Monday, August 9, 2010

Murals in the Mission

As follow up to our recent day in Chinatown, today we explored the murals and "comida" of the Mission District.  I had done a little investigating online beforehand, so our first stop was the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center for a walking tour map.  The lady behind the counter was a wealth of information with near rabid enthusiasm!  She directed us to Balmy Alley which is just a couple of blocks away off 24th Street running toward 25th Street.  It's a series of fairly traditional murals on garages and fences painted mostly in the 1970's with a few more recent and even some cartoonish ones.  There are murals all over the Mission, but these you can actually walk up to and see up close.

If you have kids with you, be sure to find the Mini Park on 24th between Bryant and York.  There's a wonderful mosaic Quezalcoatl sculpture and an unusual playground swing for the kids to enjoy.  The playground is bordered on three sides with murals and mosaics painted in the mid-1970's to the early 1990's.  It's brightly colored, clean and a nice place to let the kids run around a little bit.

By that point we were hungry, so we made our way to La Taqueria on Mission Street for the best carñitas you'll ever have.  I have a Sunset Magazine version of their recipe but, as the youngest son says, theirs is the real deal.  Delicious!

Our next stop was the Women's Building on 18th Street between Guerrero and Valencia.  It's a beautifully painted building celebrating women from a variety of eras, civilizations, professions and walks of life.  We had planned to do a drive by, but it looked so incredible I found a place to park so we could get out.  When we walked around the building and turned the corner, we came across a woman suspended 2 stories up hanging from the roof in a harness.  I'm not completely sure what she was doing, but it looked like she was practicing for some sort of performance art. We noticed other similar trapeze-like apparatus hanging from the roof.  Wonder what they were up to...

From there, we went a couple of blocks away to Clarion Alley. Clarion has edgier, more contemporary murals with a fair amount of graffiti.  It was also much more of an "alley" than Balmy was (narrower and a bit smelly), but I enjoyed seeing some air brushed murals and what appears to be more modern ones.

Our last stop was Mitchell's for ice cream.  Our second cousin (thanks, Nina!) introduced us to their frozen dairy deliciousness, so we had to pay them a visit.  It was as good as we remembered!

Another lovely day in beautiful San Francisco!

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