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Houses, Mission District, San Francisco | ©Demetrios Lyras/Flickr
Houses, Mission District, San Francisco | ©Demetrios Lyras/Flickr
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Top 10 Things to Do in the Mission District, San Francisco

Picture of Gracie Linden
Updated: 23 April 2018
In a neighborhood as diverse and lively as San Francisco’s Mission District, knowing where to start can be difficult. Whether or not you’re new to the city, or just looking to shake up your routine, check out our top 10 list of things in the Mission.

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.

Doc's Clock, San Francisco | ©Michela/Flickr
Doc’s Clock, San Francisco | ©Michela/Flickr

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.

Modern Times Bookstore, San Francisco | ©Owen Byrne/Flickr
Modern Times Bookstore, San Francisco | ©Owen Byrne/Flickr

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.

The Line at Humphrey Slocombe's | ©Orin Zebest/Flickr
The Line at Humphry Slocombe | ©Orin Zebest/Flickr

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.

Tongue, Name Gaji | ©stu_spivack/Flickr
Tongue, Name Gaji | ©stu_spivack/Flickr

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.

Relax in Mission Dolores Park

Park
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Dolores Park, San Francisco | Dolores Park, San Francisco | ©Jérôme Decq/Flickr
Dolores Park is still widely seen as the landmark in the Mission. It’s the perfect place to picnic on a sunny day and offers outstanding views of downtown San Francisco. Plus, with its hipster population, you’re sure to have some great people watching opportunities. Don’t miss the local entrepreneur, the coconut man who sells fresh coconuts with rum.
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Free

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Outdoors

Visit Mission Dolores

Building, Cemetery, Church
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Mission Dolores | Mission Dolores | ©Konrad Summers/Flickr
For a bit of history, be sure to check out Misión San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. The mission was founded in 1776 and the current building was consecrated in 1791. It survived both the 1906 and the 1989 earthquakes and houses the only cemetery within city limits.
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9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Worship services

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Local

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.

Shop at the Pirate Supply Store

Shop
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Pirate Supply Store | Pirate Supply Store | ©hobvias sudoneighm/Flickr
Be sure to check out the Pirate Supply Store, the only one of its kind in San Francisco. Available for purchase is a whole host of pirate supplies, including doubloons, bottles stuffed with messages, and even Captain Hook’s hook. Plus, all proceeds go to support the non-profit 826 Valencia (founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari), so you do a good deed while you shop.
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Sun - Sat:
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Touristy