7.0 out of 10

Bernal Heights

Ranked 58th best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7388058973339 -122.41768650977
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Pest Free
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parks & Recreation
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
  • Public Transport
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"A Hill to Come Home to"

That bald hill with the odd contraption on top is the geographical high point of a neighborhood that plays it close to the vest. Despite the cultural and sociological foment of the Mission District to the north and the goings-on of the Google crowd in Noe Valley to the northwest, Bernal Heights is a sanctuary of folks who go to work and then come home to their families, their partners, their pets, their hobbies, and their artistic pursuits without making a big fuss about it. They eat dinner—from a local take-out Thai place, a taqueria, the corner pub, or their own kitchen from vegetables they grow in their own backyard—and then pursue their private lives quietly. These are not showy people. There’s no cinema, no theater, no fancy shopping district here. What there is looks pretty much like a solid, residential area in an older city on, say, the East Coast, or in Chicago. Were it not for Bernal Hill and the views it gives of San Francisco from many angles, it would be hard to distinguish this area from any number of places in the Bay Area as well.

Yet, that hill and its crowning microwave tower make all the difference, for Bernal Hill not only gives the neighborhood its name but also the elevation necessary to distinguish it from the surrounding areas. Historically part of a large Mexican rancho run by José Cornelio de Bernal, to whom it was deeded, the slopes were cut up after California became a U.S. state into small lots settled by European immigrants, who farmed and operated dairy ranches on them. Their practices kept the top of the hill as communal pasture, free of the cookie-cutter development that befell much of the rest of the city during the 19th century. After the 1906 earthquake and fire (from which the neighborhood was mostly spared, thanks to Bernal hill's serpentine bedrock and the fact that most dwellings weren’t constructed in cheek-by-jowl fashion), people moved to Bernal Heights in increasing numbers, attracted by its curved and winding streets (remnants of the animal trails and footpaths of its farmland past) and patchwork of yards, seeking a respite from the grid and grind of the rest of San Francisco.

During World War II, more blue-collar workers came, attracted by the steady work and good pay offered by the naval shipyards of Hunters Point. By the late 1960s and early ’70s, enough anti-Vietnam War activists had settled here to make the neighborhood a kind of political hotbed, second to the Haight. Then came a decline, as the area succumbed to drug traffickers and related crime. The renewal of the 1990s is still being felt today, as young families, lesbians, artists, and single professionals revive a hodgepodge of homes, some Victorian and impressive, others from the mid-20th century and of modest architectural origins, all of them essential to a close-knit neighborhood where people swap news over backyard fences and across front porches, as they might in any small town.

The town feeling of Bernal Heights is evident in its leafy streets, the care with which people tend the flowers and greenery of their yards, and the fierceness with which they support their parks. Bernal Heights is known as a dog-lover’s haven, to a great degree because canine guardians (they would never call themselves “owners”) have convinced their landlords of their passion (leases often allow dogs of all sizes) and also because they have lobbied City Hall to keep Bernal Heights Park an “off-leash zone” for humankind’s best friends, ensuring that poop bags are available to placate the joggers and walkers and other mammals who use its many trails (which they, in turn, enjoy for marvelous views of downtown, Twin Peaks, and the East Bay). Neighborhood artists, tinkers, activists, and average residents host an annual “illegal” soapbox derby (it has been shut down by police on occasion in the past) in the fall, with the steep Bernal Heights Boulevard transformed into a track for the imaginative vehicles that compete.

Holly Park, which used to be little more than a swingset and slide on top of an oval hillock that rarely got mowed, has been transformed of late into a dream playground, with brightly colored play equipment, benches, and tables. Even Precita Park, a relic from 1894 on the lower northern flank of the Bernal Heights, facing the Mission District, has been cleaned up and made safer, a far cry from its days as a decrepit, depressing place for drug addicts to congegrate. St. Mary’s Playground and Recreation Center, on the south-facing side of Bernal Heights, near Alemany Boulevard, also gets high marks from locals for its tennis courts, capacious gymnasium, and dog walk with grass and paved areas. The large rec center has activities for tots (ages 1 to 3), kid's gym, and peewee sports.

