Chinatown Grant Ave



San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most famous Chinatowns in the world. Don’t let the lack of English scare you, either, into missing one of the best attractions in the city. In 1848, the first Chinese immigrant arrived in San Francisco, and today, the 24 blocks of Chinatown are home to the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Please see and experience this neighborhood for yourself.

Chinatown Decoration

Originally the poor section of San Francisco known as the Barbary Coast, the streets of Chinatown had their start as brothels and opium dens for the sailors of the 1849 Gold Rush.

Years later, because of anti-Chinese laws of the 1880s, the Chinese were forced to live in the then diseased section of San Francisco, which at one time even carried the Bubonic Plague.

Chinatown Lion

But after the 1906 earthquake, when the entire neighborhood was set on fire and destroyed, the Chinese resiliently rebuilt the neighborhood into the thriving tourist attraction it is today — making Chinatown their own.

And now 100 years later, the neighborhood is as strong as ever. And why not?

Inside, you can see Portsmouth Square, Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, Grant Avenue shopping opportunities for all your “made-in-China” needs, and even the Ross Alley Fortune Cookie Factory, where you can create your own fortune cookie. You also can experience tea tasting, dim-sum, dragons, shops, bars and interesting people.

Chinatown Mural

You most likely will run out of time before you visit the whole of Chinatown on your holiday.

If you want to see something original to San Francisco — or to just visit an ethnic neighborhood of the city — stroll over to Chinatown near Union Square. The streets might be crowded, the people might not speak much English, but the experience you create can be one of your favorites. Just visit with an open mind.

Chinatown's Grant Avenue

How Do I Find San Francisco’s Chinatown?

  • Chinatown is located in the old heart of San Francisco, just a few blocks from Union Square. If you want a scenic (and longer) walk toward North Beach or Fisherman’s Wharf, go through Chinatown.
  • Use public transportation routes 1, 9x, 30, 45 and all cable cars to reach Chinatown. Because the neighborhood is located in the center of the city, though, we recommend walking.
  • To reach the Chinatown from Union Square you should walk. The main entrance — where you’ll find the Chinatown Gate — is at the corner of Grant and Bush Street.

Chinatown Gate

Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

Chinatown is a place best viewed in the daytime, while the chaos of the neighborhood is in full-swing. Tea tasting is mainly on Grant Avenue and the best food shops are on Jackson Street. Walk to the Tin How Temple on Waverly Place to see a real Chinese Temple.

Location of S.F.’s Chinatown