San Francisco

San Francisco Chinatown Walking Tour with Optional Lunch

San Francisco, United States
  • 2 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Dive deep into one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods on this Chinatown walking tour. From paper lanterns to medicinal herbs to a fortune cookie factory, explore both popular and lesser-known gems in this bustling district with an in-the-know guide. See sights including a Buddhist temple, and upgrade, if you wish, to include a 9-course lunch of dim sum for an even more memorable experience.
  • Walking tour of San Francisco's Chinatown
  • Tour popular sights and off-the-beaten-path spots that only locals know about
  • See the buzzing food markets along Stockton Street and explore Waverly Place
  • Pop into an herbal pharmacy and an authentic Buddhist temple
  • Sample fortune cookies at the factory where they are made
  • Learn about Chinatown's fascinating history and culture from your expert insider guide
  • Upgrade includes a mouthwatering 9-course dim sum lunch

What's Included

  • Professional guide
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Old Saint Mary's Cathedral
    660 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

    The cross street is Grant Avenue

Start time

10:00 AM

End point

  • 800 Clay St
    800 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

    The tour ends on Grant Ave., 2 blocks from Old St. Mary's Cathedral, the starting site of the tour.

What To Expect

Explore San Francisco’s Chinatown and discover a few hidden highlights on this walking tour that includes an upgrade option for a 9-course Chinese dim sum lunch.

Your tour starts in Chinatown, where you meet your informative guide. As you wander this colorful, lively neighborhood, listen to commentary from your guide about Chinatown’s history, culture and present-day authenticity. Take note of Chinese decorations that line the streets, pass by buildings designed like pagodas, and visit an herbal pharmacy, where you hear about medicinal uses of items such as ginseng root, pearl pills, and gecko lizards.

Follow your guide along Stockton Street, which bustles with markets selling seafood and some of San Francisco’ most exotic ingredients, and learn a bit about Chinatown's religious influence at a Buddhist temple that’s home to gold antiques and urns filled with incense. Pass by a Chinese-language school, and stop at Waverly Place, an intriguing 2-block alley lined with temples and secret clubs.

Next up, head to fortune cookie factory, where you can observe how the treats are made and enjoy a sample. Your walking tour ends near your starting point, from where can continue exploring on your own; perhaps visit the local shops or have lunch at a restaurant recommended by your guide.

If you upgrade when booking to the 9-course luncheon, sit down to delicious dim sum at a favorite Chinatown restaurant. See below for a sample menu.

All About Chinatown Tours

Meet at Old St. Mary's Cathedral to begin your walking tour of Chinatown's most popular sights and hidden locales. Your guide will highlight the history and culture of Chinatown, explaining how the remarkable authenticity of ancient Chinese culture has been preserved and celebrated in 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. -------------------- ITINERARY -------------------- Dim sum sample menu (if option selected; subject to change): Pork and shrimp dumpling Pork and shrimp pot sticker Steamed Shanghai pork dumpling Steamed chicken and cilantro dumpling Steamed barbecued pork bun Vegetable egg roll Vegetarian fried rice Chicken chow mein Platter of green beans, mushrooms, and tofu Dessert Sesame ball filled with sweet bean paste Two specialty teas: jasmine and chrysanthemum/oolong blend

10 minutesAdmission Ticket Free


This electric neighborhood of 10,000 people is not to be missed, and it's not hard to find: listen for the clack of mahjong tiles and nose out the salty spicy squid.

