Lonely Planet Experiences: Teas, Temples, and Beatniks
Come explore where east meets west, fortunes are told with more sincerity than your average cookie, and the legends of masters live on. Between the Beatniks of North Beach and San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown, we’ll give you a taste of teas, temples, and culture, all with a local flare. Experience the best travel stories for yourself! Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this city adventure hand-picked by the world’s leading travel publisher. Lonely Planet Experiences powered by Urban Adventures bring stories to life in the best-loved cities around the globe.
- Discover the hidden gems of Chinatown and the Beatniks of North Beach
- Make your own fortune cookie while listening to traditional music on a Chinese two-stringed instrument called the erhu
- Sample authentic, traditional Chinese pastries
- Learn about the powers of traditional Chinese tea during a tea tasting with a tea master
- Explore San Francisco’s oldest temple and have your fortune read
- Each Lonely Planet Experience comes with six-months free access to Lonely Planet’s Guides App which includes over 8,000 destinations guides and unbeatable discounts to Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Inclusions: Local English speaking guide, Chinese dessert samples, tea tasting
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Meeting point: Chinatown Gate, at the corner of Grant Ave and Bush St
- Starting time: 1.30 PM
- Ending point: Washington Square
San Francisco is famous for its colorful neighborhoods and interesting residents, and here’s your chance to experience first-hand two of its best neighborhoods. Immerse yourself in the cultural and aesthetic contrasts between one of the largest and oldest Chinese communities outside of Asia, and the European charm of the Beatniks birthplace, North Beach.
On this San Francisco tour we’ll explore both Chinatown and North Beach, where the exotic East borders the birthplace of the Beat Generation culture. Spend a few hours with your local guide discovering places you never knew existed, whether down unassuming alleys or in plain sight!
Starting at the beautiful Chinatown Gate, your local guide will lead you through the bustling streets of this vibrant area. Learn about the history of this Chinese community during San Francisco’s gold rush, as well as America’s train building boom. Stop in at one of Chinatown’s oldest bakeries for an authentic mooncake pastry – the traditional Chinese delicacies served here are so good even former President Bill Clinton has stopped in to try one!
From here, we’ll make our way over to Waverly Place to visit the acclaimed oldest Chinese temple in America, where you’ll have your fortune read as the smell of incense fills the air in this picturesque historic temple. Moving on, weave your way between performing street artists to taste fortune cookies hot off the press (and see if this fortune matches the one from the temple!). We’ll then wash down all these sweet treats with an in-depth tea tasting session where you will learn about the different types and flavors of traditional Chinese tea.
Next, it’s on to North Beach to see the famous hangouts of Beat poets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg, like the City Lights Bookstore, which still publishes the works of local poets in San Francisco. Get a feel for North Beach and the vibe of Little Italy as you wind your way through the cute shops and cafes of the Barbary Coast.
We’ll finish up our San Francisco walking tour at the gorgeous Washington Square Park, adjacent to excellent Italian restaurants, Coit Tower, and within easy access to public transport. It’s only been a few hours, but you’ll see – this San Fran tour is jam-packed with the hidden gems of two of San Francisco’s most famous neighborhoods…it’s amazing what you can see when you’ve got a local to show you!
- Inclusions: Local English speaking guide, Chinese dessert samples, tea tasting
- Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, items of a personal nature, tips / gratuities for your guide
- Dress standard: Casual clothing
- Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
- Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.
Robyn R – Incredible tour of Chinatown and San Francisco History
Christian is amazing. We enjoyed learning about the history of San Francisco and Chinatown. He took us to cool off the beaten path locations and recommended some great restaurants. He allowed us to move at our own pace and took time to answer a million questions. We would highly recommend this tour and Christian as a guide.
Brittany J – Best city tour ever!!
Christian is so awesome and knowledgeable about the city. I learned more in the 3 hour tour than I could have ever imagined about the city, the culture, Chinese history, and more. He took us off the grid to places we would have never found on our own. He was so sweet and helpful. I can’t wait to do another tour with him again!
Hannah L – Chinatown and Beatniks! A blast!
Had such an amazing afternoon exploring this area. I don’t normally book tours but there is so much history and it was helpful to understand the spirit of the town – I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed SF as much without this tour.
Kara was super knowledgeable and gave tips and frank opinions about restaurants and things to do in town. Helped me map out what I wanted to do during my stay. The tour itself is super casual – room to ask questions and experience SF with insider knowledge.
I love that chinatown and north beach are right next to each other. They have such different vibes – it really made me feel like I got 2 tours for one!
ScottPenticoff – San Fran Chinatown Experience
This walking tour was amazing, and Kara our guide was wonderful! We learned so much about the history of how Chinatown was developed and experienced many awesome sites along the way. Some of the highlights were visiting the first fortune cookie manufacturer, which is still in production today making 30,000 fortune cookies per day by hand! We had a tea tasting and learned about different tea types and there medicinal properties and benefits. There is so much history that was discussed between each place we visited. I definitely feel like I know more about San Francisco thanks to Kara. I definitely recommend this tour rather than walking aimlessly throughout the city not knowing where to go and what to do…thanks Kara!!!