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There are several Chinatowns in the Bay Area, but this 24-block one is the oldest—not just in San Francisco, but in all of North America. The first record of Chinese settlers in San Francisco dates their arrival to 1848, but the gold rush a year later and the subsequent construction of transcontinental railroads led to dramatic leaps in immigration from China. San Francisco's Chinatown has managed to keep its culture intact for more than a century, despite economic and at times political pressures on the community. Of the two main arteries of Chinatown, Grant Avenue is the more tourist-friendly, with noodle shops and stores selling Chinese curios. A stroll down Stockton Street, on the other hand, provides a glimpse of the more typical daily life of residents.

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