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San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch

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San Francisco, United States
San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon2 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Dive deep into one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods on this Chinatown walking tour. From paper lanterns to medicinal herbs to a fortune cookie factory, explore both popular and lesser-known gems in this bustling district with an in-the-know guide. See sights including a Buddhist temple, and upgrade, if you wish, to include a 9-course lunch of dim sum for an even more memorable experience.
  • Walking tour of San Francisco's Chinatown
  • Tour popular sights and off-the-beaten-path spots that only locals know about
  • See the buzzing food markets along Stockton Street and explore Waverly Place
  • Pop into an herbal pharmacy and an authentic Buddhist temple
  • Sample fortune cookies at the factory where they are made
  • Learn about Chinatown's fascinating history and culture from your expert insider guide
  • Upgrade includes a mouthwatering 9-course dim sum lunch
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Professional guide
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

660 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

The cross street is Grant Avenue

Departure Time

10:00 AM

Return Details

800 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

The tour ends on Grant Ave., 2 blocks from Old St. Mary's Cathedral, the starting site of the tour.

Explore San Francisco’s Chinatown and discover a few hidden highlights on this walking tour that includes an upgrade option for a 9-course Chinese dim sum lunch.

Your tour starts in Chinatown, where you meet your informative guide. As you wander this colorful, lively neighborhood, listen to commentary from your guide about Chinatown’s history, culture and present-day authenticity. Take note of Chinese decorations that line the streets, pass by buildings designed like pagodas, and visit an herbal pharmacy, where you hear about medicinal uses of items such as ginseng root, pearl pills, and gecko lizards.

Follow your guide along Stockton Street, which bustles with markets selling seafood and some of San Francisco’ most exotic ingredients, and learn a bit about Chinatown's religious influence at a Buddhist temple that’s home to gold antiques and urns filled with incense. Pass by a Chinese-language school, and stop at Waverly Place, an intriguing 2-block alley lined with temples and secret clubs.

Next up, head to fortune cookie factory, where you can observe how the treats are made and enjoy a sample. Your walking tour ends near your starting point, from where can continue exploring on your own; perhaps visit the local shops or have lunch at a restaurant recommended by your guide.

If you upgrade when booking to the 9-course luncheon, sit down to delicious dim sum at a favorite Chinatown restaurant. See below for a sample menu.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
All About Chinatown Tours
Meet at Old St. Mary's Cathedral to begin your walking tour of Chinatown's most popular sights and hidden locales. Your guide will highlight the history and culture of Chinatown, explaining how the remarkable authenticity of ancient Chinese culture has been preserved and celebrated in becoming a must-visit San Francisco attraction. As you navigate a historic maze of mysterious sights, have your camera out as you admire eye-popping Chinese decorations adorning the streets. Pass pagoda-style buildings and hear about their significance, and step inside an herbal pharmacy to learn about the uses of ginseng root for longevity, pearl pills for beautiful skin and gecko lizards for energy. Stroll down Stockton Street past busy markets selling some of the freshest and most exotic foods in the Bay Area. Gain an understanding of Chinatown's religious culture as you visit an authentic Buddhist temple, where you'll see dazzling altars adorned with red lanterns, gold antiques and incense-filled bronze urns. You'll also see a Chinese language school to find out how local Chinese families keep alive language and cultural traditions for their children. At your next stop, Waverly Place, your guide will give you the inside scoop on Chinatown's most interesting alley full of temples, private clubs and secret societies. This 2-block-long street may seem unassuming at first glance, but you may be surprised at what you learn. If the intoxicating sights, sounds and smells aren't enough, get ready for a great taste of Chinatown. Visit a fortune cookie factory to sample these 'wise' cookies and watch how they're made. Upgrade to include a hosted 10-course dim sum luncheon at one of Chinatown's most popular restaurants! Ending back near your original starting point, you'll leave with a list of recommended stores and restaurants in Chinatown, so you can continue exploring Chinatown like a real insider. -------------------- ITINERARY -------------------- Dim sum sample menu (if option selected; subject to change): Pork and shrimp dumpling Pork and shrimp pot sticker Steamed Shanghai pork dumpling Steamed chicken and cilantro dumpling Steamed barbecued pork bun Vegetable egg roll Vegetarian fried rice Chicken chow mein Platter of green beans, mushrooms, and tofu Dessert Sesame ball filled with sweet bean paste Two specialty teas: jasmine and chrysanthemum/oolong blend
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Chinatown
This electric neighborhood of 10,000 people is not to be missed, and it's not hard to find: listen for the clack of mahjong tiles and nose out the salty spicy squid.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Portsmouth Square
Chinatown’s outdoor living room and the birthplace of San Francisco’s first American flag, first public school, and first cable car line.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Stockton Street
Stroll among the freshest and most exotic foods in the Bay Area at the Stockton Street Food Markets.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Co
We’ll sample these “wise crackers” and watch how it’s done.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Stockton Street
At this exotic dried goods store, you'll see ginseng, bird's nests, gecko lizards, fish bladders, sea cucumbers, abalone and more and hear about what these foods can do for you.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
The Street of the Painted Balconies
Admire architectural details and hear the history of these secret institutions on Waverly Place
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Chinatown
View an authentic example of traditional pagoda style architecture and hear about the origin of the building
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Tours operate rain or shine; please dress appropriately
  • If you have dietary restrictions, the restaurant can make substitutions upon your request
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers
  • OPERATED BY All About Chinatown Tours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch?
A:The policy on sanitization is:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
See all safety measures taken by San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch.

