Celebrate San Francisco's Asian Heritage This Summer

San Francisco is packed with restaurants, street fairs, museums and other avenues for experiencing and celebrating the rich diversity of the Asian population that call the Bay Area home. Here are some of ASNC’s top picks for enjoying summer in the city, all while taking in the cultural heritage and influence of Asia in San Francisco.


1. Watch a movie: The San Francisco Public Library is hosting a summer film series throughout the city’s various branches. The Chinatown/Him Mark Lai location will be playing the film rendition of Asian American writer Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club on Saturday, July 13 at 2:30pm. Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch Meeting Room, 1135 Powell St.

2. Learn how to make Asian flatbreads: SFChefs and Williams-Sonoma at Union Square will be hosting “This is How I Roll,” a cooking demonstration on August 4 at 10:00am. Learn to make different flatbreads using culinary techniques from India, Afghanistan, and China. Advance tickets are required and can be purchased here. Williams-Sonoma, 340 Post St.

3. Attend a street fair: This August marks the 40th Anniversary of the Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown, one of the longest running street fairs celebrating Asian Pacific communities. On August 3 – 4, go to Japantown to explore Asian food, music, and artisans. Nihonmachi Street Fair, 1581 Webster St.

4. Enter the Vietnamese Pho Challenge: Pho Garden is home to the original San Francisco Pho Challenge. Participants have thirty minutes to finish an enormous bowl of pho with two pounds of noodles and two pounds of beef. If you can finish the bowl alone in the allotted time, the meal free. Plus, you get a photo on the wall of Pho Garden Champions. If left unfinished, it’s $22. Pho Garden, 2109 Clement St.

5. Relax at a Japanese spa: The Kabuki Springs & Spa at Japantown offers all sorts of individual massages, facials, and treatments. Or grab some friends and enjoy the communal baths that reflect the spa culture of Japan. Kabuki Springs & Spa, 1750 Geary Blvd.

6. Try Seattle-style teriyaki: Seattle-born restaurateurs Paul Krug and Ian McCormick introduced Seattle-style teriyaki to San Francisco this past April. Now, San Franciscans can enjoy this unique concept that fuses both Japanese and Korean cuisine. Glaze, 1946 Fillmore St.

7. Drink tea in a Japanese garden: San Francisco’s expansive Golden Gate Park is home to the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden. Drink tea while exploring the tranquil scenery and lush foliage. Tea ceremonies are also available for an additional ticket price. Japanese Tea Garden, 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.

8. Enjoy free Asian Art: On the first Sunday of every month, the Asian Art Museum hosts Target First Free Sundays. General admission is free to the public with discounted rates for special exhibitions. Lines can get long on First Sundays, so come early and give yourself plenty of time to explore. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St.

9. Go to the beach: No summer is complete without a beach trip. Visit China Beach, one of San Francisco’s quieter beaches tucked into the cliffs of the city's northwestern corner. The beach is named after the many Chinese fishermen that used to dock their boats and camp along this shore during the California Gold Rush. 

10. Chill out with bucket-sized milk tea drinks: The Outer Richmond’s Purple Kow offers a variety of milk tea flavors with all sorts of toppings, ranging from boba to lychee. Drinks come in large, bucket-shaped cups that are perfect for the occasional sunny summer days in the city. Purple Kow, 3620 Balboa St.