Rentals are plentiful so you'll have many choices ranging from single-unit Victorians to 21st-century condo rentals. Apartment rentals are also in high demand because of their affordability so you'll need to prove you're worthy to your landlord. He or she will love you if you have the income to pay the monthly fee (bring pay stubs), have good credit and are a good tenant (tell your current landlord to write nice things about you).
Even if the building shows the doors of a garage at street level, don't assume that a spot for your car is included with your rental apt. Spaces may cost extra or be reserved for those who live in the bigger units on the higher floors. Other amenities may vary with the age of the building. A 1 bedroom apartment for rent located in a converted Victorian won't have cable TV connections, an elevator or a stackable washer/dryer. In contrast, a studio in a modern complex may boast free Wi-Fi in the common areas, a fitness center, a washer and dryer in the unit, walk-in closets and data ports everywhere.
The community is still known for the most well-priced housing for rent in San Francisco. But get it while the getting's good. Gentrification is quickly pushing up desirability and cost.
Central: The heart of the Mission beats from 24th Street because of its internationally-inspired eateries, shopping and murals. Those colorful outdoor pictures don't just look pretty. They mean something. If you want to know what, take a free walking tour by the San Francisco City Guides or a more in-depth exploration by Precita Eyes Muralists.
Northwest: The area around the mission itself, in the northwest part of the neighborhood, is where the artists and hipsters hang, dining in the trendy eateries. You might even score a room in one of the grand Victorian mansions. If you want to feed your mind, check out Valencia Street for bookstores and other retailers. You'll find more things to buy in the stores and galleries on 24th Street.
Northeast: Work in high-tech? Then you should settle in the northeast part. You'll be close to such companies as Trulia, and the chic nightspots and restaurants that vie for their business. If you'd rather get away from your job, try the eastern area around San Francisco General Hospital. It's got the quiet Potrero Hill vibe because it's near that community.
Dolores Park: As a sun worshiper, you should know that the Mission boasts warmer and brighter weather than almost any other part of San Francisco. The best place to experience the balmy breezes is in Dolores Park. This plot of green also sports several palm trees, two soccer fields, a basketball court, six tennis courts, and a club house. The park isn't named for the mission. The designation comes from Miguel Hidalgo (El Grito de Dolores), the father of Mexican independence.
As in most of the city, driving is a pain in The Mission. You'll have to circle the block more than a few times just to snag any parking spots. (Watch out for lots of foot traffic.) The meters operate on Saturdays and may provide as little as a half-hour of time before you need to move. If you want to stay longer, get a residential parking permit. You'll still have to move your wheels for street cleaning, which may happen up to three times a week.
You can get around easily enough through public transportation. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) comes into the neighborhood and so do MUNI buses and trolleys. The colorful vintage trolleys of the F line heads for the station at Market and Church Streets. If you'd rather pedal on two wheels, try the bike routes on Valencia, 17th and 22nd Streets. And of course, your own two feet brings you closer to neighborhood life.
Let's say you don't like eating tacos or truffles, won't shop for huaraches or Hilfiger, abhor art and think the history of Mission Dolores should be left in the dusty past. You can still get your jollies through the Mission's many annual events and festivals.
Although Mardi Gras is celebrated in February elsewhere, the multi-cultural Carnaval explodes here during Memorial Day Weekend. Expect cuisines, crafts, music and soccer hailing from many parts of the world, culminate in The Grand Parade with its colorful costumes.
While Carnaval does have food booths, you can truly gorge yourself during the San Francisco Food Fair, which parks food trucks along Folsom. Another street celebration is Sunday Streets, which closes off Valencia and 18th Streets to cars so pedestrians and cyclists can take to the roads.
Let your fingers do the walking through the pages of a book by attending LitCrawl, which includes book and poetry readings at bookstores and bars. Or let your eyes do the seeing during Open Studios, which opens the doors to artist studios.
Finally, for a sample of The Mission's irreverence, join the search for a Hunky Jesus, held on Easter Sunday at Dolores Park by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.