Chinatown#12 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
- 4.5Food Scene
While New York City's Chinatown tends to take center stage in the USA, San Francisco's Chinatown is just as much of a star. San Francisco's Chinatown hosts one of the largest Asian communities outside of Asia, and is considered one the oldest in North America. Chinese immigrants first started coming to California in search of fortune during the Gold Rush. After being driven out of the gold mines (due to discrimination and restrictive legislation against Chinese immigrants), the Chinese moved to build businesses of their own in the area that is now Chinatown – one of the city's most visited neighborhoods.
The best way to experience Chinatown is to simply wander around the neighborhood. Chinatown isn't very big (about 24 blocks), so even a short stroll will likely get you to top spots in the neighborhood.
Grant Avenue is the main thoroughfare, and the most tourist-heavy. The Chinatown Gate is here, as well as plenty of souvenirs shops. Though make sure to venture beyond Grant Avenue. Waverly Place houses the oldest Chinese temple in the USA, the Tin How Temple. Ross Alley is home to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where visitors can see how fortune cookies are made. Great China Herb Co. on Washington St. is filled to the brim with fresh, Chinese herbs and an on-site doctor to recommend remedies. You can also find spices at Ming Lee Trading Inc. on Jackson Street, along with Chinese candies. Cooks should circle back to Grant to visit The Wok Shop to browse Chinese cookware, or grab one of Golden Gate Bakery’s famous egg tarts.
Chinatown is open to explore 24 hours per day, though individual business hours vary. To reach Chinatown, hop off the Montgomery Street Bart Station or the Market St. & Second Street Muni Metro Station, then walk a little more than a half-mile northwest. Several bus tours also make stops in the neighborhood. For more information on Chinatown, consult the neighborhood's website.
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#1 Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden Gate Strait that connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay), and was built to make travel between San Francisco and Marin County an easier feat.
There are plenty of great spots to capture a snap of the majestic bridge. But if you want a truly postcard-worthy shot, head to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, situated high on a hill overlooking San Francisco. If you have extra time, make sure to explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The actual span of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompasses multiple places in San Mateo (south of San Francisco), San Francisco and Marin Counties (Alcatraz and Muir Woods included), but notable parts of this recreation area can be found just a stroll away from the Golden Gate. From the bridge, travelers will find some scenic, bayside trails, some of which lead to secluded beaches, including Kirby Cove and Black Sands Beach. If you really want a trek, journey to the Point Bonita Lighthouse for sweeping views of the bay, found at the very tip of the Golden Gate Strait.
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