San Francisco USA San Francisco Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the biggest Chinese ethnic district outside of Asia. It was established in 1850s, in the Gold Rush period, and expanded rapidly until severe immigration acts were applied. In the first decades of the XX century the laws were suspended, but completely cancelled only after World War II. It commenced the era of Chinatown’s rebirth, making it thriving shopping and trade centre. It also became the main tourist attraction, surpassing even Golden Gate Bridge. In recent years it has slightly declined in popularity, due to the rising of other Chinese communities and Asian culture and shopping centers, but remains the most influential district of the kind.
Chinatown is located in the downtown San Francisco. Two main city thoroughfares cross it. The district features small houses and neat narrow streets, which gives it authentic non-urban character. The streets are bright with colourful shop windows, street cafes and restaurants. Numerous studios provide activities like Tai Chi, martial arts, dancing, spa treatment etc. Flocks of people gather there for shopping or leisure, so on weekends it is very crowded. But the district is best to visit in midday, it gets quiet very quickly after dark. Among the landmarks are Chinatown Gate, a gloriously decorated gate marking the entry to Grant Avenue's Chinatown. It was unveiled in 1970, and helped secure the street's status as the neighborhood's center. In Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory some 20,000 fortune cookies a day are handmade by two women, each handling a conveyor belt of what look like miniature waffle irons. The factory opened in August 1962, and remains the most popular cookie boutique. Waverly Place is a picturesque street full of overwhelming sights and smells. It is also the nexus of temples in Chinatown, including Tien Hau.
The events not to be missed are Autumn Moon Festival which takes place in September, around the same time as the autumn equinox. Highlights typically include live entertainment such as martial arts, acrobats, Chinese opera, karaoke, music, dance and a youth talent contest, with plenty of activities for children like Chinese calligraphy, mini-car races and more. The Lunar New Year is celebrated with food, flowers, firecrackers and envelopes of "lucky money." The two-week celebration includes music events, street fairs and the Miss Chinatown USA pageant and culminates with a spectacular parade.