Stockton Street (San Francisco)

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Stockton Street in Chinatown, seen from Broadway, with two Muni trolleybuses, and the mound of the Stockton tunnel in the far background.

Stockton Street is a north-south street in San Francisco.[1] It begins at Market Street passing Union Square, a major shopping district in the city.[2] It then runs underground for about two and a half blocks in the Stockton Street Tunnel (lending its name to a separate, parallel street above the tunnel), passes through Chinatown and North Beach (Little Italy), and ends at Beach Street near the Pier 39 shopping center and tourist attraction.[3]


In Chinatown (particularly in the three blocks between Washington Street and Broadway[4]), Stockton is the neighborhood's main shopping and business street, a place where locals go to buy the freshest and cheapest produce and meats. The stores also offer live seafood (mainly on the west side of the street[4]) and dried herbs. Some shops located on Stockton Street include the Hop Hing Ginseng Company, the Kowloon Market, the Luen Sing Fish Market, Louie's Produce, and Fruit City.[5] In the annual Stockton Street market, vendors have been permitted since 2012 to set up outdoor stands during the two weeks before Chinese New Year.[6]

SPUR has described Stockton Street in Chinatown as "an example of true urbanization, replete with a strong transit network, multigenerational families living in tightly knit spaces, hundreds of mom-and-pop stores and a bustling streetlife" and a success of "grassroots organizing to protect Chinatown’s affordability, culture and urban form".[7] In this area, Stockton Street is dominated by mixed-use buildings that are three to four stories high, with shops on the ground floor and residential apartments upstairs.[7] Many stores moved there from nearby Grant Avenue in the 1960s, drawn by lower rents and the better transportation enabled by the 30-Stockton Muni trolleybus line.[4]

The completion of the Central Subway is anticipated to bring major changes to the street's character.[7]

Union square[edit]

In the Union Square area, Stockton Street is home to numerous upscale stores, including the Macy's West flagship and Neiman Marcus department stores. The block next to Macy's has been closed to road traffic since 2012 due to the Central Subway construction work, with the success of a temporary "Winter Walk" plaza lending support for calls to convert it into a pedestrian zone permanently. [8]