How to Spend 24 Hours in the Mission, San Francisco

Mission Delores Park, in San Francisco, California
Mission Delores Park, in San Francisco, California | © Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo

The Mission is a hip neighborhood in San Francisco that proudly embraces its Latinx roots. While preserving its heritage, it’s also home to some of the Bay Area’s best restaurants, bars and boutiques.

San Francisco has a neighborhood for everyone. Shoppers can get their fix in Union Square; those interested in museums and baseball games may be more suited in SoMa; families can spend days on end in Fisherman’s Wharf; nature buffs can get lost in Golden Gate Park, and those who seek a more laid-back, bohemian pace will find their haven in the city’s Mission district. Although you may want to spend more than a day exploring the vibrant neighborhood, here’s the best way to spend 24 hours in the Mission.

Women House building, Mission District, San Francisco

Morning

Breakfast at Mission Beach Cafe

Sightseeing at Mission Dolores

While your breakfast digests, soak in some history with a visit to Misión San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores). The mission was founded in 1776, and the current building was consecrated in 1791. Having survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, Mission Dolores is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. It also houses the only cemetery within city limits.

Chapel of Mission Dolores in San Francisco

Dog Eared Books

From the mission, you can walk over to Dog Eared Books. The used bookstore offers something for everybody, though they specialize in offbeat, small press, and local literature. While perusing the store’s expansive catalog, take note of the artwork hanging on the walls. It’s all made by local artists, and many of the pieces are for sale.

Afternoon

Pirate Supply Store

Not even a block away from Dog Eared Books is the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia. The quirky shop lives up to its name – you can literally buy pirate supplies, including a message in a bottle and ‘Scurvy Be Gone.’ Though the products may seem lighthearted, all proceeds to go 826 Valencia – a non-profit founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari dedicated to supporting under-resourced students so they can hone their writing skills.

Lunch at La Taqueria

If you want to try the best burrito in the United States, then you’re in luck – it’s at La Taqueria. Like Mission Beach Cafe, you may have to endure a long wait to try the restaurant’s perfect Carnitas burrito, but also like Mission Beach Cafe, the wait is totally worth it. If you’re more of a taco person, fear not – they make a damn good carne asada dorado taco, too.

Clarion Alley Street Art

San Francisco, and the Mission in particular, is known for its vibrant street art. Clarion Alley is a great way to experience it without trekking all over the city. Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) is an artist collective founded in 1992. The alley showcases politically charged, aesthetically diverse work painted by local artists.

Clarion Alley Mural Project in San Francisco, California

Dolores Mission Park

On a clear day, there may not be a better place to hang out in San Francisco than Dolores Mission Park. The neighborhood’s landmark is the perfect spot to relax and take in panoramic views of the city. Especially while enjoying a scoop of ice cream from the neighboring Bi-Rite creamery.

Mission Dolores Park panorama in San Francisco, California

Evening

Dinner at Southpaw

The Mission boasts some of the best barbecue in town. Southpaw is a southern comfort eatery that specializes in South Carolina BBQ. While chewing on some tender ribs, treat yourself to a cocktail or a Southpaw-brewed beer. But like Wallflower, Southpaw is closed on Tuesdays.

Mission Bowling Club

After dinner, take a short walk to Mission Bowling Club. The boutique bowling alley offers six bowling lanes (and only two of those are offered to walk-in guests), so it’s best to make a reservation. The alley is 21+, but if you have kids in tow they do offer family bowling on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-7pm. Adults can enjoy a wide range of alcoholic beverages, including a cocktail menu dedicated to ‘women who rock.’

A bowler at Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco, California

Drinks at Trick Dog

No evening is complete without a nightcap, and while there are so many good bars in the Mission it would be a crime not to visit Trick Dog. The bar is known for its creative cocktails and biannual menu changes that have ranged from aviation-inspired drinks to a curated art show with cocktail pairings.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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