March 27, 2023

The Top 4 Chinatown neighborhoods in the U.S. and Canada

The inscription on the gate at the southern entrance to San Francisco\’s Chinatown reads \”All under heaven is for the good of the people.\”
To find an authentic taste of Chinese culture and traditions, North Americans are in luck – Chinatowns in Canada and the United States offer opportunities to delve into the culture, without even having to leave home. Try one (or two, or all) of these community gems to experience living Chinese tradition right in your own backyard. Maybe it’ll even inspire you to head across the Pacific for yourself someday.

New York City
The largest of New York City’s seven Chinatowns, Manhattan’s Chinatown offers a great opportunity for a walking tour of the neighborhood. In addition to great food, visitors will enjoy cultural highlights such as the Museum of Chinese in America, the Chen Dance Center, and the Music From China Ensemble. Walking tours are also available with specific focuses like history, food, or martial arts. Don’t miss the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, with both traditional and inventive flavors including lychee, black sesame and almond cookies.

San Francisco
San Francisco’s Chinatown – the oldest in North America – dates back to the 1850s and is known for its Oriental-style architecture and as being the birthplace of American Chinese foods such as Chop Suey and Fortune Cookies. Though it’s easy to walk through the neighborhood and stop at restaurants, bakeries, and tourist shops, see the less touristy side of the neighborhood by taking a walking tour through the hills. A number of tours are offered that highlight the neighborhood’s significance.

Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, Chinatown gets a Hollywood spin from appearances in movies such as “Rush Hour,” “Anchorman,” “Chinatown” and others. Unique landmarks here include the Thien Hau Temple and Hop Louie’s Pagoda, a restaurant and bar known for hosting celebrations of Chinese festivals.

Vancouver is home to Canada’s largest Chinatown, with sites such as public monuments, artwork and gardens. Be sure to see its China Gate, which was donated by the People’s Repulic of China in 1986. Other highlights include the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Century’s Winds of Change mural and the Chinatown Night Market, which offers food vendors, outdoor movie screenings and ping pong tournaments.

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