San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tours: 5 Top Tours Around This Interesting SF Neighborhood

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: June 8, 2022

These San Francisco Chinatown walking tours offer you a chance to get a insider's view on this amazing and colorful part of town. It's a little city within a city that is full of history and always changing.

If you want to get to know the real Chinatown, then I recommend taking one of these guided tours. They range from free tours offered through the SF Public Library to more involved paid options that include sampling food.

On these tours, you get the chance to try dim sum (traditional small plates), take a peek into the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, and see this district's gorgeous temples. You will love what you learn on all of these SF Chinatown tours.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. SF Chinatown Walking Tour

An alter inside the Ma Tsu temple in SF's Chinatown

On this Chinatown adventure, you'll see the cultural side of this small city within San Francisco and discover the secrets of this old-world neighborhood.

You'll learn more about Chinatown's herbal pharmacies, watch how fortune cookies are made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, and see very colorful food for sale along Stockton Street.

During the walk, you'll also stop by an authentic Buddhist temple, taste some exotic teas (if available during your tour time), and get an insider's list of where to shop in Chinatown

This tour runs daily at 10 am.

Tour Length: 2 hours
Book: Chinatown Walking Tour

2. Chinatown Food Walking Tour

One of the lions at the gate in SF's Chinatown

Dive into the amazing dishes of San Francisco's Chinatown. This interesting food walking tour will take you to some of this district's top restaurants, bakeries, and food shops.

You'll love this San Francisco Chinatown walking tour as you get to sample five tasty foods, including traditional egg tarts and barbecue pork buns. You will also visit the local fortune cookie factory, SF's oldest Buddhist Temple, and an authentic Chinese food market.

As you learn about this district's cuisine, you will also learn quite a bit about its history. Your guide will also give you some fun insider's tips on additional places to visit here. 

This tour runs on Saturday and Sundays at 10 am.

Tour Length: 3 hours

Book: Chinatown Food Walking Tour

>> Find additional fun food walking tours around SF

3. Food Walking Tour of Chinatown & North Beach

The main entrance gate to Chinatown at Grant and Bush Streets in SF

This combined trip of both Chinatown and North Beach takes you through two of the most visited neighborhoods in the city

First, you'll get the chance to savor some Chinese tea and try the famous dim sum in Chinatown. You'll also get a chance to walk by some of the most famous Chinese sculptures and architecture. 

After your exploration of Chinatown, you'll walk a few blocks over to San Francisco's North Beach community. Here you'll learn more about this Italian neighborhood's hidden secrets and find the best places to enjoy its amazing coffee.

From dim sum and tea to pizza and wine, this is a great way to stimulate your senses and learn about the unique cultures of these two famed SF neighborhoods. This tour is offered most days at 2:30 pm. 

Tour Length: 4 hours

Book: Food Walking Tour of Chinatown & North Beach

>> Additional cool night tours around town

4. Free Guided Walking Tours

Grant Avenue sign and a few shops in SF's Chinatown

SF City Guides offers informative, free, two-hour San Francisco Chinatown walking tours each week.

They start at Portsmouth Square on the corner of Washington and Kearney Streets. During the trip, you'll walk along Chinatown's crowded streets, learning about the district's historic temples and its colorful past.

Periodically, the library also offers other tours of Chinatown, although none of these are currently listed on their schedule. Check the schedule before your trip to see if one will be offered during your visit.

Tour Length: 2 hours

Start Time: See current schedule

Price: Free

5. Self-Guided Tour of Chinatown

A fortune cookie before its folded from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in SF

If you prefer to explore Chinatown on your own, check out my self-guided tour. I created this for anyone who is not able to book one of the tours above or would just prefer to head out on their own. It includes a walking route that takes you past three Chinese temples, as well as the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, and helps you find a great place for dim sum for lunch. 

On this tour, you can also opt to visit the Chinese Historical Society, discover bargains along Grant Avenue, and step inside the oldest herbal pharmacy in SF.

>> More great self-guided tours and suggested itineraries around SF

Top Guided San Francisco Walking Tours: Do you want to explore additional neighborhoods in San Francisco? Here you'll find some of the best options throughout the city, including everything from the 75th Anniversary Golden Gate Bridge Walking Tour to the colorful Haight-Ashbury Flower Power tour.

Food Walking Tours: San Francisco is famous for its amazing restaurants. Why not sample some of its tasty treats on these food walking tours? Choose from the sweet treats in the Ferry Building to the savory delights throughout the Mission District.

More Self-Guided Walking Tours: Do you prefer to venture out on your own? This list of self-guided tours includes something for everyone. You can choose from detailed audio tours to self-guided walking tour maps. Both allow you to explore on your own while seeing the sights at your own pace.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

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