Andy’s Night of Fun: Oakland First Fridays, Art Murmur, and a Burlesque show

Highlights:

  • Huge street festival in downtown Oakland
  • Drinking craft brews at an outdoor beer garden
  • Pissing off an “artist” at a gallery
  • Unbelievable pieces of cut paper art
  • Watching a 66 year old woman perform in a burlesque show

Check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

Oakland is one of those places I wish I knew better. It used to be a crime-ridden area that you wanted to avoid. However, over the past few years, as skyrocketing housing prices pushed artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs out of San Francisco and over the bridge into Oakland, the city has transformed into a hub of culture, hipsterdom, and technology. Kinda like what happened to Williamsburg in NYC about 10 years ago.

Now downtown Oakland is littered with trendy art galleries, craft brew houses, and hip cafes. But don’t be too quick to call it gentrified. Despite all the recent change, the city still hangs onto it’s rough past. And it’s that unique blend that gives Oakland its character. That is what I’m about to get a taste of tonight.

Get ready Oakland, cause Andy is coming to have some fun. Chomp!

oakland

One of the events I’m going to tonight is Oakland First Fridays. It’s a free street festival on the first Friday of each month where food trucks, artisans, and bands take over Telegraph Avenue for the entire night. The festival only started about 3 years ago, but has quickly blossomed into a major draw for families and young people alike.

The other event I’m checking out is Art Murmur, which is an art crawl through the galleries of Oakland. The event coincides with First Fridays, and many of the participating galleries are close to Telegraph Ave.

My plan tonight is to check out the street festival, eat some good food, see come cool art, and hit up some interesting bars in downtown Oakland. Since all these activities are better done with friends, I invited a few to join me for the night.

And here is what we did:

  1. Over the bridge and into Oakland
  2. Exploring Oakland First Fridays
  3. Meet and greet over beers at Telegraph beer garden
  4. Mocking overpriced art at Johanssen Projects
  5. Noming on beef bulgogi at Korean Plaza Asian Market
  6. Wine and crafts at 25th Street Collective
  7. Awesome art Mercury Twenty
  8. More drinks at Mua Oakland
  9. Epic burlesque show at Stork Club
  10. Final beer at Diving Dog Brewhouse

5:30 pm: Over the bridge and into Oakland

I had planned on taking BART to 19th Street so that I didn’t have to drive after drinking. Safety third! However, there was some major traffic and I was running late. So I decided to drive to Oakland instead.

I picked up Rebecca and her roommate Claire in the Haight and got on our way. It was all of our first times going to First Fridays and we were all curious and excited. Even the Friday rush hour traffic couldn’t dampen our mood.

We got into downtown Oakland around 6:45 pm and picked up Claire’s boyfriend Jason. Then we got super lucky and found a spot right on West Grand street, 1 block from the start of First Fridays. The night was getting off to a good start. I’m always happy when I get good parking. =)

6:45 pm: Exploring Oakland First Fridays

The street was already pretty crowded at this point.

A little further in we caught a group dance performance. They looked like students from a dance studio in Oakland.

Lots of vendors shopping their wares.

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Some of my friends were already at the Telegraph beer garden, so we headed over there to meet up with them and get a beer.

6:50 pm: Meet and greet over beers at Telegraph beer garden

I love beer gardens, and downtown Oakland has a number of them, probably thanks to the warmer weather in the East Bay. Telegraph beer garden is a block from the start of First Fridays, which made it a great place to meet. There is an outdoor bar and an indoor bar where you can order food. The beer at the bar are all pretty reasonably priced at $6 or $7.

Dan and Alice were already there with drinks. Dan has lived in Oakland for 9 years and Alice used to work nearby. They know the area fairly well and would play tour guide for the night. I got myself a beer and joined them outside in the garden.

  • Cost: $6 + tip
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Dan, Jason, Claire, Rebecca, and Alice

There were some cool murals on the walls here.

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At this point Holly showed up with her coworkers. Our little group was now at 9 people.

