Every Sunday I go into the city of San Francisco to go to my home church, Reality SF. Located on the border of the Mission and Castro District, my church is central to some pretty cool things in the heart of San Francisco. Because I go weekly into San Francisco, I have decided to explore this giant city that is right across the bridge from Berkeley, yet seems a world away at the same time. Thus Sundays in the City is born as an effort of exploration and discovery outside of my Berkeley bubble.
For my very first Sunday in the City I decided to go on a Mural Walk in the Mission District. I had heard about an alley way called Balmy Alley that was supposed to be full of dazzling murals. However I made a few stops before heading deep into the heart of the Mission District. I visited Taqueria La Cumbre, a taqueria featured on the Food Network Show, Man vs Food for a carne asada burrito. Nothing special there, pretty standard. And of course the next thing on my mind was coffee, coffee, coffee. I soon learned that the original Philz, my all time favorite coffee shop, was only a mile and a half away from my church, so I decided it would be the next leg of my journey.
Located on 24th and Folsom, right near Balmy Alley, my final destination, I found the original Philz!
This quirky coffee shop never fails to make my heart happy, and this one in particular was full of eccentricities. Every inch of wall painted in muralistic fashion from ballerinas to trees, floor to ceiling was covered in great paintings. I stopped inside for a break from walking and some studying. I was even luck enough to get a free Mocha Tesora due to a mix up in orders.
After reading some Hemingway, I returned to the task at hand and departed to begin my exploration of the mission district. Wandering from bookstore to record store, Latino grocery stands, and all sorts of other interesting shops I kept an eye out for murals.
Then I found Balmy Alley, an expanse of street that was tiny but entirely covered in beautifully vibrant murals. Ranging from political and social protests in art to silly children’s murals, every inch of wall was covered in the vivid paint of these creative minds. This was my favorite view of the alleyway with the bold proclamation of REJOICE! watching from overhead. Between the dazzling murals and the flowers framing them, it was quite a sight to see.
I wandered up and down the alley way several times just absorbing the color and the passion behind the brush strokes of each mural. It was astounding to see these works of art all of the place. It wasn’t just in the alley way either, it was all over the Mission District. Tucked away down quiet streets, bounding across the tall buildings’ walls, or on old decrepit wooden fences, they were everywhere.
I had a lot of fun taking in all of the art but eventually I made the trek back to the bart station and sat exhausted but fulfilled the entire way back home to Berkeley. I found there is a grand difference between going to a place and getting to know it. I have been to San Francisco so many times but never truly dug down deep into the city to learn its outline like I am starting to now. Even though I encountered a couple of creepy, scary things (people being rude and creepy to me, a girl alone, wandering some of the sketchy streets of San Francisco unwittingly), it was still a great adventure and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I love nothing more than exploring and discovering new things and after my first Sunday in the City I really am just hungry for new and more journeys out into San Francisco. There is so much to be seen, appreciated, and enjoyed that I cannot wait to return again and reclaim the pieces of my heart that I left scattered in the mysterious street corners of San Francisco. This last mural really spoke true to my heart and I cannot wait to go again.