7.4 out of 10

Mission Dolores

Ranked 41st best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7654658309913 -122.424508641977
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Public Transport
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Internet Access
  • Nightlife
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parking
  • Childcare
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Trendy, safe neighborhood"

If the Mission district’s that slightly dirty, still-can’t-get-it-together older brother that everybody loves even though he’s a little rough around the edges, Mission Dolores is his polar opposite younger sister: upscale, safe, trendy, casually cool, but ever-so-slightly annoying for not being just a little more edgy. It draws about as much character from the Castro on its west side as it does from the Mission to its east. And that’s okay! But seriously, M.D., edge up a bit.

This place has nice eateries (check out Bi-Rite Creamery, one of the best ice cream spots in SF), great-looking places to live, walking distance to a bunch of neat neighborhoods, and one of the best parks in San Francisco (Dolores park, of course), so it’s hard to beat for a great place to live. If you can’t quite stomach the mission and think the Castro’s just a shade too cute, this is your place.

Got time for a stroll-by? Awesome – start at Dolores Park, taking a look at all the characters who call this place their daily hangout. Head east on 18th, past Dolores Park Café and Bi-Rite, all the way to Valencia Street, this neighborhood’s east border. Scope the hipness on Valencia while you walk up to 16th, then take a left and get greeted by bars, sushi places, and a pork store. Take scenic two-lane Dolores Street back down to the park, then join the rest of the group there and just bask in the coolness.
Pros
  • great eateries
  • Dolores park
Cons
  • homeless population
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The Old and New Mission"

Mission Dolores is the area sandwiched between the Mission District and the Castro where the old Mission that founded San Francisco is. That basically makes it the oldest spot in SF. The old mission is actually the little tiny one. The bigger one was built afterwards.
If you are a movie fan you will no doubt recognize the whole area from one of the Hitchcock movies—Vertigo maybe?
The other attractions to the area are Dolores Park which gets a lot of residents from the surrounding area for events held in the park like their movie nights. People also treat it like a beach on warm days. Though it really isn’t that conducive to either these days in my opinion, given the cold summer that we have been having.
There are a number of bars and other attractions in the area, including the Tartine Bakery which is a lovely little French bakery and the ice cream from the Bi-Rite Café—you will have to wait in line for it, but like Lombard, it is becoming a destination for locals.
The restaurant scene is pretty strong in the area as well, with Delfina leading the way. This 5 –Star Italian restaurant is considered by many people to be the best restaurant in all of SF. I don’t know if I would go that far, but you will definitely have to wait for a table (even with a reservation) as if it were.
Overall this is a pretty cool spot to live, but watch out, rents are high and so is the crime. If you look at a crime map you find that much the Mission’s relatively notorious crime environment has its epicenter around here. So be careful if you are in the area.
I’m not sure this is the best place to live but it definitely has some destinations for those that like to have a good time.
Pros
  • Dolores park
  • great eateries
Cons
  • crime center
  • expensive rents
  • homeless population
Recommended for
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Sunny day escape"

Nestled in between the Castro and the Mission District, this neighborhood is home to one of the biggest sunny day attractions, Dolores Park. The popular hillside spot spans two blocks long and offers visitors a plethora of outdoor activities including one basketball court, a handful of tennis courts and a soccer field. Every summer weekend, hundreds of people flock to the area to enjoy the sun, listen to live music, barbeque with friends, walk their dogs and play a myriad of lawn games. The crowd usually consists of yuppies, neo-hipsters and old psychedelic townies. The view isn’t that bad either. At the top of the hill, you can see miles of beautiful San Francisco landscape. Dolores park also hosts a variety of festivals. During the Fourth of July, the district features a Mime Troupe performance for the whole park to enjoy.

Rent can vary wildly based on location and rent control. If you’re thirsty, the area is also saturated with eclectic restaurants and trendy bars. Getting around couldn’t be easier with the Muni line (J-Church) running along the west side of the park and buses crosshatching the neighborhood. The district also boasts two bart stations within its vicintiy (16th Street Station and 24th Street Station). Parking can be hit or miss with more spots opening up the further south you go.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Like a hybrid of the Mission and Castro!"