After our beers we headed back toward 23rd street to our first art gallery of the night. On our way we saw this Korean drumming performance.

I used to perform in a group just like this back in college. I even have a picture of us in costume. There I am on the left!

We crossed the street and went to Johanssen Projects.

7:30 pm: Mocking overpriced art at Johanssen Projects

Johanssen Projects had mostly art pieces like the one below. I think this one was priced around $16,000, or the price of a mid-sized sedan. How do artists decide what to charge for these things?

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Between the Resorts

This piece was more interesting, mostly because it was so bright. This one costs over $30,000.

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The Constant World 2014

Then there was this piece. If you put your hand in front of the camera it would change the image on the wall. I thought it was an interesting use of video. So of course I go and put my face in front of the camera to see what would happen.

Priest of the Temple

Priest of the Temple

At this point the artist rushes over to me and yells at me to stop touching the art. WTH? Chill out asshole. I wasn’t even touching it. Also, what the hell is the point of the camera if you can’t put anything in front of it? Kevin McCoy, you are a jerk.

By this time we were all starving and needed to get some food. We headed up Telegraph in search of food trucks. There was a lot of good street art along the way. I prefer this type of art to overpriced art in stuffy galleries.

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7:45 pm: Noming on Korean food at Korean Plaza Asian Market

Luckily we walked by Korean Plaza, where they were serving up street side Korean food.

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These women were cooking furiously and could barely keep up with the orders. Everything smelled so good and I had a hard time choosing. I went with an order of the beef bulgogi and bibimbap.

  • Cost: $8 for bulgogi and $5 for bibimbap

We then sat on these colorful stools and ate our food. It felt a lot like being in an Asian street food market.

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From here we turned on 25th street to check out some more art galleries.

8:10 pm: Wine and crafts at 25th Street Collective

The first place we stopped at was 25th Street Collective. It wasn’t so much an art gallery as a shopping area for fashion and crafts. There was also a small wine shop here called Two Mile Wines, so we stopped for a second drink.

  • Cost: $6 for wine, $2.50 for chocolate covered Brazil nuts

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Alice recently joined a fitness challenge and decided to complete her daily workout at the collective. Rebecca joined as well. Here the boys were judging their forms for planking. I think Dan approves.

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There were several galleries near 25th Street Collective, so we wandered out to see more art.

8:20 pm: Awesome art at Mercury 20

So far First Fridays has been super chill. There was plenty to do and see, and it wasn’t crowded. Here people are just hanging out in the street, enjoying the warm evening.

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This was probably my favorite piece of the night. The details are so intricate I can’t even imagine how the artist did it. At first I thought this was done by computer but it was in fact made by hand.

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Carlo Fantin – Our Lady of Hashtags

Mike Dirda showed up with his girlfriend at Mercury Twenty. They had a show to go to so didn’t stay long. I think he came mostly to prove that the girlfriend he had been talking about was real. =P

I also met up with Sara Yin who was cruising First Fridays with her coworkers. It’s so nice to run into people in the Bay Area like that. I like the small town feel of the bay.

We left the gallery and went looking for our next watering hole. On the way we saw these guys. If you didn’t pay attention you wouldn’t know that these were mannequins staring at smart phones. Kinda sends a message huh?

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What time is it now? Beer time!

9:05 pm: More drinks at Mua Oakland

We went to Mua since it was along the way and not loud. The interior was actually quite nice. It’s more of a restaurant but they did have a small bar section. We got our drinks and relaxed for a while. While ordering my beer I caught the smell of some delicious wings. I might have to come back for those.

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One of the places I really wanted to check out was Classic Cars West. Unfortunately it was past 10 pm and they were closed. But we did see this car.

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The original plan was to head towards Jack London Square after the Art Murmur to check out Hoodslam, an armature wresting show/performance. Instead, Dan suggested that we go check out some puppet burlesque. Having never heard of such a thing, I had to go see it.

10:15 pm: Epic burlesque show at Stork Club

The puppet burlesques show happens at the Stork Club on First Fridays. Good thing there’s no cover!

