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Bernal Heights

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Once a sleepy hilltop village, Bernal Heights has become one of the city’s most in-demand locales over the last 10 years, a slightly offbeat sister neighborhood to the nearby Mission.

History: Bernal Heights started out as a sleepy farming neighborhood. (It did have its own disreputable side: Quasi-legal “Poundmen” made a living impounding their neighbors’ livestock, until they were run out by an angry mob incensed over the seizure of a respected widow’s only cow.) Because of its relative seismic stability, though, it suddenly began looking like a very good place to invest in land post-1906, and experienced many growth spurts throughout the 20th century.

Don’t Miss: Bernal Heights is best known for Bernal Heights Park, the grassy overlook that has spectacular views of downtown. It’s a pretty quiet neighborhood, but does have a slightly punky bar scene, including the queer-friendly El Rio, Wild Side West, the Royal Cuckoo, which, according to local legend, was furnished almost exclusively with the contents of the owner’s apartment. Zante Pizza and Indian Cuisine serves up tasty pizza with paneer masala. Red Hill Station does fish in ways so tasty you’ll want to hop into the bay and thank the little swimmers yourself (but please don’t), and Mitchell’s specializes in tropical (read: colorful) ice cream.