Mission Dolores

Mission Dolores, San Francisco

Mission Dolores
Historic Sites • Missions • Religious Sites
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9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The oldest building in San Francisco features adobe walls, original tiles and timbers lashed together with rawhide and hand-carved altars.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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Tours & experiences
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The area
Neighborhood: Mission District
From burritos to bicyclists, the Mission is the foundation for all things hip in the city. Cultural attractions, an independent arts community, sumptuous street murals and a high density of bars and cafes make this neighborhood a magnet for young people. While terrific inexpensive food is abundant, its top-of-the-line restaurants now compete with the city’s best for fashionable diners. Indulge as the locals do by heading to Mission Dolores Park, buy some ice cream, and savor one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country.
How to get there
  • Church St • 5 min walk
  • 16th St Mission • 9 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

340 reviews
Very good

San Francisco, CA249 contributions
Mar 2021 • Friends
Mission Dolores is the oldest intact Mission in California and the oldest building in San Francisco. Founded under the direction of Fr Junipero Serra in 1776! Definitely worth a quick visit, especially if you’re into 250 year old architecture. I’ve done the inside tour, but frankly, I prefer just visiting the outside for photo ops. Mission Dolores is just a block away from Bi-Rite (the 26th ranked ice cream parlor in the world) & Dolores Park. Hanging out at Dolores Park on a Sunday afternoon is a real San Francisco experience which harkens back to the Summer of Love Days. So you can easily knock out these 3 locations in a quick hour or two and not feel like you’ve been duped into the typical SF touristy gimmicks.
Written March 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fremont, CA159,501 contributions
Jan 2020
I visited Mission Delores. its the Northern most mission of Father Junipero Serra's in California. It started in 1782-1791. It was built by Ohone Native Americans. It is located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

I took the self guided tour of the mission. I saw the smaller church, I saw pictures of Pope John Paul II visiting the church in April 27, 2014. The Basilica (larger church) was quite religiously impressive with statues, organ, stained glass, and domed roof.

There is a small museum. The grave yard area was very interesting to visit. There is an example of an Ohlone Native American home. There is also a statue of Junipero Serra.

To end the tour, I visited the gift shop. Staff is welcoming and very nice.
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anaheim, CA279 contributions
Feb 2022
The Mission Dolores chapel dates back to 1791 and is an interesting historic site to visit. Admission is $7 for the self-guided tour. It's a nice, short visit if you're interested in history or exploring the Mission District.
Written April 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sandra M
Henderson, NV323 contributions
May 2021
This trip we saw a number of missions...each is a little different & special. Really enjoyed the tour of this & seeing the new church built on the corner. After this we have one left to visit on a future trip to CA.
Written June 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Port Saint Lucie, FL790 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
The chapel and basilica were beautiful. Many gorgeous stained glass windows in the basilica. You get a small brochure which guides you through the various parts of the grounds. The descriptions we're helpful.
There is a small but very nice gift shop. The ladies who work there are very helpful. Thanks.
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