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Notice the action figures/dolls behind the bar? I had a feeling this puppet burlesque show was going to be interesting.

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Here was our host. She was a very sassy black woman who was hilarious.

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Hmm… where are the puppets? Apparently it’s not a puppet burlesque show but a normal burlesque show. But still, we have a stripping nun so it’s all good.

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The next performer was some kind of burlesque super hero?

The following performer was by far the funniest of the night. She came in dressed as a can of Spam. She even made a can opener that she used to undress herself. Brilliant!

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The final performance of the first show was this 66 year old woman. She was amazing! I could not believe how confident she was of her body. I wish I had her confidence and I’m only half her age. She had the entire crowd hooting and hollering the entire time.

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That burlesque show was awesome and I’m really glad we went. All the performers were great and I was laughing and cheering the whole time. The girls had a great time as well.

It was near midnight at this point and we had been hanging out for over 5 hours. Time really flies huh? We decided on one more drink before heading home.

We headed towards Make Westing, a very popular Oakland bar, and saw these cool looking bikes in front of the bar.

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The bar was a bit too crowded and we wanted some place chill to drink and chat. We went across the street to Diving Dog Brewhouse instead.

11:30 pm: Final beer Diving Dog Brewhouse

Matty showed up and we all ordered one more round of beers. Diving Dog has a very large selection of beers. I forgot what I ordered but I think it was red IPA. There’s Holly pretending to be a nice girl in front of her coworker Dylan. But we all know the truth.

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Apparently you can make your own beers here at Diving Dog. I’m not sure how it works but that’s a very interesting business model.

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We hungout at the bar for probably another hour before saying our goodbyes. It had been a long day and the bed was calling my name.

That concludes Andy’s Night of Fun in Oakland. I hope you learned a lot about First Fridays and Art Murmur and go see it for yourself one of these days.

How the night went:

I had a great time hanging out with my friends and exploring downtown Oakland. I felt like I got to know the area and found a few places I’d like to return to. The burlesque show was the highlight of the evening and I highly recommend it to everyone. Overall I didn’t get to go to as many places as I would have liked, but I did enjoy all the places we went to. All except that gallery where I got yelled at by the artist…

Things I would do differently for next time:

  • Take the BART: You don’t have to worry about parking, and you can drink without having to drive. It’s probably also faster considering the rush hour traffic.
  • Start earlier: First Fridays and Art Murmur both end at 9 pm. Next time I’ll start closer to 6 pm so I can see a few of the places I missed.
  • Get to the burlesque show early: The bar is not that big and it’s nice to get in early to grab a booth or a spot near the front.

Again, here’s a handy map of all the attractions, restaurants, and bars I visited in this post: Map

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

What did you think of this tour? What did I miss? What would you have done differently? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Andy’s Day of Fun: Mission street art and desserts

Highlights:

  • See the best street murals in San Francisco
  • Taste some of the best ice cream in the city
  • Amazing views of San Francisco from Bernal Heights
  • Taste sodas from around the world
  • Eat where Steve Jobs had lunch

Check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

The Mission is known for a few things: beautiful parks, amazing food, and great night life. However, what you may not know is that the Mission has the highest concentration of street art in all of San Francisco.

According to KQED, the street art can be described as “A heady mix borrowed in equal parts from the Mexican muralistas, 1930s WPA murals, graffiti, skater graphics, hip hop, and the alternative comics that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, the street art of the Mission reflects the concerns, aspirations, celebration, and anguish of a dynamic and vital neighborhood.”

Read more about it at KQED.

This tour is designed to show you some of the best street art you can find in the Mission. And since a day in the Mission must include some great food, I have selected some great foods and desserts that should fuel your journey into the artistic roots of the Mission.

