San Francisco is a busy city.
It’s the headquarters of global brands like Twitter, Salesforce, AirBnB, The Gap and Wells Fargo. It is a Trip Advisor top 5 tourist destination in the US.
San Francisco has also hosted major events such as the most recent Super Bowl and the America’s Cup. It’s a busy, vibrant city with a lot to do and see.
But sometimes you just want to explore a city quietly and on your own terms. If you want that low key visit, spend some relaxing time in the San Francisco Mission District.
The Mission is a cool residential neighborhood and exploring it at your own pace will give you a great feel for the heart of the city.
Things to Do In San Francisco
The following five tips will give you some unique ways to hang out in the Mission. If you have an hour or two, picking one will give you a feel for the neighborhood.
If you have an entire afternoon to kill, doing them all will give you an immersive San Francisco experience.
1) Drink some Philz Coffee
Philz is located on 24th street and Folsom. They make really strong individually brewed cups of coffee which you can choose from a bewildering array of global beans. The building itself is covered in street art so if you sit outside, you can become your own version of a street art performer. Or you can take your coffee to-go and stroll 24th to see the amazing street art on display.
2) See Street Art
You could also take your coffee to-go, and stroll to 24th to see the amazing Mission street art on display.
3) Coffee and Pastry at La Tartine
The Tartine Bakery has the most delicious pastries in the city. They have croissants, bread, cakes, cookies and tarts. I love their morning buns. They get really busy so you may need to wait in line.
But try to snag an outdoor table. That way you can people watch as you have your coffee and pastry.
4) Hang out in Dolores Park with an Ice Cream
Start at Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th and Dolores. Bi-Rite is a San Francisco institution offering craft ice cream with really fresh ingredients. If I were going with you, I’d order one of the ice cream sandwiches.
Take your ice cream cone, half of a block west to Dolores Park. This large urban park is the perfect place to chill out on a nice warm afternoon. Mind you, you won’t find a warm afternoon in San Francisco during the summer. But if you visit during the spring and autumn, you will find fabulous weather.
5) Grab a Book and a Beer
Start at Dog Eared books, located on Valencia and 20th. They are a small but well stocked store with a great selection of local Bay Area authors like Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon. Pick up something from their staff pics table.
Then head four blocks up and take a left at 16th. Pop into the Monks Kettle bar. They specialise in Belgian beers and they have a large list of brews on tap. Grab a seat at the bar, order a beer and dive into your new book.
If you really love books, you can also take this more immersive tour of the Mission’s bookstores and literary sites.
Getting to the San Francisco Mission District
The Mission is easily accessible on public transportation. You can take the BART subway to the 16th or 24th street stops. And there are many MUNI bus lines that serve Mission street. If you have a car, there is street parking but you may have to circle around a bit to find a spot.
Regardless of how much time that you have to spend in the mission (and how many calories you are capable of consuming), the key is to relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about seeing everything.
Just wander around. Kill time. Eat some yummy stuff. And most of all, enjoy San Francisco.
Have you ever been to the Golden City? What are your favourite things to do in San Francisco? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love some more tips!