In a city of neighborhoods, Bernal Heights might take the prize as the most neighborhood-y. It’s set off from the rest of the city by conveniently accessible freeways to the south and west and the main arteries Cesar Chavez St to the north and Mission St to the east—all without feeling boxed in or isolated. Instead, Bernal Heights feels homey and ideal for lovers of local flavor. Its namesake hill rises up to be capped by a huge park, with Holly and Precita parks providing ample backup for lovers of the outdoors.
Cortland Avenue collects the neighborhood’s commercial essentials, including coffee shops, groceries, excellent eateries, and local bars. With many of its streets winding up the hill, or discouraging through traffic, Bernal stands above the noise.