San Francisco Chinatown Tour: Through the Dragon's Gate

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Visit the most interesting spaces and places in San Francisco's Chinatown with a local expert

In the company of an expert local, get to know one of the most intriguing spaces in the United States - San Francisco's legendary Chinatown. Hailed as the largest and oldest enclave of Chinese people, customs, and traditions outside of Asia, a few hours spent wandering through the bazaar-Esque streets is considered essential when visiting San Francisco.

Our guide to San Francisco Chinatown Tour: Through the Dragon's Gate

As the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia and the oldest in North America, your personal local will weave you through the most vibrant spaces and lesser-known sites. Take in the small bakeries, peek into a traditional Eastern pharmacy to see the various herbs and medicinal powders, and stop by the legendary Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory for insight into the art of fortune cookie making! Not only will you be able to try warm cookies just off the machine, but you will also take home a personalized treat just for yourself!

Begin your tour just outside the Dragon Gates, where this traditional "Paifang" style entrance flocked by two Imperial guardian lions (shishi) protects the southern entrance into a land where wonder greets history. It is here your guide will set the stage - quickly dissecting the symbolism within its concrete.

As you begin your journey into the heart of the neighborhood, learn of the flood of immigration in the mid-19th century (and why!), the thriving businesses that post up on these streets, and all the vice that followed. As you visit the sites of significance such as Old St. Mary's Cathedral and Waverly Place, your local guide will divulge the sometimes "too incredible to believe" stories and factual history paving the way for Chinatown's significance not only in San Francisco but the story of the United States.

With visits to some modern stores beloved by locals while keeping their foot in the traditional past, visit a local apothecary, a shop selling essentials of the afterlife, and a few of the "strictly locals" spots for dim sum, Sichuan, and Cantonese cuisine. Cap your time with a visit to the famed Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory where warm treats await you! See these handmade cookies come off the oven and take home a custom treat just for you! As you weave your way to the closing of the tour, your guide will prepare you for your evening - departing at the crossroads of three “foodie” neighborhoods where you can easily walk to some incredible places to enjoy dinner based on their experience and local knowledge.

Start times

10:00 & 16:00

Duration

1.5 hours.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for San Francisco Chinatown Tour: Through the Dragon's Gate

  • You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
  • Itinerary subject to change.
  • Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory. 
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Please note that the tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
  • This tour has a maximum capacity of 20 guests.
  • Only small backpacks and regular-size handbags are allowed on this tour.
  • Unfortunately, you can not take strollers on this tour. 
  • As COVID regulations change frequently and at short notice, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have checked the requirements that San Francisco has put in place so that all visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Cancellation Policy: Free cancellations for bookings cancelled with the operator up to 72 hours before your chosen activity date. No refunds are given for cancellations made within 72 hours.

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