The Mission: A Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods

San Francisco Neighborhoods The Mission District is located in the east-central section of the city and has some of the sunniest and warmest weather in the city. No matter the day of the week, Dolores Park will be dotted with picnic blankets when the weather gets good. The area originated as the Latino neighborhood and there are still long time residents in the area working to preserve the culture, but it is also rapidly gentrifying. It’s become a symbol of that gentrification and the tensions it’s brought to the city. With that gentrification, the Mission has become a hotspot full of highly rated restaurants, trendy bars, and retails shops. It’s a convenient neighborhood for commuting downtown or south of the city.   

We polled local moms to find out what makes this neighborhood a good fit for their families. Want to get the scoop directly from the experts? Join our Mission/ Bernal Heights Neighborhood Group or reach out to a realtor at

Why Moms Love It 

The Mission is the perfect spot to “grow up” with kids. Plenty of people move here as singletons or couples and then rediscover the area once they start raising children. Shops and restaurants are within walking distance, especially on the Valencia and 24th Street corridors and there are several playgrounds in the area.

Local Family Favorites 

Dolores Park 

This large hill is a popular gathering spot on warm, sunny days. Picnickers will lounge in the grass to admire the view of downtown and the newly renovated Helen Diller Playground is always buzzing as children run up and down the multilevel structures.

Mission Playground and Clubhouse

Tucked among the buildings off bustling Valencia Street, this playground is also home to the city’s only outdoor pool.

In Chan Kaajal Park

Opened in Spring of 2017, In Chan Kaajal Park (originally called 17th & Folsom Street Park) is the first new neighborhood park to be acquired and built by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD) in over a decade. 

Jose Coronado Playground

This park has a full basketball court, tennis court, and play structure, and offers classes in its community center.

Franklin Square

Bring the whole family to explore this newly renovated play space. The lighted, artificial turf soccer field is the pride of the neighborhood, and the bright, modern playground will entertain kids of all ages. A dual-level design provides small tots with soft rubber surfacing, sandbox, and infant swings. Older kids enjoy climbing structures, slides and seat swings. The park offers several picnic areas with benches.


The Mission Y is a community center offering programs for youth and families, an active older adult center and group exercise classes.

Music for SF

Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a hip alternative to the traditional ‘mommy and me’ music class for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The spirited group classes last for 45 minutes and are geared toward children 4 months to 5 years old and their adult caregivers.

Sign your kids up for soccer and basketball themed child-development classes and a soccer scrimmaging league for young children.  Soccer is for kids ages 18 months to 6 years old, and the Hoops program is for children 2 1/2 to 6 years old.
This is a wonderful program that offers drop-in times for kids to tinker and build. Additionally, the organization serves public schools and the community to provide programs that enrich and empower students’ lives through science.  

STEMful encourages children ages 1-12 years old to “sprout curiosity” in STEM. Parents are invited to bring their children to learn, play and sprout. Younger siblings are welcome. They offer daily play pass for parents to drop in with their kids, classes, camps, birthday parties, movie nights and event venue in the 2475 sq ft, 2-level community play and education space. 

Steppin’ Out Dance Studio

Steppin’ Out offers supportive and inspiring classes for a diverse mix of young dancers as young as 3 years old in a wide range of styles to honor the dancer in each of them.

Yoga Tree

Join the prenatal and Mom + Baby classes at the welcoming yoga studio or join an adult only class for a little time away from the family.

Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater

Notably, the Alamo for All program at this theater is targeted for young families and guests with special needs.  All shows starting before 6pm on Tuesdays follow Alamo for All rules, with some shows on the weekends.  (The schedule may vary during holidays.)  At sensory-friendly Alamo for All shows lights are turned up and sound is turned down, all ages are welcome (including infants), talking and noise is allowed and guests can move around, latecomers are admitted, adaptive technology is welcome (but no other electronics, please).

Urban Putt

The evenings here are reserved for the 21 and over crowd, but the daytime is fair game to play with the littles. 

Childcare and Schools

Here’s the thing about childcare and schooling: Your personal situation will determine the right fit for you, and, while there are options in this neighborhood, your best bet is to check out for an interactive map and comprehensive list of daycares and preschools across the city.  

Likewise, for K-12 schools, we can’t tell you whether the schools here are “good” or not because a good school is based on so many other factors besides test scores. Check out our Tips for Moving to San Francisco with Kids for more help navigating childcare and schooling and a local mom’s take on raising a family in San Francisco.

Learn More 

To get an even better feel for what it’s like to live here, scan our list of 100+ kid-friendly restaurants in the city, find the nearest branch of the public library, and check out the area’s trick-or-treating hotspots.
Visit for photos and more helpful details on the Mission and nearby neighborhoods, including an up-to-date listing of properties for sale. is a full service brokerage and an easy to use online real estate resource that helps people find the perfect home as well as the ideal neighborhood. We believe that the neighborhood you live in is just as important as the home you live in. The people, places, schools and amenities that surround your home have an enormous impact on your quality of life. When you’re looking for a place to live, you aren’t just picking out a house. You are also deciding who your children will play with and who you might become friends with. So while many people search for their dream house, we believe you should look for your dream home. And your neighborhood is a huge part of that dream.

Check out the other areas featured in our San Francisco Neighborhood Guide for Families and learn more about our guide sponsor,