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Bernal Heights, San Francisco

Bernal Heights is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California.LocationBernal 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 is bounded by Cesar Chavez Street to the north, San Jose Avenue to the west, US 101 to the east, and I-280 to the south.HistoryBernal Heights, also called "Nanny Goat Hill," had its origin with the 1839 Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo Mexican land grant to José Cornelio Bernal (1796–1842). By 1860, the land belonged to a San Francisco financier, Frenchman François Louis Alfred Pioche (1818–1872), who subdivided it into smaller lots.Bernal Heights remained undeveloped until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Built atop bedrock, the hill's structures survived the tremor, and the sparseness of the development saved much of Bernal from the ravages of the firestorm 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 which were moved up to Bernal Heights. During World War II, the area saw another population surge including many African American families thanks to its proximity to the San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point. During the Vietnam War, the neighborhood was known as "Red Hill" for the anti-war activists in shared households and collectives who moved in among the working-class families.
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  • Download Detour's audio tour (it's free until labor day) and tour Bernal heights. You will learn about the great quake and why this is the place to be if you don't want to experience an earthquake! Th...  more »
  • Bernal Heights Park is one of San Francisco's largest Hilltop parks. The grassy park is both visible landmark from many neighborhoods and also provides vistas of Downtown, the Mission, Twin Peaks, San...  more »
  • We greatly enjoyed our hike to Bernal Heights. The view is fabulous! It's not crowded. It was a great way to spend a day with the family.  more »

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From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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