Sophie Speer is a chef and the founder of 7S Supper Club in San Francisco, California.
Anyone who thinks that San Francisco is a foggy goop in the summertime has not spent enough time in its vibrant, eclectic Mission District. Most days, the fog surrounds but doesn't touch our hipster coffee shops and taquerias.
It's a good thing, too, because as a resident of the notoriously expensive neighborhood, exploring my own streets and eating cheap treats is about all my summer travel budget can handle.
You can't throw a donut without hitting a colorful mural around here. Painted by local artists, they tell the stories of the Latin American communities that have lived in this neighborhood since the 1940s.
If you're visiting the city and want to avoid the fog and wind, here are a few of my favorite spots:
- 24th St. corridor, including Balmy Alley. 24th Street is a gorgeous, tree-lined street of mom and pop shops and solid coffee spots (including the original Philz Coffee).
Tip: pick up a spiced chocolate donut at Dynamo Donuts & Coffee and wander over to Balmy Alley, where the mural scene has a decidedly grassroots vibe.
- Clarion Alley, between 17th and 18th Streets, is the Mission's most impressive art walk. With a constantly changing rotation of street art and an absence of cars, the block-long alley is the perfect spot for a stroll with your lover.
- Dolores Park is one of the better people-watching spots in the city, with a sweet view of the financial district and the Bay Bridge.
It's a piece of art in itself - a spot where anything goes, including pop up dance parties, a sexy Jesus competition, and lots of artisan pot brownie bakers selling their goods.
Grab a salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite across the street, or avoid the line wrapping around the block and visit their soft serve window.
Make sure to get the sprinkles.