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Neighborhoods in SF: Mission Dolores

May 8, 2015

This post appears as part of the SFhotlist Neighborhoods In SF Series. We’re showcasing the best and most interesting of San Francisco history, culture, food, shopping, and more — neighborhood by neighborhood. Let us know if there is a microhood you’d like to read about.

Mission Dolores is the oldest, and one of the most elegant, neighborhoods in San Francisco. Small but mighty, this neighborhood offers an abundant supply of attractive and well-maintained homes, including classic Victorians and Edwardians. Because of its hills, Mission Dolores real estate provides striking views of San Francisco’s downtown and the East Bay beyond.

Why You’ll Love It

Mission Dolores is named after California’s first mission, the Mission San Francisco de Asís. The beautiful mission, which survived the 1906 earthquake and fires, is now a thriving catholic parish located on tree-lined Dolores Street, near Dolores Park. Dolores Park is one of San Francisco’s most popular parks, known for its great views and awesome urban parties.

To get a feel for the neighborhood, imagine clear, blue skies, green lawns, live music, and a nice cold beer in the park, all surrounded by towering palms, great views, and lovely old homes. If you’re looking for the perfect San Francisco experience, you’ll find it here.

Sunny and Central Location

Mission Dolores, located in District 5, is bound by 20th, Church, Valencia, and Market Streets. This location offers sunshine, a wide variety of practical amenities (grocery stories large and small, drycleaners, hardware stores, and really anything else you need -- all within walking distance). The neighborhood can be proud of its combined walk, bike, and public transportation scores of 99, and, really, you can’t get a mucher better location. For those of you commuting to Silicon Valley, tech shuttles are within easy reach as is freeway access.

Distinct History

According to the website MissionDolores.org:

The Misión San Francisco de Asís was founded June 29, 1776. The settlement was named for St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, but was also commonly known as "Mission Dolores" owing to the presence of a nearby creek named Arroyo de los Dolores, or "Creek of Sorrows."

Mission Dolores is the oldest intact building in the City of San Francisco and the only intact Mission Chapel in the chain of 21 established under the direction of Father Serra. The Mission has been a steadfast witness to the span of San Francisco's history including the California Gold Rush and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The Mission Cemetery is the only cemetery that remains within the City limits. The Cemetery is the final resting place for numerous Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians as well as notable California pioneers.

One historical point of interest is that the Mexican government secularized much of the mission’s land, which had a very negative impact on the area’s economy that only rebounded with the gold rush, when the area, not yet part of what was to become San Francisco, became a resort area serving the miners and local businesses. Enterprising business people built a plank road from what is now downtown to what was then the mission lands, thus connecting the two “towns”!

Great Schools

There are plenty of good schools in Mission Dolores, making it a convenient neighborhood for families with young children and teens. Local schools include Mission High School, Mission Dolores Academy, Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, and Alvarado Elementary School, home to a desirable bilingual immersion program.

One of a Kind Shopping

Mission Dolores is home to great shops for those looking for the cool and unusual. Schauplatz is known for its excellent service and curated selection. Therapy is perfect if you need to pick up something new before you head out to Valencia Street or beyond. For upscale little gifts and more women’s clothing, go to Bell Jar.

Delicious Cuisine

Just adjacent to Dolores Park, you’ll find world-famous Tartine, known for both long lines and artisan bread that you are sure to love, Bi-Rite Market, and Bi-Rite Creamery -- with icecream cones and cakes locals are also willing to stand in line for.

Fabulous Nightlife

Choices for a night out in Mission Dolores are abundant and varied. If on a Friday night you are looking for a manicure with your cocktail, try The Beauty Bar. For locally brewed caffeinated (!) beer, head to Woods Beer on 18th. Because of the neighborhood’s central location, if you can’t find it right in the neighborhood, you’ll find it very close by.

Fabulous Mission Dolores Real Estate

Naturally, all this goodness comes with a price tag -- and not a whole lot of inventory to go around. When someone buys a home on beautiful, tree-lined Dolores Street, they tend to stay put. Homes go for an average of 110% of asking price with an average sales price of around $1.5 million.

If you or anyone you know has questions about what’s on the market in Mission Dolores or want to strategize about how to get your very own piece of beautiful Mission Dolores real estate, reach out. I’ll be glad to help!

-DL

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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