The Hipster Haven What: San Francisco’s hipster haven is The Mission, originally only a Latino neighborhood, but now also home to artists and entrepreneurs enjoying great street art, wonderful cafes and progressive bookstores.
Women clad in skinny jeans, artsy tops and gladiator sandals, puffing on fags, and delighting in their spot in the hipster circle—this could be many neighborhoods. This week, we spotted them in The Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. When exiting the MUNI bus on Mission Street, one gets a feel for the area’s original residents—Latin American immigrants and lifetime tokers. Always a bit sketchy, the sunshine enables a more laid back life. Still, for great cheap Mexican food, there are tons of places on Mission. But head over to Valencia Street and it’s a whole new world, complete with boutiques, bookstores, coffee shops and restaurants. Here’s a guide to our favorite destinations, though we missed the Thai restaurants and the Mexican Salvadorian spot that serves both burritos, tamales and pupusas.
WHERE TO CAMP OUT WITH YOUR MACBOOK
Try one of three major coffee shops on Valencia jam backed with twentysomethings writing and telecommuting from their Macbooks. Javalencia Café is a smaller, grungier option, but complete with many drinks, yogurt and pastry options (920 Valencia). Mission Creek Café is one step up, a bit bigger than Javalencia, a bit newer, and a bit brighter (968 Valencia). The last option is an indie version of Starbucks: Ritual Coffee Roasters. Appearing all shiny and new, with perfectly placed canvases on each wall, it is bright, with light tables and a perfectly printed board, likely even a clean wash closet.
WHERE TO SPEND WISELY
Like Williamsburg, there are tons of boutiques, thrift shops, bookstores and even an art cooperative. Buffalo Exchange is the go-to for variety when shopping for used clothing, but be willing to sift through the blah to find the stylish finds. It’s no surprise that Buffalo Exchange, which has stores nationwide, has its New York locations in the East Village and in Williamsburg. Here in Cali, they have another one in Berkeley and one in the Haight. For affordable art, check out the City Art Cooperative Gallery (828 Valencia) to find every medium from jewelry and sculpture to printmaking, painting and photography. We plan to follow these artists: Chiyo Miyashita, Katie Gilmartin, Hilary Williams, and Russell Ryan. Finally, for all the things you don’t need but want, such as small prints, journals, calendars, handmade cloth wallets, and thank you cards made on recycled paper printed with soy ink, head to the irresistible Little Otsu (849 Valencia).
WHERE TO BUY BOOKS
There are a handful of bookstores in The Mission, but we could’ve spent hours perusing the shelves of Modern Times Bookstore, with its art postcards, event listings, flyers, free magazines and selection of books ranging from art, to politics, healthy living and new fiction. Whether you need to distribute flyers, find a book on Frida Kahlo, learn about organic farming, or just escape the noise, this is the spot.
For hours and locations, visit the Ritual Roasters website. For hours and location , visit the Javalencia website. For hours and location , visit the Buffalo Exchange website. For hours and location , visit the City Art Gallery website. For hours and location , visit the Little Otsu website. For hours and location , visit the Modern Times website.