Bernal Heights is a residential neighborhood in southeastern San Francisco, California. The prominent Bernal Heights hill overlooks the San Francisco skyline and features a transmission tower. Bernal Heights lies to the south of San Francisco’s Mission District. Its most prominent feature is the open parkland and radio tower on its large rocky hill, Bernal Heights Summit.
Bernal Heights remained undeveloped until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Built atop bedrock, the hill’s structures survived the quake, and the sparseness of the development saved much of Bernal from the fires that followed. The commercial corridor of Eugenia Avenue filled in with shops as the pastureland on the hilltop was developed for workers’ homes during the rapid rebuilding of the city. Some of the tiny earthquake cottages, which the city built to house quake refugees, survive to this day, including three that were moved up to Bernal Heights.
By the 1990s, Bernal’s pleasant microclimate, small houses (some with traditional Victorian or Edwardian architecture) and freeway access to the peninsula and Silicon Valley led to another wave of migration. Bernal’s property values are increasing as urban professionals replace working-class homeowners and renters. Bernal is a haven for young families with children.