The stops:

  1. Start the day at 24th Street BART
  2. Lunch at Rosamunde Sausage Grill
  3. Quick tour of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
  4. Grab a slice at Mission pie
  5. Sip on a cold soda at The Fizzary 
  6. Street art 1: Osage street
  7. Street art 2: Orange alley
  8. Snack break at Anthony’s cookies
  9. Street art 3: Cypress street
  10. Street art 4: Lilac street
  11. Souvenirs at Mixcoatl Arts and Crafts and Luz de Luna
  12. Street art 5: Horace street
  13. Street art 6: Lucky street
  14. Street art 7: Balmy alley
  15. Ice cream break at Humphry Slocombe
  16. Learn about the muralists at Precita Eyes Muralists
  17. Check out the exhibit at Galeria de la Raza
  18. Straight shake at St. Francis Fountain
  19. Relax for a few at Precita park
  20. Amazing views at Bernal Heights park
  21. Grab some soul food from The Front Porch
  22. Final dessert at Mitchell’s ice cream
  23. Enjoy some outdoor drinking at El Rio
  24. Late night burritos at Taquerias El Farolito

*Note: If you want to learn more about the individual murals, go to Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center first and grab a self-guided map for $5. The map gives you detailed info on many of the murals all around the Mission, including the name, year, and artist.

Stops 1-5

first 4 stops

1. Start the day at 24th Street BART

We begin the tour today at the 24th Street BART station plaza.

As you get out of the station, you should already see several murals around the intersection. Much of the art tour today will focus on specific alleys that have a high concentration of murals. But keep your eyes open, because there is art to be seen all over this neighborhood.

Walk South from the BART station towards 25th street.

2. Lunch at Rosamunde Sausage Grill (Yelp)

  • Duration: 30-45 mins
  • Cost: $8-15

You should see Rosamunde on your right as you walk down Mission street. This place is known for their amazing sausages and large selection of craft beers. If the weather is nice, try to grab one of the outside tables.

As you can see, they have over a dozen different types of sausages, including a vegan sausage for those not into delicious meat.

You can also pair your sausage with one of the dozens of craft beers available. I’m always a big fan of day drinking while on vacation. So go wild and drink up!

The sausages come loaded with toppings. Don’t order too much food though, because there are plenty of other food/dessert stops coming up.

Now that you’re fueled up and ready to go, let’s go see some art! Keep walking towards 25th street.

3. Quick tour of the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15-20 mins
  • Cost: $2

You should see the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts on your right. In their words: “The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) was established in 1977 by artists and community activists with a shared vision to promote, preserve and develop the Latino cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Central and South American, and Caribbean people. MCCLA makes the arts accessible as an essential element to the community’s development and well-being.”

Now go up the stairs to the gallery.

The gallery only costs $2. What a steal!

One of the current exhibits at the gallery. The theme is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead), which is a Mexican holiday.

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Okay! Onto our next food stop because art is better enjoyed with food.

4. Grab a slice at Mission pie (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: $4+

Keep walking South and you should see Mission pie from across the corner.

Mission Pie offers a selection of sweet and savory pies, tarts, and salads. I really like their Asian pear and raspberry pie.

To top off this stop with some art, check out the mural on the alley side of the building.

Continue down Mission street and you should see The Fizzary soda shop on your left.

5. Sip on a soda at The Fizzary (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5 mins
  • Cost: $2

The Fizzary is a soda pop and candy shop that sources sodas from all over the country. They even have an international section if you really want to get crazy.

I have no idea how you would go about choosing a soda with this type of a selection. I usually ask for recommendations from the friendly cashiers.

Once you’ve picked a soda, drop it into the Rapid Chiller for 4 minutes. You can use one of the colorful hourglass timers for added flair.

Protip: They have a buy 3 get 4 deal if you’re with friends or if you want to take some with you for the road. 

Next we begin the actual street art tour. Continue down Mission street and take a left at 26th street, and you should see Osage street next.

Stops 5-8:

stops 5-10

6. Street art 1: Osage street

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

Since you’re here to see the art for yourself, I will not put up too many images of the murals. I will only feature one mural per street as an example.

Many of the murals you will see today are painted on garage doors. How awesome would it be to drive your car into this garage everyday?

Moon Goddess – Chris Granillo. Dazone.

The street is actually 2 blocks, so walk all the way to 24th street before turning left. You should see Orange alley next.

