If you’re interested in seeing more of San Francisco’s Latino culture, hitting some of the best restaurants and bars in the city and experiencing one of the most contested barrios in America (described as “ground zero” of the gentrification battle), this is for you. The Mission is truly a place like no other and one of our favourite parts of the city. Make sure you don’t miss Mission Dolores on 16th Street. It’s both the oldest original intact Mission in California and the oldest building in San Francisco, built in 1776. San Francisco’s post-colonial history, much of which is fairly gruesome, began here. Scenes from Hitchcock’s Vertigo were filmed here. Make sure you find the mural behind the wooden altar in the sanctuary, which was painted by Native Americans and is currently being restored. When you’re in that part of the Mission you can walk to the top of Dolores Park for some great views across the city. Also look for Clarion Alley and Tartine Bakery and remember there is nowhere in the area you can’t find a great burrito. If you’re there on the weekend try to take a mural tour with Precita Eyes Muralists. That organisation is responsible for many of the area’s beautiful and often very political murals and has been there since the mid-1970s. And if you’re pushed for time, just walk along 24th Street and be sure to check out Balmy Alley.
A traditionally Latino suburb, famous for its murals, the Mission is the epicentre of many of the city’s newest hip bars and restaurant. It is also being challenged by the eviction of Latino families who have lived there for decades. You’re walking through a lot of complicated history and need to be respectful.
Image: Franco Folini