San Francisco Chinatown has the largest Asian community outside Asia!
Chinatown SF is a "must see" on your San Francisco Getaway.
It is a unique cultural experience.
The sights, sounds and smells make you feel as if you are instantly transplanted to China.
It is interesting to observe the people, markets, food, restaurants and shops.
Facts about Chinatown in San Francisco
- The formal "entrance" is the Dragon Gate arch at Grant Ave. and Bush St., built in 1970.
- The 1850s "Gold Rush" lured Chinese from their famine-stricken country to this area.
- Chinatown SF covers about 24 blocks.
- Grant Avenue is the main street for tourists.
- The quieter alleys off Grant St. are a better bet for San Francisco Chinatown Stores and shopping bargains. You will also get a more authentic feel for the pulse of this area.
- Between Grant Ave. and Stockton St. are several interesting alleys.
- Waverly Place is an interesting alley between Sacramento and Washington Streets. It is known for its unique, brightly painted balconies.
San Francisco Chinatown Shops
- Imperial Tea Court - 1411 Powell St. for "everything tea"
- Tai Yick Trading Company - 1400 Powell St. for dishes, kitchen items, etc. at reasonable prices.
- Clarion Music Center - 816 Sacramento at Waverly Place. It sells musical instruments from around the world.
History and Culture
- Old St. Mary's Cathedral, Grant Ave. and California St. - the first Cathedral in California, was built in 1854 by Chinese immigrants. A fire following the 1906 earthquake destroyed the interior, which was rebuilt 3 years later.
- Tien Hou (Tin How) Temple, 125 Waverly Place (up 3 flights of stairs). This is Chinatown's oldest temple.
- Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay St. Newspaper clippings and artifacts tell the story of the Chinese settling in California.
- Chinese Cultural Center, the third floor of the Holiday Inn near Portsmouth Square.
San Francisco Chinatown Tours
- Chinatown Food Tours - 3 1/2 hour historical tour of Chinatown including a Chinatown San Francisco dim sum lunch.
- Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Company tour - 956 Ross Alley
Speaking of food, don't miss trying one of the many San Francisco Chinatown restaurants. A few hours in Chinatown SF will be an interesting addition to a Memorable Getaway!
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