The Mission District, an eclectic neighborhood in San Francisco, is one of our favorite areas for street murals anywhere we’ve been so far.
To get here, catch a bus No. 49 from the city, which conveniently goes along Mission Street.
It’s a very interesting area with a different atmosphere to most other U.S. city streets — in some parts you could imagine that you were in a Mexican city, with narrow leafy streets, small crowded shops opening right onto the sidewalk; lots of music, people and noise; ads in Spanish splashed over buildings; and an explosion of bright color.
Besides the delis and small shops, the main draw is the colorful murals, the chief source of the bright local color, along with blooming bougainvilleas and flowering trees.
San Francisco has more than 500 murals and a large proportion of them are here in this area.
Almost all streets have at least one mural, while many streets have huge concentrations, such as the area around Balmy Alley off 24th Street. Some murals are small, some enormous, all fascinating.
Many tell a story or have a message — social, political, historical — and some serve as an ad, such as the one for a lavandaria (laundry) or a nursery school.
Some of the murals are religious, and many have an old Aztec/Mayan theme, which we recognized from our trips to Mexico.