Chinese New Year in San Francisco

San Francisco located on the north coast of the sunny state of California is well known as the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and of course Pier 39. It also has one of the largest China Town’s located outside of China.  With Chinese New Year celebrated in February this would be a great time to visit and experience the colourful celebrations for The year of the Monkey.

Top Things to Do in San Francisco

Attractions to visit


Alcatraz the federal penitentiary held some of the worlds most harboured criminals such as Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz) and George “Machine Gun” Kelly between 1933 – 1963.   After many years of discussion about destroying the prison and the estimated plan to cost $1 billion the votes were over thrown and Alcatraz was certificated as a place of historic importance.  First opening to the public in October 1973 as part of the National Park Service welcoming more than 50,000 visitors in its first year.  Nowadays it is as popular an attraction as ever, even with a ticket there is a queuing system that can take up to an hour.  Highly recommend purchasing your ticket in advance!

Top Things to Do in San Francisco: See Al Capone's cell 181
See the cell of Al Capone – 181. ©MDHarding

San Franciso Zoo

San Francisco Zoo has a number of species from amphibians to mammals and reptiles.  The zoo isn’t in the immediate centre but can be accessed by public transport.

Top Things to Do in San Francisco: Don't miss the many places of interest inside Golden Gate Park.
Don’t miss the many places of interest inside Golden Gate Park. ©MDHarding

Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, California Academy of Science including the Science Museum, Aquarium and then opposite housing a number of art collections is the De Young Museum, are all located inside Golden Gate Park.

A visit to San Francisco would not be the same without seeing the unique Lombard Street with eight hairpin turns, or tasting the delicious Ghirardelli chocolate, or perhaps the freshly baked Boudin sourdough and of course going on a cable car.

Top Things to Do in San Francisco: Visit the district of Pacific Heights
Visit the district of Pacific Heights. ©MDHarding

Film Locations

If your a huge movie buff why not check out some of the film locations that were used, such as those in Mrs. Doubtfire, the television show Charmed, Bullitt and The Rock as well as many others.

Top Things to Do in San Francisco: Coyote a native to North America seen at Yosemite National Park.
Coyote a native to North America seen at Yosemite National Park. ©MDHarding

Day trips from San Francisco

As well as so much to see within San Francisco there are a number of great places to visit outside such as Yosemite National Park, Muir woods & Sausalito, Napa Valley famous for the it’s many vineyard’s and the scenic drive down Monterey Coast/Camel is not to be missed! A great way to explore these areas is by car or why not hire a motorhome rental, for that bit more of an adventure and flexibility. Sausalito can be easily accessed via the Ferry from pier 41. It is also great way to see the city skyline.

Celebrating Chinese New year

This year is the Chinese astrological year of the Monkey. With San Francisco having one of the largest China Town’s located outside China it will come as no surprise that it also has one of the biggest celebrations! With more than three thousand people attending.  This year the Chinese New year parade will take place on Saturday 20th February. With several floats and a 28 foot long dragon, which takes more than 100 people to operate! For more information on the many events taking place during Chinese New year in San Francisco please visit SFTourismTips.

Top Things to Do in San Francisco: An array of shops inside China Town
An array of shops inside China Town. ©MDHarding

There are numerous types of accommodation available throughout the city, but it can be extremely busy.  I would highly recommend booking in advance. Did you know that many of the great ocean liners/cruise’s depart from San Francisco? Why not extend your trip and do a stop and stay in this fantastic city before boarding one of the luxurious floating hotels.

Wherever you are or doing this Chinese New Year, Xīnnián kuàilè (Happy New Year)! x

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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