Even on a foggy day, the Mission District in San Francisco shines with color. The streets and alleys of this hip and trendy neighborhood are filled with murals and street art reflecting the artistic and diverse population that reside here. Although I lived in the city for over 10 years, and have spent many-a-night out at the bars and restaurants in this neighborhood, I had yet to photograph the amazing street art during the day. What a treat I was in for.
There are 2 alleys in “the Mission” that are most popular for the murals and street art, Clarion Alley and Balmy Alley. Most of these photos below are from Clarion Alley. The Mexican and Central American influences can be seen in many of the murals – Dia de los Muertos references are not only seen in the art, but also in some of the ironwork on an adjacent street’s sidewalks. Beyond that, I found the art to vary greatly– not only in style, but also content. A graphic abstract “chicken” was mixed with flower power art, and even a little Dr. Seuss world. The mural of a lion had African influences, and the mural of the elephant seemed like it was straight out of India. Off of Clarion, I found many murals and street art that played with the architecture of the buildings – from incorporating smoke stacks to labeling drainage pipes.
Beyond the murals and the colorful art, the Mission is full of great shopping and dining discoveries. I was surprised to see some of my old haunts still going strong (still popular, I assume), but there are many new comers to the scene. If a little culture is desired, there is always Mission San Francisco de Asis or Mission Dolores to give you some essential California history. So, when in San Francisco, be sure to head to the Mission for an afternoon of color and culture, shopping and food, you won’t be disappointed.