Mission District, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 51 Reviews

Area surrounding Valencia and 16th Street

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Best free thing #12: 24th Street Mini Park

    by goodfish Updated May 9, 2012

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    Eye of the serpent and background mural
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    If you have wee folk along on your mural walk (see previous tips), this is a great place to let them out of the stroller and run wild for a bit. This little gem of a playground has been an oasis for Mission district tots since the 70's and was rescued from several decades of decline by determined and enterprising local residents and businesses. Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center (see murals tip) volunteers created stunning tile mosaics and painted murals to decorate the outer walls and unique, serpent-shaped play structure, and over a million dollars in bond money provided new benches, swings, sand box, cushioned flooring, landscaping and other improvements.

    I had to be careful not to make the little ones (and moms) nervous with my camera so see the attached web URLS for more pictures, reviews and some history.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/24th-street-mini-park-san-francisco

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    The Mission District

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jun 4, 2008

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    Statue at the end of Dolores Street
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    The mission is located in the aptly named Mission District, with Mission Street, Valenica Street, 16th and 24th Streets being some of the main thoroughfares. This neighborhood has long been a destination for Mexican and Central American immigrants and has one of the highest Latino population densities in the city. It's wide, often tree-lined streets are filled with a mix of older Hispanic shops, restaurants and run down flophouses, nearby gentrified Victorian mansions, modern apartments, book shops, trendier cafes, and nightlife.

    The big draws for tourists in this area are Mission Dolores and the Mission Basilica, Dolores Park, and the annual Carnival Festival in May. Locals seems to enjoy the mural-lined alleys, wide array of cheap taquerias, and some of the nightlife opportunities not found in other areas of San Francisco.

    The Mission District can be reached on the BART at either 16th and Mission Station or 24th and Mission Station, which kind of book end this neighborhood. The Mission, Park, and the murals of Clarion Alley are near the 16th Street Station between between Valencia and Mission Streets while Balmy Alley's murals are between 24th Street and 25th Street near Folsom Street.

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    Mission Dolores and the Basilica

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 27, 2008

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    The mission chapel (right) and the basilica (left)
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    Mission Dolores, originally Mission San Francisco de Asís, was founded in 1776 and the chapel completed in 1791 is the oldest structure in San Francisco. The 6th of Spain's 21 California missions, Dolores is the only mission still boasting its original chapel fully intact. The mission gardens have been restored to the 1791 period including an Indian garden and rose garden. Some 5,000 Native Americans are buried in the cemetery, one of the few cemeteries remaining in the city limits.

    Next to the mission is the huge Mission Dolores Basilica, completed in 1919 after a previous church on the site was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. Church services are held in the Mission Dolores Chapel and the Basilica. The mission is open daily 9:00pm - 4:00pm, seven days a week and can be toured for a donation of $5.

    The tour starts at the gift shops, enters the old mission chapel, passes an antique diorama of the mission in its former glory, then enters the basilica. Next you you go back outside, pass some old photographs of the mission, then enter the small museum. After the museum is a nice fountain and some restrooms, then the cemetery and back to the gift shop to finish your tour. The entire tour takes 30 minutes to an hour, and is worth it just for the beauty of the architecture, even if the mission history doesn't especially interest you.

    A short scene from the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo was filmed here. Other scenes from the movie include Fort Point, the Legion of Honor, Mission San Juan Bautista, and even Cypress Point in Pebble Beach.

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    The Basilica at Mision San Francisco de Asis

    by VeronicaG Updated Aug 25, 2007

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    The Basilica
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    The Basilica sits next to the Mission San Francisco de Asis and was constructed in 1918. It's gleaming white topped with two ornate towers.

    This Basilica replaced an earlier church which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. It was officially designated a basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1952.

