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A San Francisco Walk with a Mission

There’s no better way to spend a day than walking in the San Francisco Mission neighborhood. We especially like the burritos, coffee and street art.

San Francisco as Seen in Mission District Street Art San Francisco Mission 2foodtrippers
San Francisco as Seen in Mission District Street Art

Important Update
Many businesses have revised their hours due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information.

After a somewhat gluttonous yet delicious breakfast at Brenda Leong’s B. Patisserie, we were ready to move.

Burritos were on our afternoon agenda – Mission burritos to be exact. According to Google Maps, the distance was about four miles. Despite the unseasonal rain and the parked rental car, we chose to hoof it.

We like to walk and not only for the exercise. This is essential considering the food that we eat on our trips.

Many people may view this as somewhat crazy, but walking is integral to our way of travel. When traveling, we take public transport or cabs only if there is a time issue. In cities like Tokyo, we choose to use subways because of their utter convenience.

However, on this recent Sunday, we wanted to see San Francisco from the ground level. We wanted to, if only for a few hours, experience the city as only a local could experience it. On our feet.

SoMa StrEAT Food Park

Soma StrEAT Food Park San Francisco Mission
Soma StrEAT Food Park

We began our walk in Pacific Heights, drifted around the edges of Japantown, sailed through the Western Addition and passed by the Lower Haight. We then wandered past Market St. into SoMa and then down 11th Street.

We were about to cruise under the 101 when, to our surprise, we stumbled upon what looked like an abandoned lot filled with a dozen or so food trucks. In a serendipitous turn, we had literally walked into the SoMa StrEAT Food Park.

Me So Hungry Truck San Francisco Mission
Me So Hungry Truck

The SoMa StrEAT Food Park is a permanent food plaza that opened in 2012 and features rotating food trucks of all varieties and ethnicities.

Food trucks are typically open seven days a week, including the day of our mission walk.

Drink Truck with Mimosa Bar San Francisco Mission
Drink Truck with Mimosa Bar

There is music, restrooms, a beer garden and even two Skee-Ball machines. But food trucks are the main event.

Tacos El Tuca Taco San Francisco Mission
Tacos El Tuca Taco

We could have happily eaten our faces off, but we settled for sharing one luscious carnitas taco from the Tacos El Tuca truck.

Post-Taco Happiness San Francisco Mission
Post-Taco Happiness

The taco cost us $1.75 and included sliced radish, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, salsa and a lime wedge.

Our appetites were whetted, and we were ready to roll. But first – Skee-Ball!

Skee-Ball Ringer San Francisco Mission
Skee-Ball Ringer

San Francisco Mission Street Art

We continued on our San Francisco trek moving south on Bryant, walking past eclectic street art as we edged deeper into the diverse yet gentrifying neighborhood. These are some of our favorite walls:

Colorful, Whimsical Building San Francisco Mission
Colorful, Whimsical Building
Mission District Street Art San Francisco Mission
Mission District Street Art
More Mission District Street Art San Francisco Mission
More Mission District Street Art

La Palma Mexica-Tessen

We passed many restaurants and bodegas along the way before finally arriving at La Palma Mexica-Tessen.

La Palma Mexica-Tessen San Francisco Mission
La Palma Mexica-Tessen

La Palma is a grocery store chock-a-block full of all kinds of Mexican foods, both imported and freshly made to order.

Counter Food San Francisco Mission
Counter Food

Since it was our “mission”, we ordered a super burrito to share. The burrito was served on a homemade tortilla and was stuffed with our chosen meat (chicharrones), rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, cilantro and onions. All of this cost us under $6.

Super Burrito San Francisco Mission
Super Burrito

La Palma doesn’t have any inside seating, so we were lucky to get spots at one of the two outside pub tables. We unwrapped the burrito, cut it in half and dug in.

Inside the Super Burrito San Francisco Mission
Inside the Super Burrito

It was good that we shared the super burrito, as it was a solid mass of food. A solid, tasty mass. Perhaps the chicharrones could have been crisper, and perhaps the salsa could have been spicier.

Attacking the Super Burrito San Francisco Mission
Attacking the Super Burrito

Overall, the excellent tortilla wrapper and the mingling of fresh ingredients worked. Plus, as a bonus, it was big enough for two mildly hungry burrito fans.

La Palma Mexicatessen is located at 2884 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.

Sugarlump

Sugarlump Coffee Bar San Francisco Mission
Sugarlump Coffee Bar

**Important Update – Sugarlum Coffee Bar Has Permanently Closed**

Before doing the reverse walk back to our hotel, we needed a break to chill and reflect on our day’s adventures. We didn’t have to go far before we found ourselves at Sugarlump, an organic coffee bar that serves drinks (hot and cold), snacks (sweet and savory) and empanadas. San Francisco coffee bars are awesome.

We normally order coffee when at a coffee bar, but beer was in order. We shared a Brother Thelonious beer from Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing Company.

Brother Thelonious Beer from North Coast Brewing Company San Francisco Mission
Brother Thelonious Beer from North Coast Brewing Company

The beer, named after Thelonious Monk, was a Belgian-style dark strong ale. With a 9.4% ABV, it was a good bottle to share.

We sipped on the beer, people watched and surfed the internet with free WiFi in the comfortable cafe.

Sugarlump was located at 2862 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. It is now permanently closed.

Shopping in the San Francisco Mission

Shopping at Fine Arts Optical in the Mission District San Francisco Mission
Shopping at Fine Arts Optical in the Mission District

After the relaxing break, we ambled back to our room at the Kimpton Triton. We stopped in shops along the way and checked out the local goods. Daryl tried on funky glasses at Fine Arts Optical, a shop with an extensive collection of new and vintage glasses.

We eventually arrived back at the hotel ready for a rest before our late dinner reservation at Mason Pacific. It’s a good thing that we had worn comfortable shoes since we ended up walking about ten miles. Mission complete!

Plan Your San Francisco Stay

We stayed at the Kimpton Triton during our this particular trip and recommend it as a funky, relatively reasonable hotel near Chinatown.

Click here to research rates for hotels in San Francisco.

If you want access to a kitchen, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

Hungry for More in San Francisco?

Check out the best San Francisco restaurants recommended by a local.

Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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CatherineRose || La Vie En C-Rose

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Yum, I'm drooling over that burrito! The next time I go up to San Francisco, I'm going to follow in your food footsteps and eat my way through the Mission.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Wednesday 8th of February 2017

One tip - make sure you go hungry. Those burritos are HUGE.

Bell

Monday 30th of November 2015

These are great tips! If we're back in SF any time we'd definitely check some of these places out :)

Traveling9to5er

Sunday 1st of March 2015

I love the mission and you're completely right, so much better to walk through it! Plus then you get to avoid trying to park again in the city. Beautiful photos, especially of the street art. Might have to go find a burrito this afternoon!

Linda Rosen

Friday 5th of July 2013

Beautiful Pictures. Some almost look like Paintings, Wonderful Photographers.