Visit San Francisco’s Fortune Cookie Factory

When you’re traveling to San Francisco, there are so many things to see here that your “must see” list can be as long as the Golden Gate Bridge! But one of the places you absolutely have to go is San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. And while you’re walking through this amazing, historic area, you absolutely have to go see the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory!

Basic Information on Visiting the Fortune Cookie Factory

If you’re planning to visit Chinatown, we have two suggestions on how to plan your trip:

  1. Take a name-your-own-price walking tour of Chinatown with one of our awesome guides!
  2. Check out our self guided tour of Chinatown to explore the area on your on schedule.

Either way, we guarantee that you’ll have a great time!

Check out the video to see the inside of the fortune cookie factory, and then read on for lots more great tips and information on visiting!

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory Visitors Information

Visit the Fortune Cookie Factory and taste a fortune cookie

Hours: Open every day 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Admission Cost: Entrance to the factory is FREE

Location: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA. See the map for the exact location below:

Samples (which look like this photo) are flat, fortuneless, and free!

Note: When you visit the fortune cookie factory, you are allowed to take all the pictures you want. However, the company asks that if you do take pictures, you just leave 50 cents in the tip jar, or buy some fortune cookies for a dollar or two.

Directions to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Getting There On Foot

As with our guided walking tour and our self-guided tour of Chinatown, we’ll be starting from the Dragon Gate, on the corner of Bush Street and Grant Avenue.

  1. At the Dragon gate, look up the hill (facing north on Grant Avenue) into Chinatown.
  2. Walk up the hill on Grant (remember to take some pictures of the great sights along the way!)
  3. Walk six blocks up Grant. You will pass Pine, California, Sacramento, Clay, and Washington.
  4. Turn left on Jackson Street.
  5. Note: you will pass by a restaurant listed in both our Favorite International Foods and our Favorite Budget Restaurants called Delicious Dim Sum. If you’re hungry, stop by for some great food!
  6. Turn left onto Ross Alley.
  7. Halfway down the block, you will see the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory sign (show below). Go on in!
Visit the Fortune Cookie Factory Sign

Getting There by Bus

There are three main buses that you can take through Chinatown to get to the Fortune Cookie Factory:

The #8 Bus
This bus runs from North Beach, through Chinatown and the South of Market area, to the southern part of San Francisco.

The 8 has a stop at Stockton & Washington, just two blocks from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

The #45 Bus

The 45 begins at the Presidio, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, runs through the Marina district, down through Chinatown, and into the South of Market area. Just like the #8, the 45 will drop you off at Stockton & Washington, two blocks from the fortune cookie factory.

The #30 Bus

The 30 begins at the Marina district in the northern part of San Francisco, travels through North Beach, south through Chinatown, and ends up in the South of Market district. And just like the other two buses, the 30 will drop you off at the corner of Stockton & Washington.

Visit the fortune cookie factory map

Things to Know when Visiting the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Fortune Cookie Factory San Francisco
  1. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory opened its doors on August 5, 1962 and remains one of the only places you can still find handmade fortune cookies in the country.
  2. Occasionally the factory will get very crowded. This is because it is only a one-room building. But don’t let that dissuade you! Since there are (at most) 15 people in the room, the place will quickly empty out and you will get your chance to view the inside.
  3. There are typically two people busy placing fortunes in the hot cookies, then folding the cookies before they harden. This is very hot on the fingers and hard work!
  4. When you walk in, the factory manager will typically be handing out fresh, free samples. These are often right off the oven, so they will be nice and warm.
  5. You may not be a fortune cookie connoisseur, but when you take a bite of this warm, fresh cookie, you will immediately realize that this is the best fortune cookie you have ever eaten!

Fun Facts About Fortune Cookies

Visit the Fortune Cookie Factory Buy Cookies

How much do you really know about fortune cookies? Does your knowledge go something like this?

  • Eat at Chinese restaurant
  • Get bill and complimentary fortune cookie
  • Open plastic wrap and break open cookie
  • Read fortune
  • Munch on cookie
  • Try to subtly steal your date’s

For most of us, that’s pretty run of the mill.

But wait!

You’re in San Francisco (or, at least, planning a trip here if you’re looking at this page). Time for you to learn the real history of the fortune cookie.

  1. The fortune cookie is not a Chinese invention. In fact, fortune cookies aren’t just an American invention, they were created right here in San Francisco!
  2. They were invented by a Japanese American! The man who created the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park created them as a treat for his guests.
  3. They are not traditionally eaten in China. If you go to Beijing or Shanghai and expect to find fortune cookies, you’ll be out of luck. And in fact, an American fortune cookie factory began selling cookies in China, and advertised them as “Authentic American Fortune Cookies!” (Which we find hilarious).
  4. The fortune cookie folding machine was invented in Oakland. Yes, the city across the Bay is actually known for several inventions, including the fortune cookie machine, rocky road ice cream, and mai tais. All great reasons to pay a special visit over there.
  5. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Fortune Cookie is a must if you are in San Francisco for more than one day. Or even if you are here for less than 24 hours. Hit it up. You walk through their open doors and are immediately engulfed in the scent of sweet, freshly baked wafer-like cookies. Why wouldn’t you visit?