San Francisco’s Exciting Mission & Castro Districts

Family and friends,

In the best of all worlds, Steven and I would have all four children and their families live near us in Denver and not just our youngest one so we could see them regularly especially as grandchildren are popping into the picture. However, the three older ones seem happily ensconced in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco respectively. Looking at the glass half-full, at least each of them is not only a great city to live in but also a really exciting place for us to visit. That is certainly the case with San Francisco which is a relatively short hop from Denver. It’s fun exploring neighborhoods near where Alexander and Cory live when not playing Granny and Grandpa to their young daughter. That was how we came to explore The Mission and The Castro neighborhoods. Come with us, won’t you!

Having the opportunity to visit our son and his growing family in San Francisco is thrilling in and of itself but also playing tourist on our regular visits to the exciting city is definitely an added bonus! I, more so than Steven, have become a huge fan of street art and murals over the last few years so wandering around Alexander and Cory’s Mission District neighborhood when their little daughter Max is napping is huge fun.

The Mission as it’s known to locals isnestled on the city’s southeastern edge and named for the 1776-built Mission Dolores, the oldest standing building in San Francisco. The missions were a chain of Spanish Colonial religious buildings found throughout a large part of the western United States and Mexico.

The neighborhood has changed significantly over the years, becoming trendy and gentrified. It was an exciting few hours looking for the area’s vibrant murals as it took us up and down some wildly colorful streets and alleys.

It was easy to spot how the Mission was firmly rooted in Latino culture with early residents arriving from Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and beyond.

The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center:

It seemed that the entire Mission was a blank canvas ready for aspiring painters to take up a brush or can of spray paint!

The murals’ content ranged from themes of social justice to abstract patterns with a Latino flair.

Balmy Alley was a stretch of road that had been converted into an open-air art gallery! The city’s Latino roots were especially noticeable here.

Another fascinating and fascinating neighborhood to walk around in while visiting our son and his family in the City by the Bay was the Castro District which was sandwiched between the Haight-Asbury and the Mission. Anyone wanting to know more about the city’s LGBTQ history, the Castro is the neighborhood to check out. I read that as early as the 1940s, many in the LGTBQ community, including dishonorably discharged veterans, moved to San Francisco because it already had a reputation for tolerance. Several settled in the Castro because of its affordability.

Longtime civil rights activist and the first leader of the city’s gay community, Harvey Milk won election to the Board of Supervisors in 1977, thereby becoming the first openly gay elected official in California. It was an all too brief celebration as he was sadly soon assassinated. 

San Francisco Airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1 which Steven and I fly into and out of on Southwest Airlines to and from Denver was named in honor of Milk in 2019. It’s the only airport terminal in the world named after a representative of the gay community.

The Rainbow Walk featured a walk of fame with 30 plaques on the sidewalk that honored pivotal figures in the struggle for LGBTQ rights.

Another landmark in the Castro was the rainbow-colored crosswalks.

The legendary RBG aka the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a huge defender of LGBTQ equality.

Next post: Exploring more of the City by the Bay!

Posted on June 15th, 2022, from tiny but cute-as-a-picture Twillingate, Newfoundland, while glued to the idiot box as my mother would call the TV watching our beloved hometown Colorado Avalanche play in Game 1 of the Stanly Cup Finals. Go Avs!


3 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Exciting Mission & Castro Districts

  1. San Fran is such a cool city, I have been waiting to visit it for a very long time. Somehow it has eluded me so far.
    How exciting to have your adult children living in some amazing cities. I have been to NY and Chicago and would love to return, both are amazing.
    Beautiful photos in this post with so many interesting, colourful, gorgeous street art. Thank you for sharing ❤️


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