Known for its distinctive hill and microwave transmission tower, Bernal Heights is a beautiful San Francisco neighborhood, renowned for its hilltop view of the entire city. The neighborhood has among the most exciting histories of any of San Francisco’s communities, and it continues to this day to be a hip and community-centric area. If you want to make yourself a part of a collective-conscious and modern community, look no further than Bernal Heights! The community here includes such people as record producer Dan Nakamura and filmmaker Terry Zwigoff.
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Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA History
The area that would become Bernal Heights was part of a massive Mexican land grant in 1839, which eventually came into the hands of a Frenchman named Francois Pioche, who subdivided it and sold it away in smaller lots. The initial layout of the neighborhood was bought and platted out by the US Army during the Civil War, which is why many streets retain the names of military men to this day. The first residents were, for the most part, Irish farmers.
The area experienced a growth spurt during the devastating 1906 earthquake. Since the area was built on a certain type of rock, it was less prone to large ground movements during a seismic event, meaning it stayed relatively intact. Thus, many who had their homes destroyed in the earthquake moved in, and the neighborhood became a significant economic hub in the region.
World War II saw another population growth, this time with African-Americans who worked in the naval shipyards. The neighborhood became a culturally dissident area in the ‘60s, being derogatorily termed “Red Hill” during the Vietnam War for the high concentration of anti-war protestors and draft dodgers who lived there. The 1990s saw yet another growth, with San Francisco’s urban professionals taking a liking to the area and moving there in droves. Nowadays, it’s a neighborhood that has plenty for all sorts of people!
Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA Location & Transportation
Bernal Heights is situated just south of San Francisco’s Mission District, and is easily distinguished by its rocky hill, called Bernal Heights Summit, and large amount of open parkland. The community has two interstate highways on it’s border, the U.S. 101 and the I-280. Both are sufficient for all kinds of long and short distance travel.
Bernal Heights is outside the area typically served by San Francisco’s ever-famous tram system. However, the area is still serviced by San Francisco’s many bus routes, such as AC Transit and SamTrans. For the most part, you’ll be able to get around Bernal Heights on foot.
Bernal Heights is a neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, and with that comes benefits and drawbacks. While local culture may be overrun in some aspects, you can expect more development of Bernal Heights transportation systems, and increasing modernization in the area.
San Francisco is a 6 mile drive from Bernal Heights with these directions.
People, Lifestyle, and Culture of Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA
Bernal Heights is home to 32,675 people. Demographically, 44% are White, 33% are Hispanic, and 15% are Asian. As with many other communities, there are also disparate communities of other ethnicities in neighborhood limits as well, such as a small Black cohort, which makes up 3% of the population. Bernal Heights’s population is skewed towards men, with a gender ratio of 54%.
Bernal Heights’ appeal comes from its position as a truly modern and hip community. The area maintains its culturally liberal heritage that it became famous for in the 1960s, with a local LGBT landmark, the Wild Side West, having stood in the area for six decades. With the new influx of Silicon Valley workers, the neighborhood has taken on characteristics of their workplace as well.
Worried about crime in Bernal Heights? While Bernal Heights’ score on crime isn’t stellar, according to Areavibes, Bernal Heights is safe and among the safer communities within San Francisco. The violent crime rate is lower than the national average, while the property crime rate is higher than the national average, albeit to a much lesser degree than other parts of San Francisco.
What to Eat, Do, and Shop in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA
When it comes to shopping in Bernal Heights, there are plenty of smaller, specialty stores situated around the area. If you need a general shopping center, the Diamond Heights Shopping Center is just due west of Bernal Heights’ center. Additionally, smaller chains like Andi’s Market can provide for you within Bernal Heights’ limits.
If you’re looking for eats in the Bernal Heights area, you’ll be pleased to know that this neighborhood has fantastic restaurants in spades! If you can’t get enough of barbeque, Baby Blues provides an excellent menu of all sorts of delightful meats, from Memphis-style briskets to Texas-style ribs. This restaurant is a hit with locals who prefer the cuisine of America’s South. If eating barbeque doesn’t feel like the proper San Franciscan thing to do, Blue Plate (no relation to Baby Blues) might be more your thing. A finer establishment serving interesting and creative takes on typical American comfort dishes, Blue Plate draws in customers from all over the city for their unique menu.
You’ll find plenty of wonderful eateries here, that’s for sure, but what about attractions? Have no fear, for Bernal Heights has a diverse array of things to do appropriate for the whole family! Naturally, the most famous of all Bernal Heights’ attractions is the Bernal Heights Park. Situated on the also famous Bernal Heights Summit, this park allows views of nearly the entire city of San Francisco, along with the famous swing, and is a breathtaking thing to behold. At the park you can also tackle the Bernal Heights trail. If you have a furry family member you want to treat to a day out, while also keeping the rest of the people in your family entertained, Precita Park is an excellent choice. This dog-friendly park has a butterfly park and a gated playground, and is conveniently located right in the center of Bernal Heights.
- Diamond Heights, 5214D Diamond Heights Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94131
- Andi’s Market, PHQP+F8 Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA, +14156484656
- Baby Blues BBQ, 3149 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, +14158964250
- Blue Plate, 3218 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, +14152826777
- Bernal Height’s Pizzeria, 1361 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114, +14154005644
- Bernal Heights Park, 3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, +14158315500
- Precita Park, 3200 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, +14155132577
Bernal Heights Map
Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA Real Estate
Bernal Heights is a beautiful neighborhood and fantastic place to live, but that comes with a heavy price. The median sale price of a home in Bernal Heights is $1,702,500, and even the cheapest homes will likely be around a million dollars. For the nicer areas of San Francisco, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary. According to Redfin, the median amount of time for a house to be on the market in this area is 15 days, with 83.8% of homes being sold above listing price. A very competitive market, to be sure.
Renting in Bernal Heights, as should be of little surprise, is similarly very expensive, with the average monthly rent for all apartments being $3,244. Again, nothing out of the ordinary for San Francisco’s nicer portions. Bernal Heights is wicked expensive, there’s no getting around it, but that price is well worth it for the opportunity to live in one of San Francisco’s finest subcommunities.
If you’re interested in looking at listings for Bernal Heights’ homes, take a look at some Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA real estate options here.
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