In the central valley of San Francisco there lies a land where there are no hills. It has a deep history of immigrants staking a claim in the area since it was settled by Spanish explorers and its latest arrival are hipsters and strollers in a speedy fashion. The area of “The Mission” is plentiful with superb eateries, coffee shops, and boutiques.
Not immune to San Francisco’s obvious and palpable housing crisis, the area also brings with it some grit and visible homelessness. All the while, in this rising neighborhood the enterprises on 18th, Folsom, and Valencia Streets invite you into delightful spaces, impeccably designed and full of San Francisco’s youngest intelligentsia.
Where to Get Coffee
Stable Café, 2128 Folsom Street. Sit inside, upstairs, or in their delightful brick patio adorned with succulents and string lights at this old carriage house turned coffee shop and delicious brunch spot.
Four Barrel Coffee, 375 Valencia Street. This large space is an ode to coffee with a separate drip coffee bar, plus numerous workstations and high-top benches for the laptop traveler.
Tartine Bakery, 600 Guerrero Street. People line up around the block for the scrumptious pastries and coffee at this corner spot.
Where to Snap a Pic
Clarion Alley. Murals cover the walls here and new artists are contributing their creativity all the time.
Mission Dolores Park. On the weekends this place fills up for picnics, rosé, and an even more potent smell of the general marijuana cloud which hovers several corners of the city. Climb to the top to take in the views or watch Karl the Fog roll in from below. Nearby, stop at the local Bi-Rite. It’s full of artisanal goodness and an easy way to skip the line at the creamery across the street but still pick up amazing ice cream for your day in the park.
Where to Shop
There is no shortage of beautiful clothing boutiques, goods for your home, and antiques and vintage finds.
Thread Lounge, 724 Valencia Street. The owners here go on 10-15 trips per year in search of new goods, not to mention, travel extensively through the U.S. and this store is the eclectic ode and sale of their findings. (#LifeGoals)
Harrington Galleries, 599 Valencia Street. This is a three-level antique furniture store and the type of place I end up renting a Penske truck to head back home for.
Acacia, 415 Valencia Street. At this gorgeous home goods shop, you’ll find unique rugs and mugs.
Where to Go for Happy Hour and Beer O’Clock
Mission Cheese, 736 Valencia Street. The folks here are stoked about wine and cheese (so, they get me) and they have a diverse menu of delectable cheese and charcuterie boards and pairing ideas — all featuring California wines and American cheeses. Grab a seat on their patio and watch the people walk up and down Valencia.
Southern Pacific Brewing, 620 Treat Avenue. This huge loft space has 21 beers on tap and a food menu that you can’t go wrong with.
Where to Get Grub
Mission Chinese Food, 2234 Mission Street. Their take on Chow Mein is delectable. They’ve recently opened a New York outpost too!
There are a plethora of taquerias, arepa bars and spots like %ABV to get California-style shishito peppers or a lamb gyro corn dog. It’s not your average bar food in this hood.
Where to Get a Nightcap (or Morning Cap)
The Homestead, 2301 Folsom Street. This bar has a speakeasy feel and a cocktail menu to match.
Zeitgeist, 199 Valencia Street. If you’re looking to stay out for a rowdier sort of nightcap, come to this punk bar, a staple to the San Francisco punk scene.
If you enjoy this guide to San Francisco, you can take it with you. Using the GPSmyCity app guides can be downloaded to your phone for offline use.
By the way, if you do download it, I’d love to hear from you. Did you enjoy using GPSmyCity? I want to make sure scouts and findings on Maidstone Buttermilk are as helpful to you as possible.