our story

Gaslamp Hostel is in the historic 1887 Llewelyn Building. In the 1800s, San Diego’s booming prosperity brought a variety of characters to town, including prostitutes and gamblers. One of the more famous residents was Wyatt Earp, who ran three gambling halls. Gradually, San Diego commerce moved north of Market Street. The abandoned area to the south became a red light district called the Stingaree, apparently derived from ta San Diego Bay stingray and the saying was one could be stung as badly in the Stingaree as you could in the bay.

Built by William Llewelyn, it was the family shoe store until 1906. Thereafter, the building was occupied by a variety of generally of unsavory reputation. In 1917 the proprietors were charged with operating a 'cat house'. The charges were dropped after the tenants promised to behave.

Speaking of spirits, the hostel also has a reputation of being haunted. There are several rooms and areas guests and staff have claimed to have had an 'experience' or a ghostly sighting. Ask us about the stories! 

Apparently that didn't stick because in the 1970s, the then Louis Hotel was considered one of the least savory addresses in the Gaslamp Quarter.


In 1994, the unsavory reputation changed to a fun one with the opening of the Grand Pacific Hostel, later renamed USA Hostels. Closed in January 2020, it's been reopened by former staff who wanted to keep the hostel spirit alive and provide an iconic place for visitors to our city.

726 5th Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101


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Gaslamp Hostel is owned and managed by backpackers who love what hostelling is all about and believe in its mission to bring people together from diverse backgrounds to celebrate their uniqueness and similarities, provide a secure and clean backdrop for their stay and enthuse about the fun and quirky of San Diego. Located right in the center of the Gaslamp Quarter, we're the most convenient location to visit all the sights, restaurants, breweries and shopping visitors crave. 


COVID-19 NOTICE: Guest and staff security is our top priority and we have developed cleaning protocols to adjust accordingly. You can read our procedures on the labeled tab. We are committed to stringent cleaning protocols and are using approved disinfectants. As a new property we have all new towels, pillows and bedding.


Our cancellation policy has been modified to reflect the current uncertainty so feel free to book and know you can cancel. 

2020 by Gaslamp Hostel San Diego