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San Francisco Walking Tour: Chinatown

Let your senses get lost in the country’s oldest Chinese neighborhood.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 5.5 miles
Duration: Unknown

Overview :  North America’s oldest Chinatown is a sensory immersion: You’ll hear clicking abacus beads, catch a whiff of incense, and gaze up at... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Chinatown Gate

Two stone lions practically purr for a photo op, flanking this pagoda-style arch.

Address
Grant Ave. at Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

This busy commercial strip teems with souvenir shops, antiques dealers, herbalists, and gawkers. You’ll find several treasures among the tat, like the bright kites at the Chinatown Kite Shop (717 Grant Ave.). Be sure to sample a moon cake at Golden Gate Bakery (1029 Grant Ave.).

Address
Between Bush St. and Jackson St.
San Francisco CA , 94108

Locals do their shopping here, in a welter of groceries; follow your nose among the exotic fruit, dried mushrooms, mysterious spices, and buckets of shellfish. The Chinese Six Companies building (843 Stockton St.), once a politicians’ hub, is a vivid example of the neighborhood’s architecture. The red, yellow, and green paint job signals luck,... More

A whiff of vanilla leads you to this cramped shotgun space. Workers deftly pull warm, golden discs off the spinning machines, then flip and fold them into fortune cookies.

Address
56 Ross Alley
Chinatown
San Francisco CA, 94108

In this glossy, tranquil shop, lift the lids from dozens of canisters to sniff the teas within. The staff enthusiastically describes everything from delicate oolong to smoky black teas; they’ll also steep tasting samples.

Address
831 Grant Ave.
San Francisco CA, 94108

Phone
(415) 395-0868

California’s first cathedral has a small but moving display of photos of turn-of-the-century Chinatown, and of the devastating aftermath of the 1906 Great Quake.

Address
660 California St.
Chinatown
San Francisco CA, 94108

Phone
(415) 288-3800

Climb up to the fourth floor to the country’s oldest Chinese temple, a shrine to Tien Hau, the Goddess of Heaven and the Sea. Fringed red lanterns throng the ceiling, and Taoists send up puffs of incense with their prayers.

Address
125 Waverly Pl.
Chinatown
San Francisco CA, 94108

Dim sum fanatics often gravitate to the Richmond neighborhood, but this Cantonese spot lures them back to Chinatown. Go for cilantro-spiked shrimp dumplings and xiao long bao (soup dumplings).

Address
649 Jackson St.
San Francisco CA, 94108

Phone
(415) 986-2500