Chinatown gates of North and Central America

While traveling in Northern California back in August of this year, some of the most interesting places we visited were related to Chinese-American history. These included an 1863 Chinese Temple in Oroville and the Chinese-American Historical Society Museum in San Francisco (see photos below).
One of my favorite architectural design features anywhere are the artistic gates (paifang, also called pailou) constructed at the entrance to many Chinatowns in North and Central America, as well as other locations around the planet. They serve as a delightful welcome to a rich culture and vibrant community.

1863 Oroville, CA Temple

Chinese-American History Museum in San Francisco, CA

Below are photos of the 26 Chinatown gates in North and Central America. Boston, San Francisco, and Sacramento are photos that I have taken, while those elsewhere on the continent have been tracked down via the web. While I have seen the gate to Chicago’s Chinatown, I have not had a chance to photograph it to date.
My personal favorite is the gate in Boston. Other favorites include Chicago, Los Angeles East, Portland, Toronto East, Victoria, and the lovely new gate in San Jose, Costa Rica. Cities where I am surprised there are no Chinatown gates currently include Calgary, Detroit, San Jose, CA, Oakland, Long Beach, San Diego, Phoenix, Denver, and Miami.
Next time you are traveling across North or Central America, check out some of these Chinatown gates. The paifang (gates) are spectacular works of art, architectural design, and craftsmanship and should be treasured by both residents and visitors alike. Enjoy!

Boston, MA – my personal favorite

Chicago, IL – Source:

Edmonton, AB – Source:

Havana, Cuba- Source:

Honolulu, HA – Source:

Las Vegas, NV – Source:

Los Angeles, CA East Gate – Source

Los Angeles, CA Golden Dragon Gate – Source:

Mexico City, DF – Source:

Montreal, QC – Source:

New York City, NY – Source:

New York City, NY – Memorial – Source:

Ottawa, ON – Source:

Panama City, Panama – Source:

Philadelphia, PA – Source:

Portland, OR – Source:

Sacramento, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Jose, Costa Rica (brand new) – Source:

Santo Domingo, DR – Source:

Toronto, ON West – Source:

Toronto, ON East – Source:

Vancouver, BC Millenium – Source:

Victoria, BC – Source:

Washington, DC – Source:

Winnipeg, MB – Source:

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7 Responses to Chinatown gates of North and Central America

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    Excellent! Ate at a very good Chinese restaurant in San Salvador in El Salvador when I was stationed in El Salvador in 1994.


  2. Chris Larson says:

    As a geography undergrad at the University of Victoria I was lucky to attend several of David Chuenyan Lai’s courses. He has several publications related to Chinatowns and Chinese communities in Canada that are worth finding if this is an area of interest…


  3. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made as good content as you did, the net would be a lot more useful than ever before.


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