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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

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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

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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


New York Fashion Week street style fun

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wearing: vintage barrettes circa 1990s / lipstick / checkerboard faux fur coat / Biggie tee / fuschia boyfriend jeans / black pouch handbag / spring nail polish / black white street sneakers /

When it comes to choosing my outfits for New York Fashion Week, I tend to assemble looks I can also wear back home. I don’t need one-time-wear clothing hanging around in my closet. That being said. . .I saw this coat at Topshop and a bell went off in my head. What if I did one outfit, just one, that was crazy and fashion week inspired? OK, let’s do this!

I bought the coat. Then, I needed an outfit for the coat. haha, enter bright pink jeans. They looked warm for the cold weather, and since they were pink, I thought they were a step up from regular blue jeans. OK, outfit coming along! Then, I was browsing online and found a Notorious B-I-G tee. Well, the 1990s are a huge influence in fashion right now, and I lived through them. I remember the Tupoc and Biggie drama; and felt close to it since Tupoc went to Tam High School. Tam was a huge football rival of my high school-so he was close enough geographically for me to make a connection. He was born in New York, but relocated to California-and Biggie is from New York. Since this outfit was being put together for New York, and I have always felt a connection, I thought I should wear it and show my west coat love for the east coast. NYFW outfit assembled-and with meaning. Check!

When I told my fashion-partner-in-crime (Dawn from Fashion Should be Fun) about my outfit, she too said she had a black and white coat plus pink planned for NYFW. OK then, let’s wear theses outfits the same day! haha, it was so much fun! We were color coordinated! In the photo below, we were heading to lunch after the Son Jung Wan show. One photographer stopped us, then, we got swarmed. There must have been at least twenty photogs snapping our pictures. That was crazy-and fun! Dawn ended up with her picture in The Cut. I ended up being cut-on the cutting room floor. Oh well. . . haha

photo credit: Allnycee Photography

This coat was super warm, and these sneakers were a life saver; they were so comfortable! I am so glad I brought them to fashion week. We do a ton of walking and standing in line, so comfortable shoes are always a life saver.

Another funny tidbit about this coat; everyone else had the same idea. I saw at least two people each day wearing it. Oh well, I guess that means it was a great coat because everyone was wearing it!

I did get stopped twice by videographers who were filming as they stopped me. They asked me who my coat was by, and when I said TopShop, they either snickered or looked at me funny. Does everything have to be high end? Isn’t it OK to wear an affordable coat to fashion week? I don’t really like people putting a live video camera in my face; I have to admit. It’s a little pet peeve of mine that happens every fashion week. It would be nice if people asked permission before ambushing you with questions while a video camera is rolling. End rant.

The photo below is by Denton Taylor. He is a fabulous street style photographer who has snapped my picture before, and he is always so nice! This photo was taken after Custo Barcelona at Pier 59.

Shop my just-for-fun, New York Fashion Week street style outfit:

Have you ever put an outfit together for fun, wondering if it will be worn again? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

new york fashion week street style

Photo credit: Denton Taylor


Adding a touch of spring to a winter day at New York Fashion Week

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wearing: bold gold earrings c/o Chico’s / lipstick / spring maxi dress c/o Chico’s / spring nail polish / train case handbag / faux shearling coat /

Day two of New York Fashion Week was a ton of fun! The weather was warm; much warmer than I am used to it being at fashion week in February! Normally the temperatures are well below thirty, and there is always at least one day in single digits. This season, the temperatures were hovering in the fifties; much warmer than at home in the San Francisco Bay Area!

So, for day two of New York Fashion Week, I decided to wear a winter into spring look for a busy day of shows. In the morning, through to mid-day, this spring maxi dress from Chico’s was perfect for the weather. I didn’t need a coat! Was this the twilight zone?? Why wasn’t it freezing?? That morning and afternoon, I attended Fashion Hong Kong followed by Nonie, without a coat. This dress garnered several compliments from other show guests, and was the perfect weight for the the high fifties temperatures.

When evening was getting close, temperatures fell to the forties, so I threw on my 1970s style faux fur coat over my dress, and switched up my handbag to evoke a vintage vibe with my overall look. This was a fun way to make this spring maxi dress transition from winter into spring. It is so versatile! I attended Chiara Boni le petite robe that evening which was perfect for the outfit. She had a vintage vibe on her runway, so my vintage look worked quite well.

Since the day was busy, I never actually had a chance to sit down for a meal! After Chiara Boni, I wore my spring Chico’s maxi dress styled for winter out to dinner at Pepolino’s. It’s a fabulous Italian restaurant close to Spring Studios where the shows were held. Every season I enjoy their risotto and pasta. It is a must-try next time you visit New York!

My fabulous friend Dawn from Fashion Should be Fun took these photos with my new camera. They came out really good!

Shop my New York Fashion Week day two, spring dress styled for winter:

Be sure to check out all the fabulous new, bold looks for spring that Chico’s has in store! You can check it out on Chicos.com.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for day two show coverage hitting the blog soon!

XOXO

Cathy

*Thank you to Chico’s for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

nyfw street style fw19