Home to busy streets and captivating murals, Mission Dolores is a historic neighborhood where generations of immigrants and artists have built a dynamic community. Located just five minutes from The Castro, San Francisco’s cradle is known for its art scene, exciting attractions, and cultural diversity.
Whether you’re a young professional looking for a vibrant neighborhood to call home or a family looking to settle down in one of San Francisco’s liveliest communities, Mission Dolores has something for everyone.
WELCOME TO MISSION DOLORES, THE BIRTHPLACE OF SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco’s birthplace, Mission Dolores is understandably the oldest neighborhood in the city. In 1776, a group of Spanish missionaries established the Mission San Francisco de Asís, which is now the oldest establishment and church complex in the city.
Today, Mission Dolores is part of Mission District, one of the busiest and most colorful neighborhoods in the city. Although it only spans 1.48 square miles, Mission District is home to a growing number of more than 44,000 residents. Geographically, it’s part of east-central San Francisco, flanked by U.S. Route 101 to the east (which separates it from Potrero Hill); Eureka Valley to the northwest; and Noe Valley to the southwest. South of Market or SoMa forms its northern border, while Bernal Heights sits to the south.
Mission Dolores isn’t the hilliest of neighborhoods in San Francisco. Compared to others, its slopes are actually quite low. That said, views are still abundant in Mission Dolores, and they’re not often covered in fog.
HOMES FOR SALE IN MISSION DOLORES, SF
If you’re looking for homes for sale in Mission Dolores, SF, expect to find a host of high-rise condos and studio apartments. Its housing stock is largely composed of multi-family properties, which makes sense for its urban location, fast-paced lifestyle, and limited land area. Single-family homes are rare, but they are available and especially beautiful in Edwardian and Art Deco styles.
Young professionals and couples who enjoy living in the heart of the city will feel right at home in Mission Dolores. And while the price of a home here has increased over the past few decades, so has the number of new properties. Fortunately, its median price is still pretty close to the San Francisco average at just over a million dollars.
Properties in the area draw inspiration from a wide range of architectural styles, including Victorian, Edwardian, Queen Anne, and Stick-style, giving Mission Dolores a fitting historic character.
A large portion of the homes in Mission Dolores were built before 1939, and they show the beautiful architecture and culture of the past. But there are also some newer homes that were built in the 1960s, and even more in the 2010s. Most of the homes that are for sale right now are from the last decade, so they have all the modern features and styles that a potential buyer would love.
LIFE IN MISSION DOLORES, SF
Living in Mission Dolores puts you a stone’s throw away from all that The Mission District – and, by extension, east-central San Francisco – has to offer. Whether you want to admire the colorful murals, sample the delicious food, become part of the high-octane tech scene, or enjoy the nightlife, there’s something for everyone at The Mission.
Employment and business opportunities
Mission Dolores is less than an hour’s drive away from the tech companies headquartered at Silicon Valley, located south of San Francisco. Furthermore, some of the world’s most innovative and influential companies are situated right in Mission Dolores’ doorstep. These include Salesforce, which is headquartered at Salesforce Tower (415 Mission Street) in San Francisco’s South of Market district.
Even closer to home, The Mission District is home to an array of small and locally owned businesses, from Michelin-starred restaurants to arts and culture spaces, that serve as great launchpads for anyone entertaining a career in the food or art industry.
Mission Dolores is served by the San Francisco Unified School District, one of the largest school districts in the state. The following schools are located in and around the neighborhood:
- Mission Dolores Academy
- The Mission Preparatory School
- Alta Vista Middle School
- Marshall Elementary School
- Mission High School
- La Scuola International School
- French American International School
A strong Chicano heritage and a spirit of innovation have made the food scene at Mission Dolores– and the Mission District– a culinary hotspot that highlights the neighborhood’s creativity.
- La Cumbre Taqueria – Home to the iconic Mission-style Burrito, La Cumbre Taqueria is a local institution that has served residents for more than 50 years. What started as a meat market run by Raul and Michaela Duran soon became a popular taqueria serving authentic, flavorful Mexican food. The restaurant’s commitment to fresh, quality local ingredients has kept customers coming back for more.
- Mijoté – Seasonal French cuisine is the star at Mijoté, a Michelin guide-featured restaurant at the heart of The District. Named after the French word for “simmer,” Mijoté offers a four-course, prix fixe menu that changes daily. Headed by chef Kosuke Tada, Mijoté is known for its locally sourced ingredients, changing wine list, and delicious food.
- La Torta Gorda – First established in 2002, La Torta Gorda started as a small take-out spot and is now one of the busiest Mexican restaurants in Mission Dolores. It’s one of the most unique places to eat in the city, offering authentic and affordable dishes from Puebla, the hometown of its founder, Armando Macuil. The bestseller is the Cuban torta, a big, greasy, and filling sandwich that will satisfy any appetite.
- Ernest – If you’re looking for a hip and new place to eat, Ernest is perfect. The acclaimed eatery opened its doors in 2021 and has since drawn in customers from all over the city, eager to try crowd pleasers like the beef tartare and sushi rice. With chef Brandon Rice at the helm, Ernest delivers an exciting take on global favorites.
