For a long time, Bernal Heights was the best kept secret in San Francisco real estate.
Short commutes into downtown, relatively affordable homes, and 360-degree views from atop its hills made it a desirable place for artists, musicians, and tech workers to settle down.
But the residential enclave located south of the city’s pricey Mission District and Noe Valley has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, driving the median sale price of a single-family home to $ 1.36 million, up 75% from five years ago. In 2014, real estate site Redfin named the north slope of Bernal Heights, an area that’s densely packed with million-dollar homes, the hottest neighborhood in America based on increases in search traffic to local listings.
I recently spent the afternoon in Bernal Height’s northern end to see what the buzz is about.
Bernal Heights has a small town feel while still being in a centrally-located part of San Francisco.
It sits south of the city’s downtown and is bisected by Cortland Avenue, a main shopping strip populated by small markets, cafes, restaurants, and hair and nail salons.
I start my day north of Cortland at Café St. Jorge, a Portuguese-inspired coffee shop and restaurant where I find young people catching up with friends and working on laptops.