Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Inner Mission - Sights

The Inner Mission is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco but is frequently overlooked by visitors. Perhaps the urban grit is a bit too much for some folks. I think a walk through the neighborhood gives you a good feel for daily life for many city residents. Plus there are interesting sights, fun shops, and excellent restaurants.

Where is the Inner Mission? San Franciscans frequently argue over neighborhood boundaries and, more recently, their names. For the purpose of this series of postings, I'll consider the Inner Mission to be the area bounded by Market Street on the north, Church Street on the west, 24th Street on the south, and South Van Ness on the east.

The principal sight in the area is Mission Dolores (aka Mission San Francisco de Asis). This is one of the 21 missions established by the Spanish in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The mission was constructed in 1791 and is the oldest building in San Francisco. You can take a self-guided tour through the old mission. Mission Dolores charges $5/adult and $3/child and senior to enter. Visitors are welcome from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from May 1 to October 31 and to 4:00 p.m. during the balance of the year.

The original mission was built on the shore of Lago de los Dolores. Both the building and the lake are long gone, but a plaque marks the spot on Albion Street, near the intersection with Camp Street, about 1 1/2 blocks from the current mission.

The Mission District is home to hundreds of murals. The most famous may be MaestraPeace on the Women's Building at 3543 18th Street. The mural was painted in 1994 by a group of women and covers two sides of the building. A number of famous and not-so-famous women are depicted. A guide to the mural is available inside the Women's Building.

If you would like to take a private San Francisco tour that includes a visit to the Inner Mission, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or Rick@BlueHeronTours.com.

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