Travel Destinations

The Top Seven Attractions in San Francisco’s Chinatown

(Image Credit: / jejim)

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without seeing Chinatown. Not only is it the country’s oldest Chinatown dating back to the 1850s, it is the largest one outside of Asia as well. There’s much to see and do here, including the following:

1) Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at 56 Ross Alley

The ideal attraction to visit for travelers who love eating fortune cookies and always wondered about the process involved in making them. The factory owners offer daily tours of the manufacturing area and then allow visitors to buy freshly-made fortune cookies at the end of the tour.

2)Chinese Historical Society of America Museum at 965 Clay Street

The museum, which has stood since 1963, tells the story of the Chinese in the San Francisco area. Some of its biggest exhibits include the history of Chinatown’s YMCA, which houses the building, and the history of the 1906 earthquake and fire that hit Chinatown.

3) Ten Ren Tea at 949 Grant Avenue

Ten Ren Tea offers many imported teas from China for an authentic experience. Guests can also request a free sample of one of the many types of tea that the shop sells.

4) Tin How Temple at 125 Waverly Street

This Buddhist temple sits inside of a 100-year-old four-story building. Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike can come to the temple to pray and burn incense. They can also request that someone read their fortune. Although there’s no official cost to visit Tin How Temple, guests should plan to make a donation.

5) Z & Y Restaurant at 655 Jackson Street

This award-winning authentic Chinese restaurant is known for its highly spicy dishes and having a world-famous chef on site. Before opening his restaurant in Chinatown, Li Jun Han served as the head chef for two presidents in China. The restaurant is also home to Sichuan tea master Xumin Liu. Three times a week, Liu travels from one table to the next delighting diners by pouring their hot tea into a cup from a large pot with a long spout and at a distance of several feet away.

6) Chinese New Year Celebration

The Chinese celebrate their new year on a different day each year according to the lunar calendar. The 2019 celebration takes place on Tuesday, February 5. It’s a new year’s celebration complete with fireworks, lion dancers, drums, floats, and crowning of the new Miss Chinatown. San Francisco’s celebration of the Chinese New Year is the largest one in the world outside of Asia.

7) Sing Chong Building at 601 Grant Avenue

The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed most of Chinatown, including its authentic building structures. Builders in the area then erected the Sing Chong Building as the first new building to go up after the devastation. Even though some people don’t consider the architecture of the building as authentically Chinese, it retains a position of historical significance and attracts thousands of visitors annually.

A traveler could stay for weeks in Chinatown and still not see everything. However, the above list will make a great start.