San Francisco has so many amazing neighborhoods, but we agree by saying that Mission District definitely cannot go unseeing.
The Latino neighborhood is one of the oldest ones in San Francisco and one of our favorite ones. Full of great and affordable restaurants, so many colorful murals, and an energetic vibe all around. In this guide, we’ll take you through our favorite things to do in Mission District, from its history to the best bars and restaurants in Mission. We’ll also share some insider tips for what not to miss in the neighborhood!
The Mission District neighborhood occupies a huge area of 1.481 square miles, but the buzz is located between 16th and 25th streets and South Van Ness Ave and Dolores St.
TOP 4 THINGS TO DO IN MISSION DISTRICT
- Mission San Francisco De Asis
- Dolores Park
- Mission District Murals
- Valencia Street
As we mentioned before, this is a vibrant and energetic neighborhood. During the day you will see people that live in the area walking around, the many lively stores and restaurants, and tourists strolling along the many streets with v
ibrant and colorful murals. It is such a cool and joyful area.
At night it is not so different. The restaurants and bars are always a frequent choice for many people that want to go for a Happy Hour and spend the rest of the day in San Francisco. Is not hard to understand why, we will not run out of good options to explore the Latino cousin, rich in taste and diversity.
Not even a second is wasted when visiting Mission District, so let’s explore a little bit more.
1. MISSION SAN FRANCISCO DE ASIS
We cannot start talking about Mission District without mentioning the Mission San Francisco de Asis. Commonly known as Mission Dolores, this historical building is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and of the 21 missions established under the direction of Father Serra, this is the only one that is intact.
Adjacent to the old Mission is the Cemetery and Gardens of Mission Dolores, where traditional native plants from the 1791 period and many other species of trees and flowers were planted, as well as the Rose Garden which was a gift from the Golden Gate Rose Society. In the cemetery many notable San Franciscans were buried, such as the first Mexican governor, Luis Antonio Arguello, the first commandant of the Presidio, Lieutenant Moraga, as well as being the final resting place of some Native Americans like Ohlone, Miwok people.
2. DOLORES PARK
Right next to the Old Mission is Dolores Park, one of our favorite spots in San Francisco. From there, it is possible to have an incredible view of the city, in addition to being the perfect place to enjoy a neat picnic. The park even has a very nice playground, perfect for spending the day with the kids.
3. MISSION DISTRICT MURALS
If there’s one thing the Mission District is famous for, it’s its many colorful murals. Balmy Alley was one of the first alleys known for its paintings, some from the 80’s (which are slowly being restored)! These murals emerged as a form of protest about events in Central America and today the subjects are varied: consumerism, the strength of Latin women, human rights, culture, fighting fires, and many others. The curious thing about these alleys is that there are always new paintings, so with each visit, you will come across some fresh art. Unmissable!
- Balmy Alley is just one of the many alleys where you can find the murals in Mission District.
- Clarion Alley
- Cypress Street Murals
- Osage Street Murals
- Women’s Building
4. VALENCIA STREET
Valencia St is definitely on our list of “cool and interesting shopping streets” in San Francisco. There you will find stores of the most varied products and services: vintage and used clothing stores, design stores, pirate supply stores (yes, you read it right), independent bookstores, bikes, plants and everything else you can imagine. We’ll give you some ideas of our favorite places, but it’s worth visiting and seeing for yourself.
MISSION DISTRICT RESTAURANTS: Where to eat in Mission District
After walking around the neighborhood, it is time to eat. Mission District restaurants are some of the best of all the neighborhoods in San Francisco! Mission District offers the best options for bars and restaurants. We put up a list of great options, for you to spend the rest of your day.
You can’t talk about the Mission District without mentioning Mexican cuisine. Here we list some options to eat a delicious burrito:
- La Taqueria: 2889 Mission St
- Taqueria El Farolito: 2779 Mission St
- Papolete: 3409 24th St
- Café de Olla: They make everything from scratch, honoring the Oaxacan style cuisine where you will be tempted to taste typical Mexican dishes such as Quesadillas, Tamales, Tlayudas, and Tortillas.
- Tacolicious: A delicious Mexican with excellent cost-benefit.
- Limón: Delicious Peruvian Commodity! Lomo Saltado melts in your mouth and is an explosion of flavors.
- Delfina Pizzeria: One of the most famous in San Francisco.
- Bi-Rite Creamery: You’re likely to find a long line at the door, but we guarantee it’s worth the wait.
- El Techo: Lively and relaxed rooftop. Food and drinks are delicious.
- Foreign Cinema: This is one of the coolest places in San Francisco. An old movie theater turned into a restaurant. For those who sit in the screen room, they show old movies while you take a sip and enjoy a contemporary menu. Tip: Ask to sit in the screen area and reserve your table in advance.
As you can see, there is no shortage of options to do in this vibrant neighborhood. If you want to know more about the history of the neighborhood and visit the most important landmarks of the region, check out our Mission District Walking Tour San Francisco.
Our tour guide professional will help you dive deep inside its culture by trying delicious Oaxaca Mexican food and visiting the oldest church in SF Mission Dolores, classic Victorian architecture, and of course, the numerous murals celebrating the past and present Latin Culture.
- Know before you go: Wear comfortable shoes. We are going to explore the neighborhood by walking, and you don’t want to end up with blisters on your feet.
- Tour Length: 3.5 hours approximately. Departs every Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 11:00 AM.
- Price: $85.00 per adult / $55.00 per child – we don’t charge kids under five years old.
Don’t miss seeing this incredible neighborhood. Book your tour and join us on this adventure.