Meet at Old St Mary's Cathedral to begin your walking tour of Chinatown's most popular sights and hidden locales. Your guide will teach you all about the history and culture of Chinatown, explaining how the remarkable authenticity of ancient Chinese culture has been preserved and celebrated in its road to 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.
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North Beach awakens your senses, from the cafes and restaurants, to the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. Discover quaint shops with crafts and ceramics from around the world. Delve into North Beach life as you join family bakers kneading love into every loaf of bread. Just when you think you have reached food heaven, you'll come across coffee shops which roast fresh coffee beans daily. And if that was not enough, you will uncover authentic Italian cathedrals where hundreds of couples have felt their heartstrings tug! And, as you taste everything from great coffee, truffles, breads, olive oil, specialty meats, and more, you'll learn how the food is made and what to look for back home.
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