That everybody in this neighborhood of roughly 25,000 gets along and looks at parks as integral to their quality of life—walker, jogger, dog-runner, and parent alike—is a testament to the mellow, cooperative nature of the place. (U.S. Census Bureau figures peg its population at more than 60 percent white, with Asians [20 percent] and African Americans [10 percent] accounting for large segments as well.)

The city’s longest-standing farmer’s market (established in 1947, among the first in California) assembles every Saturday from dawn to dusk in the huge lot at 100 Alemany Blvd. The enormous selection of fresh produce includes standards (beans, tomatoes, aparagus, strawberries, peaches, corn, etc.) as well as Asian veggies (bok choy, daikon, et al.) and has of late tipped toward locally grown (rather than trucked in from far-flung Central Valley farms) and, to a lesser degree, organic. Plus, prepared-food stalls and hot take-away items like pizza, pupusas, and kebabs.

Despite all the improvements in public spaces, crime still visits the area: Vehicle break-ins and auto thefts, robbery, burglary, and disturbing the peace occur every day or so along the main commercial strips of Cortland Avenue, Mission Street, and Cesar Chavez Street, according to San Francisco Police Department stats. There’s a spillover of gang activity from the Mission District to the north, which means that not only vandalism but also assault and other violent crimes are committed here. (The area has counted five homicides in the last three years.)

Though the area is not known for public transit on every corner, buses do crisscross Bernal Hill: the 24 on an east/west path, the 67 north and south. The 23 cuts across its southern half, while the 27 does so on the north. A trolley (the J Church) skirts its western edge, along San Jose Avenue. The 24th Street BART station is within walking distance for many residents on the north side of the hill. Though many residents own cars and drive to work (highway access to downtown and Silicon Valley is good from the neighborhood), parking is generally easy, though steep hills discourage many drivers, so quiet streets prevail.

Elementary schools, both public and private, are spaced strategically around the slopes of Bernal Heights: Paul Revere (public K-8) on the east, and Leonard R. Flynn (public K-5) and St. Anthony’s Immaculate Conception (Catholic, K-8) on the north.

The neighborhood has one hospital within its boundaries—California Pacific Medical Center (formerly St. Luke’s)—and another, San Francisco General Hospital, blocks away, on 24th Street and Potrero Avenue.

Single-family homes have been a considerable bargain here for years; the ones purchased long ago have held their value while newer ones are still lower in price than the rest of the city. A single-family, two-bedroom home on a quiet street can sell for anywhere from $650,000 to $800,000, while a one-bedroom condo might fetch around $350,000. Rents are cheaper here, too: a studio can occasionally be found for under $1,000 a month, and one- and two-bedroom units on main streets are frequently around $1,500 a month.

The main shopping sections are along Mission Street from Cesar Chavez Street south, and also on Cortland, with its hilltop collection of cafes, bars, restaurants and markets (anchored by Good Life Grocery). Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, on Virginia near Mission, caters to the neighborhood’s no-nonsense residents who hunger for big portions and relaxed surroundings, as do a number of other casual venues (Liberty Café on Cortland, Blue Plate on Mission, and Caffe Cozzolino on Precita Avenue). The stretch of Mission from Cesar Chavez to 30th Street offers a number of Latin American restaurants, funky boutiques, a hardware and auto parts store, as well as a Safeway (with parking) at its southern end. Of all streets in Bernal Heights, this is where the melting pot is most in evidence.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
Jan 11, 2017

"Charming small-town feel but cold summers"

Has a small town feel in the bigger city. Great access to the Mission. Has its own culture and nightlife. Best bar in the city (Wild Side West) and live music (bar across the street) and a wonderful park (Bernal hill).