- San Ho Won – San Ho Won is a Michelin-starred Korean restaurant that offers upscale Korean food and charcoal BBQ. It’s a collaboration between Corey Lee, the chef behind Benu in SoMa, and Jeong-In Hwang, a renowned Korean chef. The acclaimed restaurant uses top-notch ingredients and meticulous cooking techniques to create authentic and delicious dishes.
- Donaji – The flavors and traditions of Oaxaca take center stage in Donaji, a Mexican restaurant that specializes in chef Isai Cuevas’ native cuisine. Widely known for his delicious tamales – a farmers market staple in San Francisco – chef Isai Cuevas continues the tradition of delicious regional food with a maiz-focused menu that features long-standing favorites like taquitos, sopes, and enchiladas with handmade tortillas.
- Bi-Rite Creamery – Bi-Rite Market’s sole creamery is located right in the heart of the Mission, next to Dolores Park. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then this ice cream shop is perfect for you. If not, then you might still be intrigued by their one-of-a-kind flavors, which range from spicy mango and black sesame to cookies and cream.
Entertainment and nightlife
Traditional wine bars, underground clubs, and futuristic dance floors are just a few of the options you’ll have for a night out at The Mission.
- Public Works – Enjoy music and community-oriented events at this local haunt, which collaborates with everyone, from non-profit organizations to underground DJs. The space also doubles as a gallery that features diverse works from local artists.
- The Great Northern – The Great Northern is an Art Moderne-inspired dance club that features electronica hits and themed nights. It’s known for its inclusive spirit and spacious dance floor.
- Buddy – For something more casual, Buddy is a cozy wine bar with an extensive drinks list and delicious food to pair. Whether you want to catch up with an old friend or grab a nightcap after a dinner date, Buddy offers just the right setting.
- Bar Part Time – Bar Part Time is the quintessential bar and dance club complete with a glittering mirrorball, soft booths, and a selection of vinyl records to thumb through.
The Mission District teems with all sorts of wonderful shops, from vintage stores offering one-of-a-kind trinkets to well-known clothing brands and specialty stores.
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for home goods, accessories, and bags, head to Gravel and Gold on 21st street. The independent store also sells locally crafted products from homegrown artists.
The Mission’s Mexican heritage is highlighted at Luz de Luna, a specialty gift shop offering religious antiques, artwork, and jewelry. For more gift-able items, head to Serendipity Cards and Gifts, which sells candles and knick-knacks in addition to greeting cards and souvenirs. Those who are looking for niche items might find Pirate Supply Store up their alley; located on Valencia Street offers pirate-themed clothing, furniture, and accessories for those who want to channel their inner buccaneer.
Want to upgrade your wardrobe without harming the planet? Reformation, also located on Valencia Street, offers trendy clothing made from natural or recycled material. If you’re on the hunt for something that’s limited edition, Taylor Stitch is a retailer that specializes in small-run casualwear and clothing that’s designed to last.
Still on Valencia Street is Topdrawer, a store that caters to creative professionals and modern-day nomads looking for durable and stylish tools. The shop offers everything one might need to work an office-less job, from functional bags to travel pouches to fine ball point pens.
Cultural and historic attractions
- Mission San Francisco de Asis – The most significant historic site in Mission Dolores is none other than Mission San Francisco de Asis, the oldest structure in San Francisco. Established in 1776, the Mission was named after Saint Francis of Assisi and is now recognized as one of the city’s most culturally significant buildings. The name Mission Dolores came a little later, referencing the creek that flows nearby, which is named the Arroyo de los Dolores.
- Mission Dolores Park – Dolores Park is one of the first places that comes to mind when people mention the Mission District. Situated on the neighborhood’s western border, Dolores Park separates The Mission District from The Castro but draws in locals from both ends. Hit up the park on a sunny day and you’ll find hundreds of visitors going for a stroll, setting up a picnic, or just soaking up the sun with a book in hand.
- Mission District murals. All over Mission District are hundreds of walls painted with beautiful works of art depicting the area’s rich history and cultural heritage. Here’s a quick guide:
- Some of the oldest murals in the area can be found in Balmy Alley, located between Treat and Harrison Streets. These murals date back to the 1980s and express various themes, such as resistance to gentrification and human rights violations.
- The Women’s Building on 18th Street houses the majestic MaestraPeace Mural, a five-story piece that took seven years to complete. It was created by seven acclaimed female muralists spanning different generations: Edythe Boone, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, Irene Perez, Juana Alicia, and Miranda Bergman.
- You can also explore Clarion Alley, tucked between the Mission and Valencia corridors, where over 900 murals cover the walls dating back to 1992. The paintings depict a wide range of themes in solidarity with different social and economic causes throughout the years.
- Head to the corner of 24th Street and South Van Ness Avenue to see the famed Carnaval Mural, which has been dubbed the “Golden Dreams of the Mission”. The artwork is 24 feet tall and is located above the House of Breaks. Created by Daniel Galvez and a group of local muralists, the mural showcases scenes from the first ever San Francisco Carnaval back in 1979.
FIND YOUR DREAM HOME IN MISSION DOLORES WITH DAVE CUNNINGHAM
If you’re ready to browse the best homes for sale in Mission Dolores, SF, get in touch with me, Dave Cunningham. As a Bay Area native and a Realtor for over 2 years, understanding the San Francisco real estate market is like second nature to me. Such expertise allows me to go the extra mile for my clients as they fulfill their real estate goals in Mission Dolores or elsewhere in the city.
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