Mission Dolores is a hip trendy neighborhood in its own respect. Whenever I come to Mission Dolores there is always a different essence, feel, or aura to the neighborhood, it could probably be from the hybrid outcome from the mixture of different lifestyles and trends from the nearby Castro and Mission District. The Castro and Mission are very different in their respective ways, which is what makes Mission just as trendy, yet so very different. Many people from the Castro and the Mission come and chill at Dolores Park, especially on sunny days, the park’s field is usually covered with small little groups of friends just hanging out. Mission High School is also home to Mission Dolores. What’s great about living in Mission Dolores is that you’re close to all the action in San Francisco. Mission Dolores has a good number of restaurants and bars to go to, but if you’re looking for more, don’t worry, you’re not far from them. You can head towards Market Street or towards the Mission and Castro Districts, they all have great restaurants, stores, and bars. Transportation is really great as well, since you’re pretty much in the midst of it (if you live in Mission Dolores). There are also two nearby BART Stations in the Mission.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Hair, Ice Cream. Theater, & A Hero (Not Nec. in that Order)"

The first time I went to this pocket of the city, I thought I had taken a wrong turn. Valencia is a bit trafficky and back then I was a midtwenties single girl with a printed google map, no cell phone, and no GPS. And it really is a small pocket of the city, a beautiful slice between Haight to the north and Noe Valley to the south. I love the influence of Latino cultures in the neighborhood, in the cafes, and in the music wafting from cars and bodegas when you stroll the industrial blocks of Valencia midday.

My maiden voyage was to Hairplay Salon, on the corner of Dolores and 29th. There's a grassy median in the middle of Dolores, which makes this residential part of the neighborhood an enticing option if we ever move to the city. Don't even get me started on Dolores Park, with soccer, dogs, and soccer dogs on the flatter part and hillside city views on the slope. Our dog, Gershwin is one such soccer dog. He actually dribbles and shoots with his nose and front paws.

In return trips to Hairplay, I made it a habit to visit the church. No, not Mission Dolores, which is a very cool old adobe built so long ago that it has the honor of being the oldest standing building in the city. Rather, the church I was talking about is Mitchell's Ice Cream on the corner of 29th and San Jose. I should get just one scoop, but usually get two, depending on whether I am feeling fruity or chocolatey.

Did you know that vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor, in a study conducted recently? This surprised me because vanilla is often a go-to term for things boring and bland. But there is nothing bland about Mitchell's Vanilla Custard ice cream. All of those egg yolks make for custardy deliciousness that never crosses the line into the realm of "too eggy." I pair this scoop with the Lemon Chiffon. Heaven.

Almost as heavenly is a double scoop blend of Mexican chocolate (chocolate and cinnamon, need I say more?) and Butterscotch Marble. I dare you to try to finish every bite of these two scoops. You will stop between bites to say, "Oh, this is so rich. I can't eat it all." But, don't worry, you will. You must.

A couple other things about this neighborhood. Theatre and literature. We started going to shows at the Marsh on Valencia Street when it was about 12 years old. It opened in 89 and its name refers to marshlands themselves. Apparently, a marsh is do moist and warm that it is fertile ground for lots of species to thrive. Makes me think mostly of large nests of mosquitoes. Anyway, such "fecundity" in the SF performing arts is what the Marsh theater hopes to foster.

Loving the Carpenters (my friend Tony who lives in the Castro sang "For All We Know" at my wedding), we made it a habit to see the Carpenters' Christmas, with two unbelievably believable impersonators performing what a live special with Karen and her nameless brother (okay, it's Richard) must have been like. We went every year. Until it stopped. Then we went through withdrawals. But there's a show there now, Dan Hoyle's The Real Americans, that I hope to get to before summer's over and I have to go back to teaching. I guess the Marsh really is a fecund place because they also offer theater workshops for kids ages 2-18.

Finally, the literature. After reading Dave Egger's big-break hit A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genuis", I subscribed to McSweeney's literary anthology and wracked up about seven of their tomes on my shelf before I just went for the online archives. The writing is current, funny, assumes an intelligent readership, and (I hate this word) irreverent. Eggers started 826 Valencia, a place for kids to write, read, be creative, take classes. They offer a lot of what they do in Spanish too. I've been by 826 Valencia several times, and am amazed that such a long-sighted soulfully profitable venture not only persists, but thrives.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A fun park and a major slice of history"

Mission Dolores is a very popular neighborhood. While you may be able to find relatively inexpensive places to rent here, it tends to be very pricey. The location is top notch. You are right next to the Castro and this means all kinds of options for eating and shopping.

Also this neighborhood has lively Mission Dolores Park. This is a very fun place where you see a lot of people playing sports and also doing all kinds of wacky things on a nice day. The park hosts various parades, dances and festivals. It also has a bunch of soccer fields and tennis courts.