7. Orange alley

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

I chose this one because it makes the whole garage look like an old school computer. I’m a big fan of old technology.

Tech Garage – Unknown

Now make a right when you reach 26th street, and another right onto Valencia street.

8. Snack break at Anthony’s cookies (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: $1.50-4

Near the corner of Valencia and 25th street you’ll find Anthony’s Cookies. The story is that Anthony Lucas was an accounting major, and used to sell cookies out of his car before opening this cookie shop. Well good thing he did, because now you get to enjoy his delicious cookies.

Anthony can often be found in the shop making the cookies, and smiling.

My personal favorite is the walnut chip. But there is plenty of room for debate, and for cookies. Make sure to get some milk too, in case you get dehydrated on the tour.

Side quest:

Right next door to Anthony’s Cookies is Movette Film Transfer. They specialize in digitizing old film that people may have inherited or found. They have a pretty amazing collection of projectors and film supplies. Feel free to walk in and browse around. The staff is friendly and can answer some of your questions. But remember that they are a business, and not a museum.

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Now continue walking towards 24th street and make a right. Walk past the BART station till Lilac street.

Stops: 8-15

stops 9-15

9. Street art 3: Lilac street

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

I love how this mural “Rock it. Don’t Stop.” reminds me of those hot summer evenings in New York.

Rock it. Don’t stop. – Unknown

Make a left at 26th street and go to Cypress street.

10. Street art 4: Cypress street

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

“Recall Ancient Wisdom” reminds me of the art on Magic: The Gathering playing cards. For a game that was very popular with middle school kids, there was an incredible amount of awesome art on the cards.

Recall Ancient Wisdom – Chaos938

Make a right at 24th street and come to our first shopping break.

11. Souvenirs at Mixcoatl Arts and Crafts (Yelp) and Luz de Luna (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15-30 mins
  • Cost: $0-???

These two gift shops are 1 block away from each other, and both were started by women entrepreneurs who graduated from the Women’s Initiative program. “Women’s Initiative is a non-profit that trains, funds, and provides ongoing, long-term support for women entrepreneurs—women who want to build and develop successful small businesses and, ultimately, achieve economic independence.”

Read more about it here.

You can spot Mixcoatl by the colorful luchador masks they have on display.

Even if you don’t buy anything, these stores are just fun to walk through. They sell a wide variety of jewelry, decorations, and gifts. Since we’re coming upon the Day of the Dead, there are lots of skulls and skeletons for sale.

Luz de Luna has larger selection of items. It is also a bit more spacious so you can take your time checking out the goods.

Protip: If you want to purchase items from Luz de Luna, wait till you visit the Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitor Center. You can get a 15% off coupon for Luz de Luna there. 

If you’re feeling thirsty, stop by Philz Coffee on the corner of 24th street and Folsom. Otherwise, make a right on Folsom, and another right on 25th street to get to Horace street.

12: Street art 5: Horace street

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

Some of the art in the Mission aren’t murals. Take this one for example. I like how it incorporates an often ignored item and gives it a new meaning.

I Like You Shadow. – Unknown

From here, make a left on 26th street, another left onto Folsom, a right at 25th street, and another left onto Lucky street.

13. Street art 6: Lucky street

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

I really like the expression on Chavela Vargas’ face in this mural. I didn’t know who Chavela Vargas was so I had to look it up.

Infinita Ternura. – Julia Nada

Make a right at the end of Lucky street and you’ll hit the mother of all street art alleys in the Mission, Balmy Alley.

14. Street art 7: Balmy alley 

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: Free

Balmy Alley is where it all started. According to Balmyalley.com, “The murals began in the mid-80’s as an expression of artists’ outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America. Today the alley contains murals on a myriad of styles and subjects from human rights to local gentrification and Hurricane Katrina.”

Read more about it here.

I really like this one because the style of the artwork reminds me of old cartoons I used to watch as a kid, and because it’s a giant robot made out of houses! Notice that the robot stepped on someone, probably an evil landlord.

