The first Chinese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in the 1850s. Many came to escape China's uncertain economic conditions, attracted by the Gold Rush and later by the opportunity to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.
Prompted by the prevailing xenophobia of the time, the San Francisco City Government decided to demarcate a specific zone where these new immigrants were allowed to own and inherit property. Thus was born San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest Chinese community in North America.
Chinatown borders the Financial District (Kearny Street) on the east, Nob Hill (Powell Street) on the west, the shopping district around Union Square (roughly Bush Street) on the south, and the traditionally Italian section of North Beach (Green and Columbus Streets). Grant Avenue is the district's main vein, but the adjacent streets and alleys abound with history and culture.
These photographs offer a tiny glimpse into this thriving "city-within-a-city", a little off the beaten tourist path. Enjoy your walk!
Photos courtesy Manal A. Khan