Old St Mary's Cathedral & Square
Back when the red lights of Commercial St could be seen down by the waterfront, this strip provided many provocative answers to the...
Tin How Temple
There was no place to go but up in Chinatown in the 19th century, when laws restricted where Chinese San Franciscans could live and...
Chinatown Alleyway Tours
Neighborhood teens lead two-hour community nonprofit tours for up-close-and-personal peeks into Chinatown's past (weather permitting).
Chinatown's latest, greatest import is Taiwanese bubble tea, milky iced tea polka-dotted with boba (chewy, gently sweet tapioca...
Take your seat in the sunny dining room and your pick from carts loaded with delicate shrimp and leek dumplings, garlicky Chinese...
660 California St · interesting places nearby
Old St Mary's Cathedral & Square information
California's first cathedral was started in 1854 by an Irish entrepreneur determined to give wayward San Francisco some religion – despite its location on brothel-lined Dupont St. The 1906 earthquake miraculously spared the church's brick walls but destroyed a bordello across the street, making room for St Mary's Square. Today, skateboarders do tricks of a different sort in the park, under the watchful eye of Beniamino Bufano's 1929 pink-granite-and-steel statue of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yatsen.
Eventually the archdiocese abandoned attempts to convert Dupont St and handed the church over to America's first Chinese community mission, run by the activism-oriented Paulists. During WWII, Old St Mary's served 450,000 members of the US armed forces as a cafeteria and recreation center. The church still holds regular Tuesday noontime concerts (suggested donation $5).