The Mission is notably one of San Francisco's most diverse, lively, and colorful districts. Largely a walking and bicycle-friendly district, visitors will encounter lots of foot-travel, bicyclers, and large crowds (especially on weekends). An eclectic array of shopping choices are available for both the budget-conscious and "big spenders" when perusing the many storefronts, boutiques, and hidden treasures located in the Mission. Folks unfamiliar with the Mission district may mistakenly believe that shopping is available on Mission Street, only; however, additional gems lie on 24th and Valencia streets as well.
The Mission mainly consists of a colorful mix of thrift stores, independent clothing and shoe shops, joyerias (jewelry stores), smoke shops, and all-purpose stores that carry everything from backpacks to batteries and socks. Authentic Mexican and Central American bakeries and small, fresh food markets are also plentiful. 24th Street has much of the same, as well as a few specialty shops that cater to the growing number of "hipsters" living, working, and playing in the area. Arkay Workshop, located on 24th Street between Bryant and Florida streets, carries sustainable and organic clothing, shoes, and bags for women and men, as well as jewelry, candles and greeting cards. On Valencia Street, east of Mission Street, you will find vintage and indie clothing shops, antique furniture stores, and independently-owned bookstores. Modern Times Bookstore, a neighborhood favorite, carries both new and used books ranging from critiques and political theory to sexuality and gender theory, along with the latest New York Times bestseller. Another hip, vintage clothing and trinket boutique is Therapy. Therapy has a huge selection of bold and humorous postcards, magnets, and greeting cards. You might walk away with a cute, bright green purse, too.
After spending your day shopping and exploring, a visit to a local taqueria is the best way to complete your Mission experience. El Farolito, which has two locations in the Mission (24th and Harrison and Mission and 24th), has some of the best carne asada in town. The pollo asado tacos aren't too bad either. So, pick a location, and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
Designated as the warmest district in San Francisco, the spirit and pulse of the Mission are both heartwarming and unapologetically urban.
- Municipal Railway (Muni) bus lines: 14 Mission and 49 Van Ness/Mission
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stops: 16th or 24th Street