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Published June 8, 2023

How to Spend a Perfect Day in the Mission

Your one-day itinerary for all the must-do eating, shopping, and playing in the Mission District. Presented by Waymo.

by San Francisco Bucket List


As one of the oldest and most diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, the Mission District is home to a multitude of eclectic shops, unique restaurants, and inspiring art. Whether you're visiting the Bay Area for the first time or are a born and bred San Franciscan, the Mission's rich mix of history, food, art, and community has something for everyone.

Not sure where to start? We put together the perfect one-day itinerary with all of our favorite can't-miss spots. From award-winning coffee shops to evening happy hours, we've got you covered.

This city guide is sponsored by Waymo. Waymo is an autonomous driving technology company with a mission to get people and things where they need to go safely and reliably. With Waymo One, their fully autonomous ride-hailing service operating 24/7, riders can hail a ride with up to three guests to the majority of the city (including the Mission)! Find out how you can ride with Waymo One here.

The Best Things to Do in San Francisco's Mission District

Morning: Breakfast and Shopping

Breakfast, as they say, is the most important meal of the day, but with lots of delicious options, it may just be the hardest decision you make. Start with a caffeine boost, and make your way to Four Barrel Coffee, Stonemill Matcha, or Linea Cafe—featured in Food & Wine's best indie coffee shops in America. For a quick sweet treat, indulge in some local favorites like The Jelly Donut or grab some fancy pastries or a slice of quiche from Tartine.

Head to Craftsman and Wolves for unique bites like the "rebel within": a parmesan-asiago muffin with pork sausage, scallions, and a soft cooked egg in the middle. Or, hit Breakfast Little for flavorful and filling breakfast burritos.

Once you're fueled up, head to Valencia Street for a morning of shopping. Explore an eclectic variety of spots, from high-end niche boutiques to longstanding mom-and-pop shops and everything in between. A few not-to-miss shops include Aggregate Supply for beautiful clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods, After Life Collective for vintage clothing finds, and Top Drawer for everything you’d find in a top drawer—glasses, pens, stationary, wallets, and more.

Often Wander and Paxton Gate are great spots to check out for personal care items and homewares like jewelry, crystals, plants, candles, lotions, and soaps. And don't forget to visit the little-known gem, Aesthetic Union, an art print and gift shop run by local artists.

Before lunch, make the walk to see the historic Mission San Francisco de Asis. This iconic landmark was built in 1776 and is the oldest building in the city!

Afternoon: Lunch and Sights

When you’re ready to sit down and take a break from shopping, satisfy your hunger with a delicious lunch in the Mission. Choose from local favorites like Sanguchon Eatery, serving Peruvian sandwiches, or Joyride, offering Detroit-style pizza. If you prefer a sit-down lunch, Farmhouse Kitchen serves flavorful Thai cuisine, while Mission Picnic provides picnic-style meals like hearty sandwiches, lox bagels, pasta salads, and more.

If you’re up for an outdoor meal, get your food to-go and head to Dolores Park for a leisurely picnic. With views of the city skyline, sprawling green lawns, and shady palm trees, it’s a popular spot for a reason. When you’re done eating, take a walk down Clarion Alley and admire the vibrant murals that adorn the neighborhood.


Evening: Drinks, Games, and Dinner

As the afternoon turns to evening, it's time for some fun. Begin with drinks and games at Urban Putt, an indoor mini-golf spot with psychedelic courses and recreations of notable SF landmarks. Or check out Evil Eye, where you can enjoy great cocktails and retro games like pool and pinball in a setting that harkens back to California watering holes in the 1970s. If you're up for bowling, Mission Bowling is another fantastic option for group fun and bar bites.

For happy hour, hit El Techo and enjoy delicious Mexican-inspired bites along with $7 margaritas and a lively atmosphere. Try Dancing Yak for local favorite Nepali food or Shuggie's for delicious pizza paired with natural wine.

Sunset Views: Bernal Heights and Beyond

End the day by watching the sun go down at Bernal Heights. This hilltop neighborhood offers panoramic views of the city and is perfect for soaking up the last rays and capturing stunning sunset photos. Alternatively, visit The View Lounge for rooftop sunset views accompanied by drinks and dessert.

Bonus Recommendation: Keep an eye out for Sundown Cinema, sponsored by Waymo this year, which hosts outdoor movie screenings at various locations in San Francisco. 


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