chinatown-guide-top Chinatown is probably one of the most touristy neighborhoods in San Francisco, but definitely worth visiting, for tourists and locals alike. There is no real plan how to explore this colorful, exotic, crowded, quirky neighborhood. Just start at the Dragon Gate on Bush Street & Grant Avenue and drift into the biggest Chinese Community outside of Asia. Lined up with all kind of stores Grant Avenue is Chinatown’s main drag for shopping kitschy stuff, SF souvenirs, Asian dinner ware, tea& herbs.  Chinese- style buildings and later decoration on the streets will give you the feeling Jeannie just winked you to a different world. If you are on a look out for some exotic food then your destination is  Stockton Street, just one block parallel to Grand Avenue. This is the groceries street of Chinatown. But be prepared to get into the crowd and to discover food you haven’t seen or smelled before.  Beyond shopping and food Chinatown also has some cultural spots to offer. Many Chinese Temples and Churches are open to the public and you can have an insight into fortune cookies factory. Every now and then I would make stroll, just browse the shops for some styling props, take few pictures, grab some dim sum to go and just get inspired.  chinatown-5 chinatown-8 chinatown-7 EAT
You will find tons of food spots in Chinatown and it seams to be super difficult to pick one. My tips for you guys are:

Delicious Dim Sum – one of the best dim sum places I have been to. Shrimp dumplings are my favorites. They don’t have seating, it’s only take out and only cash.
752 Jackson St San Francisco, CA 94133

Golden Gate Bakery – even before the doors open there is a line to get some of most delicious Chinese pastries. The egg tarts are definitely the winner with their buttery and flaky crust and the soft filling inside. They have quite strange opening hours, so if you see it open, get in line, you won’t regret it.
1029 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA 94133

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Wok Shop – super cute, small store for all your asian cooking needs. My favorite.

Canton Bazaar – they have everything. From the waving cat to kimonos.

Peking Bazaar – same things as in Canton Bazaar, but this is the house with the most lanterns.

all on Grant Avenue

chinatown-12 chinatown-9 chinatown-10 chinatown-14 SEE

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory – this is the only factory that still makes the cookies by the hand. You can have a look inside the factory for free, but if you want to take a picture, it’s 50 cent.

Don’t forget to look up while strolling Chinatown. You will some great architectural details.

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Looking to discover more SF neighborhoods? Check out Noe Valley, Inner Richmond,
Potrero Hill, Divisadero

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10 Responses
  • Nina
    March 3, 2014

    Your photos really capture the spirit of the place!

  • Garrick Ramirez
    March 6, 2014

    Hi Ana,

    I love your blog. The Steep Ravine trail in Mt. Tam is one of my absolute favorite hikes. I usually start at Pantoll Ranger station, hike down the Matt Davis trail to Stinson, then return the way you came: Dipsea to Steep Ravine. And Chinatown: one of the best, underrated neighborhoods in the City. I’m lucky to live nearby and think it’s the treasure trove of SF. It hides beautiful mid-century bars that not many know about. And the Chinese Historical Society — a great museum that details Chinese coming to California and harsh reception they received — is housed in a beautiful 1920 Julia Morgan building. Just gorgeous. Also love shops with meticulous paper version of every material good imaginable for burning at funerals. Next time, check out Good Mong Kok on Stockton for take-away dim sum. It’s my favorite but there’s usually a line. Yin Du is great for wonton noodles. And Golden Star on Walter E. Lum alley is good for Vietnamese.

    I discovered your blog from comment you left at Leslie’s SpottedSF. Saw you are going to Ojai: it’s my new favorite spot in CA. If you want tips, I did a recent post:

    Look forward to following!

    • Leslie
      March 6, 2014

      Happy to see you two have connected! Ana – meet Garrick. Garrick – meet Ana:)

  • Diane
    March 6, 2014

    Love these photos of colorful Chinatown. I just moved abroad and am really missing American Chinese food!

  • Leslie
    March 6, 2014

    Oh my dear! You captured Chinatown in the most prettiest way!! :)

  • kleine Schwester
    March 8, 2014

    Wow, mal wieder so tolle Bilder. Das nächste Mal muss ich in SFO nach Chinatown, und mir gaaanz ganz viele rote Lampions kaufen. Ich möchte unbedingt mal eine Gartenparty mit diesen Lampions veranstalten.
    Liebe Grüße zu dir nach Übersee.

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