San Francisco's Chinatown
This is a panorama of San Francisco's Chinatown from the front of the
Chinese Cultural Center. The famous neighborhood extends from the foreground
for several blocks up the steep hill. "Little Italy" is just north, adjacent
to the right. The Financial District with its skyscrapers is behind the
The Cultural Center offers excellent day tours of Chinatown for a very
reasonable rate. An "authentic" lunch is included with the tour. Tours are available by 24 hour advance reservation with a minimum of 4 participants per tour.
Call (415) 986-1822 for more information.
This colorful, and crowded, street scene is typical of Chinatown. The streets
are narrow and congested, filled by both tourists and locals, and have a unique
vibrancy. Each block is crammed with an endless variety of small shops ranging
from those selling herbal medicines to the finest jewelry. The predominant shops appeared to
be those relating to food: restaurants and markets. The fresh fish markets with their
endless varieties of fish were especially fantastic. Many varieties of exotic
fruit and vegetables were found at the produce markets. An outstanding experience for those
who enjoy the unusual.
Chinatown is teeming with little backalleys such as the one shown at right.
These alleys are clean and safe, and sometimes there are surprises waiting
to be found in them.
Our first suprise was the "fortune cookie" factory tucked into a tiny
alley. We were invited in to watch how the cookies are made and to sample
and purchase! their wares.
The second surprise this day was a beautiful one-room Buddhist temple
hidden in another alley. Although it is an active, practicing temple, we
were permitted to enter and observe.
San Francisco's Japanese Tea Garden
In contrast to Chinatown, the Japanese Tea Garden has an atmosphere which is
peaceful and idyllic, a pleasing change of pace. The garden is lushly and
beautifully landscaped in the Japanese style, including bonsai, cherry trees,
ponds, statuary, and pagodas. Of course, there is also a tea house where one
can drink tea while enjoying the scenery. The garden is located in Golden Gate
Park along with numerous other gardens, a great arboretum, art museums, and
the numerous museums of the California Academy of Sciences. A great park in the heart
of a great city!