10 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Tours operate rain or shine; please dress appropriately
  • If you have dietary restrictions, the restaurant can make substitutions upon your request
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • We need a minimum of 2 persons to confirm your booking. If you are traveling alone, we will offer alternate dates for you to join us.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 15 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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706 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 706 reviews
Beth was great guide knowledgeable
Bible_G, Feb 2023
Great experience loves it would recommend it. Very nice to see worth the money we really enjoyed it! Motivates us to go back at Night
Response from Host, Feb 2023
Hi Bible_G: Our tours can only be great if the experience was so memorable that you would want to return! I know it was due to Beth's exceptional skills as your tour guide. Thank you for your 5 star review and letting others know to add a visit to Chinatown on their trip.
Great tour!
Lisa_J, Feb 2023
Having lived in china previously, our tour guide Don was great at explaining both the culture and the history of the area. We loved our tour!
Response from Host, Feb 2023
Hi Lisa_J: Not surprised that Don McNab gave you a great tour. Don lived in China for 15 years, so we are lucky to have Don bring his knowledge of Chinese culture and history to San Francisco's Chinatown.
The secrets of Chinatown SF
Filip_K, Jan 2023
Great visit of Chinatown with the best guide, who shared the cultural and historical background of the inhabitants of this peculiar neighbourhood.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Hi Filip_K: Be sure to return with your son to shop for groceries on Stockton St.! My regards to S. and thank you for your 5 star review. Merci, maat!
Must Do Walking Tour of Chinatown!
Nikki_T, Dec 2022
Fun and educational walking tour of Chinatown! Our guide, Linda, was very personable and knowledgeable about the history of the Chinese in America and their important contributions towards the development of San Francisco. She helped us explore the culture, cuisine, religion, and various social clubs of the local community - which we would have never understood just walking around in our own. Dim Sum lunch at the Oriental Pearl was the perfect ending of the tour. Delicious! Highly recommend this tour to travelers who want to experience this vibrant neighborhood in San Francisco!
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Hi Nikki_T: This was such a thoughtful, flattering review of your experience in Chinatown that I am going to ask my web designer to post it on the website. Tell S. he earns my admiration for staying with Chinese for 5 years. If he loves the language, I invite him to be my translator for tours for Chinese guests. Happy New Year to you and your family and thank you very much for this 5 star review!
Elsa_L, Dec 2022
Had an exceptional time with our tour guide, Linda! She gave us so much insightful information about the history of Chinatown. Enjoyed passing through the market, going to a medicinal shop, fortune cookie 🥠 shop…. And her lunch food recommendation was excellent!!!
Response from Host, Dec 2022
Hi Elsa_L: I, in turn, will stand in 3 places at one time: Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, while eating fabulous Mexican food from ELP, because of your pride in your city! Thank you for your five star review. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Nice walking tour
Renee_D, Dec 2022
Linda had some great stories and personal life experiences regarding the customs and traditions in Chinatown
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour with Linda Lee, she was so knowledgeable regarding Chinatown, she has a great personality
Anne_M, Nov 2022
Learning so many of the intricate customs of the Chinese and seeing Chinatown through the eyes and stories of Linda Lee who was born and still lives in Chinatown!
Great tour and tour guide of SF Chinatown!
Alece_C, Nov 2022
Linda Lee was a great tour guide. She really engaged with the group, was funny and full of interesting info and history on Chinatown. Thank you Linda!! We really enjoyed our tour time with you.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Hi Alece_C: I in turn learned a little about VA! I'll remember not to confine myself in the Beltway the next time I head out East. I'm so glad you and E. enjoyed your tour with me.Thank you for the 5 star review.
Linda Lee
Linda_D, Nov 2022
Linda Lee is an excellent tour guide. She is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The tour is fun and engaging.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Hi Linda_D: From one Linda to another, thank you for the 5 star review!
Tour Guide
Nancy_M, Nov 2022
Don was very knowledgeable and entertaining. He was very engaged and made sure everyone in our party was comfortable.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Hi Nancy_M: Two hours is not enough time for Don to share all that he knows about Chinese culture, Chinatown, and more. Thank you for this 5 star review of Don!
Great tour & lots of interesting stuff