Victorian. El Defensor De La Mission. – Sirron Norris

I got lucky and caught one of the muralists just finishing up her work. She finished 10 minutes before I snapped this. Although I’m not sure why it says 2000 in the corner…

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Take a left at the end of Balmy Alley and another left on Harrison. That should bring you back to 24th street where you should see Humphry Slocombe ice cream on the opposite corner.

15. Ice cream break at Humphry Slocombe (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: $3-6

No one in San Francisco seems to be able to agree on what the best ice cream is. But Humphry Slocombe is always part of the conversation. As a relative newcomer into the field, it is already making a lot of noise, and ice cream.

That’s probably because the owner Jake Godby is so obsessed with ice cream that he has tattoos of ice cream all over his arm! Though probably not as tasty as the actual ice cream.

Mmm… Just look at that… Nom nom. I recommend the black sesame flavor. I grew up eating black sesame porridge and never thought I would have it as an ice cream flavor.

Keep walking down 24th street to the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center.

stops 15-18

16. Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center (Yelp)

  • Duration: 10-15 mins
  • Cost: Free

The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitor Center is where you can learn about the different murals in the Mission, and join guided walking tours of the street art. The tours are usually $15-20, and take about 90 minutes. You can also browse the assortment of posters, books, and literature about street art in the Mission. The people working here can give you good tips about new murals and events happening in the Mission.

If you’re not a fan of guided tours (like me), then grab a $5 self-guided tour map. It includes the names of the murals, the artists, and the location.

Protip: Don’t forget to ask for a 15% off coupon to Luz de Luna if you plan on buying souvenirs later.

17. Check out the exhibit at Galeria de la Raza (Yelp)

  • Duration: 10-15 mins
  • Cost: Free

According to the gallery: “Founded in 1970, the Galería is a non-profit community-based arts organization whose mission is to foster public awareness and appreciation of Chicano/Latino art and serve as a laboratory where artists can both explore contemporary issues in art, culture and civic society, and advance intercultural dialogue.”

Learn more about it here.

Walk to the back of the gallery to check out the video room.

The artworks being displayed rotates frequently.

Had enough art yet? Maybe it’s time for some more ice cream! Walk down 24th street to St. Francis Fountain.

18. Straight shake at St. Francis Fountain

  • Duration: 10-15 mins
  • Cost: $5-7

St. Francis Fountain is like an ice cream parlor straight out of Back to the Future. The signage and the seating probably hasn’t changed in a few decades. But that’s all part of its charm. So go in and grab a seat for a quick detour in time.

St. Francis Fountain specializes in ice cream and milk shakes. They offer regular milk shakes, malted shakes, and the straight shake. Interestingly, they use Mitchell’s ice cream even though Humphry Slocombe is just a few blocks away. Perhaps there’s a neighborhood ice cream rivalry brewing…

Rumor has it that Steve Jobs came to St. Francis Fountain once. The story is that Jobs was turned away from Flour + Water because he didn’t have a reservation, and ended up having lunch and a shake at St. Francis Fountain. Check out the details here.

That’s a lot of desserts so far! Let’s get that shake to go and take a walk to burn off a few of those calories. Head towards the BART station on 24th street and make a left onto Harrison. That will bring you to Precita park.

Stops 18-20

19. Precita park (Yelp)

  • Duration: 20-30 mins
  • Cost: Free

As you walk towards Precita park you’ll walk by Leonard R. Flynn elementary school. Make sure to check out the murals on the building.

The park itself is quite pretty, and has a big grass field for picnics and hanging out. It’s an ideal spot to sit for a few and finish off that milk shake.

Feeling rested? That’s good, because the next part is a bit of a hike. Don’t worry, you’ll be glad you did it.

20. Amazing views at Bernal Heights park (Yelp)

Go to the Western edge of Precita park and head up hill on Folsom street. Keep following the road and you should come to a walking path into Bernal Heights Park. Yup, this is it, it’s time to go up.

Man that was tough huh? But look! Check out the awesome view!

