A dozen pedestrians are huddled on a downtown San Diego street corner. It's some time between 10 p.m. and midnight on a Friday, and they stand a few blocks below Broadway, in the heart of a downtown zone whose Victorian storefronts have seen decades of seriously bad news.
But changes have been made. San Diego has revived the night life of its oldest downtown neighborhood with a success that other cities can only envy.
Those pedestrians are trying to decide on their next club. Latin jazz on Fifth Avenue? Blues on F Street? Flamenco on Fourth?
In the 16 1/2 blocks of this neighborhood, more than 60 restaurants are in business, most of them Italian, a couple Spanish,...