Monday, December 27, 2010

San Francisco's Chinatown

Did you know that San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America? It's also a really fun place to explore, and in spite of its size, it's easy to find one's way around and even easier to wile a few hours away and enjoy the unique sights, sounds, and smells.

I was fortunate to find my way here a few weeks ago. My original intention was to retrace the Barbary Coast Trail with some friends and hit up a few pubs and pizza joints along the way (you need some good nourishment for such an endeavor!) but as part of the trail winds its way through the narrow streets and alleyways of Chinatown, I became mesmerized and took a little extra time to capture some of the colorful sights along the way. It wasn't a particularly great day for photography - the skies were about as dreary as they could be - but that didn't stop me from pointing my lens at some of the colorful architecture, signage, and artwork we came across - including quite a few Santas on a pub crawl of their own...

The main gateway at Grant Street...

The TransAmerica Building peeking through...


A typical tourist shop...


Santas looking for a pub...
More tourist items for sale...
Typical Chinatown architecture - the Sing Chong Building...


Lanterns lining the streets...
One of the historical buildings...


Dinner anyone?
One more ubiquitous store...
An interesting hallway...
Somebody's lucky number and prize?

One of the many alleyways...





You can't get lost with this map...
Portsmouth Square (aka the "Heart of Chinatown") and a favorite local hangout...


A few remaining ginkgo leaves...
No matter when you may find yourself in Chinatown, there's always something special going on. But the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is probably the most colorful and loudest event of the year. They'll be ushering in the "Year of the Hare." Persons born in the year of the hare are considered to be talented and ambitious. Happy New Year!

6 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful tour of San Francisco's Chinatown. I haven't been there for years, I think it's time I went back.
At one time, I believe Vancouver, BC, my home city, had the second-largest Chinatown in North America. When I worked in the area, I loved to visit.
Thanks for your photos, it's okay if the sky wasn't blue.
Happy New Year -- all both of them!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Naturedigital said...

Beautiful, colorful photographs from Chinatown Linnea.
Costas

Y. Ikeda said...

Great entry. I have been to Chinatown in SF only once. I remember that the size of the dish was for dinosaur! We could not finish them at all. Chinatown is very lively when compared to Japantown where there is nearly no Japanese there:)))
Thanks for sharing and have happy holidays.
Yoshi

Chako-chan said...

Happy New Year!! Thank you for the wonderful shots. Have you seen those "riders" around Stockton and Filbert? I consider them another San Francisco souvenir. I will e-mail a photo from a bird seeking trip near Chinatown last summer.

Photo Cache said...

if i need a quick getaway or simply hankering for a dim sum, that's where i'd go first.

happy new year.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Thanks for the tour, Linnea. I particularly enjoyed all those Santas in the first shots! SF is one of the places on my wishlist - I've probably told you that before - and I would love to see this Chinatown for myself. We do have Chinatowns in several of our major cities but they aren't as big, or as 'authentic' as SF's.