Innovative, multicultural, modern, traditional, home; these are all words used to describe the Mission district in San Francisco.
This borough of San Francisco not only embodies the atmosphere and principles of the city it’s located in, but also expresses its own particular ambience, making it noticeably different then anywhere else in the city.
The Mission district is truly like no other. It is a neighborhood rooted in history, dating all the way back to the eighteenth century Spanish colonists who first settled in California. It is also a neighborhood rooted in change, being at the center of the debate on gentrification and a changing San Francisco. The Mission as of today however still possesses areas of the vibrant cultural past, as well as areas of modernism and development. This duality of both old and new is what makes the Mission such an interesting and expansive place to go to.
Located on the outskirts of it’s border, on 18th and Dolores street, Dolores Park stands as the epicenter of activity in the Mission district. It is a simple park, with two grassy hills divided by a walkway as well as a small child’s play area to the south. However, come Saturday or Sunday hundreds of people, those who live in the Mission and those who do not, flock to the park to enjoy the presence of other San Franciscans, the great temperate wether, and good, old-fashioned, unregulated, public drinking. It is astounding that like clockwork, San Franciscans, both young and old, realize that Dolores on a sunny day is where you need to be on the weekend. Going to to the park now for many has not only become a way to unwind after a busy work week, but now it’s also a tradition.
The Mission’s ethnic background is famously mixed. There is large percent of hispanics and a large percent of whites, each occupying certain streets and sections. The main hispanic district of the Mission is along Mission street. The street is filled with taquerias, hispanic meat markets, and advertisements (all in Spanish of course). There are really no other locations in San Francisco like this, where the primary language is Spanish and the business are exclusively hispanic as well. The white epicenter of the Mission would be along Valencia street. This is where the newest boutiques, record stores, and mildly new age restaurants are located. Though there are overlapping areas of different businesses and people on each street, everyone still lives in harmony and the integration of both cultures are embraced and add to the identity of the district.
The Mission really isn’t anyones area. It isn’t the hipsters area, the bankers area, or the immigrants area. It is the peoples area of San Francisco. Here where the city comes together and unites. Everyone is welcome and everyone is here. That is why this particular area of San Francisco is so remarkable, there are no monuments to represent the area, but rather people to represent it.