Chinatown Directory

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The term Chinatown refers to an ethnic and social enclave located within a larger city. Historically, Chinese emigrants in many countries often settled in segregated communities, due to legal restrictions, social pressures, or simple preference.

Today, many of these Chinatowns still exist, often as vibrant cultural and commercial centers. Commercial ventures often include import-export businesses and wholesalers, giving local residents and visitors alike access to Chinese goods, including clothing, cookware, furnishings, artwork, books and magazines, herbs and specialty food items.

In addition to being living and working communities for millions of ethnic Chinese people, Chinatowns are often popular tourist attractions. Visitors can see Chinese architecture and art, learn about Chinese culture, and sample Chinese cuisine. Many Chinatowns feature vibrant markets offering poultry, fish, produce, teas, herbs spices, and even Chinese newspapers.

Chinese Stone LionMost Chinatowns stage festivals or parades celebrating holidays and special events, such as the traditional Chinese New Year celebration. Festivities may include martial arts demonstrations, acrobatics, colorful dragon dances and fireworks.

In many places, Chinatown merchants and residents have formed formal associations to represent their interests and to preserve their character. These groups sometimes also serve charitable, educational, and cultural roles within their communities.

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Visit a Chinatown Near You

Every Chinatown has its own distinctive flavor. The Chinatown Directory provides detailed historical information, cultural information, and pictures for each of the following Chinatowns:

Boston China Town • Chicago China Town • London China Town • Los Angeles China Town • New York / Manhattan China Town • Oakland China Town • Philadelphia China Town • San Francisco China Town • Sydney China Town • Toronto China Town • Vancouver China Town

Photo Credits

San Francisco Chinatown Gate courtesy C. Couling ; Autumn Moon Festival performers courtesy Jennifer Woodard Maderazo ; Chinatown street / Bay Bridge courtesy Christian Mehlf├╝hrer