San Francisco’s Chinatown, North America’s first and largest, is located next to North Beach and the Financial District. With its pagoda-style architecture, ornate lamp posts, exotic menus and other distinctive elements, a stop here can feel more like a trip abroad than a neighborhood stroll.
Learn about the community’s history at the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum on Clay St. Near Portsmouth square, visit the Chinese Culture Center, which is free. See the latest exhibition in their Visual Art Center or sign up for one of their neighborhood walking tours.
Authentic restaurants are everywhere in the neighborhood. And that's why you really came to Chinatown, right? Few can deny the pillowy dumplings and shumai you get for dim sum at restaurants such as Great Eastern or spicy Sichuan food from Z&Y or Chong Qing Xiao Mian. And if you're looking for more high-end fare, you can find it at China Live, a multi-story Chinese food emporium that offers a variety of dining experiences, Empress by Boon and the Michelin-starred Mr. Jui's. And did you know the fortune cookie was first created in San Francisco? See how they get made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at 56 Ross Alley..
Directions to Chinatown
Chinatown is a centrally-located neighborhood that is accessible by foot, bus, BART, taxi or Lyft/Uber, and even cable car. The neighborhood is adjacent to North Beach, Nob Hill, Union Square, and Financial District. If you are in any of these neighborhoods it's best to walk.
Want to take the cable car? No problem. If you're coming from Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square, take the Powell-Hyde line or Powell Mason line and get off between Jackson and Bush Streets. If you are coming from the Ferry Building or Downtown San Francisco, you can take the California Street line to Grant Avenue, which is the main street of Chinatown. There are also buses available that go through the neighborhood. The 30-Stockton bus goes straight through the center of Chinatown. Any of the stops between Broadway and Bush will get you to the neighborhood quickly.
Taking BART to Chinatown is easy too, if you don't mind a little bit of walking. Take any train to Montgomery Street Station. Walk out of the station and take a left on Post St. until you reach Grant, then right on Grant toward the Chinatown Gate.