Outer Mission/Excelsior has a low violent crime rate and a low property crime rate for San Francisco.
While the name ‘Outer Mission’ suggests that it borders the Mission neighborhood, these two spots are actually divided by Bernal Heights. The Outer Mission and Excelsior neighborhoods are often grouped together because they sit next to each other on the southern border of San Francisco.
The Excelsior neighborhood also shares its name with the name for the surrounding area, Excelsior District, which also includes the Mission Terrace, Portola, and Crocker-Amazon neighborhoods. This area is an enclave of low income and middle class residents, one of the few left in the city — bustling but unpretentious.
While it’s not known for its flashy homes, high-end shopping, or fine dining, it offers plenty for children (although the schools are not known as the best in the city), both neighborhoods curve around the city’s second largest park, and the weather here is some of the best San Francisco has to offer.
The streets in Excelsior bear the names of international cities, including Madrid, London, Paris, Naples, and Munich, to name a few. The area has gentle hills lined with rows of single family homes and an aura of unassuming suburbia.
Most residences in this neighborhood were built in the 1950s, and also include duplexes and apartments. Many of the homes were built with in-law quarters, which have filled with renters seeking affordable housing, and the streets can become congested with the cars from these additional residents. Public transportation here is also a little sparse, adding to the problem. The Balboa BART station lies to the east of Outer Mission, and a few buses pass through. It is a great location for South Bay commutes, however.
It is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco, and is bursting with families. As in the Mission, colorful murals can be found around the neighborhoods. Casual Mexican and Asian food spots dot the streets, along with diners, corner stores, and ethnic markets.
Excelsior is home to the Excelsior Festival, an annual event celebrating its cultural diversity. It brings in about 5000 people each year and has free music and entertainment. There is also Jerry Day, a celebration of the area’s most famous former resident, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead. It is held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McClaren Park, a vast tract of land to the south of the neighborhoods, which offers hiking trails, tennis courts, playgrounds, a golf course, a small lake, and more.
Overall, Outer Mission and Excelsior have a no-frills vibe in an on-the-fringe location, which can be a relief for those seeking refuge from the more famous and intimidatingly cool neighborhoods.
The second largest park in San Francisco, with 312 acres, featuring tennis courts, playing fields, playgrounds, a lake, golf course, and plenty of picnic space.
Hundreds of community members and artists collaborated on this beautiful mural that pays homage to the area’s past and present.