Opium, Hidden Temples, Dragons & Fortune Cookies: The Essential Walk of Chinatown SF

San Francisco, CA

  • Chinatown in the 19th century.
  • The Dragon Gate.
  • Chinatown in the 19th century.
  • The tower of Old St. Mary's still stands after the city burned down following the 1906 Earthquake.
  • Portrait of Emperor Norton I.
  • Emperor Norton I on a bicycle.
  • What used to be the French Mansion, the most famous bordello in San Francisco.
  • Rube Goldberg's "Simple Alarm Clock"
  • Black Milk Tea with Bubbles at Ten Ren.
  • The magic inside the Golden Gate Bakery.
  • The epic line outside of the Golden Gate Bakery.
  • The temple is above the post office. Enter in the entrance towards the left.
  • The nondescript entrance to the Kong Chow Temple.
  • Photo from the 1961 Chinatown Beauty Pageant hanging on the wall.
  • Purse Dumplings.
  • 36 Spofford Alley served as the secret offices of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
  • The view down Spofford Alley.
  • The ceiling in the Tin How Temple.
  • The "Painted Balconies" of Waverly Place.
  • The 60 year old fortune cookie machine still going strong.
  • The "Goddess of Democracy" statue
  • The locals playing a game of cards.

1 hour and 30 minutes
1.5 mi
Guided by Jason

Explore the thoroughfares and back alleys of the oldest Chinatown in the United States. Along the way, learn how the neighborhood formed, fought its red light district roots and maintained its cultural heritage in contemporary San Francisco. The guide features not just the main highlights of Chinatown, but also the treasures found in colorful alleys, hidden stairwells and secret temple patios. We will also stop along the way for snacks and dim sum.

About Your Guide
I am all about exploring local history, architecture, food and art to learn about how places came to be. You can find me in search of hidden places, the best dim sum, secret speakeasies, skyline vistas and other ingredients to build the perfect day.

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Guide Points
  1. Dragon Gate
  2. Old St. Mary's Cathedral
  3. Empire Park
  4. The French Mansion
  5. Ten Ren Tea
  6. Golden Gate Bakery
  7. Kong Chow Temple
  8. Hang Ah Tea Shop
  9. Spofford Alley
  10. Tin How Temple
  11. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
  12. Portsmouth Square

About Sidewalk
Sidewalk is an app that provides free, guided walk experiences that can be created by anyone with stories to share about places they know and love.

The app navigates people through a neighborhood walk using GPS turn-by-turn directions, rich imagery and storytelling.