So colorful: our San Francisco Chinatown tour

Andi Perullo Abby Tegnelia SF

Andi Perullo, of My Beautiful Adventures, and I loved San Francisco’s Chinatown.

I’ve had a lot of China in my life lately. First, my youngest brother lives in Xiamen, where he’s studying Mandarin. My mom, who last year traveled for a month with him, has reported back that he spoke the difficult language incredibly well already. I am so proud that someone in my family will be bilingual! But I never would have guessed Mandarin… Anyway, he’s actually been living in China for years, first as an English teacher before switching to poker. Meanwhile, I’ve been scouring Chinese New Year invites, which is an easy task here in Las Vegas, where this particular holiday is enthusiastically celebrated. Why am I so involved? It is my year!! The year of the snake. Watch out, world! Oh, and I fell in love with a San Francisco Chinatown tour during a recent trip. Enjoy!

San Francisco Chinatown busy street


Chinatown was a bustling enough place as it was, and our tour was moving at a brisk pace. But I still somehow took had a few photos that I just had to share. It was dark out, we were walking, and I have/had a cheap camera… and did I mention I was moving as I snapped?

But let’s start at the beginning… We started off our zippy adventure with a ride on the world-famous San Francisco trolley. Adventurous Vivian was all about feeling the wind in her hair. Wa-hoo!

San Francisco trolley


San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest outside of Asia. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited. Next time, I want to spend a bit more time there. But really, I say that about almost every neighborhood I travel to for the first time.

San Francisco Chinatown Grant


San Francisco Chinatown graffiti Dragons

You can tell a lot about an area’s culture by its street art/graffiti. What do you think you can read about Chinatown by this one wall?

San Francisco Chinatown Flea Market


San Francisco Chinatown


Seeing Chinatown at night really did add a  strangely eerie glow to the photographs.

San Francisco Chinatown dark


San Francisco Chinatown ads


Lucky for us, there was a huge reward at the end of our adventure: dinner at Tommy Toy’s. From the moment we walked in, the mood was set. It was a meal to remember: course after course, the delicious food came out, each the newest evidence of why this haunt is frequented by so many celebrities, foodies and locals.

San Francisco Tommy Toy's


The best part about this unforgettable evening? This fortune!

San Francisco Chinatown fortunes


It is best to heed their advice, as you never know what you might find in the real world…

It’s a jungle out there!

I toured San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma as a guest of Trafalgar Tours, but all opinions are my own.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Hilarious fortune!

    The dinner looks so elegant!

  2. I loved our Chinatown experience!!! Great post & pics! Miss you!

  3. We laughed so hard that night!!

  4. I don’t know Chinatown well at all, but it’s an area I’d like to explore more. I’m not so into the stores since for the most part the clothes and furnishings aren’t my style, but the restaurants have got to be worth an exhaustive study.

  5. The food was amazing. I was wondering why we were walking so fast, and then I was like ahhhhh…

  6. I hope there are going to be food photos coming soon!

  7. Okay, I’d never looked up my Chinese astrology sign, so after I read this, I was curious and decided to. I’m a Snake too! But…why couldn’t I have been born in the Year of the Bunny Rabbit?? I wouldn’t mind being a fluffy bunny rabbit, but a snake? Snakes freak me out! I guess this means if we lived in the world of Harry Potter, we’d be Slytherins?

  8. I love being a snake — and this is our year!!!!

  9. Happy New Year, Abby! Great to hear it’s your year =)

    And to see you and Andi here together…

    I LOVE San Fran’s Chinatown…always went there for food and great value homewares when I lived in SF.

  10. I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco and this makes me want to go even more. Great pics!

  11. Last November I stayed at a wonderful hotel in Chinatown in Bangkok, but I have to say I didn’t really enjoy Chinatown very much… I am curious to experience some Chinatowns in USA. Hopefully I will have a better experience.

  12. You live such an exciting life! I love San Francisco, yet haven’t had a chance to really explore Chinatown. Must add that to my to-do list. 🙂

  13. Great shots of Chinatown SF. I haven’t been there at night in quite a while. It really is a different perspective. The fortune is hilarious!

  14. We didn’t spend nearly enough China town when we were in SF over the summer. Oh well, just another reason to go back I guess:)

  15. I LOVE San Francisco’s China Town! I think of all of the Chinatown’s I’ve been too, it’s the most beautiful and had the best food too!

  16. The food was absolutely life-changing!

  17. Haha, that is THE BEST fortune ever!

  18. Right? It wasn’t even mine, but someone gave it to me. Not sure what kind of hint that was, but I ran with it!

  19. I love culture like this. I actually visited China while singing. It was interesting for sure and an amazing experience.

  20. It’s been years since I’ve visiting Chinatown in San Fran…your photos make me want to go back. My sister speaks Mandarin…crazy hard language to learn, congrats to your brother!

  21. It’s my favorite Chinatown anywhere; and I’ve been to a lot! Though I’m not even sure why. Except perhaps, there’s a little more inviting energy there, plus the food is worth the trip alone. That fortune, by the way, is a little eerie.

  22. OMG, I love that fortune! I have been trying to drag my hubby to Chinatown to capture more photos, there are so many great things to take photos of there.

  23. Wow – it looks fantastic, I always love the Chinatowns around the world, the one in London is also great.

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