Chinatown

If you're up for its intense crowds, sights, and smells, Chinatown is must-see San Francisco neighborhood.

As North America’s oldest and largest Chinatown, this densely packed neighborhood maintains a sense of order amid its chaos. Street vendors crowd the sidewalks and shouts emanate from narrow alleyways as butcher shops display their exotic array of available meats. Strung with lanterns and sheltered by pagoda roofs, Chinatown's kitsch shops, specialty stores, and mouthwatering hole-in-the-wall eateries range from immaculately organized to endearingly disheveled in this iconic San Francisco neighborhood.

See 68 places to stay Save this neighborhood

On the Map

Chinatown is bordered by North Beach, Downtown, Financial District, Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, and SoMa

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

SFO Airport: 30 minutes by cab without traffic or 57 minutes by BART
Golden Gate Park: 60 minutes by public transit
Fisherman's Wharf: 19 minutes by public transit
The Ferry Building: 14 minute walk

Chinatown's Enduring Community Ties

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San Francisco's Chinatown has supported a thriving Chinese community since its establishment in 1848.

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From its narrow alleyways to its endearingly skewed sidewalks, little moments are shared between locals.

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As the world's largest Chinese community outside of Asia, its members have worked tirelessly to preserve their culture and customs.

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Pixel
The location was fantastic. Step out the door, and you are in San Francisco's vibrant Chinatown. And if you head just a block north, you enter into little Italy and Telegraph Hill. The rest of the city awaits just a short walk or trolly bus ride beyond, making the [neighborhood] a great base location."

Scott

Visited in 2013

An Exhilarating Marketplace Every Day of the Week

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Whether consumers are looking to bargain or to be surprised, Chinatown's produce stalls, meat shops, and specialty spice and fungi stores support a steady flow of shoppers.

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Peaches, pears, and Peking Duck. There's a lot to taste in Chinatown.

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Salted fish and fermented mushrooms? You can find those, too.

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To commemorate your stay, purchase the kind of reminder you can only find in Chinatown.

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The neighborhood's discount shops and souvenir stalls offer countless options.

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We ♥ SF, too.

Pixel
For those seeking a quiet suburban experience, you may want to look elsewhere as this part of the city is very lively, a little raucous, but ALWAYS fun. A true San Francisco experience not to be missed."

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Marc Olivier Le Blanc specializes in commercial and editorial portrait photography. Although he's currently based in the vibrant Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, he returned to his native France to shoot Paris for this project through a traveler's eye. He always strives to turn both the ordinary and the unusual into something extraordinary.

Marc Olivier Le Blanc

View website »

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