstairs. The Golden Poppy, owned by the clever Madam Cora, offered many rooms, each painted a different color with each prostitute dressed in matching attire.

Never one for boredom, Earp also began to try his hand in boxing and horse racing. Always an adventurer, he referred boxing matches both within San Diego, and Tijuana. Sadly the exciting real estate boom in San Diego wasn’t to last, and around 1890 the population within the city had fallen drastically.

Always one to abandon a sinking ship, Earp departed San Diego to begin anew in the next boom town. His legacy lives on, though, especially at the Horton Grand Hotel, where he lived with his wife the entire time they resided in San Diego.

To learn more about the notorious Earp, venture to the Horton Grand Hotel any day of the week and see firsthand what his life may have been like. Take a walk through the streets of the Gaslamp and envision the colorful ladies of the Golden Poppy. Eventually you may even make your way over to the Tivoli Bar, where it’s rumored Earp was a regular.

While Earp lived in San Diego it was a riveting time in America’s Finest City, and the Horton Grand Hotel was home to quite a few fascinating characters, and a witness to the shady events that took place.

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Some Things Get Better With Age. A Spirited Revival has Begun

Palace Bar Horton Grand Hotel Fermented grain mash. That doesn’t sound remotely appetizing, but those three little words actually create an entire world, lifestyle even, around a delicious liquid. A liquid that has been celebrated, prohibited, and revitalized over the course of history. We’re talking whisky, or whiskey depending on your preference.

It’s commonplace within San Diego to hear about wine and craft beer, but whisky? Oh yes, whisky is quickly becoming the hottest drink around town, and it’s no surprise that whisky bars are popping up all over to accommodate the developing thirst.

Scotch, bourbon, Tennessee, rye, Irish… what’s the difference? With whisky popping up all over the place, it’s a good idea to know some basic facts about the differences among whisky’s. That way, next time you order a drink, you won’t have to pretend like you know what you’re talking about, you’ll be a whisky pro.

Scotch is simple whisky produced 100% in Scotland, from malted barley.

Bourbon is made from a grain mixture, with at least 51% from corn, and must be made in the U.S.

Tennessee, if you can’t already guess, is a bourbon that must be made in the state of Tennessee. What makes Tennessee so special? Not sure, except they make excellent whisky.

Rye, is made with rye, but the Canadians, who were the first to make the stuff, didn’t set particular rules about it, so there are few regulations. In the U.S., it must have at least 51% rye in it.

Irish whisky is produced in Ireland, but other than that has no real rules concerning its development, so there’s much diversity among the drink.

Palace Bar at Horton Grand Hotel Fantastic, now you’re acquainted with the types, but are you acquainted with the culture? Of course, you could drink whisky wearing whatever you want, in any type of glass, anywhere, but that’s like saying you’re going to drink wine in a mug, while eating pizza in a junkyard. It’s possible, but it doesn’t quite honor the experience the way you could.

Tweed coats, lace gloves, pressed pants, crisp dresses, are among some suggestions for attire. Of course this isn’t the roaring ‘20s anymore, but still, classy is always an elegant choice.

It’s imperative to note, that whisky is not for chugging. Rather, whisky is for leisurely sipping. One’s intention should be to savor each flavor, the way the craftsmen intended. It’s up to you if you prefer to drink your whisky neat, meaning no ice, on the rocks – with ice, or mixed with other liquids. It’s always fun to drink whisky with a whisky stone, basically just one large ice cube that keeps the drink nice and cool, without watering it down due to melting quickly.

That’s quite enough information to get you started, now you just have to pick out a place to go enjoy some whisky.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough,” well said, Mark Twain.

Well, good thing there’s a never-ending supply of not only good, but excellent, whisky at the Palace Bar. It’s only fitting that the romantically historical Horton Grand Hotel, where the Palace Bar resides, should house a bar befitting its class and style. To go along with the classical ambiance and satisfying drinks, there’s also live music to be enjoyed every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 7-10 p.m. at the Palace Bar. Grab your cigars, don your favorite whisky attire, and join us any night of the week for the ultimate whisky experience.

Ida Bailey: The Most Infamous Madame of the Stingaree

Historic Stingaree District Strolling through the streets of the Gaslamp today, you’ll experience exquisite dining, gorgeous shops, spectacular hotels, and fitness studios. Travel back in time to those same streets about 115 years ago, and quite a different experience you will have.

Welcome to the Stingaree in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What is known today as the Gaslamp District, was the Stingaree, the red light district, back then. You’re much more likely to get “stung” here, in the Stingaree, than by an actual stingray in the Pacific. You’ve now entered the realm of the gamblers, thieves, and prostitutes. Around each corner is an opportunist looking to make easy prey of you.

Throughout this time there were many well-known law-breakers, outlaws, swindlers and more, but none were as infamous as Madame Ida Bailey. Feisty, red-haired, Ida Bailey was the Madame of a pale-yellow cottage, dubbed the Canary Cottage, at 530 Fourth Street.

