San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia. Since its establishment in the 1840s, it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants to the United States and North America. In addition to it being a starting point and home for thousands of Chinese immigrants, it is also a major tourist attraction as its 300+ restaurants, and as many shops & attractions draw more visitors annually to the neighborhood than the Golden Gate Bridge.


Don't drive into Chinatown. It’s very congested, and parking is impossible. Take the cable car - all three lines will get you there.



1
Chinatown Gate

A gift from Taiwan in 1970, this triple-pagoda southern entrance to Chinatown was inspired by traditional Chinese village gates.


2
Temples

There are a number of temples that incorporate Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist elements. The Tin How Temple was founded in 1852 and dedicated to the Queen of Heaven.


3
Old Chinese Telephone Exchange

This three-tiered pagoda is now the Bank of Canton, and is the most distinctive work of architectural chinoiserie in Chinatown. It served as the telephone exchange until the 1950s.


4
Chinese Six Companies

This building’s brilliant façade is one of the most ornate in Chinatown. The Six Companies was formed in 1882 to promote Chinese interests within the community.


5
Stockton Street Chinese Markets

At these authentic produce markets the real smells, sights, and sounds of Chinatown come into sharp focus.

6
St Mary’s Square

This square is graced by a stainless-steel and rose-granite statue of Sun Yat-sen by San Francisco sculptor Beniamino Bufano.


7
Portsmouth Square

This was San Francisco’s original town square - here, on July 9, 1846, the US flag was first raised on the Bay, when the port was seized from Mexico. Locals now use the area for t’ai chi and games of mah-jong.


8
Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Company

Fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco. Stop by to watch how the skillful workers slip the fortune message in the cookie mixture, then fold it into the traditional shapes.


9
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum and Learning Center

This is the new home for the Chinese Historical Society’s 15,000-piece collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, and replicas that illustrate and explain the Chinese- American experience.


10
Chinese Culture Center

The Chinese Culture Center comprises an art gallery and a small crafts shop, featuring the work of Chinese and Chinese- American artists.

Tags

Chinatown, San Francisco neighborhoods, Dragon Gate, Temple, Old Chinese Telephone Exchange, Chinese Six Companies, Stockton Street, Chinese Market, Portsmouth Square, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory