Colorful murals adorn the alleys and bike riders swirl around the Mission District. A unique fusion of cultures have fostered a nabe distinct from all others in San Francisco. This nabe rich in art and music has also quickly become an epicenter of the San Francisco restaurant scene and a popular dining destination. On the other side of Dolores Street lies the famous Castro community, with its beautiful Victorian homes and deep-rooted community pride
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No ComparisonMichaela Ann M.
When I want to drink, I head to the Mission.
When I want to eat great food, I head to the Mission.
When I want a burrito, I head to the Mission.
When I want to dance, I head to the Mission.
When I want to lay in the park and people watch, I head to the Mission.
When I want to do some thrift store shopping, I head to the Mission.
I’m in the Mission a lot.
Vision ImpossibleMichael C.
The wild at heart party spot for San Francisco’s subculture youth is a mecca of scum covered hip dive bars. Devil may care renegades in leather jackets, quirky collegiates with a wild side, metalhead bike messengers, steam-punks, and hot young DJs spinning yesterdays forgotten gems. Wait am I forgetting someone? Oh yea….theLATIN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. The mission seems to be the most swiftly gentrifying neighborhood in town. Once the heart of Latin American culture, La Mission is quickly becoming another version of Williamsburg BK, Austin, or Portland. There’s still plenty of authentic cuisine and exclusively latin hangouts. While there still seems to be a decent crime rate, you may be more in danger of being unoriginal in this neighborhood than anything. Still the endlessly thirsty droves of young punks return every weekend and without fail leave feeling full, like leaving a buffet, satisfied and sick.
Mission Not Yet Mentioned
Scrolling through the reviews I saw that many of my favorite Mission District hangouts were not tagged. Check out what’s awesome:What's awesomeCaitlin D.
Humphry Slocombe’s (Harrison and 24th)
An off-beat ice cream parlor named after the classic British sitcom. Decor consists of a taxidermic two-headed calf and ice cream flavors include Jesus Juice (Coca Cola and Red Wine), Peanut Butter Curry, and their most famous Corn Flakes and Rum.
Community Poetry Slams at the 16th Street BART
Every Thursday night a variety of rappers, poets, and raving lunatics gather outside the 16th Street BART to preach and proclaim. Anyone can join in the circle, but please respond respond appropriately, and that is with whoops and hollers, no snaps.
Public Works SF (Hard to find: 161 Erie St./ Erie and Mission)
Nightclub/gallery/artist’s hub that at night is host large variety of screenings, shows, parties, DJ sets and during the day functions as a workspace for creative people and members of the community. Spacious loft-like setting, great bar, LED lights and bumping crowd
The LAB (16th and Capp)
Another community/creative workspace that also functions as a venue, this time more for experimental acts. Check the website calendar for the next Godwaffle Noise Pancakes. For a $10 cover you get a Sunday Brunch of all you can eat pancakes and noise punk.
The Dark Room (14th and Mission)
An intimate theatre that hosts comedy, simple plays and film screenings. Great for first dates! I once saw a comedic dramatic interpretation of “the Shining” here
Weird Fish (Mission and 18th)
Terrific, trendy seafood. All local and sustainable. Take a risk and try the Suspicious Fish Dish. Every day it’s some type of fish prepared in an interesting way. No disclosure till after you’re done.
Foreign Cinema (Mission and 21st)
Pricey! – but worth that special occasion. It is the ultimate upscale dinner and a movie. Classic films are projected on the back wall of a beautifully lit patio while you can dine on the California Mixer: lamb, squab, pork belly, couscous, confit baby eggplant and ginger raita. Past films include: Papillion, THX 1138, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…
Move Aside Disneyland, There's a New Sheriff in Town….
Ah, ‘the mission’. On my walk occasional walk from Glen Park to 16th & Mission, I often ask myself: “How could a place so seethy, dirty, and architectually unappealing have so much of draw? I mean let’s face it we’re talking about 30 blocks of two-story buildings; most of which are dilapidated, ill-maintained and in one word “dirty”. There are no romanticized doric columns, no gold encrusted lamp posts. In fact, I don’t even think I’ve been to a legit museum of any kind for in the within the Mission District. Yet, I spend about 85% of my time, here.
I manage to run a business, do my grocery shopping, chill out with friends, and even manage to squeeze in the daily art walk through Valencia. The mission is a work of art, if you live here, you’ll feel as if you were living in a best-selling novel.
