All About Chinatown's
two-hour walking tour blends San Francisco history with a realistic look at life in Chinatown today. Meandering through Chinatown's warren of alleys and main streets on foot brings the neighborhood to life, from the elderly but fierce chess players of Portsmouth Square, to the fragrant and noisy food stalls of Stockton Street. Owner Linda Lee, born and raised in the neighborhood, led our tour and enlivened the walk with stories of her childhood and of colorful characters in neighborhood history. Particularly kid-friendly stops include a visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
for a tasting and a glimpse at just how they slip those little pieces of paper inside the cookies. At the Chinese herbalist, kids will thrill to the "ick" factor that affects those of us most comfortable with the ways of Western medicine. The tour is stroller-friendly
, with only one set of stairs at the very end, leading to a Buddhist temple where strollers need to be collapsed and carried upstairs to the temple. Linda welcomes all ages and was very conscientious about engaging our four-year-old walker. Nonetheless, the tour was a bit more walking and adult conversation than he could endure with ease, so this tour is best recommended for compliant babes in strollers or older children who can appreciate the information. These two hours provide some good neighborhood flavor for those who are visiting San Francisco, but don't rule it out if you hail from here - even our born-and-bred locals learned a few things.