The secret is out about Bernal Heights. Once regarded as an under-the-radar, somewhat sleepy residential enclave, Bernal Heights has exploded in popularity in recent years. In 2014, Redfin deemed it the hottest neighborhood in the United States, and home sales have increased by 111% in the intervening years. The median sales price for a two-bedroom home now tops $1.5 million.
It’s not hard to see the appeal—Bernal Heights retains a small-town feel while offering easy access to downtown San Francisco, making it the perfect place for families with young children or tech workers who want a fairly short commute. Situated south of downtown San Francisco, Bernal Heights is populated with Victorian and Edwardian homes as well as cute cottages. The peaceful neighborhood is perfect for those who want a quieter, more laid-back alternative to some of San Francisco’s busier districts.
The main street, Cortland Avenue, is dotted with markets, cafes, fruit stands, and hole-in-the-wall boutiques. Locals are especially fond of Harvest Hills Market
, a natural and organic food store that has been in business for over 100 years and offers fresh produce, local ice creams, single-malt whiskeys, and more. Start your morning off right by popping into Portuguese-influenced Cafe St. Jorge
for coffee and toast. For a night out on the town, make a reservation at 3rd Cousin
, a hidden gem that serves up a changing menu influenced by local California produce, before heading to Holy Water
, a dog-friendly neighborhood bar that has an ample selection of cocktails, spirits, beer, and wine.
Climb to the top of Bernal Heights Park to see panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the hills of the East Bay, or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at Precita Park. Get to know your neighbors by participating in local events like the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema
(which showcases movies from local filmmakers) or the San Francisco Illegal Soapbox Derby
(a cult classic event where individuals buzz down Bernal Hill Road in homemade soapbox racers). Anyone searching for a strong sense of community in the midst of San Francisco is sure to find it in this tight-knit residential enclave.