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San Francisco's Mission District

Hispanic Life & Artists

The Mission is one of SF's hottest new neighborhoods. The Mission has been a primarily Hispanic neighborhood for decades, named after the Mission Dolores. Mission Dolores is one of the oldest Mission's in San Francisco and a free incredible historic site (3321 16th Street @ Dolores 621-8203). Today, urban art yuppies are invading the neighborhood at an alarming pace, opening cafes, restaurants, and used clothing stores.

D.K. writes, "Wander the Mission District early and scope out the true barrio... Don't forget to relax at Mission Dolores park. "

Travelers to San Francisco with a little time should check out the Mission's truly authentic Mexican food, funky cafes, cheap bars, and generally cool scene. However, the Mission is hardly the safest area in SF. A fair amount of drug dealing, prostitution, and violent crime occurs here so you should be particularly careful. Also (no surprise) parking is atrocious.

Recently Recommended Restaurants / Sites:

Cafe Gratitude 2400 Harrison @ 20th (415-824-4652) Vegan dishes and raw cuisine. Dinner for two around $44.
Precita Eyes Muralists 2981 24th Street @ Harrison (415-285-2287) The organization that maintains the Mission's stunning murals offers weekend walking tours for around $12.
Medjool 2522 Mission @ 21st (415-550-9055) Medjool is an entertainment complex with cafe, bar, restaurant, hotel, and rooftop terrace. Trendy place -- but many reports indicate staff has a bit of an attitude...
Papalote 3409 24th @ Valencia (415-970-8815) Great vegetarian burritos and beer for two - about $15.
Limon 524 Valencia @ 16th (415-252-0918) Peruvian style trendy restaurant with great ceviche. Dinner for two around $109.
Galeria de la Raza 2587 24th @ Bryant (415-826-8009) Cutting edge art with Latino themes and a hotspot for the Mission arts scene.

The corner of 16th Street & Valencia is a nexus for fun in this area. Don't miss the bars in the Mission District. There is great thrift store shopping, and many cool restaurants including (all of these restaurants are top 100 restaurants from a certain big city's daily rag):

Arabian Nights (811 Valencia @ 19th Street 821-9747)
Mystical middle eastern restaurant with belly dancing - $12-$15.

Bruno's (2389 Mission @ 20th Street 550-7455)
Mediterranean supper club with 1950's decor $13-$16

Flying Saucer (1000 Guerrero @ 22nd St. 641-9955>
Very popular for "California food" and hard to get in with incredible decor -- but not all are pleased (see review below)...
V.P. was disappointed with the Saucer, "The hostess was very snotty and unfriendly. The prices were high ($35 each total) and the presentation average. We had fish which was far too salty to eat. The cooks must have marinated the fish in rock salt for days & it was making us sick. The waiter did not even bother to check if we were happy with our meals. When our waiter came to clear the dishes, we told him that the fish was way too salty! He offered only to "let the cooks know." I much prefer other high end restaurants such as The Grand Cafe or Postrio.

La Taqueria (2889 Mission @ 25th St. 285-7117)
Mexican authentic taco bar - $2-$4 (splurge!)

Matsuya (3856 24th St @ Church - 282-7989)
Japanese small restaurant - $5-$16

Woodward's Garden (1700 Mission @ Duboce 621-7122)
American tiny restaurant is charming - $14-$17

**Ti Couz (3108 16th @ Valencia 252-7373)
French crepe restaurant in fun neighborhood near clubs

You won't find the Mission on the front page of many travel guides, but if you want to truly see a slice of SF life, have a beer, burrito, and pick up a used flannel -- the Mission is worth every minute.

 

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