Happy Saturday! I’m going to start using the weekends to share some of my favorite places to go and things to do around the Bay Area. I did this for a while under the “Sweet San Francisco” category in my navigation bar, but I’m trying to get back to doing this more regularly. I’ll be mostly spotlighting bakeries, restaurants, and other sweet spots both longstanding and new, and sweets-related events, so if you’re looking for recommendations for when you visit the Bay Area, I hope you find some of these suggestions useful!
This first event I want to share isn’t exactly about dessert, but it’s very San Francisco. I was invited by AT&T to attend the Chinese Lunar New Year festival and parade in downtown San Francisco last weekend. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.
Grant Avenue, the heart of Chinatown, and the location of the Chinese New Year Festival.
Plenty of cute things for sale, like these animal plushies, or the good luck charms below.
At the AT&T booth there was this cute game where people had to choose from cards printed with the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. There were different questions printed on the back and they could win prizes if they answered correctly. I got a selfie stick (although I didn’t figure out how to use in time to try it at the festival!)
If you go to Chinatown, there’s one obligatory stop for dessert: Golden Gate Bakery, the classic choice for the best egg custard tarts (dan tat) ever. Lines of people impatiently waiting for the next fresh batch of tarts are a regular sight.
Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
I love this old fashioned storefront.
A lineup of sheep for the Year of the Sheep.
The highlight of all the Chinese New Year festivities is the parade: nearly 3 hours of elaborate floats, adorable costumed kids, marching bands, dancing lions, and cavorting dragons winding through the downtown streets. This parade has been an annual tradition since 1858, and has been named one of the top ten parades in the world. We were lucky enough to have bleacher seats right at Union Square and got a great view of all the color and noise.
Dancing lions up close.
The route is so long that you can usually find a good vantage point somewhere. I like standing on Market Street or on Post Street, in front of Union Square. Don’t miss the end of the parade, which features a 200 ft long dragon and over 600,000 firecrackers going off to scare the evil spirits away for the new year (bring earplugs or ear protection for your little ones!)
This was Isabelle’s first time at the parade and she loved it, especially the dancing lions and dragons. It’s a beautiful slice of a unique part of San Francisco’s culture and a very entertaining way to spend a lovely springlike day (Final tip: typically the weather is chilly and drizzly so be prepared. We got lucky with some gorgeous warm weather). Happy Year of the Sheep!
Disclaimer: I received tickets to attend the New Year’s Eve parade from AT&T. All opinions in this post are my own.
Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says
I definitely agree with your assessment of Golden Gate Bakery. The first time I had one it was a day old, but it was still by far the best dan tat I had.
Wow! This looks so fun! And such gorgeous and colorful photos! Definitely need to make it here for Chinese New Year!
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
We visited Chinatown in San Francisco for the first time 5 years ago and it was awesome! Can’t wait to go back! Great pics, love all the bright colors!
Jade Gidley says
Man I wish I could travel! I’ve never been anywhere cool.
wow this is so much fun!! love chinese sweets for the moon festival and for new year! =)
Lana @ The Joy Blog says
I HAVE to go to this someday before I die.
What a fun celebration! I’ve actually only been to San Francisco on very quick trips and have yet to make it to China Town. My parents went when I was a kid and I remember it being my mom’s favorite place in San Francisco. She even brought me a beautiful silk dress she found in China Town. I think it’s time I finally experienced it for myself!
Tiia / Fangirl Quest says
Wow! I love SF but I’ve never really had time to attend any events when I’ve visited. This seems like a fun event! Maybe next year… 🙂
I have never been to San Francisco, but have a really good friend that moved there not long ago. I think a trip there, and to China Town, is in order!!
Looks fun! And great tip about the Golden Gate Bakery.