Chinatown is San Francisco's most visited attraction. This vibrant neighborhood is as close as you are going to get. San Francisco Chinatown is the heart of the Asian American community of San Francisco, and home to some of the most authentic restaurants and curious shops.
Located right in the center of downtown San Francisco, Chintown is an eight block area that has been a park of the history of the city for decades. A gate marks the entrance to Chinatown. The entrance to San Francisco Chinatown is on Grant Avenue and Bush. Grant is about a block east of Powell and Market and the Cable Car turn around.
This ornate Chinese gate was given to Chinatown San Francisco in 1969 by the Republic of China as a gift, and has marked the entry to Chinatown ever since then. There are over 1.5 million people of Chinese descent living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chinatown will give you a real taste of their culture, since many of these shops and market carry items that the residents purchases.
Chinatown San Francisco is filled with outdoor produce stands, herb and medicinal shops, chatoic souvenier shops, antique stores, and shops where you can purchase fine kimonos, chinese silk fabrics and clothing. On Stockton, the major bus lines fill with Asians coming and going from downtown, so if you don't want to walk you can always hop on a bus to get there. With colorful shop front covered with papers lanterns and strange symbols you can't read, and crowds of tourists and groups of little old ladies having their daily chat, its easy to get confused and disoriented.
If you've hit Keany, you're at its most eastern border of San Francisco Chinatown, and the financial district, Bay Bridge and Embarcadero are ahead. North, Green and Columbus are it's the borders with North Beach and the Fisherman's Wharf / Pier 39 area ahead. The little alleyways are worth exploring as well, since you can find some of the best surprises this way. Whether you're looking for a tea set, a Chinese finger trap, or an Anime DVD you can find it in Chinatown.
Saturday is the busy day for shopping here, so if you don't mind the crowded sidewalks and the occasional shove, then you can come see the action. Most visitors can't read the packages of food or wouldn't know what to do with the exotic vegetables, and opt for having lunch in the area at one of the excellent Asian San Francisco restaurants.
With so many fresh ingredients nearby, some of the best San Francisco restaurants are in Chinatown. Its worth walking around for awhile to find the one you like. The city is considered a dining capitol, so the best chinese places in California are in these San Francisco restaurants. You have to have an open mind when you visit Chinatown, and it is no different when you eat at their restaurants.
There are different types of Chinese cuisine from the different regions of the country, so its okay to ask your server about the menu or ingredients and preparation. The great places to enjoy authentic Chinese food here is another reason San Francisco restaurants are world famous.
Whether you delight in the shouts and haggling in a different language at the outdoor stalls, or you love going to quiet antique shops, Chinatown San Francisco is a place you will absolutely enjoy.