Party Earth Review Prior to the 1990s, establishments along the Mission and Valencia Street Corridor were mostly limited to auto shops, dive bars, and taquerias serving a working-class Mexican population. Internet-fueled gentrification... ... read full review
Mission and Valencia Streets stretching
approximately from 16th to 24th Streets
San Francisco, CA 94103
BART: 24th Street Mission
MUNI J Line: Church Street & 24th Street
Mission, San Francisco –
Prior to the 1990s, establishments along the Mission and Valencia Street Corridor were mostly limited to auto shops, dive bars, and taquerias serving a working-class Mexican population. Internet-fueled gentrification, however, brought an explosion of eclectic stores, chichi restaurants, and higher-end bars, creating what many residents describe (or decry) as the hippest place in town.
Known as El Corazón, or the Mission’s “heart,” 24th Street features murals of South American history popping from the sides of stores peddling plantains, and authentic joints like La Taqueria pumping out cheap burritos just as they have for decades. Bargain shoppers take advantage of the myriad thrift stores, as streets resound with the mariachi and accordion tunes that billow out from Mexican music shops.
Further north reside upscale clothiers like Therapy, while classy restaurants like Foreign Cinema and Beretta get packed with the latest influx of well-dressed foodies. That trend continues toward 16th Street, with art and design spots far outpacing taco stands, and oddball boutiques like Paxton Gate and pirate supply store/writing workshop 826 Valencia punctuating the diverse scene.
By night, the streets are flooded with young revelers of all types, from grunge-tastic music fans at Elbo Room and Make-Out Room to cocktail connoisseurs in the speakeasy tucked inside Dalva and rich tourists nibbling foie gras with their martinis at Chez Spencer.
Other drinking dens and eateries covering the entire price spectrum abound, allowing visitors to transform from refined diners into unhinged boozers in a matter of steps.
The scene is more casual come morning, comprised mostly of mellow shoppers and flannel-clad creatives sipping lattes at the coffee shops, though popular brunch spots like Mission Beach Café and the diner Boogaloos still have lines out the door.
Full of flavor, fiestas, and fun-loving folks, the Mission and Valencia Street Corridor is a true San Francisco treat.
Fashionable hipsters, music lovers, college kids, foodies, families, trendy shoppers, thrift-store lovers, tech and arts industry professionals, the shabby-chic, and the just plain shabby. All ages by day, mostly 20s to late 30s by night.
Shopping near 24th Street:
Many shopping options, with a strong emphasis on thrift stores and Latin American wares around 24th Street, including Mexican folk-art shop Studio 24 (2857 24th Street), Mexican market Casa Lucas Market (2934 24th Street), all things soccer at Argentina Gift Shop (3250 24th Street), and local art at Galeria de La Raza (2857 24th Street).
Shopping further north:
The area toward 16th Street is home to a number of independent clothiers, bookstores, boutiques, and unique shops, including pirates’ supply store 826 Valencia (826 Valencia Street) – also the home of Dave Eggers’ highly regarded youth writing workshops – the enormous used clothing and furniture store Thrift Town (2101 Mission Street), sex toys at Good Vibrations (603 Valencia Street), and cutting-edge music at Aquarius Records (1055 Valencia Street).
Major festivals include the annual Carnival on Memorial Day; First Friday Monthly, a food and art crawl on the evening of the first Friday; Open Studios on the first weekend of October; The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence-sponsored Hunky Jesus Contest on Easter Sunday; the Street Food Festival in late August; Cesar Chavez Holiday Parade the second weekend of April; the Transgender and Dyke Marches in June; and the Day of the Dead procession on November 2.
Cheap to moderately priced Latin American food:
Many eateries including spicy dishes at Puerto Alegre (546 Valencia Street), cheap fresh tacos at El Toro (598 Valencia Street), some of the most popular chips and salsa in town at Casa Sanchez (2778 24th Street), and fresh-ground tortillas at La Palma Mexicatessen (2884 24th Street).
Other notable places to eat:
Classic American diner fare at burger spots Urbun Burger (581 Valencia Street) and Burger Joint (807 Valencia Street), South Indian from Dosa (995 Valencia Street), Thai at Osha Thai (819 Valencia Street), Peruvian at Limon (524 Valencia Street), vegan favorite Herbivore (983 Valencia Street), Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street) for pricey Mediterranean fare, classic foreign films, and a crowded scene from brunch to dinner, and Beretta (1199 Valencia Street) for craft pizza and craft cocktails.
Food and drink prices run the gamut, from $5/plate taco joints and PBR-powered dives to swanky restaurants.
Anything goes: V-necks, plaid, white t-shirts, jeans, suits, cocktail dresses, sexy miniskirts, everything in between.
Friday and Saturday nights when partiers from all over the Bay Area show up to enjoy the Mission’s magnetism and multi-faceted party scene, or during the day to chill at a coffee shop, read in a quiet bookstore, or hit a bustling brunch spot.
Mission Dolores Park, located a few blocks west between 18th and 20th Streets, is a lovely little grassy getaway that overflows with visitors on sunny days.