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Places to Visit in San Francisco, America
China Town
Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia and is the oldest of the four notable Chinatowns in the city.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Since its establishment in 1848,[10] it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants in North America. Chinatown is an enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity. There are two hospitals, numerous parks and squares, a post office, and other infrastructure. Visitors can easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades. While recent immigrants and the elderly choose to live in here because of the availability of affordable housing and their familiarity with the culture,[11] the place is also a major tourist attraction, drawing more visitors annually than the Golden Gate Bridge.
A Gateway Arch (Dragon Gate) on Grant Avenue at Bush Street in Chinatown, the only authentic Chinatown Gate in North America. Unlike similar structures which usually stand on wooden pillars, this iconic symbol conforms to Chinese gateway standards using stone from base to top and green-tiled roofs in addition to wood as basic building materials. The Gateway was designed by Clayton Lee, Melvin H. Lee and Joe Yee in 1970.
Chinatown has been traditionally defined by the neighborhoods of North Beach, and Telegraph Hill areas as bound by Bush Street, Taylor Street, Bay Street, and the water.[13] Officially, Chinatown is located in downtown San Francisco, covers 24 square blocks,[14] and overlaps five postal ZIP codes. It is within an area of roughly 1 mile long by 1.34 miles wide. The current boundary is roughly Montgomery Street, Columbus Avenue and The Citys Financial District in the east, Union Street and North Beach in the north all the way to its Northernmost point from the intersection of Jones Street and Lombard Street in Russian Hill to Lombard Street and Grant Avenue in Telegraph Hill. The southeast is bounded by Bush Street with Union Square.
Within Chinatown there are two major thoroughfares. One is Grant Avenue , with the Dragon Gate (aka Chinatown Gate on some maps; in Bush St & Grant Ave, San Francisco, California 94108) on the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue; St. Marys Square with a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen by Benjamin Bufano;[14] a war memorial to Chinese war veterans; and stores, restaurants and mini-malls that cater mainly to tourists. The other, Stockton Street, is frequented less often by tourists, and it presents an authentic Chinese look and feel, reminiscent of Hong Kong, with its produce and fish markets, stores, and restaurants. Chinatown has smaller side streets and alleyways providing character.
A major focal point in Chinatown is Portsmouth Square.[14] Due to its being one of the few open spaces in Chinatown and sitting on top of a large underground parking lot, Portsmouth Square bustles with activity such as Tai Chi and old men playing Chinese chess.[14] A replica of the Goddess of Democracy used in the Tiananmen Square protest was built in 1999 by Thomas Marsh, and stands in the square. It is made of bronze and weighs approximately 600 lb (270 kg).
Many working-class Hong Kong Chinese immigrants began arriving in large numbers in the 1960s and despite their status and professions in Hong Kong, had to find low-paying employment in restaurants and garment factories in Chinatown because of limited English fluency. An increase in Cantonese-speaking immigrants from Hong Kong and Mainland China has gradually led to the replacement of the Hoisanese/Taishanese dialect with the standard Cantonese dialect.
Due to such overcrowding and poverty, other Chinese areas have been established within the city of San Francisco proper, including one in its Richmond and three more in its Sunset districts, as well as a recently established one in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood. These outer neighborhoods have been settled largely by Chinese from Southeast Asia. There are also many suburban Chinese communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in Silicon Valley, such as Cupertino, Fremont, and Milpitas, where Taiwanese Americans are dominant. Despite these developments, many continue to commute in from these outer neighborhoods and cities to shop in Chinatown, causing gridlock on roads and delays in public transit, especially on weekends. To address this problem, the local public transit agency, Muni, is planning to extend the citys subway network to the neighborhood via the new Central Subway.[19]
Unlike in most Chinatowns in the United States, ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam have not established businesses in San Franciscos Chinatown district, due to high property values and rents. Instead, many Chinese-Vietnamese

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