Home CastroHaight Marina Mission North Beach Pacific Heights SOMA Hayes Valley Urban Explorations
Center of the city's vibrant Latino culture

Business Not As Usual

Botanica Yoruba
This shop deals in herbs and charms for devotees of Santeria, a religion blending elements of African deities and Catholicism. Statues are set up in the front as shrines.
998 Valencia Street at 21st
(415) 826-4967 -- www.geocities.com/botanicayoruba
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-6:30pm

Los Panchos Restaurant - pupusas
Thick tortillas stuffed with cheese or meat are an El Salvadoran specialty found in numerous restaurants along Mission Street. Some of the best pupusas are made at Los Panchos, where you can include rice, beans and cabbage for a complete meal under $6.
3206 Mission Street at Valencia
(415) 285-1033
Daily 3pm-11pm

Borderlands Books
This bookstore specializes in a comprehensive collection of new and used books, magazines and other items of interest to readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.
866 Valencia Street at 19th
(415) 824-8203 -- www.borderlands-books.com
Daily Noon-8pm

Mitchell's Ice Cream
Two kinds of coconut, Mexican chocolate, tropical fruits and avocado are just a few of the exotic, unusual flavors made here.
688 San Jose Avenue at 29th
(415) 648-2300 --- www.mitchellsicecream.com/
Daily 11am-11pm

Antique Vibrator Museum
Located inside Good Vibrations, a retail business devoted to women's pleasure, the museum occasionally displays its collection of antique vibrators. You can view the museum online, or email antiques@goodvibes.com for more info.
603 Valencia Street at 17th
--- www.goodvibes.com
Sun-Wed 11am-7pm
Th-Sat 11am-8pm

Cha Cha Cha
This restaurant offers tapas dishes with a Caribbean flavor, and the eccentric decor will keep you amused.
2327 Mission Street between 19th and 20th Streets
(415) 648-0504 -- chachacha.citysearch.com
Lunch: Daily 11:30 am-4 pm
Dinner: Sun-Th 5-11 pm, Fri/Sat 5-11:30 pm

Things to Experience

Mission Murals
These colorful, free outdoor art museums are scattered throughout San Francisco but are concentrated in the Mission district and can be taken in on an easy walk. Some are enormous and quite spectacular in person.
Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center
Provides a map of murals and guided tours.
2981 24th Street near Harrison
(415) 285-2287 --- www.precitaeyes.org

San Francisco Mime Troupe
Every summer in San Francisco parks, this Tony Award-winning troupe performs political theatre involving satire, music and comedy. Dolores Park offers a great venue to see these free performances.
(415) 285-1717 --- www.sfmt.org/

Dolores Park
--- On a sloping hill at Dolores and 18th Streets sits Dolores Park. One corner of the park, at Church and 20th Streets, offers a magnificent, unobstructed view of Downtown, directly across from the famous gold fire plug that was one of the few working hydrants during the 1906 earthquake and fire.

CellSpace is a volunteer-based collaborative art center which fosters community through art and education. Theater, gallery, performances, meeting and rehearsal space, film, classes -- check out the calendar of events at this unique venue.
2050 Bryant Street between 18th and 19th Streets
(415) 648-7562 --- www.cellspace.org

Garden Streets of Bernal Heights
Rising from the southern end the Mission district, Bernal Heights is a great place to get far away from tourists. Its warren of narrow streets zig-zag around the hill, and where the grade is too steep, neighborhood gardens have flowered. This walk through one of the city's undiscovered neighborhoods is magical.

The Other Crooked Street
Few people know San Francisco’s other crooked street on Potrero Hill: Vermont Street between 20th and 22nd Streets. Although not as elaborately landscaped as Lombard Street, it’s not congested, and there’s a small park alongside the hill. (There’s a third crooked street in Pacific Heights — Broderick at Broadway — but it is not a through street and only goes half a block).
-----By bus: Take the #19 Polk (line starts at Fisherman’s Wharf) south of Market Street and get off at 20th Street. Walk to your right on 20th 2 blocks and turn left on Vermont Street. To return, turn left on 22nd Street and walk 2 blocks to De Haro to catch the #19.
-----By car: Take Van Ness Avenue south, which becomes South Van Ness. Turn left on 16th Street, then right on Rhode Island and ascend the hill. Turn right on 20th Street, then left on Vermont Street.

Questions / comments

Updated 9/12/04