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Chinatown

One of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia gives rise to San Fran's thriving Chinatown.

TravelCurious Tip

Be adventurous with your food choices. How about some jellyfish?

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the second-largest Asian community in North America and is as old as the city itself. But there are really two Chinatowns here, though: one for tourists centred on Grant Avenue and another for locals centred on Stockton Street. Dip in and out of both for wonderful dining options and a unique glimpse of a world within a world.


In Chinatown, it pays to wander off the beaten track and down the side alleys. There you will hear the muffled buzz of conversation and the clatter of game tiles, and you can see temples with wafting incense and hanging pieces of laundry flapping like flags overhead.


Cornucopia

The SF Chinatown is considered by many to be the birthplace of several Westernised Chinese dishes, such as Chop Suey, and also where delicacies such as Dim Sum were introduced to the United States. Even today its Dim Sum tea houses are still a major tourist attraction. But for the real deal, head to the Stockton Street markets. Here, between pull carts and dozens of stalls, you can find anything: dried mushrooms, sea cucumber, bundles of bok choy — you name it.


American Homeopath

Waverly Place is home to the district’s acupuncture and Chinese medicine shops. Also tucked away there is the Tin How Temple — the oldest Taoist temple in the city. Dozens of illuminated paper lanterns hover overhead and plates of orange and bread rest on an altar with a shrine of Buddha statues. Photography is not allowed, so you have to see it with your own eyes.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in San Francisco
Ghirardelli Chocolate
Started by an Italian confectioner in San Francisco during the gold rush, Ghirardelli chocolate is a San Francisco institution and a must for all travelers.
Old Saint Mary's Cathedral
Built in the heart of Chinatown, the historical landmark has served as a safe and holy place since the beginning of the Gold Rush.
Eastern Bakery
The Eastern Bakery is the oldest Chinese bakery in the City and is famous for traditional sweets served to go and shipped nationwide.
Open Air Product Markets
Stroll through the colorful produce and import goods market of Stockton street to experience bustling Chinatown.
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Sample some fresh fortune cookies, learn about their history, and take some home with you, directly from this landmark factory.
Jack Kerouac Alley
Learn about the literary movement developed in North Beach in the 50's and the legendary City Lights Bookstore.

Related Tours

Private Full Day Highlights, with Alcatraz Island
Immerse yourself in the highlights of San Francisco, and discover the infamous history of Alcatraz. On your private tour of San Francisco, you will:

  • Soak up the San Francisco skyline from the top of iconic Nob Hill 
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Colt Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
  • Dig into some of San Francisco's famous seafood - like clam chowder soup in a sourdough bread bowl (price not included)
  • Visit the world’s most notorious island penitentiary, Alcatraz.
On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colorful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. 

Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. 

Wander through some world-class shopping centered on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafes, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. At the ‘dress to character’ ferry, your guide will leave the tour so that you can explore the world’s most infamous island prison - Alcatraz. 

Your guide will leave you at the dock for Alcatraz, once you are in line. Then, take an audio tour at a leisurely pace to hear tales of notorious felons such as Al-Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud in this former fort, military prison and maximum security federal penitentiary.  

Please note: Alcatraz tickets are in high demand during the summer and tickets cannot be guaranteed at the time of booking. We will contact you soonest should we be unable to obtain tickets.
Private Half Day Highlights of San Francisco
Dating back to 1776, the city was founded by Spanish colonists, and grew rapidly during the gold rush of the 1840s.  Through the centuries the city has become the centre of several industries - especially banking and high-tech, and is one of the most beloved cities for people on the West Coast. On your private half day tour of San Francisco, you will: 

  • Learn the history of its famous neighbourhoods, including Downtown, the Financial District, Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Little Italy. 
  • Take a cable car to the top of Nob Hill  for spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline.
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine, and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Colt Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
Considered by many as the USA’s most beautiful city, San Francisco - a.k.a The City by the Bay - is a seductive mix of exotic cultures renowned world-wide for its liberal free-thinking ideals. A vibrant arts, music and festival scene continues to echo San Francisco’s long-standing progressive stance on activism: the city is credited with trailblazing the so-called “Flower Power” peace movement, pioneering the sexual revolution, and powering the gay rights movement to one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world. Deeply-embedded Mexican cultures stem from San Francisco’s strong historical bonds with Spanish America and Mexico with today’s buzzing Hispanic population fully immersed in the city’s art scene, both in galleries and studios as well as urban murals. 

On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colourful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. Wander through some world-class shopping centred on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafes, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. 

Please note: Historic cable cars cannot run in adverse weather conditions, so on days with inclement weather you will take an uber or taxi to the top of Nob Hill. 
Private Walking Food Tour of Chinatown and North Beach
Explore two of San Francisco’s beloved neighborhoods with a foodie extravaganza tour. With an eclectic array of food from Chinatown and Little Italy, be sure to arrive hungry for this experience. On your private food tour, you will: 

  • Learn about the histories and the food cultures around two of the city's well-known neighborhoods. 
  • Walk under the Dragon's Gate and enter San Francisco's world-famous Chinatown. 
  • Visit a fortune cookie making factory, where you will not only get to try these pastries when fresh but also learn the history of the factory and its' local influence. 
  • Stop at a Catholic Cathedral, which has been continuously active since the California Gold Rush. 
  • Enjoy a seated tasting in Little Italy, indulging in the best place for calzones and pizzas. 
  • Comb Stockton Street and North Beach's wealth of street markets, bakeries, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. 
  • Finish off with Italian dessert - tasting a cannoli or having an espresso to lift the inevitable food coma from the preceding four hours.
San Francisco's international influences are so diverse that locals are constantly discovering foodie spots that have existed for decades. Don’t miss the chance to try fresh-baked fortune cookies - before they're wrapped in the crinkly plastic and served to you at restaurants. On your private tour your guide will not only take you to the  best places to try new desserts and espresso,  but also equip you with their insider's knowledge, so you can continue exploring  the city's diverse food scene long after your tour has ended.   Your tour ends in Washington Square Park, where you can continue on with your day, or take time to digest your food extravaganza by lounging in the grass amongst the locals who congregate in the area every day. 
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