Hostel on 3rd - San Diego

Night was falling on San Diego as my sister and I pulled off of I-15 at the Market Street Exit. It’s a straight shot down the street from the interstate to downtown’s party district called Gaslamp Quarter. The hostel is located right off of Market at 3rd. The first thing we learned about this burgeoning party district is that parking is at a premium right now; especially because they used many of the parking spots in front of the bars and restaurants for outdoor seating space due to the pandemic and gathering rules. I’ll talk more about parking in the Gaslamp section.

First Impression

My first impression of the hostel was that of an old hotel back in the late 1800s when sailors came into town and looked for a room and a quick prostitute. The first floor was a big open room with a pool table (with only a short stick and a top for ping pong), a television area, various spots to sit, and a back patio area. We were greeted by Davis, a large black man wearing a colorfully patterned eclectic outfit with his hair up in a bun. The man was nice as pie and soon we were dragging out bags up the narrow stairway to the second floor. I was put into a room with two bunk beds and a revolving cast of roommates who came and went and then came back again. My sister got a similar room, but for females only.

The Quick Tour

The first thing I do after throwing my bag by my bed is to walk around the facility to check it out and get a feel for where everything is. The nice thing about this hostel is that everything was opened back up and the kitchen was free to use up to 11pm; plus, the social areas were active. There were several showers of different sizes and shapes. The one thing I didn’t like was finding cockroaches in one bathroom and a couple in the kitchen, but none in my bedroom. Other than that, the place was suitable for me – for whatever that’s worth.

Patios

The open-air patios are the places were the people escape to smoke cigarettes and pot and have a couple of beers. There are also tables to sit and have a meal or a cup of coffee in the morning. All this means the patios are the social centers of the hostel. There are two of them at the back end of the building. One is on the first floor and the other the second. 

People I met

As I’ve stated, the best reason to stay at hostels is to meet and get know people from basically every and anywhere. I met various travelers including a very nice couple from Korea who struggled with English but still wanted to see the U.S. and a guy from the East Coast who’s found a new purpose in life to travel, learn, and experience things while he still can. 

My Roommates

But the ones I got to know the most were the ones I shared a room with over seven days. There was a younger man of 40 who spent eight years in the Air Force – mostly serving at Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas. He had recently completed his barber course training and has just gotten his first in San Diego. Then there was Panda, a young man from the Philippines who looked at me while having a beer and toke the night before you left and said “I don’t want to insult you, but you remind me of a laid-back mellow grandpa”.

I laughed and told him I’ve been told that before – even when I was very young. 

I met a woman about my age who finally feeling free and adventurous after changes in her life and now she’s out traveling and experiencing.

Another fellow I met came to town to find out if his love was for real. He ended up showing me Old Town and we went together for a beer at the oldest in downtown San Diego afterwards. I plan on meeting up with him again in Seattle where he lives nowadays.

photo of Panda
Panda laughing right after he called me a laid-back mellow grandpa. I told him he should learn how to open his beer.

Costs

I booked a bed in a six-bed co-ed dorm-style room for seven days at $32.67 per night or $229,32 for my one week stay. I don’t really eat out a lot and when I do I generally stick to appetizers and light meals. I can easily keep my average costs under $100.00 per day when I’m on the road. 

Security

The entranceway to the sleeping quarters is protected by a keypad and you will be given a key to access your room. There was very little trouble while I was there except for an isolated incident where a woman I didn’t trust accused another hosteler of doing wrong. The staff couldn’t tell who was right or wrong and they had both of them leave. I don’t what really happened but I did like the decisive action that was taken. So, I felt relatively safe (this is not to say you can be overly trusting with your possessions and money – always assume someone wants to take what you have. To combat this, the hostel – like every other one I’ve been to – has lockers to safeguard your vital belongings. Bring a lock and use them.

Recommendation

As I’ve been saying, I look for the social component as well as a safe clean place to stay. This place met my expectations – with the exception it could be cleaner and bug-free. As you’ll learn, it a great base to stay to explore the Gaslamp Quarter, downtown area, and the immediate waterfront and convention center area. The big problem is parking. You might want to make arrangements with a 24-hour parking garage in the immediate area to park your car and store it for a couple of days.

Overall, I would say this is an option if you can deal with a little messiness. It’s definitely in a great location to take advantage of the Gaslamp Quarter.