Things to do in Chinatown San Francisco with kids

chinatown san francisco things to do in chinatown with kids

My San Francisco street style: blue plastic hoop earrings / lipstick / blue scarf (other colors avl)  / black faux fur coat / black tee / small PVC tote / skinny jeans / spring nail polish / plastic bracelets (hidden by coat) / street sneakers (so comfy!)

It’s ski week! My husband has a big conference this week at work, so he wasn’t able to take time off for a family vacation. Instead, we are having a staycation! When I was a kid, my mom always took me into the city to explore, shop, and get out of Marin. She grew up in San Francisco, so she has always preferred it to the suburbs. My husband grew up in the Bay Area too, so he also has many memories of heading into the city with his family. Ours kids always have such busy schedules, so it is a rare occasion that we can throw everyone in the car and drive an hour north into San Francisco; but we did it!

My mom always took me to Chinatown as a kid. We loved getting dim sum, shopping in the stores, and walking up and down the streets. She always knew which jewelry stores had good deals, and which ones to stay away from. I have such fond memories of spending time here with my mom growing up. I am so happy we can pass those memories along to our children!

There are so many fun things to do in Chinatown San Francisco with kids. Of course, to fully enjoy everything Chinatown has to offer, it is best to time your trip correctly; or you could end up in a giant mob of tourists. I’m going to give you some tips so you can enjoy San Francisco’s Chinatown just like a native San Franciscan.

How to enjoy Chinatown like a local

lunar new year chinatown san francisco

When you visit San Francisco, the best time to go is when other people are not going. Ski week in February is a great time because all the locals are in Tahoe, and the tourists don’t think to visit. The hotels are less expensive, and everything is a lot less crowded. As long as you don’t mind 50 degree weather, February is a fabulous time to visit San Francisco. October, November, January, and March are great times too.

If you cannot visit during the off-season, always hit the tourist spots on a weekday. All the locals from the suburbs come in on the weekends, in addition to the tourists, making Saturday and Sunday almost unbearable during the busy season. I want you to enjoy our beautiful city!

Arrive early: The early bird catches the worn for a reason! My mom taught me from an early age to always get into the city before the stores open. Once 10am hits, the whole world appears on city streets. If you can get into the city before 10am, you will park easily, and maneuver around a lot easier; especially if you would like to check out the city’s street art.

Chinatown street art

san francisco wall art san francisco street artthings to do in chinatown with kids

The street art in Chinatown is always evolving. This dragon wall mural is absolutely stunning, but it sits one block above where a staircase used to be painted with really cool quotes. You can see it in this 2017 post. My kids always love those stairs, so it was one of our first stops when we arrived in Chinatown. Alas, they were painted over with grey paint. Thankfully we looked up and saw this beautiful dragon mural! Fingers crossed it doesn’t get hit with graffiti!

In addition to the dragon mural on Grant Ave., there are many other murals on side streets off Grant. If you like to snap photos for the ‘Gram, this will be your heaven. In the photo at the bottom of this page, you can see part of another mural on the corner of Grant and Sacramento.

You will also find carvings, statues, and other forms of art throughout Chinatown. Many of it will be reflective of the Chinese culture, while other works are local American/San Franciscan art. In addition to art, there are always red lanterns strung across the street. They are so pretty!

Of course, you can’t spend your entire day looking at street art. One of the must-do’s in Chinatown is to eat dim sum! My absolute, hands-down favorite dim sum restaurant is Peninsula Seafood. They are located one block off Grant on Jackson. Go early like a local! If you arrive before 11am you have more of a chance of grabbing a table without waiting too long. On a busy summer day, expect to wait an hour for a table. If you arrive when there is a wait, it is worth it! The food is delicious. They have the best Har Gow, and Shu Mai-be sure to eat them!

You cannot visit Chinatown, or San Francisco in general, without checking out the Cable Car Museum. It is located at 1201 Mason street. Again, go early when they open around 10am. It is a tourist attraction and can get super busy. It’s a short visit, but the kids will love it; and you will too!

Do you like fortune cookies? The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is a must-see when you visit Chinatown San Francisco. You can see how fortune cookies are made, and you can eat them too! Yum! It’s very touristy, and as locals, we only go once in our lifetime on our own-we also go when someone is visiting from out of town. That being said, you have to go at least once in your lifetime; and the kids will love it! After all, kids love fortune cookies-and us adults do too. haha. It’s located at 56 Ross Alley.

Lastly, you cannot go into Chinatown without shopping! Look for cheap jade (which is usually dyed but who cares), inexpensive jewelry, cheap fans, and decor. It’s a fun place to find Chinese decor, jewelry, and clothing, which is inexpensive. If a store seems expensive, skip it. You can buy expensive jewelry and clothing elsewhere; the stores in Chinatown are for tourists. Look for bargains and things priced under $20. The kids will love getting a souvenir-and you might too!

