Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights


The most prominent feature of Bernal Heights is a microwave tower sitting on a grassy knoll. But climb the hill to the seemingly quiet community and you’ll find a sunny place with great views that maintains a small town charm accented with city sophistication. It is primarily a residential, middle-class area with single family homes adjacent to the Mission District, full of first-time homebuyers and many small families. The neighborhood is nicknamed, “Maternal Heights,“ for the large number of mothers, both straight, and lesbian in the area. Bernal Heights is extremely dog-friendly and has an off-the-leash policy in Bernal Park.

One hundred and forty years ago, the Heights were settled by Irish immigrants who started dairy farms and ranches. The San Francisco earthquake in 1906 failed to do much damage to the community and dispossessed city dwellers who still had jobs relocated to small cottages in the Heights. By World War II, workers from the naval shipyards moved into the neighborhood. Bernal Heights fell into disrepute from gang activity in the 1980’s but as new businesses opened on Cortland Avenue, especially the Good Life Grocery and the Liberty Café (the area‘s first real eatery) crime diminished and the neighborhood’s bohemian charm became a beacon for young, progressive families.

Cortland Avenue and Mission Street have a wide variety of restaurants and cafes and the dining scene in the area is attracting attention for its eclectic eateries. You’ll find Indian cuisine at Zante’s and Little Nepal, full-fat and dairy-free ice cream at Maggie Mudd, Mexican-Salvadoran entrees at El Zocalo, and good all-American basics at Al’s Café Good Food.





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