Unfortunately cold wind from the ocean blows down 280. After 2 cold summers in a row, we moved south.
Pros
  • Community Feel
  • Cute houses
  • A Handful of Good Bars
Cons
  • Cold summers
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5
Jan 19, 2016

"BERNAL HEIGHTS: FOR DOG-LOVERS, HIPPIES & FAMILIES"

As Bernal Heights is on a hill, some would say that it is both South of and on top of San Francisco’s Mission District. Lovingly referred to as “Maternal Heights,” the BH is a haven for dog-owners, the hippie-minded and mamas with young children. However, you can still find a diverse group of residents who have lived in The BH for years and don’t intend to leave. Why? It’s less expensive, warmer than many of its neighboring districts and several green spaces (some attached to houses!) are scattered around the neighborhood. Like Bernal Heights Park, Precita Park and Holly Park. Neighborhood Tip: If you are looking for something to do in Bernal Heights, make sure to check out park schedules, there is likely to be an affordable concert or show playing for your enjoyment.

The neighborhood is mostly residential and is not as gentrified as the Mission, however more and more city-dwellers are discovering this little oasis on a hill. Cortland Avenue is one of the main streets and you can find bakeries, “The Good Life” grocery store, cafes, fruit stands, bars and restaurants here. Some popular places include: Moki’s Sushi and Pacific Grill, Piqueo’s and Paulie’s Pickling. Cortland Avenue also provides a home for one of the coolest community events in BH. The Bernal Heights’ HillWide Garage Sale is held in August each year. This event gives residents an opportunity to sell furniture, trinkets and clothes that they no longer use. It’s the biggest one in San Francisco and about 100 people register to sell.

Like Haight Ashbury, Bernal Heights has an annual festival that takes over its streets. On the third Sunday in October, “Bernal-ites” host “Fiesta on a Hill.” At that time over 100 arts & crafts, local goods & services and food vendors stretch across about seven streets. Residents’ favorites include the live music, dancing, petting zoo and donkey rides. Proceeds from this event benefit the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.

Another neighborhood attraction is the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema that takes place in September and October. This Bernal Heights Tradition shows free screenings from local filmmakers. Movies like ‘Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos’ and ‘Garden for the Future’ have played here. Featured artists show works from as short of seven-minute documentaries to longer length films.

The quiet, small-town feel is what many appreciate about Bernal Heights, no doubt heightened by the many community-oriented events that take place through-out the year. Bernal Heights’ steep hills, and the fact that it only serviced by two bus lines - the 24 and the 67 - deter many from venturing up its inclines. But residents like this characteristic of the neighborhood. It has definitely slowed the gentrification process and allowed the neighborhood to keep its charm for a much longer time.

Make a friend here who has access to their rooftop. I guarantee you that looking at the city lights from there will take your breath and your stress away immediately.

Hurry up and visit before the magic disappears.

Originally posted on this site: http://www.mysfba.com/2015/10/bernal-heights-for-dog-lovers-hippes-families/
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Small Town Feel, but Not Kansas"

Bernal Heights used to be where those married and soon to be married types went to live when they wanted to stay close to the city but couldn’t afford the high prices of Sea Cliff or Pacific Heights. This hill on the south of city offers not only a pretty good view, but somewhat of a quieter feeling—as if you have moved to a small town in the middle of it all. But the area has changed a bit. Let me explain:

Rent Prices: It just is not so cheap to live here anymore. The word got out that this was a great little area and despite the real estate crash, rents and prices kept on climbing here. If you look at the price for rentals today, for example, what you find is one bedrooms for about $2K. Now there are exceptions like an occasional room for rent at $600 but mostly prices are about the same as Pacific Heights. One of the benefits of the area, however, is that there are some larger homes with multiple bedrooms—something which is a rarity in SF. So you can find a 3 bedroom for example going for about $4K.

Overall, however, this is no longer the steal it used to be just a couple of years ago even.

Crime--The very next thing, of course, you have to wonder about is crime. Given that it borders two of the highest crime areas in SF (the Mission to the north and the Bay View/Hunter’s Point area to the south) you might be concerned that you are going to get some spill over in this area.