    Some of its beautiful highlights are: a stained-glass window featuring St. Francis of Assisi--patron to the Mission and San Francisco, a main altar detailed with a lovely sunburst pattern, intricate carvings depicting the Seven Sorrows of Mary on the side balconies and over the main door, and colorful mosaics showing the Apostles (picture 2).

    The interior of the church was very peaceful with smells of heavenly incense lingering in the air. Sunlight cast a gentle glow on the stained glass windows from behind--the upper side of windows represented angels, while those on the lower side represented the 21 California Missions (pictures 3 & 4).

    As you take the side door exit towards the mission, walk to your right and you'll see a small museum and the entrance to a little graveyard.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    The Basilica

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 26, 2003

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    The Basilica- was completed in 1918 and replaces the parish church that was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake It features stained glass windows depicting Saint Francis of Assisi who is the patron of both the Mission and the City of San Francisco.
    .The Basilica also has a wood carving of Mater Dolorosa, Our Lady of Sorrows, set high above the main alter in a sun burst pattern. The Mission has been honoured by the Pope twice in the last 50 years.
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    Best free thing #13: MaestraPeace Mural

    by goodfish Written May 27, 2010

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    MaestraPeace Mural
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    This is just amazing. The Women's Building's MaestraPeace Mural was the collaborative effort of seven artists and is a tribute to the wisdom, nurturing and healing powers of women throughout the world. Appropriately enough, it covers a community center that provides a diverse range of non-profit services for the women and girls of the San Francisco area.

    The center provides a guide that highlights the symbolism and images of notable women incorporated into the work. You can also purchase T-shirts, postcards and other mural-related items at the reception area: better than cheap, dime-a-dozen tchotchkes of cable cars and a great way to support a worthy cause.

    This is also a good place to make a potty stop during your exploration of the Mission district.

    Additional note: visit the murals in Clarion Alley while in the area - it's just a couple of blocks east.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Mission Delores

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 26, 2003

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    Mission Delores is the oldest building in San Francisco, is located at the spiritual centre of its namesake, the Mission District. Founded in 1776, the first mass was held in June, five days before the Declaration of Independence was signed (although formal Church documentation didn’t officially establish the mission until October of that year and the building itself was not completed until 1791).

    The building managed to survive the 1906 earthquake. It has 4 foot thick adobe walls, redwood beams lashed together with rawhide to support the room and the ceiling is painted with vegetable dyes.
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    The Mission Cemetery

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 26, 2003

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    This was a colonial style cemetery to the left of the Mission which contained the tombstones of Spanish, Mexican, American and other settlers. It also had the graves of more than 5,000 Native Americans who were enslaved in the area. The cemetery’s biggest claim to fame was its use as the setting for the graveyard scenes in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo.
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    More of Mision San Francisco de Asis

    by VeronicaG Updated Aug 25, 2007

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    Rear of Mission Dolores
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    Behind the mission, is a beautiful little cemetery, which contains many old gravestones, an Indian hut and lovely rose bushes. A statue of father Junipero Serra, sculpted by Arthur Putnam (an early California artist) sits at its center.

    Originally the grave markers were just wooden crosses, which deteriorated through the years. The cemetery was much larger at that time. When the present cemetery was condensed to its current size, those bodies which were unidentified were carefully placed in a common grave. Those remaining in the cemetery are those who died decades before the GOLD RUSH days (picture 2).

    A small museum displays artifacts and lithographs of the California Missions, an original roof truss and a revolving tabernacle brought from the Phillipines. It is still used on Holy Thursday(picture 3).

    A DIORAMA showing the mission complex as it looked in 1791 was created in 1939 for the Worlds Fair on Treasure Island, San Francisco (picture 4).

    A statue honoring Father Junipero Serro, founder of the California Missions (picture 5).

