If the 18th Street corridor is the Mission District's stomach, Dolores Park may well be its heart. Hundreds of San Franciscans crowd this two-block stretch of greenery on Dolores between 18th Street and 20th, and in summery weather the volleyball nets and skimpy outfits might make you think you're at the beach.
Picnic food is an important component of a day at the park, and Chowhound users have their favorite local provisioners:
• Bi-Rite Market, an independent grocery store on 18th, has everything you need if budget's not an issue. Drinks, sandwiches, fruit, and salads are available in the store; find ice cream and soft-serve across the street.
3639 18th Street, San Francisco; 415-241-9760
• Find creative sandwiches at Rhea's Deli & Market, only a couple blocks' walk from the park. Kimchi prepared by the owner's mom and katsu sandwiches are the bomb.
800 Valencia Street, San Francisco; 415-282-5255
• Ike's Place, an explosively popular sandwich shop that now has outlets across the Bay Area, might be up your alley, if you don't mind cutting into your picnic time with a long wait. Pro tip: Call or use the restaurant's app to order ahead and skip the line.
3489 16th Street, San Francisco; 415-553-6888
• For a sweet tooth, Tartine Bakery is the perfect pre-park stop. Load up on shortbread, breakfast pastries, and the beloved dark-chocolate-and-caramel-coated banana cream tart.
600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco; 415-487-2600