The Mexican food sucks, absolutely atrocious, (but that’s another review al-together). This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, when you consider the fact that the Mission is more like “Little Latin America” rather than “Little Mexico”. I’ve had some of the best Peruvian, Columbian, Cuban, and traditional Maya cuisines outside of those Countries. Sometimes when I’m out and about, I look forward to running into the guy selling Chilean empanadas at 2 for $5. He’s just a simple enterprising Chilean dude, who makes awesome empanadas!! If your around 16th and Valencia between 16th and 17th, you will see a dude walking around with a cooler, with a Chilean flag on it. Do yourself a favor, buy two empanadas and buy two to go. Don’t cheat yourself by getting a ghetto-dog as your after-bar drunk food. a) they suck, the bread it horrible, and for the sames price you can eat something that otherwise wouldn’t be sold in any other part of the city.
Books have surely been written about the Mission. This review is still too broad and too general. Frankly, it’s quite hard to concise the Mission to a few simple paragraphs. In one sentence: the Mission will keep you coming back for more.What's awesome
Top 10 Absolute Must for a First-time Guest (AKA, the Mission Experience):
During the Day:
1)Philz’ Coffee 24th & Folsom
4)Walk down Valencia from 24th to 16th street
5)Poc-Chuc (traditional Maya cuisine, FYI reservations may be required)
1)Dalva + Hideout
4)SOM Bar (FYI, this is 50/50, it could really suck, or it could be the most awesome time you’ve ever had)
5)Walk down Mission from 24th to 16th StreetWhat's not so awesomeLuis M.
Most Mexican fast-food places, except Farolito, Vallarta. Seriously don’t even waste your time or your money. The food sucks, try a Salvadorean place instead.
For better and for worse, I love the Mission!Krista N.
Oh the Mission. What more can you ask for from a neighborhood? It has the best taquerias in town, small clusters of good-vibe filled bars with some of the cheapest drinks the city has to offer, and a great array of diversity of Mission locals and bar attendees alike.
Name your type of person you are looking to hang out with and you can find them in the Mission. Name the type of vibe you are looking for in your night and you can find it in the Mission. Well maybe not the prissy, stuck up no fun people but who wants to hang with them anyways? 😉
Live here if you love cultural diversity and some of the cheapest options the city has to offer. Don’t live here if you get ” sketched out,” easily. I have never had any problems while in the Mission but if you can’t take the heat that comes with this neighborhood then keep it for your bar runs and grocery shopping.
Another thing I love about the Mission is the availability of hard to find produce that I have only been able to find in the Mission. Not only can you find a unique variety of rare ingredients but you can also find every day items for way cheaper. I will never overpay for tomatoes again!
Where to shop for rare produce/spices on the cheap-
Tip: If you don’t live in the Mission- do your grocery shopping in Mission and you will be a lot richer.
Casa Lucas Market- 2934 24th Street (between Alabama and Florida Street)-
Oh man, I love this place with all of my heart and soul. You name it; they have it when it comes to all of the spices that I miss so much in the majority of Mexican cooking in the bay area. They have a great spice selection as well as some of the best fresh-dairy cheese I have been able to get my little poor paws on. Their produce selection is also off the chain and EXTREMELY affordable.
For my opinion a better meat selection head over to El Chico Produce Market #4- (between Alabama and Harrison St on 24th)
Try the achiote marinated meats on the barbecue, they are really good. This place is also really clean compared to most markets in the Mission.
To eat the best Mexican food San Fran has to offer:
La Taqueria on 28th and Mission-
Not the cheapest option for taquerias in the Mission however, the food is worth it. Try the carne asada and you will not be disappointed.
The veggie burritos here are delicious and even come with broccoli in them. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for meat, but this veggie burrito is worth trying. Also on the delicious list are the fish with mango salsa. YUM YUM in my tum-tum all night long.
And don’t forget the infamous bacon wrapped hot dog carts. Just do it, it’s 2 am, you’re hungry and in the Mission. They are well worth the calories.
Where to drink/party:
If you like Reggae and dancing:
I love this place! If you dig Reggae, hard core dancing and a culturally mixed vibe-COME HERE! Plus, Beauty Bar is right next-door for when you want to switch scenery/vibe/music. There is also good African food here when the place isn’t a dance club and is a restaurant.