Traveler Photos

Reviews

5.0
star-5
628 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 628 reviews
star-5
LOVED EVERY MINUTE!
Cindy_S
, Sep 2021
Lisa was incredible, she not only taught us history of the Chinese coming to San Francisco, but she showed us patiently around the district.
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Hi Cindy S: So glad you loved every minute and thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
An Absolute Must When Visiting San Francisco
Audrey_S
, Sep 2021
This was my favorite tour I took in San Francisco! It was so fun and very informative. Linda was fantastic and funny. She has such an extensive knowledge of the history, culture, and people of the area. She told us about the history, took us into shops, and had many visuals to show us. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the lunch portion, but she gave us all a paper list of places to eat, visit, etc. She mentioned that the tour was modified because of covid, but I didn't even notice until she said it. It never felt like we were missing things or experiences. In fact, one of my favorite parts was going into a shop that she said was not usually on the tour (but she added because of covid). It was so much fun! I definitely will be taking the tour again when I visit San Francisco next time to experience the dim sum lunch. Thank you so much Linda!
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Dear Audrey S: Chinatown has so much history and culture to highlight that it's just not possible to cover it all in a two hour tour (like visiting Philadelphia's historic sights in a few hours)! Thank you for the 5 star detailed review. I look forward to seeing you again.
star-5
Interesting places & history in China Town
Susan_G
, Sep 2021
The story of the housing situation in China Town, the Fortune Cookie Factory, the store that sold items to being to the graves of loved ones, Mr Lum’s story.
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Dear Susan G: Thank you for remembering so much about your tour, especially the stories about Walter U. Lum!
star-5
A Must Tour Fir San Fray
Robert_N
, Sep 2021
Great guide, entertaining and very knowledgeable. Explained Chinese history in San Fran. And a great Chinese lunch to top it off. Loved it.
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Hi Robert N: Loved your recap of your visit to Chinatown with us!
star-5
The most fun I've had in years!
krista_M
, Sep 2021
MS. Lee, our tour guide was AMAZING! We loved her, she was very informative and so much fun! We laughed a lot, she was very witty and we left with a better understanding of the culture. We traveled all over from Alcatraz to Muir woods and down the coast to Santa Barbara and this tour was by far, for both of us, our favorite part of the vacation. The lunch was amazing, I highly recommend it.
icon Response from Host , Sep 2021
Hi Krista M: If we laughed a lot on the tour and had stories to share with each other, then I had just as much delight in meeting you and sharing the history&culture of Chinatown. Thank you so much for this flattering review!
star-5
Perfect to experience Chinatown
Katherine_W
, Aug 2021
This was an amazing tour with Linda. It was great to have a guide who is from Chinatown and was able to give us the local's side of the story. We had great stops including the fortune cookie factory, local food markets, medicine markets, and the lunch at the end was perfect. I could not recommend this enough!
icon Response from Host , Aug 2021
Hi Katheri... I'm so glad you enjoyed the stops we made on the tour. There's only so much time to squeeze in about our history and culture, and I'm thrilled you ended the walk with a delicious dim sum lunch. Please visit again!
star-5
Fascinating and Fun
Sarah_P
, Aug 2021
Our tour guide, Linda Lee, was fantastic! She was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, friendly, fun, and just a wonderful guide. She made Chinatown come alive for us. We learned so much about the history of the area, its residents, and life there today.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2021
Dear Sarah_P: I really love the adjectives you used in the review: "fascinating" and "fun." When I look back at tours I've enjoyed taking, I always remember the new things I've learned and how much fun I had learning about it! Thank you so much for your positive review.
star-3
SoSo
Brandi_T
, Aug 2021
The guide was beyond 5 star she was hilarious and fun. It was informative but I think it would be a better tour of there was something like taste testing. The fortune cookie was fun but I think they should have you try a tea at a stop, maybe a desert, even a appetizer. We did one in St Thomas VI to this nature it was amazing
icon Response from Host , Aug 2021
Dear Brandi_T: Thank you for mentioning adding food tastings along the way. It does take more time to stop and enjoy a variety of foods in Chinatown, so I have a food tour available for just this interest! I offer a variety of meats, pastries, fresh fruit, teas, and of course, dim sum selections. Please come back for our food tour program.
star-5
Exploring our culture in china town
Danxing
, Aug 2021
This tour was a highlight of our visit to San Francisco. Our guide, Linda, was amazing. Even though it was a group of people, she made each individual feel special, and helped us to connect with our Chinese American culture. It was worth it to stay for the dim sum lunch, and definitely worth it to go with a guide rather than to simply explore on one’s own.
icon Response from Host , Aug 2021
Dear Danxing: This is a very special review as I love to connect with other Chinese Americans and exchange info on our lives here. Without our conversations, how else are we going to learn about others? I'm also glad you enjoyed the dim sum luncheon, as it is relaxing to have everything set up for you after the tour. Wishing you good health and more great vacation memories!
star-4
Wonderful Tour and Lunch
Ryan_B
, Aug 2021
Linda is an amazing tour guide! She had excellent stories and visuals that highlighted the rich history of Chinatown. I appreciated how she connected with each guest individually. Several destinations were shops - it’s great to promote local business - and I had hoped to see more historical sites or landmarks such as the Dragon Gate. Overall the tour was great and the lunch was the perfect touch. Highly recommend!!
icon Response from Host , Aug 2021
Dear Ryan_B: I am so glad that you enjoyed your walk through Chinatown. I would love to include more historical sites like the Chinatown Gate, the hospital where Bruce Lee was born, and many, many plaques in Portsmouth Square commemorating the first flag, school house, and site of the cable car, but I only have so much time to squeeze in 2 hours. I often ask my guests at the beginning of the tour of their interests before we head out. Come back again and let's just do all history, no shops (which highlight culture)! Thank you for writing this positive and helpful review.

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