The Dragon Gate is the traditional stone archway greeting visitors to Chinatown since 1970. Grant Avenue at Bush St.

Chinatown Gateway known as the Dragon Gate
Chinatown Gateway known as the Dragon Gate
Chinatown Gateway known as the Dragon Gate photo by: Chensiyuan [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Like most Chinese ceremonial gates, the Chinatown Gateway has three portals facing south. The two smaller west and east (pedestrian) portals flank the larger central (automotive) portal, and the structure is supported on stone columns rising from the sidewalks on either side of Grant. The stone columns adhere to standards for Chinese gateways in contrast, most 'Chinese' gateways constructed in the United States use wooden support columns. Each portal is covered with green tiles, leading north along Grant Avenue into Chinatown

Stone Lion at the San Francisco Chinatown Gate
Stone Lion at the San Francisco Chinatown Gate
Stone Lion at the San Francisco Chinatown Gate Photo by: Tehani Schroeder from Hamburg, Germany [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Three shallow steps lead up to each pedestrian portal. Each pedestrian portal features a stone Chinese guardian lion on the side away from the street. By tradition, the lion pair consists of one male and one female. The male lion, at the west portal, stands with his right fore paw atop a pearl or stone, symbolically guarding the structure or empire. The female lion, at the east portal, stands with her left fore paw atop a juvenile lion, symbolically guarding the occupants within There are four Chinese characters above each portal. Each sign is read from right to left.

  • The central portal sign reads Chinese: 天下為公; pinyin: tiānxià wèi gōng; literally: 'All under heaven is for the good of the people' (a motto attributed to Dr. Sun Yat-sen);

  • the east portal sign reads 忠孝仁愛; zhōngxiào rén'ài; 'respect (filial piety); love'

  • and the west reads 信義和平; xìnyì hépíng; 'trust (confidence); peace

Chinatown Gate Information and copyright - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Gate_(San_Francisco)

Chinatown is a must-see on any San Francisco itinerary!

Drawing more visitors yearly than the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown offers fascinating novelty items, inexpensive and delicious Chinese food, and a variety of cultural attractions that illustrate the uniqueness of San Francisco’s Chinese community.

Not To Be Missed

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory: Take a free tour of the factory and sample fresh fortune cookies that are handmade daily. 56 Ross Alley off Jackson St.

Portsmouth Square: “Heart of Chinatown” This one-block plaza has historical markers and statues, as well as two playgrounds and a 4-story underground parking garage. Kearny St. between Clay St. and Washington St.

Nearby Points of Interest

Union Square: This outdoor plaza offers hours of shopping, dining, and more! Located two blocks from Chinatown, visitors can sit down in Union Square for people watching, or can skip into one of the stores along the way.

Cable Car Museum: Just a few blocks (but some steep hills) west on Mason Street.

Little Italy and North Beach "Little Italy" North Beach was named as one of ten "Great Neighborhoods in America"

Lombard Street Lombard Street’s 8 world-famous hairpin turns have earned it the nickname the crookedest street in the world

Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco’s #1 tourist destination! Fisherman’s Wharf is a bustling hub of activity from morning until after dark. Check out Crab Stands and the picturesque fishing harbor

Dragon Gate photo courtesy of: wikimedia.org

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