The front of Salumeria on 20th Street.
A play structure at Franklin Square Park
17th Street to 23rd Street; Folsom to Bryant
A second life has come to Mission Creek, just now rising from the ashes of Tech 1.0, when it was known as Media Gulch and Blowfish Sushi was the place to be. Today, Heath Ceramics (2900 18th St.), with its vast new factory and retail shop, is ground zero for San Francisco’s burgeoning capital of locally manufactured goods. (Think of it as an industrial extension of the Mission, but without lines around the block.) Upstairs, loft studios are run by designers like Small Trade Company and jeweler Julia Turner. Leaving Heath in one direction, you find the Charles Chocolates factory and café (535 Florida St.). Walk in the other direction, and you’re at Bon Vivant’s latest bar, Trick Dog (3010 20th St.), opening next to Salumeria, home of the fancy pork fennel sausage sandwich. And there are plenty more new factory-size spaces to love, like the 10,000-square-foot Southern Pacific Brewing Company (620 Treat Ave.), which opened last year in a warehouse that was once the industrial hub of the Mission.
As a neighborhood, Mission Creek offers more than just the awe factor of the creative process and a quieter alternative to Mission proper. “It has good weather and a lot of activity,” says residential real estate agent Jamie Comer, who believes that professionals and families are choosing to settle here instead of, say, Oakland. There’s even a new playground at Franklin Square Park (16th and Bryant sts.). Walk by on any weekday morning, and you’ll see tatted-up parents pushing Inglesina strollers and well-heeled professionals dashing to catch the 12, while techies peck at their keyboards at Coffee Bar (1890 Bryant St.), formerly the loading dock for Best Foods Mayonnaise. If you like Victorians with succulent-clad windowsills, you can find them scattered about, but this neighborhood is really for fans of exposed brick and an urban lifestyle that says “made in S.F.”
Affordability: C+ (Rent for a two-bedroom apartment, $3,300; cost of a two-bedroom, $775,000)
Walkability to amenities: B+ (The neighborhood is totally flat, so it’s easily walkable despite being a little spread out—from Heath, it’s a 10-minute walk to 16th Street and Valencia)
Public Transportation: B (9, 12, 27 Muni lines; the 16th Street BART station is a 10-minute walk away)
Weather: B (Summer forecast: 65 degrees, mostly sunny)
Safety: C (On par with Mission central: fights, theft, and car break-ins are the main concerns)
The bummer: Zero parking—invest in a bike
Read More: The Bay Area's top 10 neighborhoods
Ocean Beach: For a reminder that this is a beach town
Polk Gulch: For bustling nightlife (just don't call it the next Valencia)
Richmond Annex: For the no-strings-attached white picket fence
NoPa: Because it's the Mission 10 years ago
Uptown Oakland: For a nonstop art orgy
North Beach East: For Little Italy charm without the tourist kitsch
Hayes Valley: For a livable MoMA
Dogpatch: Because it's an urban laboratory
Burlingame Terrace: Because maybe Pleasantville isn't lame after all
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of San Francisco.