The Mission District is one of the most popular and lively neighborhoods in San Francisco. It has world-class Mexican food, eclectic street art, art galleries, beautiful parks, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs, and classic Victorian architecture and is easily accessible by BART.

With so much culture and history, there's no shortage of wonderful places to visit in The Mission that are sure to make your vacation filled with enjoyment and wonder.

Quick Answer Guide: 12 Things to Do in The Mission

‌Top Things to Do in The Mission‌

‌Best Things to Do During the Day in The Mission‌

‌Best Things to Do Outdoors in The Mission‌

‌Best Things to Do at Night in The Mission‌

‌Best Free Things to Do in The Mission‌

Top Things to Do in The Mission

From munching down on a classic burrito to chilling in its famous park, here are a few of the most popular activities in The Mission worth checking out.

1. Eat a Mission Burrito

  • Perfect For:‌ Mexican food
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  • If You Go:‌ Try your burrito “dorado style” where your tortilla gets grilled until it is golden brown and crispy.

Whenever I'm craving Mexican food, a Mission burrito is what I want. There are many taquerias in the Bay Area, but the two standouts are La Taqueria and Taqueria El Farolito. Most San Francisco natives strongly believe that their favorite taqueria is the best one and it is really hard to change their minds.

For me, the best burrito is from La Taqueria. One thing to note is they do not serve their burritos with rice, whereas other places do. My go-to order is to pick up a carne asada super burrito with a strawberry aqua Fresca (the cantaloupe and pineapple are delicious also). La Taqueria also serves tacos and quesadillas, but I have never tried them because I love the burrito so much. Note that you must wait in line to order, and it is often quite crowded.

Taqueria El Farolito is my husband’s favorite place to grab a burrito. It is delicious. They serve giant burritos (with rice) and a variety of tacos and other specialities. They have three locations in The Mission — so if one is too crowded, you can easily visit another one.

2. Hang Out in Mission Dolores Park

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On a sunny day in San Francisco, hoards of people will flock to Mission Dolores Park to relax, play tennis, bring their children to Helen Dillar Playground, and admire the city views. Grab some freshly baked treats from Tartine Bakery (try the morning bun or almond croissant) or an ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery (the salted caramel or honey lavender), lay out a blanket and have a great day in one of the best parks in San Francisco.

When you are finished at the park, grab dinner at Foreign Cinema (they also have a tasty brunch) and stay for a movie.

3. Explore Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley

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The best Mission District murals can be found in Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley. The alleyways are only one block long but are the best place to see colorful artwork of many different styles and subjects, including Latino tradition. Murals are constantly being updated by various community artists. The Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) supports socially engaged public art and storytelling.

If you want more detailed information on the artwork in the area, consider joining a guided tour from the Precita Eyes Muralists.

Best Things to Do During the Day in The Mission

From checking out some beautiful murals to visiting a historic religious site, here are a couple of the best things to do in The Mission while it's still light out.

4. Explore Valencia Street and 24th Street

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San Francisco’s Mission District boasts some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city. If you are tired of popular name brand stores and are looking for something different, Valencia Street is the place to go for unique shops, vintage clothing, independent bookstores, and coffee shops.

Some popular places to visit are Taylor Stich (men's clothing), Therapy Stores (clothing and accessories, art and gifts), Top Drawer (stationary, albums, bags, and leather goods and accessories), Laku (hats, slippers, and gifts), Borderland Books, Dog Eared Books and the 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store.

If you're hungry after your day of shopping, grab some Italian food from Beretta (try the pizza), Peruvian food from Limón (try the open-flamed rotisserie chicken and ceviche), Burmese food from Burma Love (try the tea leaf salad), more Italian food from Flour and Water Pizzeria (try the pasta tasting menu), Dandelion Chocolate (take a factory tour or try a chocolate-making class) and Garden Creamery (try a vegan sorbet). You can also head over to Mission Street and dine at Blue Plate (try the fried chicken and key lime pie) and Lolinda (have a steak and the cookies and milk).

