An Urban Adventure In San Francisco
After a lot of research on things to do, where to go and places to see in San Francisco we realised that the best way to really see the city was to do a tour. We chose to go with Urban Adventures as they had received great feedback online and they offered what we thought were really cool itineraries in San Francisco.
We decided to go with the Teas, Temples and Beatniks tour as we love visiting different Chinatowns around the world to see how unique they all are… and we have a soft spot for everything Italian!
We met up with our tour guide Linda at the famous Dragon Gate, the south entrance to Chinatown. Here we started our tour by learning the history and symbolism of the gate and it’s intricate details. Before moving on to our next stop the mysterious circle of red bricks in front of the gate was also explained… want to know what they are? We’re not telling. Do the tour!
Next we walked up Grant Avenue through the heart of Chinatown whilst listening to the story about Chinatown’s origin, architecture, culture and people. The facts and stories switched between being intriguing and amusing, short and long.
After some walking we made a stop at Chinatown’s oldest bakery, the Eastern Bakery. Here we had a little sit down while eating a traditional mooncake. The cake didn’t look all that fancy, but oh boy was it delicious. Unlike anything we’d ever had before!
We walked on with more old tales and myths until we reached our next destination, the Tin How Temple. This was one of our favourite stops on the tour. Walking over the doorstep into the temple’s main room (no photos allowed) was like stepping into another world. The colours, details and energy of the room was just unique and can only be experienced to be understood. We donated some money, burned incense and had our fortune told. Will the fortune come true? Only time will tell…
The fortunes didn’t stop at the temple, but continued on at our next stop, the Fortune Cookie Factory. We got some fresh, crispy tasting samples and we watched fortune cookie batter turn into fortune cookies. If you wanted to you could also make personal fortune cookies with your own written fortune in it – a great gift to bring home.
After fortune must come tea… Luckily Vital Tealeaf was our next stop. Six different teas were offered and we learned how they’re grown, harvested and prepared. Marita discover a new favourite, so this was definitely a great stop on the tour.
Chinatown was coming to an end, but that didn’t mean that the tour was over. North Beach and Little Italy was waiting with it’s interesting past, historic places and well-known characters like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
As we walked through Little Italy we stopped literally on every corner at every block we passed as there were so many places to point out and talk about. The walk was a great mix between new and old stories, art, culture and beatniks, eateries and shops. We were highly impressed by this one-of-a-kind neighbourhood in San Francisco!
The tour finished up by the lovely Washington Square Park. From here it was easy to continue on with our own sightseeing as the park is conveniently close to the Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf and public transport to the rest of the city.
Top 3 Highlights
We are such foodies that everything with food included is a highlight, so the mooncake tasting was one of our favourite moments on the tour.
The fortune reading at the temple was simply magic and the views from their balcony was a bonus surprise.
Our walk through North Beach and Little Italy was a highlight as there was so much interesting history and culture within the streets and buildings that we had no idea existed in that part of San Francisco.
We were really impressed with our tour guide and her knowledge of San Francisco. The tour was interesting from start to finish and our group was small so it was easy to listen and keep up with the walking and talking.
Cost: $43 * Duration: 2,5hrs * Physicality: Low * Awesomeness: Very High
In addition to awesome tours in San Francisco, Urban Adventures are all about responsible tourism and animal welfare which is very important to us. They have tours with unique itineraries in over 90 countries (!) around the world and their guides are locals with flair and passion for their job and city!
If you’re after a high quality tour in San Francisco (or anywhere else) we sincerely recommend going with Urban Adventures!
More about tours in San Francisco and booking
can be found by clicking HERE
*This tour was sponsored by Urban Adventures in San Francisco. However, as always our opinions are 100% honest and trustworthy!