In August of 2012 my family visited the city of San Francisco, CA. When we first arrived, after a four hour flight from Chicago, we took the train from SFO (the BART) which landed us near Union Square where our Marriott hotel was located. Our first impression of San Francisco was how cool it was weather-wise, especially compared with the hot and humid temps we had left behind in Chicago. The next thing we noticed was how hilly it was! We now had to drag all of our luggage uphill a couple of blocks to our hotel! I’m sure we were a sight!
Once we were settled into our hotel we trekked to Chinatown, which was just a few blocks away. Our map at hand is a favorite of mine, the Guy Fox maps, that you can find here. It’s designed for children due to the fact that it’s simplified yet colorful and complete with the necessary major streets and popular monuments and landmarks. They have become a favorite of mine to use since I first used one in London.
As we entered the "Dragon Gates" complete with dragon statues on either side and topped with green pagoda rooves, we were suddenly immersed in a new, mystifying place known as Chinatown. Chinatown is very bright and colorful, crowded with both locals and tourists, and the strong smells of Chinese cuisine waft through the air. We enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds and the kids happily picking up a few souvenirs along the way.
We took a detour down a small alley which is nestled in between the bustling streets of Chinatown and found the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. It was very tiny inside, just enough for our family of five to get a good view. We watched the workers mold the warm cookies hot off the presses. They offered free samples so I took one. I had never tasted a warm, fresh fortune cookie before so it was a new experience! There was a bucket out where they have a sign, “50 cents for photos”. I took a few pictures and dropped some money into the bucket and we were on our way.
After spending the evening there, we returned to our hotel for some room service dining as we were tired from our long day. Up next: Day two, venturing to Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf!