Chinatown Gate (Dragon's Gate), San Francisco

Chinatown Gate (Dragon's Gate), San Francisco

Facing south, as per the principles of Feng Shui, this large dragon-clad arch is a popular (yet somewhat dramatic) entry to San Francisco Chinatown. The gate, opened in 1970, was made from materials gifted by Taiwan, but the actual design came from Chinese-American architect Clayton Lee inspired by ceremonial entrances to Chinese villages. In keeping with tradition, whereby such gateways are often commissioned by the wealthy who wish to enhance their status by having their names inscribed on the gates, the Chinatown portal carries a four-character inscription that translates to "All under heaven is for the good of the people."

Among other notable features, it has two large guardian lions (or lion dogs) looking over the pedestrian entrances. The one on the west side is male, and that on the east is female. You can always tell which is which since the lioness holds a cub under her paw while the male holds a ball. Both the gate and the lions symbolize protection from evil spirits.

Beyond the gate, the pagoda-topped architecture was innovated by Chinatown merchants in the 1920s – a pioneering initiative to lure tourists with a distinctive modern look. Indeed, this had worked, as the dragon streetlights soon chased away the red-light-heyday shady ladies. Today, they light the way to the elegant shops where you can buy antiques, silks, teas, gems, and more.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in San Francisco. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Chinatown Gate (Dragon's Gate) on Map

Sight Name: Chinatown Gate (Dragon's Gate)
Sight Location: San Francisco, USA (See walking tours in San Francisco)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Francisco, California

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

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