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.
Breakfast at Mission Beach Cafe
San Franciscans love their brunch almost as much as Angelenos, and the Mission is home to some of the best breakfast spots in the city. For those exploring the neighborhood for the first time, Mission Beach Cafe is a must-try. Though there’s usually a long wait, it’s worth it for the mouthwatering fare that awaits. Serving brunch seven days a week, Mission Beach offers up everything from freshly baked pastries to dungeness crab and shrimp benedict. And though they may only have a beer and wine license, their mimosas are huge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.