There’s a fenced off building at the top of the hill. You can’t go in there, but you can walk around the enclosure to get a 360 view of the beautiful city of San Francisco. You can see many of the major landmarks, including Sutro Tower, The Bay Bridge, and all of downtown.

Take your time and take lots of pictures. The tough part of the tour is over. Now it’s time to relax, get some good food, and chill out with a cold drink.

Head on out the Western exit of the park, and follow Esmeralda ave to Coleridge street. Make a left and then a right onto Virginia ave. Make a right onto Mission street, and then a left onto 29th street. That will bring you to The Front Porch, our dinner spot.

stops 20-24

21. Grab some soul food from The Front Porch (Yelp)

  • Duration: 45-60 mins
  • Cost: $15-25

The Front Porch is one of those places where I wish it was a lot closer to where I lived, because then I’d eat there all the time. They are known for their Southern cuisine, especially the fried chicken.

The interior of the restaurant is well decorated. Unfortunately I could not find a great picture of it. So you’ll have to settle for this.

Here’s a sneak preview of the fried chicken and the potato waffles. Strange combo huh? But you just did an epic art tour of the Mission and climbed Bernal Heights Park. You deserve it!

Now that you’ve had Humphry Slocombe ice cream, you’ll have to compare it against Mitchell’s ice cream. Walk down 29th street and pass San Jose Ave, Mitchell’s should be to your right.

22. Final dessert at Mitchell’s ice cream (Yelp)

  • Duration: 5-10 mins
  • Cost: $3-5

Unlike newcomer Humphry Slocombe, Mitchell’s has been serving ice cream in the Mission since 1953. Man, wasn’t that not too long after WWII? That’s a hell of a long time to be serving ice cream. There must be something about it that keeps people coming back.

Mitchell’s has a large selection of flavors to chose from. My favorites are the tropical flavors because they have Filipino flavors like Ube and Halo Halo that you can’t find anywhere else. I used to live in the Philippines and I do miss those flavors.

Look at those colors! Doesn’t that just make you want to put them in your face?

Okay, that’s the last of our dessert stops. So what did you like the best? Anthony’s cookies? Humphry Slocombe? St. Francis Fountain? or Mitchell’s?

You can carry on that debate over at El Rio, one of the fun, divey bars in the Mission. Good thing it’s also on the way back to the BART station. Go back on 29th street and make a left on Mission. That will take you straight to El Rio.

23. Enjoy some outdoor drinking at El Rio (Yelp)

  • Duration: ???
  • Cost: ???

El Rio’s slogan is “a neighborhood bar with a heck of a lot to offer”, and it’s true. Let’s get you inside and see what they have, starting with a couple of cheap drinks.

My favorite part of El Rio is the backyard. It’s huge! You can usually find a chill spot to relax and there are heat lamps for when it gets chilly.

El Rio also has a backroom for live music performances. The music spans all genres so be ready to either rock out, or chill out, depending on the act of the night.

Are you tired yet? Cause I sure am. Let’s head back towards the BART before the last train runs. But not before a night cap at one of the most popular taquerias in the Mission. What’s a trip to the Mission without some Mexican food?

24. Late night burritos at Taquerias El Farolito (Yelp)

  • Duration: 15-20 mins
  • Cost: $6-8

I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way you can eat anymore tonight. Well no problem, because leftover burritos make great breakfasts!

Since this place is so popular, there will usually be a line. But it moves quickly so just chat with the other customers about how awesome of a day you’ve had, then enjoy the jealousy in their eyes.

Look at that. It’s beautiful, like a small baby, but tastier. Enjoy.

Well, there you have it folks. We wrapped up a pretty epic walking art and dessert tour of the Mission. You should be proud of yourselves! Give yourself a pat on the back and get on that last BART towards home.

You came, you ate, you conquered. Bravo!

Again, here the map of all the attractions, restaurants, and bars mentioned in this post: Map. You can even print it out for easy reference.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out the other Andy’s Days of Fun here

What did you think of this tour? What did I miss? What would you have done differently? Please share it in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.