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  • bellatrix's Profile Photo

    The Mission district

    by bellatrix Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Mural in Mission District, San Francisco

    Founded by Spanish settlers in 1776, the Mission district is home to some of the city's oldest structures, as well as some of the hottest young people and places around. Colorful murals celebrate the prominent Latino presence that has long defined the Mission. The area grows increasingly diverse and gentrified along Valencia St. Politically, the Mission is the city's most radical pocket, marked by left-wing bookstores, active labor associations, and bohemian bars and cafes filled with hipsters and hippies.

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  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo

    Mission Dolores or Mision San Francisco de Asis

    by VeronicaG Updated Aug 22, 2007

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    Mision San Francisco de Asis
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    The Mision San Francisco de Asis (or Mission Dolores) was the sixth mission to be established by Father Junipero Serra--the third most northerly of the 21 California missions.

    It assumed its role as an official mission on June 29, 1776...five days before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    The mission is remarkable for its simple beauty! Outside, the neat, whitewashed exterior reflects the brightness of the sun, while inside detailed, gold leafed altars and brilliantly painted ceiling call for close examination. A solemn and peaceful atmosphere surrounds you. This lovingly cared for House of God is one of the oldest intact missions in California.

    Congregants originally had to use an outside stairway to access the choir loft. Later, these steps allowed them to do so from the sanctuary.(picture 2)

    The decorative altar, or the reredos, came from San Blas, Mexico in 1796 (picture 3)

    The side altars, were brought to the Mission in 1810 and are also from Mexico.(picture 4)

    The ceiling is not original, but reflects the original Ohlone Indian designs done with vegetable dyes. (picture 5) The vibrant waves of color are unexpected, but appreciated!

    Hours are 9am-4:30 pm daily; a small donation is charged.

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    San Francisco de Asis, Mission Dolores

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jan 2, 2007

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    Mission Dolores
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    This is San Francisco's oldest building. Built in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra, it was damaged in the 1906 quake, but survived. It has some fine examples of early California art. The cemetery is the final resting place of many early Californians.

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    Murals at Mission District

    by yellowbell Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Maestrapeace

    I'm so amazed with the many murals all over Mission District. One alley that we stumbled upon has two rows of lively and colorful murals. What a fun way to put your creative talents to good use instead of vandalizing the walls for no reason at all!

    On the picture is the Women's Building Mural called Maestrapeace on Lapidge St. You have to see it to believe how much time and effort went into it. This is truly a remarkable labor of love from women artists!

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    Not Your Average Historical Tour

    by travelingmadman Written Dec 29, 2011

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    shooting in progress
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    If you are looking for something truly unique and specifically San Francisco, look no further than taking a tour of the historical San Francisco Armory. Okay, so it doesn't sound all the special (unless you are a military history buff), but there is truly something amazing going on inside those large imposing brick walls. The building is now owned by Kink.com. Yes, the BDSM porn site. The tour will take you through the building, where you get to see impressive sets and props as well as the creek that actually runs through the basement. The fun and knowledgeable tour guide will happily answer any questions you have about what it is like to work for a porn company and yes, a little about the history of the building as well. Even if you aren't familiar with the company, it is a fascinating experience and one you aren't likely to have anywhere else.

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    A Visual Feast in the Mission

    by emilesc Updated Oct 10, 2006

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    Dolores Park
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    I hadn't planned to go to the Mission this particular day, having already walked around The Castro and Noe Valley. It was a pleasant surprise that a detour down the Cumberland and Sanchez steps had taken me to the gateway of Dolores Park. I haven't had a chance to spend much time here, but both times I've been in the Mission, I've felt at home in this diverse, funky neighborhood.

    The first time I'd been to the Mission was in 2002 during Gay Pride Weekend, during which the Dyke March - open for women of all orientations to participate in and show their support - traveled from Dolores Park to 17th Street in the Mission and ended at the Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro.

    This time (2006), I walked through Dolores Park, over to Mission Dolores (already closed by the time I'd gotten there, alas), and ended my trip at Tartine.

    Can you believe how nice the architecture for the high school and middle schools are?!

    Please see my travelogue for additional photos from The Mission.

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