"Every time I visit San Francisco I ask out loud 'Why don't I live here?'," traveler-artist-musician-blogger David Byrne recently confessed to the Wall Street Journal. I could not agree more. And I know exactly where I'd live: The Mission.
Two weeks ago I discovered all the basics that I would need in a four-block radius: a perfect grocery store (with an outpost for homemade ice cream), an ideal neighborhood gastropub, and a surprising boutique featuring young designers.
Candy Store Collective
Opened in 2005, this boutique carries an inspired selection of local designers and smaller collections such as Trovata, Surface to Air, Feral Childe, and a terrific men's section featuring similarly hard-to-find labels such as Shades of Greige. The store has a gallery space in the back and sells vintage candy like Bottlecaps and candy necklaces and buttons , plus one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories by designers such as Digby & Iona, Mabel Chong, and AshleyWatson.
Bi-Rite Market, Bi-Rite Creamery
I challenge you to find a more pleasant place to buy groceries. The Bi-Rite (top) is not huge, but it has well-edited sections of wine, cheese, produce, and prepared food. The Bi-Rite Creamery (above), just down the street from the market, makes small batches of ice cream in heavenly flavors: Salted Caramel, Malted Vanilla, Roasted Banana.
A few steps down is what may be the perfect neighborhood gastropub. The newly opened spot specializes in craft beer, mostly from Belgium and California. The food is delicious, too. The mac and cheese—macaroni baked in a house-made cheddar-ale sauce served with toasted bread crumbs in a cast-iron skillet—is the ideal meal for a Belgian ale.
Whitney Lawson is a photo editor at Travel + Leisure.