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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

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

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
Old Saint Mary's Cathedral , 660 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

The cross street is Grant Avenue

10:00 AM
800 Clay St , 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
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

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.

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Reviews

5.0
star-5
671 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 671 reviews
star-5
Great family experience
Emile_E
, Jun 2022
Linda Lee is such a delightful and informative guide that we took this tour two years in a row. We learned a lot about culture, food, religion and customs. We have a deeper cultural awareness after this tour
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Hi Emile_E: I'm happy to hear that you still enjoyed the tour two years in a row. If Luke ever takes the tour again, ask him to come up with more airport codes for me! Thanks for the 5 star review.
star-5
Best tour we have been on!!!
Trent_B
, Jun 2022
Linda was amazing!!!!!! Best your guide ever. We had so much fun on this tour and learned a lot. Can’t recommend this tour enough
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Hi Trent_B: Learning and having fun at the same time? I love these kinds of memorable experiences! Thanks for the enthusiastic review.
star-5
Fun tour, great guide
Brittany_R
, Jun 2022
Caio was an awesome guide! He drove our Painted Lady, Poppy, very well and was able to easily and comfortably add mood music (Full House theme, anyone?) and fill in fun facts about the neighborhoods we drove through. I’ve been to see the Golden Gate Bridge a bunch of times, but we happened to have a clear day and the spot he took us to was perfect viewing. He was able to answer our questions about the area, where he’s from…he was just an absolute delight! He made my sister’s birthday so special!!!
star-5
Linda's narrative was...
Richard_L
, Jun 2022
Linda's narrative was really interesting and her explanation of the different inflections for the language was highly informative
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Hi Richard_L: It would be wonderful if my little "language lesson" inspired you to learn some useful Chinese phrases! Thank you for the 5 star review. Wishing you safe and healthy travels wherever you go.
star-5
A great tour of history and culture
Brandon_S
, May 2022
We have lived in San Francisco for years and signed up for the tour as part of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month to get to know Chinatown better. We had an excellent experience and felt that our guide, Beth, had a breadth of knowledge to inform us of both the history and culture that has defined Chinatown over the years. I would recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about San Francisco and American history and culture.
icon Response from Host , Jun 2022
Hi Brando: You are confirming what we already know - Beth is a superior tour guide - knowledgeable about the history and culture of the Chinese in the U.S. while making the experience fun and educational. Thank you for the 5 star review of Beth!
star-5
Wonderful guide
Karen_D
, May 2022
Linda was a wonderful guide. We had a great experience. We learned a lot and shared some good conversations.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Hi Karen_D: Thank you for your positive comments and your 5 star review!
star-4
Learning about Chinatown with Linda
Theresa_L
, May 2022
Linda was very a very good guide and she has a sense of humor. She shared interesting stories, history and information about the establishments we stopped and buildngs we looked at and walked in. I would recommend this tour if you want to know more about Chinatown than just walking around.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Hi Theres: I'm so glad you enjoyed your walk with me. Thank you for the 5 star review!
star-5
Worth it
Laura_M
, May 2022
Very interesting and the tour guide was entertaining. Fun way to view the city. Good overview of the history
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Hi Laura_M: I'm happy you enjoyed the tour with us, and thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
HDN/IAH Chinatown Tour
Alisa_H
, May 2022
Linda Lee clearly enjoyed her job as the guide. She was friendly, engaging with all age groups, and imminently knowledgeable. We had strolled through Chinatown the previous day. She explained things that we had seen and had questions about and she showed us things we missed on our own as well as explaining the background of what we were seeing. Great tour! I highly recommend it for anyone including residents of San Francisco.
icon Response from Host , May 2022
Hi Alisa_H: Wasn't it fun to meet people from FAT, SEA and PHX? My guests come from all over world. Today I had guests from AMS and CLE. As you both continue to enjoy traveling, make sure the ticket agent doesn't mistakenly write down HND! Thank you for the wonderful 5 star review.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Linda is a joy to spend a...
Gwendolyn_F
, Apr 2022
Linda is a joy to spend a couple of hours with. She knows the area inside and out, sharing history and fun stories along the way. Don't miss out on the lunch add-on -- it is well worth it!
