7. San Francisco
Spanning 24 square blocks, San Francisco’s Chinatown is second only to New York as being home to the largest Chinese community outside Asia. As you might expect given its size, the choice of things to see and buy is jaw-dropping with everything from exotic emporia, temples, tea houses, restaurants, Chinese banks, schools, law offices, bookstores, laundries and factories all to be found here.
The bulk of activity is centred around Grant Avenue, a large boulevard lined with stores and restaurants, all of which act as a magnet for tourists and locals alike. Off of this avenue are the Broadway and Stockton Street, and spiralling from here, several tiny alleyways that are ideal for casual strolls.
For many, one of the highlights of San Francisco’s Chinatown is a visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, creators of the famous American-Chinese sweets. Onlookers can observe as the fair hands of the operators fold moist cookies around slips of paper that mysteriously predict the future of customers who will eventually eagerly gobble up these tasty treats once they hit the shelves.
TOP TIP: If you’re interested in sampling some authentic Chinese medicine, there’s a large number of herbal shops dotted around San Francisco’s Chinatown.
MORE INFO: www.sanfranciscochinatown.com