North Ridgeville, OH370 contributions
Mar 2014 • Family
Eeeeeeeek!! I was so excited to visit Mission Dolores! I took a Native American studies class and some of our studies had focused on Junípero Serra and the importance of Mission Dolores. So for me, this was a geeky kids dream--to actually see the place where it all happened. The architecture is stunning. The entrance fee is well worth it and used to upkeep the grounds and property. The gentleman working the register was so kind--you could tell he loved what he did! Even my brother, who is from SF, had never been there and commented on how nice and interesting the place was. Just the art and history alone make it well worth a visit. Pope John Paul II even visited there, as his picture was featured. There is a large, more modern Catholic Sanctuary adjacent to the old mission, and that was interesting too. There was a large wooden cross at the front, drilled with holes, and people had written on small scraps of paper their prayers, then slipped them into a hole in the cross. For what it's worth, I had two prayers and both were answered! God is good. :) And this place was awesome. The cemetery is really incredible too.
Written July 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Northeast516 contributions
After dropping off our luggage at our Union Square hotel, we were off to Mission Dolores. We used the buses but still had a long walk to get there (maybe we did something wrong). The Mission District seemed a little less safe than some of the areas we explored but I think this is just because it was less crowded. The fee was $5. each (cash) for Mission Dolores. Luckily for us there was a docent led tour that day. We missed the portion at the awe inspiring alter unfortunately but caught up after that. He let a couple of children ring the bells which had a beautiful tone and then he proceeded to give a thorough history of both Mission Dolores and the basilica next door. Even if a docent is not present, there is a brochure that you could use for your own walking tour. Both buildings are rich in history and beauty and I would highly recommend a stop here. The stained glass in the basilica is amazing as is the tile mosaic outside. There is also one of the only cemetaries in San Francisco in a lovely setting outside.
Written August 4, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yorktown, VA45 contributions
Sep 2019
The chapel is the oldest building in San Francisco - built of adobe and still with its original tiles roof. Beautiful (but simple at the same time). Peaceful cemetery at the back. The more modern basilica next to it is beautiful inside and out too and also well worth a visit. They ask for a minimum of $7 as a donation to visit the chapel and the basilica but it is well worth it. And if you are lucky to hear the organist playing in the basilica, the acoustics are tremendous - in fact there is a well-known choir which travels to perform at the basilica once a year because of the acoustics. The gift shop also sells iron Indian arrow-heads for 79 cents a piece.You can also attend services at the chapel (7:30am and 09:00am every weekday).
Written September 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco, CA43 contributions
Nov 2018 • Family
One of my favorite spots in San Francisco. Charming historic mission and modern basilica that is stunning. Small old cemetery is also lovely. Visit the whole site and don’t miss the 18th century building. You will learn so much about SF history, it’s settlement and founding families. A MUST SEE in SF!
Written March 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco34 contributions
Apr 2018 • Friends
In my view, any time you're in a mission town, you should visit the mission itself; it's where the town, and California began and the more of them you visit, from state to state and within the same, you will also be able to better gauge how accurately their history is being conveyed, white washed, or ignored completely as is the case here.

Built over a ten year period ending in 1791 but now reduced to the chapel itself, it has survived all the earthquakes that have hit the town as well as the disastrous fire that burned close by following the Big One of 1906, Mission Dolores was a failure at its main mission---agriculture---and was subsequently replaced by two missions to the north, most notably Mission San Francisco de Solano, in Sonoma. Still, the bricks that hold up the centuries old clay tile roof are themselves mostly the same dried mud, manure, straw and ground up shells fashioned by the natives in the late 18th century.

Alongside the south wall is a small cemetery containing the marked remains of various historic figures, including lynched criminals; as well as some of the 5,000 dead natives which are almost entirely unmarked graves and extend out below the street and buildings nearby. Of course the Mission and cemetery were notably featured in Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo", along with Mission San Juan Bautista, to the south, near Monterey.

There are various historical objects pertaining to the church at the rear of the bldg and a reproduction of a native dwelling where the grotto used to be (and seen in "Vertigo") but aside from that the actual role of the natives as slaves--unpaid, held without their permission and forbidden to leave and punished violently if they escaped. Mexico closed all the missions upon its independence as part of its efforts to outlaw slavery.

While this is at the bottom of the "triangle" that is the famous part of the City---Fisherman's Wharf being at the top, it is easily accessible on Muni's J Church line, from the 16th st stop, on the back end of the same lot; or a short walk from Market street (Dolores St/Whole Foods) on the "F" line.

As an added incentive you'll find Dolores Park and better yet BiRite ice cream on 18th and Dolores, two blocks to the South, as well as several top eateries on 18th itself. The Castro is a few blocks south west, at 17th/Castro/Market.

The entrance is NOT at the main doors but at the little gift shop on the south corner of the building. There is a suggested donation.
Written April 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mission Dolores

Mission Dolores is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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