Mission San Francisco De Asis has always had a central place in the religious, civic, and cultural life of San Francisco. The mission is named for Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order, but is also commonly known as “Mission Dolores” due to the presence of a nearby creek named Arroyo de los Dolores, or “Creek of Sorrows.”
The Mission was founded on June 29, 1776 by Padre Francisco Palóu and Padre Pedro Benito Cambón. Because of the harsh conditions of the site, the building was built so well it weathered natural disasters such as the massive 1906 earthquake, and has been a steadfast witness to historic events such as the California Gold Rush.
Currently, Mission San Francisco de Asís is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the seventh religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions. It is the only the only intact Mission Chapel in the chain of 21 established under the direction of Father Serra. Though the present Mission complex, including the quadrangle and convento, has either been altered or demolished during the intervening years, the façade of the Mission chapel has remained relatively unchanged since its construction.
Mission Cemetery and Gardens
Adjacent to the Old Mission is the cemetery and gardens which have been restored with historic, traditional, and native trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants of the 1791 period. The rose garden was given by Golden Gate Rose Society and is tended by members of the Society every week.
There are many notable San Francisco personalities buried in the cemetery including the first Mexican governor, Luis Antonio Arguello, the first commandant of the Presidio, Lieutenant Moraga, and victims of the Committee of Vigilance, Cora, Casey, and Sullivan. The cemetery has also become the final resting place of some 5,000 Ohlone, Miwok, and other First Californians who built Mission Dolores.
The Mission is located in the San Francisco Mission District at the corner of 16th and Dolores Streets. Exit U.S. 101 at Mission Street just before 101 turns into city streets. Go left (South) on Mission a couple of blocks to 16th and turn right (West). Three long blocks (third of a mile) brings you to Dolores Street and the Mission is on your left at the corner.
Tours and Field Trips
Mission San Francisco De Asis welcomes hundreds of students and tourists every year. A one hour guided tour is available to school groups and tourist groups of ten or more people. Due to the large volume of visitors, it is suggested that you make reservations 4-6 weeks in advance should you want to visit the establishment. A deposit is also required. You may contact the curator at (415) 621-8203.
We invite you to visit Mission San Francisco De Asis and learn about its unique historic, religious, and architectural significance as well as enjoy its tranquil garden and cemetery. It is open daily from 9am to 4pm except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day.