The San Francisco Mission District encompasses an area recognized for its long-standing Hispanic community. In more recent years, hipsters have gravitated toward this historic district, creating a unique mixture of cultures that has come to characterize the neighborhood. Full of iconic attractions such as the first Philz Coffee shop, Mission Dolores and many delicious eateries, the Mission is well worth paying a visit. A number of our suggestions lie within the one-block radius of 18th Street and Dolores Street and are great places to begin an exploration of this incredible district.[slideshow_deploy id=’5915′]
Coming in, you must accept the fact that you will be standing in line for a good 10 to 20 minutes. However, the iconic bakery is well worth the wait. Delicious options abound, from the light and fluffy ham and nettle quiche to the flaky morning buns made from fresh croissant dough. The bakery offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and the tables have a high turnover rate despite being filled consistently throughout the day. Tartine’s communal tables provide a low-key and inviting atmosphere, but if you prefer take out, the food can be easily enjoyed at nearby Dolores Park.
The quintessence of the Mission District, La Taqueria attracts customers from all over the area craving “the best tacos and burritos in the whole world,” as the sign outside claims. Long bench tables packed with customers fill the open space, with the ordering counter along one side of the store. The Latino vibe of Mission Street resonates throughout this taqueria, and their hefty tacos are filled with meat, beans and pico de gallo salsa. For a small price you can add avocado, cheese and sour cream. It is important to note that they accept cash only, but they supply an ATM in the back.
Missing those fourth grade field trips to historic missions? Well, you are in the right place — a three-block trek from Dolores Park will take you right to the footsteps of one of San Francisco’s oldest buildings, one which survived the 1906 earthquake. Stained glass and adorned ceilings characterize the chapels, and outside visitors can explore a garden and a serene graveyard. A trip to Mission Dolores is not for everyone, though. Though its $3 admission fee is affordable, it does not offer much entertainment other than a little slice of history.
At the intersection of 24th Street and Folsom, you can find the coffee you know and love in its original location. Every inch of wall and ceiling is covered with murals; white, fluffy clouds dominate most of the back wall, and a starry sky twinkles above the baristas. Ordering can be a little hectic, but the experience is worth it. The classic Mint Mojito has never tasted so good. Custom choose your roast — dark, medium or light — to match your caffeine craving. Make sure to check out this Philz location filled to the brim with Mission hipsters and coffee aficionados.
Bring a picnic blanket to sit on while you enjoy a cone of delicious ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery or the baked goods from Tartine Bakery, for Dolores Park is within walking distance of both. Although part of the park is currently under renovation, the City of San Francisco hopes to have it ready in time for the beginning of summer 2015. Despite the construction, Dolores Park still offers acres of grassy terrain. Also open for use is a large playground, equipped with several slides, a swing set, a climbing wall and a rope bridge.
Bi-Rite Creamery is one of the best ice cream options in the city, and their classic salted caramel is unbelievably smooth. At peak hours — mid-afternoon and late evening — the creamery has lines out the door and around the block, but patience is a virtue when waiting your turn for a scoop of this ice cream.