This is part four in the series I'm doing on what I consider to be the San Francisco that is not constantly in the national spotlight or even on the minds of most San Franciscans. For those who missed the previous threads:
Pt. 1: Excelsior
Pt. 2: Bayview
Pt. 3: Lakeview
Bernal Heights is the neighborhood south of the Mission between Glen Park, 280 and 101. Despite not being as well known as its northern neighbor, it is actually one of the largest individual neighborhoods in San Francisco. Generally though, locals distinguish between the two sides of Bernal Heights: North of Bernal Heights Park and South of Bernal Heights Park.
North Bernal Heights is definitely the wealthier of the two and has gentrified a lot in the last decade in large part because of its adjacency to the Mission. South Bernal Heights is in some ways what East of Mission is to West of Mission; although it has not been untouched by gentrification, it remains more lower-middle class than its counterpart. Even more so than the East of Mission area though, there is a very wide variety of people, cultures and classes in South Bernal Heights. They do not always mesh together seamlessly; the Alemany public housing complex for example sits very much aside from the rest of Bernal Heights both geographically and culturally. On the other hand, one can also see everybody from the Bernal Heights area congregating and coexisting in Holly Park or Saint Mary's Playground or on Cortland Avenue without the mutual unease that is often noted to exist between the two sides of the Mission.
With all that being said, welcome to South Bernal Heights.
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