Top Things To Do In Chinatown San Francisco

Top Things To Do In Chinatown San Francisco

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Discover plenty of things to do in San Francisco’s Chinatown, including fine dining, dim sum, local markets, and cool shops.

Top Things To Do In Chinatown San Francisco

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the city’s most vibrant and cultural neighborhoods. As one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, the neighborhood is of architectural and historical significance—a testament to the ongoing spirit of immigration and cultural diversity that characterizes the city. . .

A Neighborhood Guide To San Francisco’s Chinatown

Thanks to the recent proliferation of new restaurants and shops, visitors today can experience tradition, history, innovation and creativity.

In fact, the best way to experience Chinatown is through food and drink. From amazing authentic dim sum to family restaurants as well as newer, upscale venues, you won’t go hungry. When you’re satisfied, walk and explore the bustling streets lined with the famous red lanterns, and stop at the many markets, tea shops and art galleries. Overall, Chinatown is one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco for exploring, drinking, and dining. Our top things in the neighborhood.

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In 1970, Chinese-American architect Clayton Lee designed and built this famous postcard-style gate at the south end of Chinatown on Grant Street. It’s a natural starting point for exploring the neighborhood. With its stone columns, green brick pagodas and dragon statues, this gate is the country’s only original Chinatown gate. Three stone lion statues guard the three gates, which are said to repel evil. Each piece has a sign written in Chinese. It says in the middle: “Everything under the sky is for the good of people.” Right and left signs of “respect”; Love” and “Faith; Hello.”

The History Of Chinatown’s Greatest Landmarks

This two-storey shop by famous restaurateur and chef George Chen is a Chinese food, drink and artisan market. The ground floor includes a market-style restaurant and bar, a tea café and retail space selling Chinese spices, teas, flavours, produce and kitchenware. Upstairs, you’ll find Eight Tables, Chen’s charming restaurant, reserved only for the $150 five-course or $250 eight-course tasting menu (plus optional $150 wine pairing).

Backed by Chinatown, this family-owned café serves rare teas from China and Taiwan. Every year, the owners go on a sourcing expedition across the provinces, collecting new varieties of black and white teas, herbs, flowers and rare teas, such as the ancient orchid from Guangdong Province. The narrow shop has two small tables for tasting sessions, where knowledgeable staff teach people about the origin, harvest and preparation of the sweet leaves.

Sisters Renee and Tiffany Tam opened this modern, airy boutique in the spring of 2018. The couple grew up working in their family’s nearby shop, and struck out on their own to pursue their shared passion: handmade silk and beautiful kimonos. The bright dresses are decorated with botanical prints of birds and flowers, drawn and painted by hand. Although it was made using ancient techniques, the kimono has become a popular contemporary layering piece.

Top Things To Do In Chinatown San Francisco

Bar Agricole alum Brandon Jew opened this ambitious tribute to Cantonese cuisine in 2016, combining traditional flavors with modern cooking techniques. Located in the former Four Seas, the sunny and airy dining room offers a mix of old and new, from the simple mid-century wood furniture to the ornate rose-gold chandelier above, which was salvaged from the Four Seas. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers an innovative twist on classic dishes, such as Dutch roast pork buns, lemon chili and sour chicken leg relish, and hoodoo tofu skin served with Sungold tomatoes, purslane and salted egg yolk.

Tips For Visiting San Francisco’s Chinatown With Kids

Pletea has gained a loyal following for its range of bubble tea, which is served in reusable glass containers. Sweetened iced milk teas are especially popular, as are sea salt burners. Each can be filled with jelly, pudding, aloe vera or honey tapioca.