If you just want to have a good time: 16th Street/ 24 Street-
Head to 16th Street and check out Dalva and Thieves Tavern. Both have a mellow vibe, good music, cheap drinks and decent bathrooms. BEWARE there are a lot of hipsters in both of these bars. If you are looking for a change of vibe on 16th from the hipsters, head to the German bar, Gestalt Haus. I like the selection of beers they have on tap here, and the staff all are very interesting to converse with. Usually a fun vibe going on here every night of the week.
After 16th…brave the semi sketchy late night 8-block walk over to 24th Street. On your way stop at 22nd and hit up the Make-Out-Room. This place has $5 24th and head to The Attic Club and Thieves Tavern. Trust me, go to both of these bars and you will have a great time, no questions asked.
Last and not least: check out the graffiti, it’s really amazing artwork and a day walk in itself.
If you learn to love the Mission for what it is; a place that is slightly dirty, culturally diverse, has great bars, and contains delicisous Mexican food and markets— you will fall in love with it as much as I have.
The Mission is in the midst of its second culture clash in less than a decade. The first came with the dot-com boom, but retreated with the burst of the bubble. Round two has come about from a new wave of entrepreneurs and starts-ups seeking low rents. The forces of gentrification are palpable. On a weekday morning, a flood of white commuters approach the 24th and Mission BART from Valencia to the west, the obvious newcomers to the area. All along Mission street are restaurants and services for the Latino community, while just over on Valencia a new restaurant comes in almost every month, at prices inaccessible to the minorities who were here first.
The area has an incredible selection of food, with lots of chef-owners venturing in to try new concepts. In the last six month, Blue Fig and Mr. Pollo have garnered loyal Yelp followings. Mission staples like Revolution Cafe and Elbo Room are among the best night spots in the city, and of course Taqueiras El Farolito and Cancun regularly contend for best burrito in SF.
Coffee enthusiasts draw battle lines over Philz, Four Barrel, Ritual Roasters and more than 40 other coffee shops. An eclectic mix of high end artisan shops complement the thrift stores on Valencia, drawing dressed down Marina and Pac Heights money to mix with broke hipsters.
Fi-Di types will feel out of place in business attire, surrounded here by tats and piercings and white girls with dreads. All types are welcome but leave the pretension on Market. The artist’s scene is exceptional, if you can find it. Poetry slams, dance, and experimental art abound, and hopefully won’t be driven out by tech start-ups driving out specialty book stores.
The Mission is, without doubt, the most dynamic neighborhood in the city. It will continue to rapidly evolve. In midst of the recession, housing values in some areas rose as much as 25%. As the next real estate boom ramps up, expect to see dramatic changes here in the near future.bbb
Ex MissioniteAlex H.
Used to live here and we loved it. The food is great the drinks are strong, life is vibrant and the weather is some of the best in the city. Our only gripes were the lack of shopping within walking distance for food, goods and stuff, and the slight isolation of the neighbourhood from the rest of the city. There is always the slight concern about safety late at night but if you are sensible it is perfectly safe. We moved to Polk Gulch which just felt more like our kind of hood, but look back on our time there with fondness.
Ah, the Mission.
A lot of people underestimate how big this neighborhood really is, so it’s hard to write a review that encompasses all aspects of it. The cleanliness/sketchiness factor of the neighborhood also varies dramatically street by street — for instance, while Valencia’s filled with bike lanes, vintage boutiques, and trendy restaurants, Mission St next door is filled with Mexican bodegas, taquerias, and sketchy folk. For a broad generalization, I’d say that the neighborhood can be split up between 16 St.-Mission and 24th St. Mission.
The 16th St. Mission area (in this case, I’m talking about the area around the 16th StBART stop, Valencia, Dolores Park) is definitely more gentrified than the 24th Street area. 18th Street is so hip and happening with its trendy restaurants — BiRite Creamery, Pizzeria Delfina, Tartine Bakery — that you’ll be lucky if you have a wait that’s less than 45 minutes. 24th Street side is definitely more colorful, more ethnic, and tends to be a little less touristy and ritzy than 18th Street.
The Mission was a great place to live in San Francisco — happening, fairly central, great food — but it also had its downsides. When I left last year, gang violence was at an all-time high — there was at least a shooting in the neighborhood once a week. The area can also be filthy — trash everywhere, homeless men sleeping in apartment doorways. And because the scene ss so happening, bars and restaurants tend to be so unpleasantly crowded and loud. Bars almost often exceed their allowed occupancy limits.
