Post-Gayborhoods: Check Out History And Great Food In San Francisco’s Mission District!

Post-Gayborhoods: Check Out History And Great Food In San Francisco’s Mission District!

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Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a dozen of the most dynamic and interesting post-gay neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. These aren’t necessarily the biggest or the most popular — just a good sampling of especially notable ones. 

To see all the articles in this series, click here.

Mission District in San Francisco, California

Valencia Street in the Mission District (Photo: Andrew Collins)

Adjacent to arguably the world’s most recognizable gay ghetto, the Castro, the significantly larger Mission District has a long and fascinating history. It’s named for the oldest extant building in the city, Mission San Francisco de Asis, and has been a center of the city’s Mexican-American population for eons. By the ‘60s it had become a hub of countercultural activists, feminists, and lesbians, and today—although very much gentrified and increasingly expensive—it’s a diverse community known for some of the hippest coffeehouses, indie retail, and creative restaurants in the city.

The Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission District

There are still a couple of queer hangouts in these parts, including El Rio and Truck, but the venerable Lexington Club lesbian bar and Latin-flavored Esta Noche have both recently closed. And the gay nightlife of the Castro on one side and lower SoMa (South of Market) on the other, are within walking distance.

The best strip in the Mission for shopping and dining is Valencia Street from Duboce Avenue to 24th Street, but parallel Mission and Guerrero streets are also notable, as are intersecting 16th, 18th, and 24th streets. Ritual Coffee Roasters and Four Barrel Coffee are two of the favorite addresses of java aficionados. Delfina turns out unerringly delicious pizza and Italian fare, and you’ll find amazingly good ice cream across the street at Bi-Rite—also delightful for a sweet treat is the artisan chocolatier Dandelion.

Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District (Photo: Andrew Collins)

Other can’t-go-wrong eateries and drinkeries in the Mission include 20 Spot for wine small-plate mod American fare, hipster-haunted Foreign Cinema, and the no-frills Mexican favorite, La Taqueria.

This article is one in a series about post-gayborhoods.

(Featured image via Jeff Few/Flickr)

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