Tien Hau Temple

sights / Religious

Tien Hau Temple information

San Francisco , USA
Street 125 Waverly Place
Getting there
tram California St, Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde
bus 1, 30, 45
donation customary
Opening hours
hours vary
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Lonely Planet review

There was no place to go but up in Chinatown in the 19th century, when laws restricted where Chinese San Franciscans could live and work. Atop barber shops, laundries and neighborhood associations lining Waverly Place, temples were built, their brightly painted balconies festooned with flags and lanterns. Tien Hou Temple was built in 1852 and its altar miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake.

To drop by and pay your respects, look for the narrow doorway with the sign that says 'Tin How' under the yellow balcony and follow the scent of sandalwood incense up three flights of stairs. Entry is free, but it’s customary to leave an offering for temple upkeep. No photography is allowed inside the temple.