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Chinatown

Just The Facts

Founded: 1850s
Population: 3,425
Area: 6th Street to 12th Street, Broadway to Fallon Street
Major Languages: Cantonese, Taishanese, Mandarin, Vietnamese
Migrants: Canton Province (South East China), Hong Kong, China, Vietnam
Point of Interest: Pacific Renaissance Plaza (388 9th Street)
Local activities: Lincoln Square Park, Oakland Public Library Asian Branch

History

One of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States.  Oakland Chinatown was settled in the 1850s, shortly after the gold rush.  In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire wrecked San Francisco Chinatown, causing thousands of San Francisco Chinese survivors to move to Oakland to rebuild their lives in the East Bay.

The Vibe

Oakland Chinatown nowadays becomes the center of Asian cultures, arts and gourmet cuisine.  You can find up to 8 Asian languages of books in the Oakland Public Library Asian Branch; learn Balinese dance at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center; eat Japanese Ramen and Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, and drink Taiwanese boba tea; and buy American Chinese fortune cookies which all can be found in Chinatown!

Things To Do

Oakland Chinatown is one of a kind “Working Chinatown” where you will not see many tourists taking pictures but lots of residents working, shopping, and dining here!

If you are hungry..

There are more than 45 restaurants and 9 tea shops in Chinatown. You can find many delis and bakeries in the center area of Chinatown, between 8th to 10th Street, Franklin and Webster Street. Looking for sit-down Dim Sum, try Golden Peony Seafood Restaurant or Cinnamon Tree Chinese Cuisine, you will see the staff pushing carts to your table with various dishes during lunch hours.

Eager for noodles? Try Shan Dong Restaurant. It is famous for its hand-pulled noodles and freshly made dumplings. The “Black Garlic Ramen” in Sobo Ramen will be an ideal choice when you feel chilled in Oakland.

If you’d like people watching..

Seniors practice Tai Chi and Qi Gong every early morning at Madison Park, and then there are full day exercises and cultural programs at Lincoln Square Park. Sit down on the bench at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, you can observe parents taking their children to the library, and seniors around you enjoying the leisure time.

If you’d like to shop..

You can go to the grocery stores.  Touch and smell fresh produce and dry goods, and can ask the staff how to cook it.

If you’d like to learn..

Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) has changing exhibitions year round to showcase arts and cultures in Asia. Performances and programs are scheduled during evenings and weekends.

Oakland Public Library Asian Branch is located at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza. It provides the latest Asian books and DVDs in 8 different Asian languages including Chinese (Traditional/Simplified Chinese, Cantonese/Mandarin), Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, Hindu, and etc.

Do you know that fortune cookies were invented in Northern California? The Fortune Cookie Factory is one of the oldest fortune cookie factories in the bay area. You can schedule a 15-20 minutes tour with a small fee to learn the history and customize your own fortune cookies!


When to go

Chinatown residents and families from outside of Oakland come to Chinatown for grocery shopping and dining during 10am to 3pm daily. You can come to experience how Chinese shoppers pick fresh produce or dry goods.

 

How to get to Chinatown

Freeway: From San Francisco, take I-80 E to I-980 W and exit from Jackson Street; From South Bay, take I-880 N and exit from Oak Street; From Berkeley, take I-80 W to I-580 E then continued on I-980 and exit from Jackson Street.

BART: Lake Merritt Station or 12th Street/Oakland City Center Station

Bus: Alameda-Contra Costa Transit 1, 11, 18, 40, 51, 62, 72R, 96

 

Parking

Street meter parking or public garage.