This past week was Chinese New Year. Welcome to the Year of the Dog! This is a festivity that is celebrated all month long in San Francisco. There is a huge parade through downtown San Francisco that shuts down a good portion of the city, a flower festival and market, fun run, historical society exhibit, a colorful symphony performance, and some amazing feasts at various restaurants. San Francisco boasts the largest Chinatown outside of China, so I’d be willing to say that San Francisco is the place to be for Chinese New Year! That being said, I have accidentally been stuck in the chaos of street closures several times & if I am not going specifically for the festivities, then I avoid the area! Our favorite Valentine’s Day restaurant is right in the cross hairs of the parade so its takes some planning! In honor of Chinese New Year, I am sharing my travel post this week on Chinatown.
What to do & eat in Chinatown:
Tour the Cable Car Museum
Visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory & get a personalized fortune
Load up on affordable loose leaf green tea at any of the vendors
Duck into a market & try out some new fruits that you’ve never heard of before
Grab a custard filled pastry at the Golden Gate Bakery
Stock up on Asian snacks at Ming Lee Trading Co. (There are two fully loaded floors!)
Get Dim Sum at Great Eastern (Obama ate here when in town)
Chow down on noodles at R&G Lounge
Eat at China Live if you need an Instagram perfect backdrop
This amazing building used to be the Grandview Movie Theater and was a popular local spot in the 40’s.
My absolute favorite thing to do in Chinatown is pick up fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie. They have all sorts of flavors, you can get them just made (which is WAY more delicious than usual), and you can write your own fortune, which they will then put into a cookie for you. My advice? Think of your fortune while you are waiting in line! Everything moves so fast once you get in. I got too excited and overwhelmed & my mind went blank. I didn’t have the clever fortune that I thought I would! The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie is hard to find. If you are on Jackson, one of the main streets in Chinatown, look for Ross Alley. Peek down the alley. See that long line? You have found the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie shop!
They ask you for a small donation if you take photos. Just pay the dollar or few dollars. It’s worth it to support such a neat place! Also, they give you free samples while in line…win!
Back up Jackson a little ways, you will find the Cable Car Museum. Cable cars run right in front of it, in case you want to go for that picturesque ride, and it has the fascinating history about the unique San Francisco cable cars.
Look at these huge wheels that pull the cables! Amazing!