Empress by Boon — from Michelin-starred Malaysian chef Ho Chee Boon — is one of the most exciting restaurants to open in San Francisco recently. The restaurant opened its doors in June 2021, debuting a completely renovated interior (inside the former Empress of China, a popular Cantonese concert hall in the heart of Chinatown that has been in operation for nearly 50 years) that modernizes the space while preserving some of it. Original woodwork. Chef Ho, a Michelin-starred chef with experience in restaurants around the world (including Hakkasan), serves up a winning menu at a reasonable $78, as well as a small set menu served in the trendy bar area. The menu focuses on modern twists on traditional Cantonese cuisine prepared with local ingredients, many from the restaurant’s organic farm in Gilroy, California.

Don’t miss Waverly Place in Chinatown, located between Washington and Sacramento Streets. This street is famous for its colorful balconies and beautiful hanging red lanterns, and is often visited by visitors. Snap your photos, then head to the Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s, which calls this street home.

On any given day in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square, you’ll find locals sitting on benches, sipping steam from containers. They probably got it from Good Mong Kok, a small bakery nearby. There’s no indoor seating here, so follow order: wait at the door until you’re called by the speedy servers at the counter. You’ll find delicious delights like melt-in-your-mouth prawns, pork shumai, and grilled and grilled pork chops. For dessert, choose stuffed pineapple chunks.

Must See Places In Chinatown, San Francisco

Head to Ross Alley and look for the red lanterns hanging in front of you to find the famous Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which has been around since 1962. Although it is small, the entire operation consists of a few workers hanging on conveyor belts, among the cookies. By hand – it’s powerful: the factory cuts about 20,000 cakes a day, and hundreds of people eat after-dinner meals. Providing perfect breakage. Watch the rich, golden wafers emerge from the machine, like pancakes, before being folded into their traditional shape. (The serving ladies will also let you heat up food for free on the stove.) At the front is a sprawling space with a variety of rich cookies available for purchase: green tea, strawberry, chocolate covered, sprinkled, and R-rated. You can also customize your luck to be included in a freshly baked cookie.

© 2024 Time Out England Limited and related companies owned by Time Out Group Plc. All rights reserved. Time Out is a registered trademark of Time Out Digital Limited. A microcosm of the American dream. San Francisco’s historic Chinatown is the oldest in North America, and the largest in Asia. For nearly two hundred years, Chinatown’s 41 historic lanes spanning 22 blocks have welcomed newcomers from all over the country and become the scene of sometimes incredible stories of perseverance and resilience.

The first Chinese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in 1848, coming mainly from the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong thanks to the promise of good jobs. In just five years, nearly 5,000 Chinese immigrants have arrived in San Francisco — too many names for the Chinese telephone exchange operators who monitor the mostly male population calling their families on the other side of the Pacific. By the 1880s, the city’s Chinatown had begun to converge near Portsmouth Square, already attracting not only immigrants who loved the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of home, but also curious tourists.

Top Things To Do In Chinatown San Francisco

An early Chinese American telephone operator works the tables at a telephone exchange in San Francisco circa 1900 © Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VC Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Chinatown, San Francisco

However, when the city’s demographics and economic fortunes changed in the late 19th century and San Francisco blamed its poor on its new citizens, backlash was swift. As editor and historian Gary Kimea explains in…

“The Chinatown evacuation movement began early in Chinatown.” In 1900, an outbreak of bubonic plague following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco nearly succeeded.

Not only did Chinatown literally rise from the dust, it also came back more Chinese than ever as residents collaborated with white architects and homeowners to create new architectural styles that reflected the neighborhood’s unique heritage. Chinatown may have been forced to grow and not grow due to restrictions imposed by the Chinese prohibition laws first enacted in the 1880s. Nowhere is this more evident than in Waverly Place, one of San Francisco’s most valuable streets in Chinatown. It is home to Tin Hau Temple – the oldest Taoist temple in San Francisco, which has been welcoming worshipers since 1852.

A sign on Grant Street, San Francisco, welcoming visitors to Chinatown in the 1950s © Photography by Orlando/Three Lions/Getty Images

Best Things To Do In Chinatown, San Francisco

However, San Franciscans had to admit that the streets of Chinatown offered something special that could not be found anywhere else: it was the atmosphere.

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