Well it turns out you really don’t have much to be worried about. There are virtually no shootings here. Now there are the usual burglaries that you should expect in virtually all parts of the city, but most of this action is, as you might expect, is at the borders of the neighborhood. (Evidently the thieves didn’t see the “Entering Bernal Heights” signs.) If you look at it in relative terms, what you find is that Bernal Heights registers one third the crime danger of its more dangerous neighbors—which means its pretty average for SF. Where you mostly should worry about is around Chavez Street on the border with the Mission—which has the most urban (least Bernal) feel. Up on the hill where it is fairly residential, it feels relatively safe.

Restaurants: If there is a business that is booming in Bernal beyond collecting high rents, it is restaurants. In the last five years or so, a ton of restaurants have cropped up on the main drag of Bernal Heights, Cortland Street. Here are my top five, just to whet your appetite: Piqueo’s, a great little Peruvian Place; Little Nepal; Vega Pizza, which is an all around great Italian place, not just for pizza; Miko Sushi; and the Blue Elephant, a Thai place. All delicious. All worth the schlep south.

Bars: Now Bernal, being a supposed family neighborhood is not known for its bars, but that is an image that should soon change, given the number of places that have taken up residence here in the past half decade. There are now at least a half dozen bars on Cortland: 2 gay bars: Wild Side West and Stray Bar; 2 dives: Lucky Horseshoe and Skip’s; and 2 wine bars: VinoRosso and Liberty Wine. Now this is not the cornucopia of spirits you can find in other neighborhoods, but it is definitely not Kansas either.

In a Nut Shell?

In a nut shell, if you can afford it and want a neighborhood just a touch out of the main action but still with plenty to spend your sizeable salary on—you have found home. If you don’t have a sizeable disposable income, you probably need to keep heading south and west.
Pros
  • Great Restaurants
  • A Handful of Good Bars
  • Community Feel
  • Cute houses
Cons
  • No Longer Affordable
  • A Bit of Crime Worry On Borders
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Cute, bohemian neighborhood"

Bernal Heights is a pretty cool neighborhood and I find that it's quite different from most nabes in the city proper. The neighborhood is perched on top of a pretty big hill with minimal public transportation going through. This lack of easy access affects the neighborhood in some good and some bad ways. It's great because it keeps Bernal relatively quiet and cheap. There's just not a lot of traffic in this area and that's a lovely respite from how the rest of SF is. The bad news is that because there isn't an easy way into the neighborhood, it's a pain for you to get home if you live there and there isn't much in the way of nightlife or shopping because it's not a destination spot. It's a really sleepy part of town and quite a hike home if you go down the hill for some drinks.
The thing I really like about Bernal Heights (aside from the view) is that there are a lot of freestanding bungalow house thingies. That doesn't sound excited to some, but San Francisco doesn't do free standing house and affordable simultaneously. These tiny houses are reasonably priced and they make having a dog doable in the city. It's a really dog friendly neighborhood and it's adorable. There's a lot of new families in Bernal Heights too, which adds to the quiet / sleepiness.
There are a lot of cute little cafes and a ton of parks, but nightlife and shopping are not highlights of this area. There are some fantastic farmers markets and a lot of fun things like Fiesta on the Hill, The illegal soapbox derby (which is awesome) and outdoor cinema. Bernal Heights is one of the most community oriented neighborhoods in the city and I would totally live here despite the transportation situation.
Pros
  • Cute houses
  • Community Feel
  • Relatively affordable
Cons
  • Transportation
  • The Hill
  • Dead at night
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
2yrs+

"Modest neighborhood with sweeping hilltop views"

Bernal Heights is a modest San Francisco neighborhood tucked away in San Francisco’s southeastern quadrant. On the outside, the area is made up of brightly painted houses and store fronts with clean and quiet residential streets. Mostly due to the fact that the neighborhood is rarely visited by outsiders except for people passing along the freeways that make up its eastern (Highway 101) and southern (Interstate 280) borders.

