Dolores Park is more than a park—it’s a rite of passage. Named for nearby Mission Dolores, the property became a park in 1905 and served as a refugee camp for for those uprooted by the 1906 earthquake. Palm trees border nearly 16 acres of lawn, which got a lush retrofit in 2016. (The refurbishment also included a new bathroom, picnic areas, and a bike polo court.) On the north side of the park, you’ll find a soccer field, tennis courts, and a basketball court, while the south side touts two off-leash dog play areas and a playground. But the real draw is the expanse of lawn between, where up to 10,000 people in various states of undress sunbathe, read, drink, smoke, and socialize on warm weekend days. Bring a blanket and a burrito: We suggest nearby La Farolito and La Taqueria.
The Mission is one of the most culturally and historically rich neighborhoods in the city with some of the best things to do in San Francisco. It’s also packed with the buzziest spate of bars and restaurants around—some critically-acclaimed standbys, others just-opened (and already swarmed). That mingling of old and new makes the Mission one of the city’s most dynamic ’hoods. Valencia Street is lined with restaurants and boutiques, while Mission Street, running parallel, boasts the best tacos and burritos around. At night, the neighborhood is awash in live music, from the Chapel—a retrofitted mortuary turned concert venue—to Amnesia, an intimate beer bar with a penchant for bluegrass and jazz.
How do I get to the Mission, SF?
You can take BART to the 16th Street or 24th Street Mission stop; the MUNI J train to Church and 18th Street; or the 12, 14, 22, or 33 buses.
What are the most popular attractions in the Mission, SF?
Dolores Park is the Mission's social hub, where locals sprawl on blankets to socialize, sunbathe, and (in August and September) watch outdoor movies. Valencia Street is the neighborhood's trendiest business drag, packed with boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Mission Street, which runs parallel, is where you'll find the best Mexican restaurants. On side streets and alleyways, you'll see walls splashed with vibrant murals, a testament to the neighborhood's rich culture.
Time Out tip:
In a low-slung city generally lacking in rooftop bars, El Techo de Lolinda is a welcome rarity. The generously-sized open-air perch is bordered by glass walls and outfitted with sun-shading umbrellas and high-powered heat lamps. Happy hour runs from 4pm to 6pm, which includes $4 beers, $5 bar bites (go for the chili-spiced fried plantains), and $7 margaritas. Get there before 5pm to avoid a wait.