San Francisco’s other Chinatown
Side streets offer authentic shops, businesses and beautiful architecture
SAN FRANCISCO – There are two Chinatowns in San Francisco, one where tourists can buy conical straw hats and tacky souvenirs, and a second where the locals live, shop and eat.
There are no defined boundaries – you don’t cross a street and step from Tourist Chinatown to Authentic Chinatown. Rather, the two overlap. A visitor can leave a neon-lit store, loaded down with bamboo back scratchers and plastic Buddhas, and a half-block away turn down a dingy alley dotted with shops and businesses where no English is spoken.
“Chinatown is not a closed attraction. Anybody can visit,” said Linda Lee, proprietor of All About Chinatown Walking Tours (allaboutchinatown.com), which has been showing people around for more than 30 years. “Walk up Grant Avenue, the main street, then go to the rest (of the area) for authentic tours.”
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