Bernal Heights’ residents are mostly considered middle-class with young and open-minded families making up the bulk of it. The commercial hub is centered around Cortland Avenue, where small markets, cafes and barber shops cater to the neighborhood.

As for transportation, the 24th Street Bart is within walking distance to those living on the north end of the neighborhood. Yet, there are several Muni buses that traverse the district somewhat frequently. Public parking in the more commercial areas are busy and generally metered while residential parking tends to be a bit easier to come by.

Bernal Park is one of the prominent geographic features of the neighborhood. Known for its two massive radio towers, the grassy, dog-friendly parkland offers a 360 degree view of all of San Francisco. Hundreds of hikers seek refuge from the busy city bustle and comb the high trails.

Every Fall, the neighborhood hosts Fiest on the Hill, a family-friendly attraction set with a myriad of kid’s activities including a pumpkin patch, face painting booths and a petting zoo. On Saturday mornings, the district blocks off a part of Alemana Boulevard for the full day to host a farmer’s market where merchants sell locally grown produce. On Sundays, the Alemana lot turns over to flea market entrepreneurs where people bargain for vintage crafts, collectables and memorabilia.

Nightlife is somewhat typical for a run-of-the-mill neighborhood. Most locals keep to themselves while others frequent the few local dive bars that serve the community. Nightlife is mainly left to the trendy restaurants that line the commercial strips.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Bernal Heights Park is a place you MUST visit!"

Bernal Heights is the place to go to with a bunch of friends at night after eating out or whatever has been done, specifically Bernal Heights Park. Here at this high point of San Francisco is where you can get a good wiff the San Francisco breeze as well as enjoy a spectacular view of San Francisco in all directions. I’ve been here quite often and every time I’ve been here is just as enjoy as the last. Although it may not be as safe to come during the day, hanging out at Bernal Heights Park during the night is very enjoyable as you get to see the nighttime skyline of San Francisco. I’ve also had a lot of friends who do photography come up here for panoramic and other great photo shots. Bernal Heights Park is definitely a place where you should bring your camera. Not only is it a great place to hang out with friends here, but also a great place to bring the girlfriend/boyfriend. Although this is a “park” there are barely any trees here, strange, basically bald. The area around the park is a plethora of residential homes that is until you reach Cortland Avenue where you’ll find great restaurants to eat at and small shops.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Residential neighborhood with a bohemian flair"

Bernal Heights is another part of San Francisco that I would call a "sleeper area." It is at the top of the Mission Valley and has a very quant little village with a bohemian vibe. You can find various little stores and restaurants along Cortland.

The homes are really pretty in Bernal Heights. You can find more historic bungalows and also gorgeous little gardens. From what I have heard, home prices in Bernal heights are pretty reasonable for San Francisco. This may be a place to check out (and cross your fingers) if you are looking to buy. Keep in mind, however, that this region doesn’t have superb public transit. You will need a car.

My friend who lives in SF, told me that The Blue Plate is a really popular (and tasty) restaurant to check out. It’s a romantic, but expensive, spot. If you are in Bernal and looking for dinner, that would be a good place to check out.

Bernal Park is a big-time dog park. Owners can unleash their dogs and let them run free. There is also a nice Farmer’s Market that takes place on Saturday. This is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the country!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"A village within the City"

Bernal Heights is a wonderful village within the greater city. Protected from Bay breezes this area has tons of southwestern exposure and fewer foggy days. The streets are uber-quaint and everyone seems to have a garden, flowerbeds, and thoughtful paint jobs.

Bernal Heights’ main street, Courtland, is full of shops and frequented by hip and earnest San Francisco parents pushing baby strollers with dogs in tow. Parking is less of a challenge here than in other parts of the city. The area has many strong local businesses and an involved community. Along Courtland there is a great bookstore called Red Hill Books as well as a magical bar called Wild Side West with a sprawling backyard. A fabulous new wine bar, VinoRosso, has opened up. On Wednesdays they have a special “whine and wine” night—a baby friendly evening from 4-7PM where parents descend with kids to enjoy a rare night out at a wine bar free of reproach.

