The neighborhood of Mission Dolores dates back to the founding of the nation. In 1776, just days before the Declaration of Independence declared the U.S. a free country, a site was being dedicated to the Mission Dolores, just a half block from the intersection of Valencia and Sixteenth Streets.
The mission was named San Francisco de Asis, but the people dubbed it Mission Dolores. Although the church moved 15 years later to Liberty Hill’s base, it survived the city’s most tragic event, the 1906 earthquake, and it remains the oldest building in the city.
Not surprisingly, the oldest streets in the city also lie in the neighborhood. Sixteenth and Mission Streets connected the Mission Dolores with the rest of the city, and today are the centerpiece of arts and culture, the site for many street festivals. Just some of the venues found there are the Armory, New Mission Theatre, and the Artaud. The Castro Theater is just blocks away.
This is also a neighborhood of lively commerce, with endless small shops and restaurants, many of them ethnic. These businesses are mixed with residential housing, which ranges from apartments to single-family homes, with the area near Dolores and Valencia Streets being decidedly more upscale.
Recreationally, Dolores Park is an important neighborhood asset. The park offers tennis courts, basketball courts, a soccer field, a children’s play area, and amazing views of the city skyline. The park is dog-friendly and is a popular spot for community events, such as movie nights and market days.