The area is the largest of its kind outside of the continent of Asia. There are other comparable towns in the cities of New York and Washington D.C., but none of them are as expansive and have as much activity as this part of the Bay Area.
It is the oldest one of its kind in North America, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire city. Chinatown was established in the year 1840, and it was a pivotal aspect of the identity and immigration of Chinese to the area.
It is located in between the neighborhood of North Beach and Telegraph Hill. Though it may seem like it is just a tourist trap, Chinatown is actually a living, breathing part of Chinese culture in San Francisco.
The region occupies about twenty-four blocks. Though this may be a large distance for many, the best way to see it and get an authentic feel for the neighborhood is by foot.
It is where those of the ethnicity can come to worship, shop, eat, and mingle. The area is about one mile long and over a mile wide, so there are endless shops and places to see.
Probably the most impressive part about the region is the decor and architecture of all of the different buildings found there. The visitor is truly transported to Asia.
The first Chinese style building, which is now a bank, was once home to the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company at 743 Washington Street. Chinatown itself is the most densely populated neighborhood in San Francisco and one of the most densely populated in the entire country of the United States.
Its late estimated population was well over one hundred thousand and five hundred people, which is over two-thirds of the entire Chinese population in the city. It is also one of the poorer areas, where the average household income is a little over forty thousand dollars a year.
Because of the overcrowding, other smaller areas like this have been established in a few of the other neighborhoods nearby. However, the most impressive and busy of these is the original.
When you visit, there are a number of things that you can do. Chinatown is home to some of the most delicious and authentic Asian cuisine in the city.
However, not every restaurant is the same as far as quality, taste, and cleanliness goes. If you want to know which is the best or most popular, ask the advice of natives or travel guides.
You could also just see which establishment is the busiest; this is always a rule of thumb for finding delicious food. Wherever you go, you must try a dim sum or dinner.
It is a Cantonese style dish that involves small portions of many different types of foods. This meal should be shared and tested by both you and your party.
Another interesting thing about the city is the type of products and souvenirs one can purchase there. If you would really like to know more about authentic Chinese medicine, visit a teashop.
There are quite a few of these pharmacy-like establishments; the individuals providing service there follow the same traditions that past medicine men of the culture did. They believe that any type of tea can cure common ailments or illnesses.
If you are feeling under the weather or would simply like to find a supplement, tell the expert there what outcome you wish to have through the tea. They will prescribe you a concoction to aid you.
Another great way to experience the area is by heading over to Ross Alley. Here, tourists can watch the creation of the famous Chinese treat, fortune cookies.
There is a small factory found there that produces over two hundred thousand of them each year. The process is actual very detailed and must be done correctly to make the perfect cookie.
Chinatown is full of shops and establishments. Each has different items, whether they are imported and traditional or newer.
No matter what, it is certain you can find something you are looking for. It also has some of the best seafood markets in the city; you can find all types of delicious meats in these.
A trip to San Francisco is not complete without exploring this neighborhood. It is a fun place for any tourist, youth, or family to learn more about Chinese culture.
Terry Daniels has worked in the travel business for 10 years. He has many recommendations of things to do in San Francisco.