With pagoda-tiled roofs, Cantonese conversations, busy live-produce markets, mahjong players, and little old Chinese ladies confidently spitting on the pavement — Chinatown is a unique part of San Francisco. Established in 1850, in the area around Portsmouth Plaza, San Francisco's Chinatown is reputed to be the oldest and one of the largest and most famous of all Chinatowns outside of Asia. Many of the Chinese who settled here were merchants or immigrant workers, working on either the transcontinental railroad or as mine workers during the Gold Rush. Today, it is home for more than 100,000 Chinese and Chinese-Americans, many of whom are low-income, elderly, and foreign born, living in dense tenements. It is also a cultural link for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chinatown holds a prominent position in the history of Chinese and Chinese-Americans in the United States, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the present day. The tourist section of Chinatown is mainly along Grant Avenue, from Bush to Broadway. The Chinatown market area is mainly along Stockton Street, one block above (west of) Grant Avenue, and the east-west streets crossing Stockton.
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