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San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most densely populated and vibrant urban areas in the United States. These narrow streets have lived through more than 160 years of turf wars, opium dens, bubonic plague, bootleggers, and secret clubs and societies to become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Like much of San Francisco, the neighborhood was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Start your journey through the landmark pagoda-topped Chinatown Gate at the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue. Ornamental dragons slither across this ceremonial entrance while traditional Fu dogs made of stone stand guard at its sides.
Look out for the many markets along Stockton Street where the locals shop. There are chickens, turtles and many other animals on display.
One of the attractions that also makes Chinatown worth a visit is the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. The factory is in a small building in a backstreet known as Ross Alley. As you approach, the sweet aromas will draw you in as fortune cookies of all shapes and sizes are made here. Although there are other fortune-cookie bakeries in the San Fransisco, this is the only place where you can watch them being made the old-school way: by hand. The term factory is misleading as it’s really two or three people folding cookie after cookie behind the shop’s counter. Best of all, fresh bags of cookies are available for purchase.
To get more of a feel for the real Chinatown, rather than the one on show for the tourists, don’t just stick to the main streets with their fancy architecture, dim sum restaurants and souvenir shops. Wander through the labyrinth of back alleys and side streets to immerse yourself in the neighborhood where the residents go about their daily business. Pop into temples, duck into the smaller stores and make a few discoveries of your own.
Chinatown is an easy walk from the downtown area. Streetcars also service the area.
This 27-story San Francisco Hilton hotel towers over the city's financial district, North Beach's Italian shops and cafés, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero Center.
Executive Hotel Vintage Court places guests a 5-minute walk from Union Square shops like Tiffany & Co and Saks Fifth Avenue. Dim sum and Chinatown bargain shopping is 8 minutes away on foot. It’s a 20-minute cable-car ride to Fisherman's Wharf.
At the gateway to Chinatown, Grant Plaza Hotel is a 7-minute walk from swanky Nob Hill and the shops of Union Square. A block away, guests can hop one of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars to Fishermen’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. It's a 9-minute drive to the Italian restaurants of North Beach.
Favored by businesspeople, the Orchard is a discreet downtown San Francisco hideaway, located on the Powell Street cable car line below Nob Hill, 2 blocks from Union Square.
This Nob Hill hotel is adjacent to the California Street Cable Car line, and just steps away from the Financial District and the heart of Union Square.
Orchard Garden Hotel is right next to San Francisco's Chinatown Gate, about a block from the Financial District, and 2 blocks from Union Square's world-class shopping.
Located in Chinatown, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Academy of Art University, TransAmerica Pyramid, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Westfield San Francisco Centre and Coit Tower are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Adjacent to Chinatown, Union Square, and the financial district, this boutique hotel is in downtown's French Quarter within blocks of North Beach and 5 miles from San Francisco International Airport.