Mission offers rich culture, community

Murals, traditional restaurants and decades-old businesses create a vibrant atmosphere.

Claire Devereux, Features Editor

Claire Devereux
Mission Dolores Park is best known for its location on a green hillside and picnics on a sunny day. Mission Dolores Park is located between Church and Dolores streets.

The Mission district is one of the Bay Area’s most thriving neighborhoods, filled with music, murals, food and an abundance of retail opportunities.

The Mission stays true to its Hispanic history with a plethora of taquerias lining the district’s blocks. For old-school Mission-style Mexican food, head to award-winning La Taqueria. Its tacos ($4.75) and burritos ($9.50) are widely known for extra crisp tortillas and the replacement of rice with extra meat and beans.

Dandelion Chocolate, known for its fair trade, locally made chocolate, satisfies all sweet tooths after a meal. The menu ranges from hot chocolate ($5.75) with homemade marshmallows to a Brownie Bite Flight ($5.50), three brownies all with different chocolate flavors.

A temporary home to tech gurus and millennials is Ritual Coffee, known for locally sourced roasted coffee beans as well as creative floral latte designs.

Not only does the Mission have a myriad of restaurants, it also offers a wide range of retail stores, from modern clothing stores like Reformation to 50-year-old family-run businesses like Harrington Galleries.

For an evening of fun, go to Urban Putt, a high tech 14-hole indoor mini golf course in an old Victorian building at 1096 S. Van Ness Ave. At the top of the mini golf course is Up @ Urban Putt, a restaurant that offers Californian comfort food such as seafood and Mexican dishes.

When walking up and down Valencia Street., one might miss Clarion Alley tucked in between 17th and 18th streets, but it should not be overlooked. The alley is an urban gallery used as a voice for those who feel marginalized and a place for a culture to thrive through art. Some of the most popular murals include “Tax the Rich,” with a colorful flower pattern background and “Bad Hombre,” a blue bear with a white bad hombre shirt on a yellow backdrop.

Rich with Hispanic history, the Mission is one of the top places to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos, today’s feast, the Day of the Dead. The day is celebrated with a “Nuestros Muertos No Se Venden – Our Dead are Not For Sale,” procession in which individuals are welcome to participate — and build colorful and creative altars that commemorate the dead at Garfield Park.

The Mission District is located between Dolores Street and Potrero Avenue and is accessible by the 14, 22 and 29 Muni bus lines.