"a cute place to visit, a wonderful place to live!"
Look, when I first moved to Bernal more than 4 years ago, I was a little skeptical: the main thoroughfare seemed kinda sleepy next to the action of 24th Street in the Mission and Noe Valley (I'd lived for four years in between those two neighborhoods.) But the the close-knit community and warmth of the neighborhood has completely won me over--Bernal Heights is a *great* place to live. Cortland is its own cozy little retail district, with a major grocery store (The Good Life), a wonderful yoga studio (Bernal Yoga), a legendary bar (Wild Side West), super cute boutiques (yay, Hearfelt), upscale restaurants (Piqueo's, Little Nepal), two great coffee shops (Marth & Bros. and Progressive Grounds), a bookstore (Red Hill Books), and most recently, a fitness center and a posh little bakery. Plus, our branch library just re-opened after an extensive remodel, and it's beautiful! The western half of Cortland connects with Mission Street, so you're close to a lot more action if you want it (along with major bus lines); the eastern portion is quieter--and, honestly, a little more run down (that's where I live)--and feels more like a nondescript thoroughfare. Spend a quiet Saturday morning walking up to Bernal Heights park or Holly Park, play with your dog or kid, and then enjoy all that Cortland Ave. has to offer.