It’s always sweater weather in homey, cozy Bernal Heights. Even when the sun breaks through, there is just something in the air that makes you want to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good read as you drink in this artsy neighborhood. This bastion of artists and progressives is affectionately known as “Maternal Heights” thanks to its kid-friendly feel. Bernal Heights is a riddle wrapped in an enigma to downtown devotees – perched as it is atop a steep hill at the outer edge of the Mission. For the lucky few who are in the know, there’s no place they’d rather be. The main dining and shopping strip of this quaint urban village is Cortland Avenue, and the residential streets that surround it are a cluster of dollhouse bungalows and community gardens.
The views from Bernal Hill are some of the best in the city. You’ll find residents taking time out for life’s pleasures – tending to their organic, heirloom veggie patches, jogging along pedestrian-only Bernal Heights Boulevard, or toting a blanket and burrito to a favorite grassy knoll.
Mosey up to the bar at the Lucky Horseshoe on a Sunday afternoon and tap your cowboy boot clad toes to a bluegrass jam – or while away an afternoon over a frothy cappuccino at St. Jorge, an atmospheric cafe with European flair. Stock up on paleo lifestyle supplies at Avedano’s, a quirky butcher shop that offers up some of the most legit paninis in the city, or visit one of the city’s best-kept secrets, Alemany Farmers Market, for fresh produce at modest prices.
Planted at the outer reaches of the Mission, Bernal Heights is known for being extremely pet-friendly, LGBTQ-friendly, and just plain friendly. Several tech shuttles stop nearby, making Bernal a superb option for those in the biz who would prefer to avoid a headachy solo car commute. And, because it’s right by the freeway, and street parking is much more plentiful here than other hoods, it’s also ideal for those who want to have a car in the city.