The Mission District
The Mission District is San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood, named after Mission Dolores, San Francisco’s oldest structure, a small adobe chapel. Dedicated in 1791, it was sixth in a chain of 21 religious missions established along California’s coast. Today, both the simple chapel and the ornate basilica, added in 1918, are the cornerstone of the neighborhood.
Head to the heart of the Mission District via the steep inclines of the Liberty Hill Historic District. The picturesque collection of well-preserved 19th century houses on Liberty Street survived the famed San Francisco fires, successfully halted before reaching the south side of 20th Street, due to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and one fortuitous hydrant.
Head two blocks south along Dolores Street’s boulevard of palm trees, where 14 grassy acres of Dolores Park are typically filled with local residents who come to socialize, sunbathe, picnic, play frisbee and people watch.
Perhaps most notable are the murals that you can find, well, everywhere (be sure to check out Balmy Alley). The Mission district is also famous and influential for its restaurants. Dozens of taquerías are located throughout the neighborhood, showcasing a localized styling of Mexican food – including the neighborhood namesake, the Mission burrito.