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February 6th, 2018

SCH Guide to Chinatown

Art & Culture

We love Nob Hill because of its history, vibe, and location-- it really is close to everything. Perched upon California Street hill, we have direct access to amazing neighborhoods in every direction. To the southeast of our property, is Chinatown. You can get a walking tour of our neighborhood on the Vizzit app, but we thought we would share a more in-depth guide to Chinatown, especially as Chinese New Year is approaching!

San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco- and for good reason! The shops full of beautiful products, the restaurants, and the culture make Chinatown a destination worth visiting.

Dragon Gate

You can’t visit Chinatown without snapping a photo in front of the famous gate located on Grant Street . Built in 1970, this gate is the southern entrance to Chinatown. It is inscribed with the saying "All under heaven is for the good of the people," by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. 

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Many people don’t know that fortune cookies originated in Chinatown and not China! Visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory for a behind the scenes look at how these delicious and iconic fortune cookies are made. The cookie company, located between Jackson and Washington Streets in Ross Alley, was opened in 1962. When you enter you will immediately  see fortune cookies being made right in front of you. First, the thin circular cookie is pulled off a hot press. Then, a fortune is placed on one side of the hot, flat dough. Next, each soft, hot cookie is shaped over a steel rod into the shape of a fortune cookie. This process must be done very quickly, otherwise the cookie will harden before it has the right fortune cookie shape. When you are inside the factory, you will be amazed at how quickly the fortune cookies are made.

Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral

The Old Saint Mary’s Church is the oldest cathedral in California. The church was built mainly by Chinese laborers who use granite quarried in China and brought bricks from New England. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed most buildings in Chinatown but the Old Saint Mary’s Church survived and became a California Registered Historical Landmark.

Shops in Chinatown

You really can’t go wrong walking along any of the streets in Chinatown. You can pop into any store and taste delicious Chinese cuisine. The shops carry beautiful Chinese gifts. They are perfect for souvenirs from San Francisco!

Chinese New Year Parade

To celebrate the New Year, there is big parade through the San Francisco city streets on Saturday, February 24th. Nowhere in the world will you see a lunar new year parade with more gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, exploding firecrackers, and of course the newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court. A crowd favorite is the spectacular 268' Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung"). It takes a team of over 180 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane, to carry the Golden Dragon through the streets of San Francisco.



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