1-2-3 Things - On a Mission (Dolores)

Hello Adventurers!

Did you summit Sweeney Ridge last week? The weather is really interesting right now, I saw that the temperature at the coast Monday was 76°, great weather for a hike like this. Not sure if it will last though. 

This week’s adventure continues our focus on local history. Last week we had a brief history on the foley of finding the San Francisco Bay. It took quite a lot of time and imagination to realize how valuable and important the west coast would be. It's hard today to not think how obvious that fact is now. 

But New Spain (Mexico and the West Coast) was so far away and took such a long and dangerous voyage that this potential sat unused for years and years tempting very few people to come out here. It wasn't until that incredible stroke of luck at Sutters Mill discovering gold and the subsequent Gold Rush that brought throngs of people out here. People with imaginations who didn't manage to strike it rich finding gold, but finding themselves stuck out here to create their own fortunes in different ways. 

This week we find ourselves going to Mission Dolores. This was the first major settlement here in the Bay, and one of the few buildings left standing that dates back to the Spanish settlers. Mission Dolores has watched San Francisco grow up, shake, burn to the ground, rise from the ashes, and shake all over again. 

Side note: there is some controversy surrounding Father Junipero Serra along with recent attempts to canonize him. Our visit is only meant to reflect local history to understand how we got here. This is a good opportunity to talk with your kids about not only the good things that came out of efforts by early settlers along with the issues they faced, but also reflect on bad things that occurred resulting from their arrival. 

Also let us know if you go, we would love to hear about your trip. Simply reply to this e-mail. And please feel free to forward this to a friend. 


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1-2-3 Things — On a Mission (Dolores)

Quick inspiration for a day out with the kids around the SF Bay Area

From kiddiewalks.com

  1. Mission Dolores

  2. Dolores Park

  3. Clarion Alley

Safety: the Mission is a wonderful vibrant place to visit, however the area around the 16th and Mission Bart Station can be a bit sketchy sometimes. Please be aware of your surroundings and exercise your best judgement. 


Mission Dolores


Donation suggested: $5 Adults, $3 kids

The building we see today was dedicated in 1791 but the community that built this structure was founded in 1776, right around the same time the war of independence was being fought on the east coast (recall that New Spain was founded in 1549). A Mission wasn't simply just a church building, but the hub of a community. The Spanish government knew if they didn’t start settling the land that they claimed, that eventually they would loose it. So they made it advantageous to people who wanted to go out and settle there by offering large land grants adjacent or close to an existing settlement like Mission Dolores. Eventually Spain lost their hold here with Mexico becoming independent (with Alta California being a territory), then through their unstable government and issues with territory in Texas the Mexican-American war was fought between 1846-1847 which lead to the annexation of California as a US territory and it subsequent statehood in 1850 following the Gold Rush starting in 1848. During this time Mission Dolores was such an important part of life here that there was a plank road built from Downtown San Francisco to the Mission. 

Dolores Park


Dolores Park was founded in 1905 when the land was purchased from the former Jewish Cemetery, and shortly thereafter the Barnum & Bailey Circus contracted to use the land after the graves were moved to Colma and they did some initial grading on the land. Following that the 1906 earthquake hit and this became a refugee camp till 1908 when the place was filled with earthquake shacks. 

The park has just finished recent renovations and the playground is brand new, very popular on the weekends. 

Clarion Alley


The Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) started in 1992, run by a dedicated group of volunteers creating a vibrant scene with murals that spark conversation and the imagination. Over 700 murals have been created over the past 2 decades. 

Note: There are some murals that have some grown up themes. You should be aware of this if you decide to visit. It's a good opportunity to discuss why this is art with your kids. 

You never know who you might meet. Nekia invited us to learn about her Tibetan bells and all the sounds they can make.

You never know who you might meet. Nekia invited us to learn about her Tibetan bells and all the sounds they can make.


Feeling Adventurous 

  • Go see a movie at the recently re-opened New Mission Theater by Alamo Drafthouse. Order food and drinks from your seat, and they have a tasty looking kids menu.