There is some public transportation in Bernal, especially along areas that border the Mission District, but it’s slightly less convenient to get around than other neighborhoods. The nearby Alemany Farmer’s Market is a gem and living in this neighborhood means you probably don’t have to brave the overstuffed and parking area for the market.

Sometimes Bernal Heights feels like it’s a world away from the rest of San Francisco—which can be both good and bad. In my experience friends from other parts of the city are less inclined to make the trek over to Bernal for a night out. But when they do spend time here, they depart with a twinge of envy for the neighborhood’s many charms.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Experience unique flavor in Bernal Heights"

Bernal Heights portrays quaint neighborhood charm and homes are primarily cabin-sized single family residences, many of which have been restored with modern amenities. The community now attracts a wide range of urban dwellers, small shops, and lots and lots of kids.

Cortland Avenue is the central vein running through the neighborhood, filled with great restaurants, boutiques, and every service under the sun. Eat at Valentina Ristorante, Moki's Sushi, or the world famous Liberty Cafe. You won't find Starbucks in this area, but you can get your java fix at Progressive Grounds. Stop by Maggie Mudd for some amazing ice cream, or a stiff drink at Wild Side West.

Don't forget the Alemany Flea Market or the San Francisco Illegal Soap Box Derby that enforces only one rule: every car must have a beer holder. One thing is simple in Bernal Heights, if you come in alone, you will leave with many friends.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5
2yrs+

"Nothing like the view"

There's nothing quite like the view from Bernal Heights Park. It's not really anything like Twin Peaks, but then, nothing is. But the view from this end of town is also somewhat awe inspiring when you look out and see the houses dotting the side of the hill.

There's some shops over on Courtland that I've really enjoyed, especially the pizza I used to get over there at this Indian Restaurant that served Pizza. They would put Indian Food on top of pizza which really works well -- it's like naan with sag paneer or something like that. I can't recall the name of it any more, but it's a short way from mission up the hill, I think at the corner of Coleridge.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Quiet streets and great views, but near the heart of the city"

Bernal Heights is primarily a residential neighborhood. Other than Cortland street, most of the streets in Bernal are primarily residential, and the twisting, hilly layout makes them fairly quiet, with minimal auto and foot traffic compared to the rest of SF. Houses were mostly built in the early to mid 20th century, and being on a hill, many of them have spectacular views. Bernal dwellers have a definite sense of pride in their neighborhood, and it almost seems like a small town plunked down in the middle of San Francisco. If you feel like stretching your legs, hike up from Cesar Chavez or Cortland to the top of Bernal Heights park and enjoy a 360 degree view of San Francisco.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Bernal Heights?

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Best Streets in Bernal Heights

1

Cortland Ave

3.5/5
"Crescent Valley a nice Neighborhood for Working Class People"
37.7389198859252 -122.414077658747
2

St Marys Ave

2.5/5
"Runs from San Jose Ave to Mission St"
37.7346042026761 -122.427629198329

Unranked Streets in Bernal Heights

Costa St

3/5
"Costa Costa Baby!"
37.7443720005499 -122.404887499641

Agnon Ave

2.5/5
"A short, peaceful street"
37.7347147239414 -122.422393163335

Appleton Ave

3.5/5
"Runs from Mission St. to Holly Park Circle"
37.7383635047741 -122.422766246276

Banks St

2.5/5
"Cute Street off Bernal Heights Main Drag"
37.738539414796 -122.412724679241
"Barneveld Ave: A wide street"
37.735314438368 -122.408121086013

Benton Ave

2.5/5
"In as friendly neighborhood"
37.733002780969 -122.422790930442
"Small, sweet, and Welcoming"
37.7423387502833 -122.413338519144

College Ave

2.5/5
"A very pleasant street to live at."
37.7341233783594 -122.423834312594

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