San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinese community in North America and the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. First established around 1850, the community brought in a large portion of immigrants from China hoping to strike it rich in the aftermath of the famous California Gold Rush.
Today, it is a thriving community made up of fish markets, bakeries, stores and a variety of restaurants. San Francisco is thought to be the birthplace of a number of American- Chinese food traditions including Chop Suey and the Fortune Cookie.
To see and experience the real Chinatown, visitors should tour the Grant and Stockton Street areas. Grant Avenue caters more to the tourist with a selection of restaurants and shops lining the street. Stockton Street is more traditional providing tourists with the look and feel of authentic food markets.
Visitors have an opportunity to sample some of the local flavor from local fortune cookie factories and herbal tea shops. The Golden Gate Cookie Factory is worth a visit. First established in 1962, it still produces around 20,000 cookies per day by hand.
Other points of interest include Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1854. The Chinatown Gateway Arch, situated at the intersection of Grant Avenue and Bush Street is a popular tourist attraction. There are numerous art galleries such as the Kee Fung Ng Gallery, Shakris Fine Asian Works of Art and Stylers Art Gallery displaying authentic Chinese artwork.
For more information, including a list of restaurants, go the website.