13 People and Places Keeping San Francisco’s Latino Roots Alive

San Francisco

Every time you blink, another precious piece of San Francisco gets gentrified – pero no te agüites! Latino culture has deep roots and it’s holding strong. Check out 13 people and places keeping San Francisco’s Latino roots alive.

Clarion Alley Mural Project

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Photo Credit: sswj40 / Flickr

Latinos and murals go together like, well, Latinos and murals. On the walls of Clarion Alley between 17th and 18th Streets in the Mission District, there’s an ever-changing kaleidoscope of street art.

The Tamale Lady

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Photo Credit: sanfranannie / Flickr

Meet Virginia Ramos, the Tamale Lady ( technically, it should be the Tamal Lady, but whatever). She’s pretty much the patron saint of bar goers in San Francisco, showing up out of nowhere just when your buzz needs to be tempered with a warm tamal. But San Francisco has rules and rules shut her down. She’s resurfaced on Twitter and Yelp still reports sightings of her, but shush! Don’t tell the rules police.

Balompie Café

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Photo Credit: streamishmc / Flickr

If you’re in the mood for pupusas, San Francisco has you covered. Located in the Mission, Balompie Café is just one of the numerous Salvadorian restaurants serving up deliciously affordable discs of masa filled with frijoles and other goodies.

Limón

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Photo Credit: Olivia V. / Yelp

Not in the mood for Mexican? That’s alright, San Francisco has three locations of Peruvian restaurant Limón. Their ceviche is always a good call. Also give their tangy Leche de Tigre cocktail or crispy chicharrón de pollo a try.

READ: Tips to Take Mouth-Watering #FoodPorn Pics

Paleteros

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Photo Credit: justinbeck / Flickr

Ice cream trucks in San Francisco are the stuff of urban legends. Fortunately the city has plenty of paleteros. When you hear the bell ringing, you know someone nearby offering arroz con leche paletas just like abuela taught you to love.

The Mexican Museum

It’s called The Mexican Museum, but there are no actual Mexicans on display. What’s up with that? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Don’t let the name fool you: the Mexican Museum exhibits art from from all over the Americas, not just Mexico.

Strolling Mariachi

Cantando "El rancho grande." I love my peoples! #CorazonLatino

A photo posted by Claudya Martinez (@unknownmami) on

If you’re hanging out in the Mission District at a bar or restaurant, make sure you have a stack of singles on you — no, not for strippers — because you never know when a strolling mariachi might come by and serenade you.

Taquerias

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Photo Credit: Mani B. / Yelp

Taquerias in San Francisco are famed for their burritos, not their tacos. Burritos everywhere else strive to be as good. San Francisco’s burritos eat burritos from other places for breakfast.

The Mexican Bus

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Photo Credit: meandmybadself / Flickr

The Mexican Bus is more of an experience than a form of transportation. You can tour the streets and clubs of San Pancho in buses by the name of El Volado, Margarita or Lola, which are decorated like the Mexican buses of yore.

Galería de la Raza

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Photo Credit: Annette DuBois / Flickr

Since 1970, the non-profit Galería de la Raza has acted as a lab for Latino artists while championing awareness and appreciation for Chicano and Latino art.

San Francisco Latino Historical Society

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Photo Credit: sflatinohistoricalsociety / Facebook

Created in 2012, the San Francisco Latino Historical Society is dedicated to “documenting the Chicano, Latino and Indigena contribution to the development of San Francisco.” Last year, the SFLHS hosted a Latino Heritage Fair in San Francisco’s Public Library.

Puerto Alegre Restaurant

First # PuertoAlegre margarita of the year. Salud!

A photo posted by Claudya Martinez (@unknownmami) on

Now that the Tamale Lady is so hard to find, it’s nice to know Puerto Alegre is still sittin’ pretty on Valencia Street. It’s good, reasonably priced Mexican, comfort food. Go for the food and stay for the margaritas by the pitcher.

Aztec Dancers

Aztec Dance is alive and well in San Francisco thanks to dance groups like Mixcoatl Anahuac. Their performances throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area will hopefully inspire younger generations to keep the tradition alive.

Y colorín colorado this Latino cuento in San Francisco no se ha acabado.