Lysa_D, Oct 2022
Linda was a spirited, funny, knowledgable guide and shared a lot of interesting information. We learned a lot! The dim sum meal was also very good.
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Hi Lysa: It was a pleasure to meet you and your family, sharing stories and laughing through it all. Happy to hear you also enjoyed the dim sum meal. Thank you for the 5 start review.
Interesting insight into Chinatown
Fleur_M, Oct 2022
Linda was an amazing and experienced guide. She was able to provide a full and interesting history of Chinese immigration to San Francisco and an insight into how they live, and shop! Linda was also very helpful when I had to reschedule.
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Hi Fleur_M and Amy: Thank you for your comments about my tour and I'm thrilled that you both enjoyed your visit this week. I also appreciate your comment about helping your rearrange your plans. Travel is so much more pleasurable when every detail goes as planned!
Chinatown tour
Greg_B, Oct 2022
Our tour guide Don was outstanding. The guy is amazing. Extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Hi Greg_B: I am thrilled that you posted this review of Don. He EXCELS as a tour guide and we are fortunate to have him working for our company.
Fun and engaging
Laura_M, Oct 2022
The tour guide Linda was fabulous and brought everything to life. She was raised in Chinatown and knows all the back alleys and is funny. I loved the visit to the ancestor shop—all the objects people could send to their relatives in another world. Had a great time!
Response from Host, Oct 2022
Hi Laura_M: If you were my guest from Europe, thank you for teaching me how to say hello in Southern Germany. Glad you enjoyed yourselves in Chinatown and thank you for the 5 star review.
Great Tour Bad Lunch
Justin_B, Aug 2022
The tour was great! Don did a nice job of introducing us to Chinatown. I highly recommend the tour, but at the last minute we decided to do the lunch with the tour. That was the worst meal we had in SF. The food was mediocre, really. Do the tour, then randomly walk into any restaurant nearby and you'll have a great time.
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Justin_B: I'm happy you enjoyed your tour with Don, but I'm concerned you did not enjoy your luncheon. Please feel free to reach out to me through my email address for more details about your disappointment so I can work with the restaurant to better serve our future guests. Nevertheless, thank you for the 5 star review!
Linda Lee is an excellent guide
Demarest_C, Aug 2022
Guide Linda Lee was funny and knowledgeable. Highly, highly recommended. I’d even consider talking this tour again with another group of visitors.
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Demare: Incredibly flattering to hear you would take this tour with me again! Let me know and we'll find new topics and places to visit.
Awesome experience!
Candice_S, Aug 2022
Our tour with Jim was fantastic! We learned so much about the culture and history of Chinatown, and he kept our two kids (13 and 11) more than entertained. Jim even bought the group some pork buns to share. We experienced so much more than we would have on our own - worth every penny!
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Candic: We know how great Jim is and we love to hear this repeated by our visitors. Jim's generosity of buying barbecued pork buns for his guests is legendary. Thank you for this 5 star review.
Informative and interesting
Elke_C, Aug 2022
Don was a great guide with an expansive knowledge of China itself and Chinatown, along with other fascinating places around the world. It was time well-spent, and a nice lunch afterwards.
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Elke_C: Don is our current China expert having lived in China for over a decade and using China as a springboard to travel internationally. Did Don tell you about his last country of residence? It's Ukraine. Two hours is not enough time to hear Don share his stories of Ukraine. Thank you for your 5 star review.
Great experience, a small group with a very knowledgeable guide
Ram_R, Aug 2022
We were initially a large group, so got split into two. We stayed with Jon, who was very knowledgeable and informative. There are also free walking tours, but to us, having a small group with a great guy made this certainly worthwhile. Though our tour didn't include lunch, most of us went to lunch together after the tour, to a great dim sum place recommended by our guide.
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Ram_R: We take pride in offering an-depth tour to visitors who can see places up close and hear our guides easily. Small group experiences are the best for exchanges of stories among our guests and we love that you liked the dim sum luncheon as well. Thank you for your 5 star review.
Fantastic Experience!
Don_Z, Jul 2022
We had a terrific time! Linda was a fantastic guide who made everyone feel welcome while providing insight and humor to the backstory of the stops on the tour.
Response from Host, Aug 2022
Hi Don_Z: I'm so pleased you and your companions had a terrific time in Chinatown. Glad you are bringing home good memories of your visit.