Prostitutes at this time were plentiful, but Ida Bailey and her ladies were the aristocracy of the Stingaree. These women dressed as if they were going to an opera every evening. They spoke with sophistication and class, and had parlor conversations with their “gentlemen callers.”

The “fat cats” as they were called, the wealthy, well-known business men of San Diego at that time, were Ida Bailey’s most frequent customers. Being frequented by wealthy and powerful men is what enabled the success and continuation of the Canary Cottage for so long.

Another factor in Ida Bailey’s success was her knack for marketing at the time. She would hire a carriage every Sunday, and take her girls for a drive through residential San Diego. This drive horrified and enraged the decent housewives, but the men thought it was quite entertaining. Some even claim Ida Bailey was the forerunner of outdoor advertising in San Diego.

Raids happened frequently in the Gaslamp, but Ida Bailey was always tipped off in advance. Both the Mayor and the Chief of Police were frequent customers of the Canary Cottage, so it’s no wonder Ida Bailey made it through unscathed most of the time.

Horton Grand Hotel As time always proves, no one is indestructible, and eventually, as more and more citizens became upset, the Stingaree began to get shut down. From the mid 1900s all the way up until the 1970s, slowly but surely, the Stingaree began transitioning from the infamous red light district, into the incredible Gaslamp District it is today. We’ll always have the colorful and entertaining stories from the height of the Stingaree, and we can enjoy them while strolling through the lovely streets of the Gaslamp. In fact, if you find yourself strolling past 311 Island Avenue, venture into the Horton Grand Hotel, and learn all about the historic Gaslamp Quarter. You can even eat at Ida Bailey’s restaurant, although food and drinks are the only items available for purchase nowadays.





Stingaree 101: The Gaslamp’s Seedy History

San Diego History From Stingaree to Gaslamp America’s Finest City is a lively, sunny, and successful place, full of hard-working, law-abiding citizens. Some might be surprised to find out that that wasn’t always the case… in fact, the Gaslamp District, San Diego’s gorgeous downtown region, used to go by a very different name, with a very different meaning. Let’s take a trip back to the 1900s, when what is now known as the Gaslamp District, was dubbed the “Stingaree.”

 The area between 1st and 6th avenue, and from H street to the bay, was San Diego’s very own red light district, one that is said to have rivaled the red light district’s of San Francisco and New York. We’re talking saloons, gambling halls, bawdy houses, parlor houses, and more. The reasons this beautiful waterfront region sustained a life of vice are many. A timeline of events might help us put it all into perspective.

 1920s Prohibition – Just like the rest of America at the time, prohibition caused a frenzy of law-breaking behavior. The black market for liquor naturally popped up in the area already known for vice and sin – the infamous Stingaree.

1930s The Great Depression – Take an already troubled neighborhood, and pair it with the Great Depression, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

1930s WWII Preparation – Lots of young servicemen getting ready to go fight for their country, looking to relieve some stress and let off some steam. Business was booming during this time, keeping the debauchery alive and thriving.

1950s Suburbanization – With the expansion of building outside the city center, middle class and wealthy individuals and families flocked away from the dirty and lawless city, to settle down in neighborhoods with peace and quiet, and family values.

Politicians and city officials were known to “look the other way” when it came to the goings-on within the Stingaree, which of course, added to the success of the district. It’s said that the nickname Stingaree was given to the region because visitors would get “stung” by the many vices, the way one can get “stung” by a stingray.

San Diego, From Stingaree to GaslampEventually, in the 1970s, groups of citizens who’d had enough, got together to work on reclaiming and cleaning up the area. Initially it was slow-going, but between combined efforts of concerned citizens and city officials, constant change was underway. Modern day Stingaree is still quite successful… but in an entirely different way! Now known as the Gaslamp District, people flock to the booming waterfront reason to be wined and dined at some of the most fabulous restaurants in the country, to shop at lovely boutiques and malls, to stay at exquisite hotels, and much, much more. The difference between then and now is striking, and the Gaslamp is sure to continue flourishing, and keep on attracting many more visitors each year.




Douse Yourselves in Romance at The Horton Grand Hotel This Valentine’s Season

Vintage style couple with suitcases on train station platformElegant buildings, delicious restaurants, and the Padres are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking of the Gaslamp Quarter. Today the Gaslamp Quarter is a bustling San Diego neighborhood perfect for a girls night out, family gatherings, business meetings and more. Above all else, though, the Gaslamp Quarter oozes romance.


Cities have long been the stage for passions to burst into life and weave their stories. The Horton Grand Hotel, one of the oldest establishments in the Gaslamp Quarter, has existed throughout the many chapters of San Diego history, bearing witness to the comings and goings of love affairs and adventure.


Romantic date in historical residenceThe Horton is a lavish hotel that was built to host important people, such as diplomats, celebrities, and even kings. The hotel was constructed right before San Diego debuted it’s first ever transcontinental railroad in 1885. A railroad that brought with it thousands of new tourists excited to venture into the “land of the sundown sea.” As far as modes of transportation go, none are as drenched in the way railways are.