This was a great place to live for a year and a half, but ultimately I ended up leaving because the hustle and the bustle and the grind of the neighborhood/city ended up being too much. You feel like you’re always on all the time, and I really couldn’t find the peace and rest I needed while living here.
First stop. . . the Mission!
I was terrified of the Mission. It was the very first place I lived in San Francisco, and despite the many inspiring murals and little Hispanic ladies that I wanted to hug, I felt a little wary. I had my share of sketchy encounters at the BART stations and walking home to Harrison and 24th. Once you hit up the Haight, though, you realize the Mission has some of the less aggressive crazies and it’s totally the coolest place to hang out, thrift shop, and dance to 80s music.What's awesome
The bars, Dolores Park, rent pricesWhat's not so awesomeJenna P.
taking the 14, parking, cell reception at Dolores Park
Viva La Misson!!
Loved the quiet calm of the neighborhood all the while you are surrounded by a great sense of Latino pride. The murals are amazing!! Everything you need is within walking distance, shops, food, bars and everyone is very friendly. Love this neighborhood!What's awesome
Murals and the friendliness of the localsWhat's not so awesomeNiki B.
The upset stomach you get from eating all that latin goodness!
It's own kind of beauty
Food. Food. Food. Ethnic food, check. Farmers market, check. Bacon maple apple donut, check. (I’m serious about that last one. If you haven’t been to Dynamo Donuts, it’s a must.) The Mission is home to the best Mexican food North of San Diego, and the atmosphere is electric. Though certainly not the cleanest of neighborhoods, nearly every wall is covered in vibrant murals, and it gives the Mission a beauty unlike anywhere else in the city. Transportation to the Mission is easy, with both underground and above ground busses. It’s dog friendly, though it lacks an off leash park as far as I know. My favorite spots, aside from Dynamo, are La Taqueria, where the quesadillas are to die for and the agua fresca is just sweet enough, and the Mission Cultural Center, where you can take silk screening classes from Calixto Robles on Sundays for just $15 (there are tons of other great classes to take there too, from dancing to guitar to drawing and more). The Mission has something to offer everyone. And plenty of coffee shops for the hipsters.What's awesomekati
Mission the new place to be?Timothy C.
The Mission is the most hip neighborhood in the city, and I’m not just saying that because I live in the heart of the Mission, Valencia street is packed full of great bars and restaurants. The bar scene is the most packed any day of the night. The bars in the Mission go from the shared picnic tables of Zeitgeist (Great for Bloody Mary drinkers and greasy grilled bar food, to upscale clubs like Medjool. The Mission is a great place full of life and electricity that will keep you coming back for more
The Mission's missionKelly S.
It’s dirty, it’s loud, it’s smells of bacon wrapped hot dogs. There’s bars. There’s beer. Hipsters everywhere. But it’s two different worlds depending on which street you travel. Get the dirty gritty feel like an amble down the streets of Santa Ana or some parts of Mexico (MEh-hi-co) walking down the main drag. Lots of bar and dogs. Or get the swankier upscale feel, walking down the trendier boutique-esqe Valencia.
Color and Light in the MissonEmily S.
The Mission District offers a balanced mix of grit and sophistication: hole-in-the-wall taquerias meet trendy, polished bakeries and coffee shops. But more than anything, the area is a magical place for anyone who has a particular interest in art, architecture or photography.
Every day I go wandering from my doorstep over to 16th and Mission to catch the BART downtown, and I always take alternative, zig-zagging routes, just for the experience of color and light, of which there is plenty (weather-dependent, of course).The Mission is knowingly imbedded with great linguistic and cultural diversity. The artistic manifestations of this are awe-inspiring and evoke a sense of community as palpable as the artwork itself. Even the subtle, colorful philosophical writings on the street serve as a brilliant addition to the Mission’s robust array of street art. Something as simple as the phrase “good nite,” painted on a sidewalk in bold red cursive, can be comforting for the lone walker to read as they briskly walk home while dusk falls. Keep an eye out for it!
In the Mission, catchy little artistic displays of self-expression pop up and surprise you everywhere you walk, and this can be quite inspiring on some idle Tuesday afternoon when you are experiencing equal cravings for a strong coffee or a glass of red wine, grudgingly trotting back to work.
I can think of no better place for an artist/ photographer/ creative type to live, and for those who speak Spanish, it’s even more exhilarating.
