Program & Events

Angel Island / Chinatown Tour

May 30, 2015, San Francisco


The Angel Island tour would provide the opportunity to visit what has been called the “Asian American Plymouth Rock,” where many of our ancestors first spent time on U.S. soil. It would include a shuttle (or public transportation) to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, a ferry ride to Angel Island, and a shuttle to the Immigration Station. There, visitors will take a tour of the grounds and historic immigration station, which between 1910 and 1940 processed one million immigrants from 80 countries to the US and those returning to their home countries. They will see the poetry carved in the walls and writings in many languages, restored barracks rooms, and learn about the current renovations which will turn the former hospital into a center for Pacific Coast immigration.

After the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Chinese laborers who had built it became scapegoats for national economic problems, and the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882-1943 were passed. Because of the Acts and other anti-Asian legislation, it was very difficult for Asians to immigrate to the U.S. Those who still tried to immigrate included "paper sons and daughters," those who were claiming to be children of those who said they were born in the U.S. and therefore had birthright citizenship. The government created lengthy interrogations designed to deport those who did not appear to be legitimately related. When immigrants were denied initial admission, they would go through an appeals process and often during their long waits, would carve poetry into the walls of the immigration station. This poetry has survived many years of neglect, and after a restoration process that lasted several years, the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and the Angel Island State Park celebrated the reopening of the Immigration Station in 2009.

The tour will begin at 8am with a check-in and continental breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Chinatown. After the ferry returns to San Francisco (around 1:45pm) the group will proceed to Chinatown for a walking tour led by the Chinese Historical Society of America.


Established in the 1850s, San Francisco Chinatown is the oldest Chinese community in the United States. Today's Chinatown rose from the ashes of the great 1906 earthquake and fire. Its unique and iconic architecture was created to ensure Chinatown's role as a major visitor destination and sustained the Chinese American community for over 100 years. Enduring the challenges of Chinese Exclusion and other discriminatory laws, Chinatown is a touchstone for Chinese in America. Its family associations, temples, churches and schools continue to enrich the livability of the neighborhood. Take a walking tour of Chinatown and see how its history is intertwined with the history of San Francisco!

(Garage parking charge not included)

9:00 am Shuttle Pick Up at Hilton Hotel 750 Kearny St
9:45am Catch the Ferry boat to Angel Island at Pier 41
10:10am Arrive at Ayala Cove, Angel Island
10:20am at Ayala Cove, meet shuttle bus to Immigration Station
10:35am Arrival at Immigration Station, meet the Park Rangers for the tour
10:40am–12:45pm Guided tours of grounds, immigration barracks, Donor Wall
12:45pm Lunch on the Immigration Station grounds
Group is provided box lunches that have been delivered to site, Everyone can watch video in historic mess hall building
1:45pm Immigration Station grounds
Group can relax, go back into barracks, and explore the island grounds
3:00pm Catch the return shuttle to Ayala Cove
3:20pm Ayala Cove - Return ferry to San Francisco
3:40pm Arrival in San Francisco’s Pier 41
3:50pm Shuttle pick up back to the Hilton
$15 per person (Hill climbing, not recommended physically challenged)
4:30pm–6:00pm 965 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108. Soda, Tea & Coffee at the Chinese Historical Society Museum

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