What it is:
A lively, dense neighborhood, Chinatown is the largest Chinese community on the West Coast. Full of sights and smells to feed the senses, this area is chockablock with fish vendors, herb shops, acupuncture clinics, tea houses, and Buddhist temples. You'll also find great dim sum restaurants and places to buy authentic souvenirs.
Just north of Union Square, Chinatown is bounded by Broadway, Columbus Avenue, and Bush Street and Kearny and Stockton Streets.
What to Do:
Stroll the streets and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of this bustling neighborhood; visit authentic tea shops and herbalists; enjoy a dim sum lunch; shop for cookware and souvenirs; visit a Buddhist temple. Grant Street caters to the tourist trade, with mostly souvenir shops; Stockton Street bustles with food markets and local family-owned businesses. Be sure to wander off the main streets and explore the smaller shops and historic buildings along the back alleys. Check out the Top 7 Things to do in Chinatown for more ideas.
When to Go:
Chinatown is especially busy and well-traveled on weekends; try visiting mid-week or early morning to avoid the crowds.
Take MUNI or BART to Powell Street and walk North to the Chinatown Gate at Bush and Grants Streets or walk from Union Square.
Wok Wiz offers daily tours of Chinatown; some include a dim sum lunch.