There actually is a building called "Mission Dolores," which is apparently the oldest building in all of San Francisco. It is from 1776! The church really is beautiful inside. You get a very vivid sense of history.

Also you will find some great restaurants in Mission Dolores. A new vegan Mexican restaurant that is taking the world by storm is Gracias Madre. Organic vegan Mexican food is something that truly must be experienced. The tamales, for example, are full of butternut squash and green chiles.
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Welcome to Mission Beach"

Mission Dolores is one of the most-coveted neighborhoods to live in. Rents can vary wildly depending on rent control but for the most part it is the most expensive area in the Mission. The area is popular for good reason: Dolores Park and 18th Street. Dolores Park is like San Francisco’s public backyard. That may sound strange, but it’s not, it’s absolutely fantastic. Once the weather hits 65 degrees or higher, the park fills up every afternoon into evening with people bearing picnic blankets, games, art projects, musical instruments, sun tan oil, and soccer balls—you name it. I’ve often heard people refer to Dolores Park as Mission Beach. I’ve been to British-style high teas, vegan potlucks, a performance of the San Francisco Opera, the Mime Troupe’s annual 4th of July shows, an olive oil wrestling tournament, and a zombie parade. Almost anything goes in Dolores Park as long as it’s purpose is entertainment and fun for all. And when you need a change of scene, 18th Street sings its siren song—from the exquisite independent grocer Bi-Rite, to the chocolate croissants of Tartine bakery, to the mile long reservation list at Delfina to organic ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery….it’s all ridiculously stylish and delicious. The best streets to live on in Mission Dolores are the small quiet ones like Albion, Cumberland and Linda—away from the traffic and the hordes of fun-seekers marching up and down 18th Street to the Park. Parking in the entire Mission is a royal pain in the neck. Biking, walking, taxi or public transportation is a must.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
5/5
2yrs+

"Ice Cream Yumminess!"

At the top of the hill where 20th meets Church Street is a fabulous view of San Francisco at dark. This is at the top of Mission Dolores Park, often called "Dolores Park" for short.

Some great neighborhood places to check out other than this fabulous park (where you'll often find hula hoopers on Sunday afternoon's from 2-4 pm) include Dolores Park cafe at 18th and Dolores and Maxfield's Coffee shop at 17th and Dolores. Both places have free wi-fi to customers.

These are great places, as is the Bi-Rite market on 18th. Though my favorite place is Bi-Rite Ice Cream on 18th across from Dolores Park Cafe. They have excellent flavors of their tasty ice cream including my two favorites, ginger and honey lavender. Enjoy this treat for the mouth if you're in the area.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5
2yrs+

"Unique shopping and world class eateries"

The Mission District has become the centerpiece of San Francisco's eclectic alternative culture and hip lifestyles, and Mission Dolores is right in the middle of the mix.

Mission Dolores offers a wide array of real estate options, including condominiums, lofts, and distinctive single family homes.

There is wonderfully strange shopping in the neighborhood, like, Therapy (offering the greatest selection of unique jewelry, hats, clothing items, and more).

Bars and clubs in the Mission are by far the best in the city. This includes Double Dutch, Monkey Club, and the Beauty Bar.

Up and coming chefs who want to make a name for themselves often open up their niche restaurant in Mission Dolores. Some of the elegant options include Delfina, Limon, Luna Park, and Blowfish. And, don't forget Mitchell's ice cream for dessert!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Mission Dolores?

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Best Streets in Mission Dolores

1

Guerrero St

3/5
"Nightlife and More"
37.7703762586376 -122.424685645638

Unranked Streets in Mission Dolores

Chula Ln

2.5/5
""Chula" means "cute" and it lives up to its name!"
37.7636870018786 -122.427907501007

Pearl St

3.5/5
"nice middle class street"
37.7710150000083 -122.423939499839
"not the best neighborhood"
37.7686915049566 -122.423341000927
"This street should be a driveway because there is a parking lot at the end of it and no attractions on it."
37.759350000607 -122.421735000114

14th St

3.5/5
"Home of a few great restaurants, but otherwise is just a sideroad."
37.7679210809143 -122.425817260648

15th St

2.5/5
"A little bit of history"
37.766336021413 -122.42541386179

18th St

4.5/5
"Bikinis, Pizza and Ice Cream"
37.7615462684385 -122.424122004427

Abbey St

3.5/5
"Very nice little st...."
37.7633855000066 -122.427203499797

Albion St

2.5/5
"It's where all the action is with a side of grit"
37.7646859599022 -122.422837608921

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