Enjoy a burrito
The Mission District is known for its Mexican community, so what better way to spend a day than sampling all that the cuisine has to offer. The debate around the best burrito can be heated, so make sure to try a few. La Taqueria, Taqueria Cancún, Taqueria El Farolito, and Papolete are all great but ask anyone and you’re sure to hear about many more.
Take part in the buzzing nightlife
As one of the centers of San Francisco nightlife, there’s no better way to explore than via the local watering hole. For upscale cocktails, head to Dalva or ABV on 16th, and don’t miss Trick Dog on 20th. It’s worth remembering restaurant bars and both Loló and Beretta mix a mean drink. For dive bars, head away from Valencia towards Mission—Doc’s Clock, The Homestead, and Knockout (which hosts DJ dance parties and The Simpsons trivia). For beer, The Sycamore or Shotwell’s are best.
Browse the bookstores
In spite of the rise of Amazon, the neighborhood bookstores remain popular. For a wide selection of used books, there’s Dog Eared Books—you won’t leave empty-handed. If sci-fi or fantasy is your thing, the selection at Borderlands Books (20th and Valencia) is unparalleled. After perusing the shelves, pop down for a coffee in the store’s café with all your finds.
Indulge in great ice cream
Just as there are arguments about the best burrito, so too do locals debate ice cream. Lines at Bi-Rite Creamery can snake around the block, but the wait is worth it as deliciously creamy flavors abound, such as salted caramel and balsamic strawberry. For equally interesting flavors, there’s Humphry Slocombe where, beyond the obvious bittersweet chocolate or even peanut butter, the oft-changing flavors have included foie gras and stout. Then there’s Mitchell’s, an ice cream parlor that’s been in business since 1953 and never fails to delight.
Partake in fine dining
Some of the city’s newest and best restaurants can be found in the Mission. Within walking distance, there is Pizzeria Delfina, Frances, Foreign Cinema, and Mission Chinese Food. Besides the famous names though, there’s a ton of other places to hit and a world of tastes to explore. You’ll find great Korean food at Namu Gaji, Italian at Beretta, and Caribbean at Cha Cha Cha.
Buy vintage clothing
A casual stroll through the Mission’s many vintage and used clothing stores will get anyone looking like a hipster. For a more curated selection of clothing, Afterlife Boutique and Wallflower carry true vintage pieces, while Mission Thrift offer an enormous selection of inexpensive options.
Visit Mission Dolores
Check out the Murals
Beyond the pervasive street art, the Mission is home to two mural projects: the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) and Precita Eyes Muralists. CAMP is an artist collective that creates murals and facilitates other artists’ work in Clarion Alley, often with a political bent. Precita Eyes is a community-based arts organization that provide tours of neighborhood murals, predominantly within the Mission District. Both are outstanding examples of local arts organizations directly engaged with their surrounding communities.