By H. Wadowski
While there’s plenty to see and do in Northern California, Allegiant passengers flying into the Bay Area should definitely make some time to visit the Mission District. Located in east-central San Francisco, this vibrant neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best street art, shops and restaurants, making it easy for guests to spend an entire day exploring everything it has to offer.
Visitors can start their morning with brunch at one of the city’s hottest restaurants, Universal Cafe, which has been visited by such celebrities as Julia Roberts, Helen Mirren and Jared Leto. Located on 19th Street, the restaurant serves a menu of seasonal New American fare, with such early and mid-morning favorites as the French toast with pumpkin seed streusel, apple butter and Chantilly, and the house sourdough English muffin sandwich made with fried egg, bacon, avocado-endive salad with chervil vinaigrette and cheddar.
Guests can then spend the afternoon browsing through the many independent stores on Valencia Street, such as the bean-to-bar chocolate factory Dandelion Chocolate and the vintage clothing boutique Schauplatz, and visiting Mission Dolores on 16th Street. Not only is the striking parish one of the two oldest structures in San Francisco, but many of the city’s pioneers are buried in the adjacent cemetery.
Visitors can also see San Francisco’s largest concentration of murals on display in the Mission District. Balmy Alley off 24th Street, in particular, offers guests a real mural immersion, with several pieces making bold political statements.
When you’ve worked up an appetite again, the acclaimed restaurant Foreign Cinema on Mission Street has been a staple of the area for 18 years. Featuring an ever-changing menu of California-Mediterranean-influenced dishes, diners can enjoy such dinner specialties as the Four-Peppercorn Duck Breast and Madras Curry Sesame Fried Chicken, while watching films like The Namesake (through Sept. 3) and The Princess Bride (Sept. 4 through Oct. 1) play in the outside courtyard.
The Mission District is also home to The Chapel, a historic music venue that was originally built as a mortuary in 1914. Located on Valencia Street, this beautifully renovated building hosts an array of acts, like hypnagogic pop singer Ariel Pink, who will have a three-night residency at the venue Oct. 14 through 16. The Chapel has its own bar and restaurant as well, making it the perfect place to end the night.