A Travel Photography Blog

Tag: Chinatown

One Day in San Fransisco

Alcatraz as seen from the ship

Some of the links below are affiliate links and as such, I earn a small commission from purchases that allow me to continue telling you my stories without costing you anything extra.

When talking to people about this trip and our time in San Fransisco, everyone told us to make sure we get our tickets to Alcatraz in advance. For whatever reason, I had no interest in going inside “the rock”. It was cool to see from the ship (top) and maybe if we had more than a day and a half in town it would’ve made my list, but what I really wanted to get out of San Fransisco was an in-depth experience in Chinatown. If you’ve read this blog for any time now you know one of my favorite things about travel is the food and trying food that I can’t get in my small town back home, so we booked the Chinatown Food & History Tour through Viator. We had to be back on the ship at 2 pm this day so that made choosing a tour relatively simple and I was really happy with the one we ended up with. It was a small group tour, there were only 5 of us, and our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We really got an understanding of Chinatown and its history and we got some delicious food too!

Terra Cotta Soldiers in San Fransisco's Chinatown

San Fransisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and is home to one of the largest populations of Chinese people outside of Asia. In the 1850s people began immigrating to San Fransisco from China in search of their fortunes in California’s gold rush. Many of them worked to build the transcontinental railroad. Early on in its history, Chinatown became a hub of illegal activity from gambling to drugs and prostitution, and the city of San Fransisco had plans to move Chinatown to a less desirable part of the city. In 1906 an earthquake and fire practically destroyed the city and the residents of Chinatown quickly rebuilt using bricks that were salvaged from the wreckage. The merchants of Chinatown hired American architects to design buildings in Chinese-motif “Oriental” style in order to promote tourism to the new Chinatown.

Inside Old St. Mary's Cathedral

Our tour started at Dragon’s Gate which is the traditional entrance to Chinatown. From there we walked to Old St. Mary’s Cathedral (above), which is one of the only buildings in Chinatown that survived the fire of 1906. From the church, we walked along the streets of Chinatown and saw the architecture on our way to our first food stop which was supposed to be a bakery but they were closed for renovations so we ended up at Hang Ah, the oldest tea house in the United States where we got Shumai and soup dumplings. I was OK with this change because I have been obsessed with trying soup dumplings since the pandemic and no restaurants around us make them! They were everything I had hoped they would be and more!

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company

Our second food stop was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company (left) where we each got a bag of fortune cookies and a reusable shopping bag to take them home in. Now, fortune cookies have never been my favorite part of the meal when I get Chinese carry-out at home, but these were really good! They were very fresh and didn’t taste like cardboard! I almost didn’t want to eat them when I got home because I didn’t want them to be gone. Our final stop of the trip was a very popular dim sum place where we each got to choose one dumpling or bun. Doing this tour with someone you feel comfortable sharing food with is a good idea as you will be able to try more things that way.

This tour was everything I had hoped it would be. We got to know Chinatown in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to explore on our own and we got to try more authentic Chinese-American food than I can try in my midwestern small town. I have been chasing dim sum since we got home and nothing I have found so far lives up to what we had in Chinatown. I guess we will have to go back! If you are going to be in San Fransisco and really want to get to know Chinatown and its food, I have nothing but good things to say about the Chinatown Food & History Tour.

Selfie as we went past the Golden Gate Bridge

The tour ended with just enough time for us to get back on the ship before we headed for the next port. We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge on our way out of the bay. One thing that really struck me as I stood out on the deck was all the crew out there too. In between the guests, I saw a chef, a waitress, and a maintenance worker from all over the world watching the ship sail under this magnificent piece of engineering, taking selfies along with us.

Be sure to check back next week when I share about our free walking tour of Santa Barbara. Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Cruising the Pacific Coast Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

One Day in Vancouver

View from Vancouver Lookout

The city from Vancouver Lookout

We started our one day in Vancouver nice and early being that our bodies were still in Eastern Time. We left our Airbnb in a beautiful North Vancouver neighborhood and spent several hours at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. From there we took a bus and Sea Bus (what Vancouver calls its fery) to downtown Vancouver.

JapadogWhen planning our day in Vancouver, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to eat at Japadog. I have no idea where I had heard of Japadog, but the concept intrigued me: Japanese flavors meet an American staple. I can’t tell you enough how delicious these hot dogs were! I wish there was a Japadog in Michigan!

Cruise Ships at Canada Place

After lunch, we headed to the Vancouver Lookout to get a bird’s eye view of the city (top). Built in 1977 by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, the Harbor Center Building that houses the lookout was the tallest building in the city at the time. Nowadays, a glass elevator takes guests 168 meters (553 feet) up to a viewing platform with a 360-degree view of Vancouver from the 6th tallest building in the city. The Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant is also in the Harbor Center Building for visitors looking for a fine dining experience with an unbeatable view. As a cruise nerd, I enjoyed seeing the ships at Canada Place (left)!

Stanley Park Seawall

From there we took a bus to Stanley Park and walked around enjoying the beautiful day. With over 1,000 acres, there is a lot to explore in Stanley Park. The park first opened in 1888 and was named after Lord Stanley, the 6th governor general of Canada. Construction of the Seawall (above) began in 1917 and took decades to complete. There is much to do in Stanley Park including 27 km of trails, a waterpark, beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium, or ride a horse-drawn carriage, trolley, or train. You could spend a whole day exploring the park!

I definitely feel like we barely scratched the surface of Vancouver! One thing I wanted to do that we just didn’t have time for was a culinary tour of Chinatown. I guess Vancouver will have to go on the list of places to return to!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop back next week as we board the Serenade of the Seas and head to Sitka, Alaska! To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Pin This:

Vancouver Pin

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén