“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.”—Banksy, Wall and Piece
No other day gave M and I the crazy level of sensory overload the way our trip to The Mission did.
For one, we had to choose the hottest day of the year to walk around San Francisco’s edgy and eclectic neighborhood. The cool breeze from the Bay Area had taken the day off, leaving our shirts uncomfortably clinging to our skin. And because we decided to check out all the cafes and restaurants our friends recommended in the area—from third-wave coffee at Ritual, to tacos and burritos at La Taqueria, Tartine’s famed banana cream pie, and ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery—when we weren’t walking under the hot San Francisco sun, we were stuffing our faces silly. We were never not full, and never not sweaty.
All the discomfort, however, failed to distract us from the one thing we enjoyed most about The Mission: the explosion of creativity in the streets.
If you’re a fan of street art and graffiti, San Francisco’s Mission District is a wonderland that’s chock-full of them. Two alleys especially deserve special mention: Balmy Alley on 24th Street near Harrison, and Clarion Alley between 17th and 18th streets and parallel to Mission and Valencia. These block-long alleys house the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco, and are definitely worth the visit. M and I decided to check these alleys out on our own, but there are also guided tours that would undoubtedly enlighten as to the messages the artists wish to express. As it is, a lot of them are pretty straightforward :D
The two alleys are ever evolving, with new murals going up all the time—and the same holds true for the rest of the street art in the area. But more than the visual feasts, there are plenty of things to kill time with at The Mission:
Dessert at Tartine…eating their banana cream pie is a religious experience.
Spending the rest of the day sunning and gorgeous-people watching in Dolores Park…
No trip to this colorful neighborhood is ever boring. Definitely worth a stop when you’re in town :D