Valencia Street in San Francisco is definitely one of our top picks for strolling around the Mission. The street offers a diverse range of attractions, delectable dining options, amazing shops, and a vibrant nightlife. Its convenient location, just two blocks away from the 16th Street BART station, makes it easily accessible to everyone, especially those without a car or wanting to avoid the infamous SF street parking hassle.
We've compiled a list of our favorite places on Valencia Street, including vegan-friendly options for those following a plant-based diet. Give them a try and enjoy the street's charm! NOTE: This journal was written 5+ years ago, shops and restaurants are subject to change.
Also known as KOLO, is a digital nomad’s haven. This Japanese-American store designs products for those who are always on the move. They understand the importance of having the right tools in hand to work efficiently, whether it's at a coffee shop or an airport. Their product line includes reusable bento boxes, water bottles, charging cables, and other everyday essentials such as umbrellas and backpacks. Additionally, they offer a wide selection of pens and notebooks that caught our attention as our favorites.
This San Francisco-based bag company, produces eco-friendly and durable nylon reusable shopping bags that can carry 2-3 times more weight than regular plastic grocery bags. Their bags come with a nylon carrying case and can be easily folded up to a small size, making them convenient for everyday use. Baggu offers trendy and fun prints and colors, ensuring that anyone looking for a Baggu bag will find a style that matches their taste. Additionally, the company offers various other bag types, such as backpacks and purses.
We would be lying if we said we didn’t bring a Baggu grocery bag with us everywhere we travel.
Since the early 90s, this bookstore has been one of our top go-to spots for books. The store offers a blend of both new and used books, and the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming. Many visitors spend hours inside reading. They also stock magazines, art, and offer a book buyback program. Every week, they curate a recommended books section featuring feminist and progressive literature - our personal favorite. Keep an eye out for the occasional free pile outside the store!
Garden Creamery is a delightful stop during your walk around the city. This shop uses locally sourced ingredients to create small-batch ice cream that is truly delicious. You can taste the freshness in every scoop. What makes this place special is its fantastic vegan ice cream options. Made with a coconut base and sweetened with organic agave nectar, these flavors are a must-try. Be sure to visit while the seasonal flavors are available!
Visiting San Francisco without trying Boba Guys is like missing out on a quintessential SF experience. While they have multiple locations, the Valencia spot is particularly popular among visitors. You'll see many people walking around with their signature drinks in cute anteater cups. However, be prepared to wait in a long line before getting your hands on one. Unfortunately, they don't offer any vegan milk options at the moment, but the tea and boba alone are still delicious, and you can customize the sweetness level to your liking.
The Clarion Alley Mural Project, also known as CAMP, is a community of artists and activists who started this mural project in the early 1990s to bring art into the public space. Their aim is to use art to represent and uplift marginalized groups, including people of color and gender minorities, and to encourage them so they don't feel isolated. Watching the artists paint is a unique and exciting experience that adds to the charm of the alley.
Valencia Street is home to many Mexican taquerias that offer delicious food due to the street's diversity. However, among the restaurants that offer vegan options, this particular taqueria stands out as the best to us. Its vegan menu options are clearly listed. Additionally, this taqueria was featured on popular TV shows such as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Man vs. Food, and Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations. The fresh ingredients make this spot perfect for a post-drinking meal, and it's even open until 2:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Yay munchies!
Indochine is a wallet-friendly vegan food spot that offers a blend of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and American dishes. Their soups are big and satisfying, and they also provide many vegan meat alternatives. What's great about Indochine is that you can order vegan items such as pot stickers and wontons, which are typically hard to find in vegan options at Asian restaurants.
This art gallery is one of our favorites and has been operating since the late 90s. It is a group-run business that allows artists to showcase their art by renting a wall space for a month. The artists themselves work shifts, which provides an opportunity for them to engage with customers and hopefully make sales. The art featured at this gallery often explores more unconventional themes, making it a unique and refreshing experience for visitors.
Paxton Gate Curiosities runs this store that offers a fascinating array of natural items sourced from around the globe, such as taxidermy, crystals, jewelry, and succulents. The store also provides taxidermy classes for those interested in learning the skill, which has been on my personal bucket list for quite some time. For more information on the classes available, you can visit their website.
Interested to see our video on everything I mentioned above? Be sure to check out our video down above! 🙂