Things to Do in Bernal Heights

Things to Do in Bernal Heights

  • Dan McLean
  • 01/10/23

Often referred to as San Francisco’s hottest neighborhood, Bernal Heights is a bastion of laid-back charm, leafy tranquil streets, and spectacular views. This neighborhood in the sky sports colorful Victorian homes and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, characteristics that make it a coveted destination for San Francisco families. The easy commute to Silicon Valley paves the way for high-powered executives to settle in, but make no mistake – this is anything but a bedroom community. With the quaint elegance of a European village and the sophisticated air of an urban playground, Bernal Heights offers residents the best of both worlds.
There are endless things to do in Bernal Heights. From the effortless chic of Cortland Ave to the breathtaking skyline vistas and stunning homes, Bernal Heights provides just enough bustle to this idyllic residential setting. Bernal Heights real estate trends favor light-filled townhomes and panoramic views, while historic architecture, lush gardens, secret patios, and wraparound decks create an enchanting backdrop for daily life. Whether you stock up at the farmers’ market to create gourmet meals at home or venture out to explore the first-rate culinary scene, Bernal Heights will keep your dance card full with these top destinations and activities.

Alemany Farmers’ Market

A San Francisco institution, the Alemany Farmers’ Market is also called the People’s Market, a title reflecting the close-knit community for which Bernal Heights is known. Established in 1943, the Alemany Farmers’ Market was the first farmers’ market in California. This long-running landmark inspired the farmers’ market movement in the state and is proud of the strong connections it has forged with local farmers.
Stop by every Saturday to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, artisan cheese, local honey, gourmet confections, fresh baked bread and pastries, and so much more. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for catching up with friends and perusing the numerous vendors, and the selection is truly outstanding.

Holly Park

Both San Francisco residents and visitors agree – Holly Park sports some of the most spectacular views in the city. Perched atop a hill in Bernal Heights, Holly Park is the jewel of the neighborhood in more ways than one. Conceived in 1874 as a local greenspace for Bernal Heights families, Holly Park provided residents with a tranquil outdoor oasis just steps from home – before Holly Park, Bernal Heights denizens had to journey all the way to Golden Gate Park.
Holly Park has been a beloved landmark ever since, and residents take conservation efforts seriously. Today, this lovely spot is perfect for morning jogs or evening strolls with the family dog. Hit the court for a game of tennis or bring the kids to frolic on the playground.

Cortland Ave

Bernal Heights keeps its residents well-fed and in style with the ultra-trendy collection of boutiques and bistros lining Courtland Avenue. Home to some of San Francisco’s most celebrated gourmet and specialty food stores, as well as first-class restaurants and posh clothing stores, Cortland Ave is a highly coveted destination for all things chic and high-end, including the best restaurants in Bernal Heights.

Known for the most creative sushi in the city, Moki Sushi and Pacific Grill has been a local favorite since 1998. This Pan-Asian bistro features a vibrant array of fresh salads, small plates, steak and salmon dishes, and of course, a mouthwatering menu of rolls and sushi. Start with the spicy papaya salad and the grilled prawns before moving on to the butter sablefish or specialty rolls.
Once you are sufficiently fueled up on sushi, get out and explore the shops on this iconic street. Find your global style at the internationally inspired 12 Small Things. This home goods haven carefully curates a collection of sustainably sourced jewelry, clothing, and decor from talented artisans in Nepal, Ecuador, Tanzania, and more. Gardners and those with an eye for beauty will delight in Succulence, a gorgeous shop for plants and gardening goods.

Before heading home for the night, make a beeline for Barebottle Brewing Co. This award-winning brewery is known for its innovative beers and commitment to sourcing local ingredients. The industrial-chic warehouse setting serves as the perfect backdrop for the competition-based brews and creates an atmosphere of excitement and camaraderie. Stop in regularly to sample new menu items and the best beer in the Bay Area.

Flowercraft Garden Center

The expansive Flowercraft Garden Center is a bastion of floral beauty. Offering an incredible selection of succulents, trees, plants, soils, and flowers, Flowercraft Garden Center is a true local gem. This spacious store is regularly bestowed with honors and awards and was most recently named the top gardening shop in San Francisco.
Here you will find everything from Christmas trees and spring bulbs to organic soil and sculptures for your garden oasis. Pick up avocado and fig trees for a lush and delicious home garden, stock up on a bevy of specific soils for a successful growing season, and take your pick of colorful cacti and cheerful flowers to brighten up your home.

Coffee, coffee, coffee

San Francisco’s coffee culture is alive and well on Courtland Ave, with freshly roasted beans and locally sourced baked goods. Start your morning with a latte and a dash of whimsy at Pinhole Coffee. Bringing together coffee culture, art, and the Bernal Heights community, Pinhole Coffee creates a welcoming, home-away-from-home vibe. Pinhole sources all of its beans and baked goods from San Francisco businesses and showcases the work of local artists.
Martha and Bros Coffee Company invites guests to enjoy superb brews and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Stop in for a cup or sign up for a coffee subscription, and you’ll be living like a Bernal Heights local in no time.
Progressive Grounds sports a Moroccan influence and everything that can turn a coffee shop into your go-to neighborhood stop. Excellent espresso drinks, a globally inspired menu, plenty of seating both inside and out on the patio, and a loungy vibe make this the kind of place you can settle into for a morning of work or an afternoon with friends.
Are you interested in exploring Bernal Heights real estate? Contact Dan McLean today to begin touring homes for sale.

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