And… it’s a book-lover’s paradise (new + used book stores along Valencia). And a coffee-lover’s paradise. 1- The Summit, at 780 Valencia; 2- Ritual, at 1026 Valencia, and 3- Dolores Park Cafe, at the corner of Dolores and 18th. On a sunny day, Dolores Park is flooded with sun-seekers, musicians, and all kinds of activity. Free tennis courts are a plus.
So art, color and light
it’s the sunniest neighborhood in San Francisco (!)and much, much more, this is the ideal place to be.
El Mission the Capitial of MexicoPeter H.
Oh the Vatos locos, the fixies, the Hells Angels, the Ice cream carts, the Tamale lady, the Empanada dude, the after hours Absinthe speakeasy’s, the Warehouse party’s, and of course the Homeless.
I left San Francisco with my GF, Tony Bennet left a heart and mine as well in San Francisco—and the only time a dude should have a flower in his hair is if you just fought a hippie btw—as I long for drunken stoney days—Mr. Nice guy Dispensary around the corner—in the yard at the Zeitgeist and grabbing a organic humane kill cheeseburger for 6 bucks. Tumble down to Delores park on some sort of wheels. It’s one of the few places in SF that is flat and hangout on Gay Beach—near the top away from 200 or so hipsters. Enjoy they view of downtown and the bay as well as Mission High. After the sun sets and the cold fog rolls down the hill stumble on to the 500 club for free sunday bbq and 5 beer and shot.
RENT, not cheap but worth 24/7 Camelot weather folks. The closer you get to market street or SOMA the rent will be higher and less junkiefied. Did i mention the drug markets of 16th and Mission as well as 24th and Mission? The further south you go the cheaper the rent SHOULD be but that is all relative. Past 30th street might as well be L.A. to some but the mission extends far into the excelsior. All serviceable by BART—subway—and MUNI—bus light rail. Over by general hospital Potrero area is not the greatest but like i said is all relative.
Food is kinda pricey compared to the rest of the Country so if you are visiting go straight to Safeway and stock up on cheap food and wine. Grocery Stores are great in the hood numerous local Mexican owned grocers, organic worker owned Rainbow and Safe way is a block out of the hood up market and Valencia and another on 24th and Potrero. Oh word of advice w/ rainbow 20% off coupons in the yellow pages but shopper beware of coupon day at rainbow is a Technicolor dream-coat of funkers vying for foodstuffs.
Cabs = The most expensive in the USA. if your visiting longer than a week buy a bike for 100ish bucks and be stoked. As dropping the flag in a cab here is close to 4 bucks. Or rent a bike. OR OR, go to http://www.bikekitchen.org/ and build a bike for 40 bucks if you can turn a wrench… if you cant somebody will help you. I used to.
Overall minuses of the mission are as follows, if your not watching yourself and have had a few in the wrong alley alone. You might get robbed. There I said it, so beCAREFUL.
If you have a rental car lock your shit in the hotel, crackheads are crafty not like quilting.
In San Francisco in general, the lifestyle of young 20-somethings centers around the city’s beautiful parks. This holds especially true in the Mission. Daytime on the weekends you’ll find huge gatherings of people chilling out at Dolores park. Smile, throw up your deuces, say “park life” and you’ll fit right in.
Live and Die in the Missionbbb
Mission residents are die-hard Missionites. I don’t think they could easily live elsewhere in the city, and forget about them setting foot in the Marina…EVER. That said, the Mission is a wonderful village within the city—with great murals, food, and culture—but has a tendency to be an self-incubated.
If you can get past the hoards of hipsters who have chosen to populate the Mission in great numbers, you can discover a culturally vibrant nabe with some amazing architecture. The Mission is perhaps best known for being full of dining options where the farm to table aesthetic is in full swing. Nightlife is hopping and there never seems to be a dull night. Check out the alleys that local artists have covered with artwork and murals. Balmy and Clarion are two of my faves.
Burritos and Hipsters unite!bbb
The Mission is very eclectic. You’ll often hear of, and see, the Hipster crowd in this nabe. If you’re looking for a quiet hood to live in, this isn’t it. Noisy streets include: 16th, 18th, Valenicia, Mission, and Guerrero. However, if you are looking for a younger, hipper, artistic nabe with a lot of magnetic night life, this is your place. Must eat a burrito when you are here! Rainbow Grocery is a really great co-op grocery store if you’re looking for local, organic, and healthy nutrition. Looking for a morning bun? Tartine, on 18th and Guerrero, has a line that goes around the block on the weekends. Unfortunately it’s hard to tag this nabe with a solid rent range: it varies enormously.