Dragon's Gate

Monument in North Beach & Chinatown

Image by Joe Potato Photo Getty Images

Enter through the Dragon archway, donated by Taiwan in 1970, and you'll find yourself on the street formerly known as Dupont in its notorious red-light heyday. The pagoda-topped 'Chinatown deco' architecture beyond this gate was innovated by Chinatown merchants, led by Look Tin Ely, in the 1920s – a pioneering initiative to lure tourists with a distinctive modern look. It worked: dragon streetlights chased away the shady ladies and now light the way to bargain souvenirs and tea shops.

Advertisement