Have a blast when you visit Chinatown in San Francisco! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy

things to do in chinatown with kids


NYFW street style handbags fall 2019: YSL shoulder bags

nyfw street style handbags

pictured: YSL handbag worn by Kali of In-Spades / location: Spring Studios New York

OK, so I took a ton of notes at fashion week to see which handbags were hot on the street. Unfortunately, I was so busy taking notes, I failed to snap a bunch of photos! Man, I am out of practice! Thankfully, I had enough sense to get this one photo of a YSL shoulder bag carried by Kali of In Spade Blog before the Nonie runway show at Spring Studios.

Every season there are several handbags which are favored by guests of New York Fashion Week. This season there seemed to be an overwhelming presence of YSL shoulder bags. By overwhelming, I mean you could hardly find any other trend in handbags on the street. This was the bag style favored by the fashion set.

While there wasn’t one stand-out YSL shoulder bag style, there was a general sense that you needed a YSL shoulder bag in your life; any style or model would do. Of course, with any trend, there are a few rules. The YSL shoulder bag could not be jumbo, or on the large side. The New York Fashion Week street style handbags rule of thumb this season was small, or medium; nothing large. Your YSL bag should be small or medium; and if your bag was not YSL, it should still be small or medium. Not nano, large, or jumbo; just small or medium. You should be able to fit your wallet, sunglasses and phone inside your handbag, if not, your bag is too small.

In addition to YSL shoulder bags, there were several versions of square handbags, train cases, and small lady bags on the streets of New York Fashion Week. Handbags offered nontraditional shapes, and were free of logos. PVC handbags were also prominent on the streets of New York Fashion Week. Also, anyone carrying Louis Vuitton was not carrying the monogram vernis. They were carrying LV bags which were recognizable, but free of logos. Take note.

Shop YSL shoulder bags online:

Shop other popular New York Fashion Week street style handbags online:

What do you think of the YSL shoulder bag trend? Are you loving it, or do you prefer one of the other street style handbag trends from New York Fashion Week?

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Remembering Karl Lagerfeld

chanel puzzle pieces tote black patent karl lagerfeld

pictured: Chanel puzzle pieces tote in black patent /

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Karl Lagerfeld passed away on February 19, 2019. Although I never met Karl Lagerfeld in person, I have always been moved by, and admired his work; most notably his work with the house of Chanel.

I am a huge Chanel fan, and Karl Lagerfeld was a creative genius who worked tirelessly to encompass Coco Chanel’s original intent in his designs for her fashion house. While I never purchased his RTW or couture clothing, I have been an avid consumer of his Chanel handbag collection. His RTW and couture collections are clothing lines I have always admired, but have never purchased because I don’t personally spend that much on clothing; I get bored of my clothing after one season.

I have always looked at his clothing designs as inspiration for my own personal style. He always knew how to make something classic also encompass a fashion-forward vibe. Of course, when it comes to handbags, I view them as an investment I can wear for years and eventually pass down to my daughters. This is why I have purchased so many Chanel handbags over the years.

I remember when his personal collection launched at Macy’s with a party inside of the Macy’s on Union Square. I was there reporting for another publication, and as a result, I don’t have any photos, or copy to share with you. I remember loving his collection and wishing I was there to shop rather than work. While his collection only lasted a few seasons, his work with Chanel, Fendi, et al., lives on in the memories of fashion fans everywhere.

This handbag is my favorite of his designs that I own. The “Puzzle Pieces” collection was inspired by Coco Chanel’s own quilting. Karl Lagerfeld was perusing the Chanel archives one day and came across this puzzle quilt. He loved the quilting and wondered why it had been in the archives for so long without being used in her design house. He went to work on a capsule collection for Chanel which celebrated her puzzle quilting. The result was a few handbags and pieces with the puzzle quilting. I purchased the tote, which happens to be a bag I feel is very special in my Chanel collection.

While I don’t wear it often, it holds a special place in my heart as it meant a lot to Karl when he found the quilts. I love that there is a story behind this bag; and the fact that it isn’t just a redo of something the house of Chanel had already done in the past.

Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1983, and since then, he has maintained Coco Chanel’s aesthetic and original intent in her art. His own ventures have been equally genius, and his work with Fendi has also been incredible. The fashion world lost a creative genius this week. I am sure he will guide future designers from Heaven with his selfless love for the art of fashion.

You can read Chanel’s official announcement on their website at Chanel.com.

I would love to hear your Karl Lagerfeld memories in the comments below!

Thank you for stopping by,

Cathy