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Gwend...: Perhaps your good experience was because you are just as much fun to share a couple of hours with? Thank you for the 5 star review!
star-5
Worth doing😃
Donna_B
, Apr 2022
Linda provided a great deal of information about places the average person would just walk past and not know the meaning of.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Donna_B: I'm glad you enjoyed our walk together and thank you for the 5 star review!
star-5
Totally worthwhile!
Rita_R
, Apr 2022
Linda Lee was wonderful! Friendly and knowledgeable and kept the tour moving and on schedule. Loved the fresh hot fortune cookies!
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Rita_R: There is much more to see and learn about Chinatown that cannot be covered in just 2 hours. Come visit again! Thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
Fascinating and fun!
Robert_A
, Apr 2022
This was an amazing tour. Linda gave us a lot of fascinating information about the neighborhood that we would have never known if we hadn’t taken the tour. We especially enjoyed going to the fortune cookie shop, walking down Stockton street past the food markets and visiting some unique shops. We added the optional lunch and it was very good.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Robert_A: Fascinating and fun are two words I would love to experience always! Thanks for the 5 star review.
star-5
Best lunch ever and truly amazing guide!
Warren_S
, Apr 2022
Our guide, Linda, was extremely knowledgeable. She had in-depth details regarding Chinese culture, foods, history, and architecture. She shared personal stories about growing up in Chinatown and provided lots of anecdotes. We truly enjoyed the tour, the lunch was delicious, and we would highly recommend.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Warren_S: While I'm thrilled with the positive review you wrote about my tour content, I'm delighted that visitors will read your comments about your dim sum lunch. It's so hard for Chinatown restaurants to stay open these days. To be open on the day and time you want to have lunch, to have staff, both chefs and servers to bring a meal to you, and to have the meal be delicious is just about perfect. Thank you for your 5 star review of the tour and lunch!
star-5
Love Linda Lee! She grew...
Susan_I
, Apr 2022
Love Linda Lee! She grew up in Chinatown and really knows the culture, people and history of the area.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Susan_I: If I tell you that I was born in Chinatown and you add up the fact that I've been giving tours for 39 years, it's amazing I still learn about my hood! Thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
Perfect tour and interesting for teens and parents
Trent_E
, Apr 2022
My family were very happy with this tour. Linda was informative and she presented personal pictures to make this tour interesting. My teen daughter and teenage grandson learned something about the Chinese culture and they still talk about the fortune cookie factory and facts about the culture. Thank you Erney family
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Trent, M, and L: I always shimmy with delight if I can keep teenagers engaged on my tour, but I think it's because a good part of it was talking about your daughter's 3 dogs! Thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
Terrific tour
John_A
, Apr 2022
We loved Linda’s explanations and stories. Educating and entertaining at all times. The teenagers who accompanied me were awed at the Chinese experience. Thanks, Linda.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi John: If I impressed teenagers, that is the highest compliment any tour guide can receive. Now if only my kids when they were teenagers could have read this! Thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
Great tour, worth the money!
Latasha_S
, Apr 2022
What a great tour to learn the history and see the sites in Chinatown. Our tour guide Linda was an amazing wealth of information and entertaining. We had such a fun time. The lunch, great variety of different foods to try, fresh, and delicious. Definitely worth the money.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Latasha: While it might be easy to teach you to say hello in Chinese, I'm still trying to find the accent on Oconomowoc! Thank you for the 5 star review.
star-5
Great Tour!
Elbert_L
, Apr 2022
Very informational, and our tour guide did a great job of tying in Chinatown history with current cultural context. Overall great experience.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
Hi Elbert_L: Thanks for your flexibility in touring with the University of San Francisco grad students. We all learned so much from each other!
star-5
Great tour!
caroline_L
, Mar 2022
Linda is an amazing tour guide, very knowledgeable and made the entire tour very engaging. My 13 year old son and I learned a lot about Chinatown and the cultural history behind it. Highly recommend!
icon Response from Host , Mar 2022
Hi Caroline: I in turn learned a lot about your family's cultural experiences as a world traveler. It's always flattering to know that your 13 year old son wasn't bored! Thank you very much for your 5 star review.

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