Bustling city, new railroad, combined with an exquisite hotel built for kings, makes the Horton Grand Hotel a romantic getaway destination. This Valentine’s season, come sit in the Horton’s gorgeous lobby and absorb all the love affairs that may have taken place in the very same space. Imagine the coming and going of people past, and embody the romantic nostalgia, the kind that only comes from dreaming of history and what may have taken place.

 man hold his girlfriend up above the city

No amount of fluffy teddy bear’s and boxes of chocolates can elicit romance the way a historical experience can. Be unique this holiday season and surprise your loved one with a historical getaway, steps from the finest dining, drinking, and shopping San Diego has to offer.

The History of the Horton Grand Hotel; The Beginnings

History abounds at the Horton Grand Hotel, which is a restoration of two separate historic hotels: The Grand Horton Hotel and the Brooklyn-Kahle Saddlery Hotel.
The two hotels were built in the mid-1880s and were originally located where Horton Plaza mall now stands.

1886 – the Elegant Grand Horton Hotel is born.

Opened in 1886, the Grand Horton Hotel was an elegant, ornate Italianate Victorian structure built by German immigrant Peter Mayerhofer in his desire to replicate the Innsbruck Hotel in Austria.

It was constructed by prominent San Diego architects Comstock and Trotsche.

The Hotel was one of 300 structures built during the Boom of the 1880s to accommodate the influx of people to the little seacoast town of 5,000. Over, 26,000 visitors flocked to the town after the arrival of San Diego’s first transcontinental railroad in 1885.

The two hotels known today as the Horton Grand Hotel are the two oldest hotels in the city of San Diego.


Holidays in the Gaslamp: A Celebration of Historic Proportions

The simple word “Gaslamp” already brings to mind a picturesque city setting, with beautiful old brick buildings, cobblestone roads, and the hustle and bustle of people, vendors, tourists and, of course, the holidays! Every great city in America has an urban center, where holiday lovers can visit to bask in the holiday spirit and engage in celebratory activities. San Diego, being America’s Finest City, is no different. Don’t let the warm temperatures and palm trees fool you, the Gaslamp’s holiday spirit and festivities are forces to be reckoned with!

If Holiday spirit is what you’re looking for this season, then an excursion through the Gaslamp quarter is just what the Doctor ordered. Block after block is lined with splendid old brick buildings, many of which are decked from head to toe in holiday gear. The icon the Gaslamp Quarter is so famously named after – the Gaslamps – can be found donning lovely red bows and other holiday decor. Holiday atmosphere runs high within the Gaslamp, but there’s much more than just looking, there’s much to do in the name of holiday spirits as well!

Cuteness Overload Christmas Dog.
Pet Parade – Cute animals dressed up in holiday ensembles, what could be more fun and festive? On Sunday December 7th, the 7th annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade returns! This year the parade is presented by Downtown Ace Hardware and Market Street Veterinary Clinic. The parade starts and ends at the Hilton Gaslamp Park. For more information about this event visit Gaslamp Pet Parade.

Jingle All the Way
The 2014 Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March – Marching bands and spirit squads from the Poinsettia Bowl’s competing teams will parade along Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter, performing holiday classics. The event will take place on Sunday, December 21st. The event will culminate in an exciting battle of the bands on 5th and Market. For more information about this event visit Gaslamp March.

little  girl with Christmas present

Get Your Craft On
Handmade Holiday at the San Diego Central Library – Give the gift of sincerity this holiday season! Saturday December 13th, enjoy live music, local handmade goods, and crafting with the kids at the brand new Central Library. Oh and watch out – there’s rumors the Grinch might be lurking around. For more information visit San Diego Central Library Handmade Holiday.

Take Me Out to the Ballpark
Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park – For 12 different nights throughout December, Petco Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland. Venture to the ballpark where you’ll be able to take a ride of the Polar Express, walk through magical lighting displays, feed live reindeer, explore Candyland, take pictures with Santa and more! Visit San Diego Padres Tickets for more information.

No Snow? No Problem! We’ve Got Ice
family ice skatingOutdoor Rink at Horton Square – San Diego may not get typical “winter weather,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t partake in any of the fun cold weather activities! From now through January 1st, swing by Horton Square and try out your ice skating skills! The best part is that all of the fun had at the rink goes towards a great cause – Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady’s Children’s Hospital San Diego. For more information about the ice rink visit San Diego Ice.

As you can see, there’s no lack of Holiday spirit and entertainment in the Gaslamp! Of course, if you’re coming to the Gaslamp for the Holidays and are looking for a historic, relaxing, and picturesque place to stay we’d be happy to accommodate you! (link here to website/rates/booking). We’ve discussed many of the main Holiday events happening, but you can find a full list of everything that’s happening in the Gaslamp here at San Diego Events.