5. Visit Mission Dolores

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  • Perfect For:‌ History buffs
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  • If You Go:‌ Be sure to visit the gardens, cemetery, and the Mission Dolores mural.

Mission Dolores is the oldest standing building in San Francisco, founded in 1776. It is a Spanish Californian mission constructed from adobe and gave The Mission District its name.

Mission Dolores has survived earthquakes and fires. Be sure to also check out Mission Dolores Basilica, built in 1918, located next door.

Best Things to Do Outdoors in The Mission

Whether it is sunny or foggy, walking around outside in The Mission District is always an interesting time with surprises at every corner. Here's a few outdoor activities that you must do in The Mission.

6. Mission District Food and Culture Tour

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For $75, you can join a three-hour walking tour where you will be exposed to Latin American food, art, and culture from a local guide. Learn about the history of The Mission District and check out the neighborhood’s murals while sampling pupusas, tacos, and other local delicacies.

7. Visit During Carnaval

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If you're visiting The Mission District in May, be sure to check out Carnaval (May 25-26, 2024). Carnaval celebrates Latin American and Caribbean culture. Join the festival to experience live music, intricate colorful costumes, dancing, and art.

The Grand Parade on May 26 covers more than 20 city blocks, has over 60 music and dance groups, and over 3,000 artists participating.

Best Things to Do at Night in The Mission

The Mission District has some of the best nightlife in San Francisco. This neighborhood has trendy restaurants, eclectic cocktail bars, bowling, and miniature golf. Here are some of the best things to do in The Mission once the sun goes down.

8. Urban Putt Mini Golf

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Urban Putt Mini Golf makes for a creative night out in The Mission for the entire family. Urban Putt has an American restaurant and bar and a unique, 14-hole miniature golf course located inside an old Victorian home. Children are welcome to play, and anyone age five and under is free.

9. Mission Bowling Club

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  • Perfect For:‌ Friendly competition
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  • If You Go:‌ Reserve a lane ahead of time. After 6 pm, Mission Bowl is a 21+ venue, except for Sundays.

For another fun night out, go to Mission Bowling Club. Enjoy upscale comfort food and craft cocktails, check out their art gallery, and spend your night bowling with your friends and family.

Best Free Things to Do in The Mission

Though San Francisco is known as one of the most expensive cities in the nation, that doesn't mean that there aren't a number of great things to explore in the city that are free. Here are some of the best things to do in The Mission that won't cost you a dime.

10. Mission Community Farmers Market

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  • Perfect For:‌ Fresh local produce
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  • If You Go:‌ Remember that the market is every Thursday (3-7 pm), March through November.

Head to the open-air Mission Community Farmers Market, located on 22nd Street between Mission Street and Valencia Street, to sample fresh produce, cheese, bread, baked goods, and other treats to support small local businesses.

11. Dia De Los Muertos

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  • Perfect For:‌ An authentic cultural experience
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  • If You Go:‌ Bring some marigolds, the official flower of Dia De Los Muertos.

Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate deceased relatives and friends. If you are visiting The Mission District in November, check out the Dia de Los Muertos Festival and the Ritual Poetry Circle in Potrero Del Sol Park on November 2 at 5 pm.

Feel free to join in the classic rituals and bring offerings, altars, flowers, food, and photos of your loved ones. The procession begins at 22nd and Bryant streets and runs through Bryant and 24th Street and Mission.

12. Go Gallery Hopping

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There are numerous art galleries located in The Mission District, ranging in style and mediums — street art, contemporary art, graffiti, modern art, and Latin American art are just some examples. Check out City Art Cooperative Gallery, Mission Art 415, Rossi Mission SF, Incline Gallery, The Secret Alley and more.

The Mission District is a vibrant neighborhood worth exploring in depth. This neighborhood truly has something for everyone. Have fun!