That’s an interesting question. Suffice it to say, I haven’t explored a good chunk of San Diego, but from what I _do_ know, I can say this much – both Gaslamp and PB are at the top of the list. A little more about these two.
Pacific Beach is popular with the early twenties crowd, cheaper and right on the Pacific Ocean. Duh ;-) Unfortunately, let’s say that you weren’t a _huge_ fan of the beach and beach activities weren’t really your thing – then a good part of the allure of PB disappears. After all, its the best place to be if you want to play during the day and party during the night.
Gaslamp. Ah yes, Gaslamp’s a different animal entirely. It’s in downtown San Diego – so we’re talking pure cityscape. The clientele’s older – probably late twenties (after all, these are the people with disposable cash). It’s more ritzy and definitely more pricey. It’s a great place to hang out at night though (in my opinion) simply because there’s a better and more varied selection of eateries/pubs/breweries around and because the atmosphere itself lends to the idea that it’s a … ‘nightlife’ district. I specify ‘nightlife’ because to me, nightlife implies something different (subtly yes, I know) from a ‘party’ district. Perhaps its just me ;-)
Given the choice, I’d have to say that as of now, Gaslamp’s my personal choice as to where to be… I suspect its because at a very conscious level I prefer cities and the closeness afforded by them. Unlike some, I don’t get claustrophobic on city streets. I enjoy it – I love the crush of people around, seeing different people and the sense of energy in the air. To me, there’s nothing more depressing than seeing a city with six lanes of traffic in its downtown core (*cough*Mississauga*cough*) and the single person braving its km long sidewalks. That’s also a reason I don’t really like Waterloo – do you know it’s actually possible to walk down University Ave. at 22:00 and not meet a single person? What’s up with that?!