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  • MANNY CRISOSTOMO / mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

    The famous La Taqueria, said to be one of the most authentic of San Francisco's taquerias, is on a colorful stretch of Mission Street near 25th.

  • MANNY CRISOSTOMO / mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

    There's a lot to see in San Francisco's Mission District, including Balmy Alley, a blocklong collection of murals both personal and political.

  • MANNY CRISOSTOMO / mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

    Want some delicious - and interesting - ice cream? Try Humphry Slocombe on Harrison. Each day, the store's 303,800-plus Twitter followers await the posting of available flavors.

If you go: The Mission District

Published: Sunday, Mar. 4, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5H
Last Modified: Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 - 1:06 pm

THE MISSION DISTRICT

DIRECTIONS FROM SACRAMENTO

By car: Take Interstate 80 over the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge. Exit at Cesar Chavez Boulevard. Make a right at Potrero Avenue, left on 24th Street. Find street parking or park at a covered lot at 21st and Bartlett. Cost is $16 for 24 hours.

By mass transit: Take Amtrak from Sacramento to the Emeryville station, bus to the Embarcadero ($27 one-way). Take BART from the Embarcadero to either the 16th or 24th street stations ($1.75 one way).

STREET ART

• Balmy Alley (24th Street between Treat Avenue and Harrison Street). (www.balmyalley.com). Murals both personal and political line a blocklong alley bordering a neighborhood and park.

• Clarion Alley (halfway between Mission Street and Valencia Street, parallel to 17th Street and Sycamore Street). Not as well known as Balmy Alley, but just as political.

• Women's Building (3543 18th St.). (www.womensbuilding.org). The entire facade of the community center building is covered in murals, most notably the Maestra Peace memorial.

FOOD

• Taquerias: La Taqueria (2889 Mission St.). Said to be the most authentic of the scores of taquerias in the district; Pancho Villa Taqueria (3071 16th St.). Crowds out the door at lunchtime. Taqueria Cancun (2288 Mission St.). Close to a BART station, it draws crowds from the financial district and downtown.

• Humphry Slocombe (2790 Harrison St.) (www.humphryslocombe.com). Pricy at $3.25 a scoop, but people flock to get the Secret Breakfast flavor – bourbon and cornflakes.

• Dynamo Donuts (2760 24th St.). (www.dynamodonut.com) Maple bacon and chocolate spice assault the tastebuds.

• Panderia La Mexicana (2804 24th St.). Baked breads galore, sweet but not as sugary as doughnuts, and just as satisfying.

SHOPPING

• Paxton Gate (824 Valencia St.). (www.paxtongate.com) Want a huge stuffed unicorn? Cough up $4,000, pal. A coyote penis bone is only $3.75, though.

• The Pirate Store at 826 Valencia (826 Valencia St.) (http://826valencia.org/store). A touch of whimsy for a good cause – promoting child literacy and tutoring in the Mission.

• Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitors Center (2981 24th St.) (www.precitaeyes.org) Seller of arts supplies, patrons for muralists and docents for the "Mission Mural Trail."

• Hidden Bookstores (2141 Mission St. – second and third floors.) Valhalla, first edition fiction; Bolerium, American Social movements; Libros Latinos; Meyer Boswell, law books.

OUTDOORS

• Dolores Park (18th and Dolores) At 13.7 acres and BART close, you can see a cross-section of the Mission either sunbathing, skateboarding, playing tennis, walking dogs or gathering occasionally in the evening for a movie on a big screen.

– Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

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