entrance to Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is called the "Dragon's
Gate." Inside are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of it taking
place along Grant Avenue, the oldest street in San Francisco. This city
within a city is best explored on foot; exotic shops, renowned restaurants,
food markets, temples and small museums comprise its boundaries. Visitors
can buy ancient potions from herb shops, relax and enjoy a "dim sum"
lunch or witness the making of fortune cookies.
Portsmouth Square at Clay and Kearny Streets is generally considered
the center of life; residents gather for board games, discussions and
solemn tai chi rituals.
The Pacific Heritage Museum at 608 Commercial Street, on the site of the
original San Francisco Mint, focuses on art of the Pacific Rim.
The Chinese Historical Society, 965 Clay Street, contains numerous artifacts
tracing the history of Chinese immigration.
The Chinese Culture Center at 750 Kearny Street rotates exhibits of Chinese
arts and crafts.
The former central telephone exchange of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph
Company stands at 743 Washington Street. Now a bank, it is the first Chinese-style
building constructed in San Francisco, and the exact site where California's
first newspaper was printed.
Visitors to Ross Alley can watch fortune cookies being made; a small factory
produces some 200,000 a year.
Each February, Chinatown is the focal point for one of The City's most
popular festivals, Chinese New Year. A week's worth of fascinating festivities
culminates with a huge downtown parade overflowing with Chinese folklore,
including a block-long Golden Dragon.