Ready to paint the town? This 1.6-mile easy urban walk from the Tendernob to Chinatown brightens winter days with bursts of color from some of the city’s newest murals. Start your walk at the corner of Van Ness and Hemlock. Completed in September, Hemlock Alley is the newest addition to San Francisco’s painted passageways. The six-panel creation is a tribute to the city’s history and diversity, with local artists celebrating a different San Francisco neighborhood in each of the 140-foot frescoes—from cable cars to Mission nightlife.
Come out the other side at Larkin Street, and set your sights on Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, where the neon lights reading “I got baked in San Francisco” are an Instagram hit and the signature cruffin (a croissant-muffin hybrid) is a must-try. Head north on Larkin to Sacramento Street and turn right to visit Golden Court, a garden-lined street on Nob Hill. From there, head to Grace Cathedral and trace the labyrinths for some walking meditation. Pass through Huntington Park and down California Street to Chinatown, to stroll down streets of upturned roofs and hanging lanterns. On the corner of Sacramento and Grant, “Journey to the West” is a new piece by street artist Luke Dragon.
Continue cruising north down Grant Street for a series of murals on the corner of intersecting streets: Another Luke Dragon piece, featuring Bruce Lee, adorns the side of Eastern Bakery on Commercial and Grant. And one block up on Clay rests another Luke Dragon creation, of a tiger dragon in psychedelic colors. Across the way, you can gander at “Ross Alley 1889,” a mural depicting Chinatown during the Chinese Exclusion Act. When you’re done viewing, end your walk in bustling Portsmouth Square. Here Chinatown residents can be found playing music, doing tai chi, or engaging in some intense card games. Join in, if you’re feeling lucky, or grab some dim sum and relish the scene.