The Mission District
The flat topography, warm weather, and myriad locations to grab a bite, or a drink, make The Mission is a desirable location not just for residents, but also for San Francisco denizens of all neighborhoods. Especially on a warm weekend.
A perfect example of San Francisco’s microclimates, The Mission is shielded from the ocean’s wind and fog, and is typically warmer and sunnier than other parts of the city. An instant plus for those both living in, and visiting, the neighborhood.
What really sets The Mission apart from other San Francisco neighborhoods is its diversity. From the different types of venues, to the many-cultured people living in this area, you will see something new here every day.
Divided roughly into two halves by South Van Ness Avenue, both the Outer (west of Van Ness) and Inner (east) Mission offer outlets for just about any interest.
Better traversed than its eastern neighbor, the Outer Mission, particularly along the north-south Valencia and Mission streets, is home to some of San Francisco’s finest dining establishments.
Tartine Bakery, Delfina (and its Pizzeria), Foreign Cinema, Mission Chinese Food, and La Taqueria are all names well known inside San Francisco. Some of these restaurants’ reputations exceed the Bay Area’s borders, as well.
All along Valencia and Mission streets are taquerias, pupuserias and Mexican food markets. So many that you could spend a week walking up and down satisfying your hankering for beans, rice, cheese and meat wrapped in a tortilla… and still not have seen everything The Mission has to offer.
The Inner Mission has some perennial favorites, as well. The original Philz Coffee on 24th and Folsom is the granddaddy of $4 gourmet drip coffee houses. Universal Café (19th and Bryant) represents San Francisco’s taste for fresh, locally sourced California cuisine. And don’t forget Humphry Slocombe ice cream on 24th and Harrison. The ever-popular Secret Breakfast recipe can bring lines that stretch around the corner.
Despite the throngs clamoring for the next tasty morsel, there is even more to this neighborhood than just good eats.
Dolores Park is one of the most popular recreation areas in the city. The tennis and basketball courts are regularly filled, and the field a site for kickball games and casual football tosses. A common weekend excursion includes bringing a burrito, and a bottle of something, to Dolores to relax in the sun and crowd-watch.
East of Van Ness, down at 25th and 26th streets, is Garfield Square, home to regular pickup soccer games on the weekends.
If shopping is your persuasion, The Mission has it, albeit in niche offerings. Among the most ubiquitous types of storefronts in this neighborhood are thrift shops, used bookstores, and antique furniture sellers.
Night owls can spend just as much time bar hopping as burrito connoisseurs can sampling, and still not walk through all of The Mission’s saloon doors.
Here you will find gay bars, salsa bars, live music bars, Irish bars, sports bars, corner bars, and everything in between. Valencia Street is packed with the most varied collection of bars in San Francisco. East of Van Ness, you will find South Pacific Brewery’s outdoor patio constantly filled with eaters and drinkers.
Warm, eclectic, and much friendlier than The Mission neighborhood of decades past, this roughly 10 by 15 block area is San Francisco’s largest district, and is sure to offer whatever activity it is you’re looking for.