Mission District

Mission District


This is where San Francisco really began. At 16th and Dolores, stands the oldest building in the city, Mission Dolores, completed in 1791. Tourists regularly mistake the imposing church for the small, modest mission, which exists today as a museum and a California Historical Landmark. The area is covered in colorful murals and the population is largely Mexican and Latin American. This is the neighborhood that nurtured the young Carlos Santana. During the 1950’s Central American and Mexican immigrants flooded into the Mission District, settling there, raising families, and starting businesses. Some of those taquerias, auto repairs shops, beauty salons, bakeries, and markets have survived the gentrification that was brought on by the Internet boom.

The mix today is old and new. Trendy restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and night clubs exist along side thrift stores, used book emporiums and Mexican markets. The area around 16th and Valencia is the center of nightlife in the Mission while the industrial section near Bryant Street abounds with the newest, hippest restaurants. The main street of the Mission is 24th, the most culturally alive and upbeat part of the district. This is known as “El Corazon de la Misione,” or the heart of Mission Dolores. Between the streets of Mission and Portrero, 24th Street is known for its many colorful murals, in fact the most murals in San Francisco are located there. Subjects include political statements, spiritual themes and portrayals of everyday life in the neighborhood. The annual street celebration and parade, Carnaval, is the biggest party of the year. Ethnic diversity is expressed in food, costumes, music, arts and crafts by 500,000 revelers dancing in the streets. The Mardi-Gras style outdoor party culminates in a masquerade ball. Latin and South America, New Orleans, the Caribbean, and Africa are well-represented in this fantastic festival.





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