Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 18, 2011 06:25 PM

Chinatown walking tour: worthwhile, or just touristy?

Will be entertaining myself in the city for several days next week while DH attends a conference. Thinking about a Chinatown tour for one morning. Anybody have recent experience with Wok Wiz? Local Tastes of the City? Your opinion, please: either? Neither? Other options?
(I haven't been to SF in about 15 years so will be reorienting myself to downtown, etc. Looking forward to the Ferry Building, among other explorations.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Take a walk for a couple blocks if you must, but nothing has changed in 15 years. Visiting my mother in San Francisco for 20+ years, nothing in Chinatown has changed.

    1. I think you would be better off just walk around by yourself and just enjoy it. I would walk Stockton Street instead of Grant Ave. More interesting food store and less touristy. But what are you looking for maybe the local hounds can advise.

      1. Sorry, don't know anything about those tours, but I do like taking a stroll through Chinatown every now and again, even though I live here.

        You might enjoy taking a walk in the Mission - Take BART to 16th street, walk to Valencia (one block) and walk from 16th to 24th on Valencia for various shops, taquerias and other restaurants (and bars, at night)- and then make a left on 24th to go to a really colorful, slightly more Latin area of the Mission. (Mission Street itself, which parallels Valencia, is much more Latino, but many feel it's a little grungier.)

        1. I like Chinatown Alley Way Tours, which are led by teens who grew up in Chinatown. I think they give visitors a feeling for Chinatown as a functional neighborhood (similar to what I grew up with) as opposed to a tourist attraction.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sfbing

            The alleys themselves are pretty interesting and easy to miss, though you can easily find them with a decent map.

          2. Worthwhile, absolutely. I took one of the Wok Wiz tours with Shirley and really had fun. Much more fun than I would have had wandering around on my own. I learned a few things, ate some great food I might not have otherwise found, and met some very nice people. It didn't feel cheap or touristy, just a very pleasant way to get to know the area.