The first Chinese arrived in California in the 1800s to work as
servants. During the gold rush, thousands left war and famine in
their own country to seek their fortunes in the California “Gold Moun-
tain.” By 1851, 25,000 Chinese were working in California, most of
them living in SF's Chinatown. But California didn't live up to expecta-
tions. First employed in the gold mines and later on the railroads, Chi-
nese laborers were essentially indentured servants who faced constant
prejudice. The 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed much of Chinatown,
and Chinese refugees swamped relief camps outside the city center. An
effort by city officials to permanently relocate them failed, and China-
town continued to grow and thrive, in part because Chinese people
were not allowed to buy homes elsewhere until 1950. Today it remains
a complete community where residents shop, socialize, attend school,
exercise, worship, and play. @ 3-4 hours. START: Bush & Grant sts. Bus: 2,
3, 4, 15, 30, 45 to BART/Muni: Montgomery St.
1 The Dragon's Gate. China-
town's best-known entryway mirrors
traditional gateway arches found in
many Chinese villages. The stone
lions on either side of the arch are
meant to protect against evil spirits.
The dragons and fishes on the
pagoda atop the arch signify prosper-
ity. Bush & Grant sts. Bus: 2, 3, 4, 15,
30, 45. BART/Muni: Montgomery St.
2 Grant Avenue. This bustling
street lined with shops whose
wares—from herbal medicine to
jewelry—overflow onto sidewalk
tables is the main thoroughfare.
Look up at the vibrant colors of the
banners strung over the street like
an urban canopy. The predominant
red is for good luck, gold is for pros-
perity, and green for longevity. Grant
Ave. (between Bush & Jackson sts.).
3 St. Mary's Square. Italian-
born sculptor Beniamino Bufano
created the imposing stainless-steel
statue of Sun Yat-Sen, the first presi-
dent of the Republic of China. Sun
Yat-Sen traveled the world to raise
money and support for the over-
throw of the Qing Dynasty in main-
land China. It is believed that he
Dried Seahorses are just one of many animal, herbal, and mineral products used in
Traditional Chinese medicine.