Clarion Alley street art in Mission, San Francisco

We’d heard through friends that Mission District was the place to be in San Francisco. I’m always apprehensive when people recommend trendy areas to visit as they often don’t live up to expectations, but Mission District really is a fun place to visit.

There are some good vintage shops, loads of great bars and plenty of places to eat, but I’ll recap all of those in my San Francisco guide. Instead today I wanted to share some of the street art in San Francisco that caught my eye.

There’s a lot of street art in the Mission District, but the photos below were all taken of Clarion Alley street art. Clarion Alley is a small street in San Francisco between Mission and Valencia streets and 17th and 18th streets. We stumbled across it by chance so it was only afterwards that we realised it is an official mural project.

The Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) was created in October 1992 and is an artists’ collective. They’ve supported the creation of 700 murals since originally turning a ‘blighted’ space to one full of colour. It was the vibrancy of the murals that really drew me in and it was clear that every mark had been made with purpose.

Clarion Alley street art

clarion alley street art mission district

“These hearts are dedicated to some members of the S.F. community who died. If your name’s here, you’re dead. :)”

Made me laugh and cry at the same time.

clarion alley street art this city is not for sale

There’s a sentence on the CAMP website that resonates with me: ‘a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level’. They’re talking about San Francisco but it’s a sentiment I share about London, and a reality addressed in this mural.

(I really want to show this to Boris. In a city where a bridge over the Thames will be privatised and locals can no longer afford a place to live, why isn’t anyone doing something to save our city from being sold?)

clarion alley street art san francisco

I liked the colours and loved the sentiment.

happymonk poetry san francisco

I know this isn’t street art, but I saw it on a lamppost on Valencia Street and it reminded me of all the nice things that are important in the world.


To say I was overcome with emotion by the street art and poetry in Mission sounds rather dramatic, but I can’t think of a better word than overcome. Actually, perhaps ‘quietly’ overcome sums it up better; a range of emotions washed over me and I was left with a desire to act.

I was standing there thinking how great it would be if London had poems on lampposts too, poems that reminded everyone daily what’s important in life. And then I realised that if it wasn’t happening already then it was time I started to do something to change my city, rather than sitting here moaning about it all the time.

She says, sitting here moaning about it two months later.

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