First American Title is helping us in defining each neighborhood in the city. As a first time homebuyer where do you want to live? Here is a brief overview into the “Good neighbors” areas in the city by the bay.
Potrero Hill / Bernal Heights
For a strong sense of community consider the hillside hamlets of Potrero Hill or Bernal Heights. Both sit atop hills and have lovely views of the Financial District’s southern skyline and the city below. Quaint commercial districts and nice single family homes, many with small yards, make them great for families (and dogs!).
Potrero Hill is closer to downtown and not far from the shops and restaurants of the Mission District. Potrero Center, at the foot of the hill, is a convenient shopping complex that includes a grocery store, post-office, dry cleaner, and pet store, plus a few shops, cafes and restaurants. But for the best food, stay close to home. The Hill’s main drag, along the 18th Street between Connecticut and Texas, is packed with great little restaurants, a neighborhood pub, and Farley’s, one of our favorite coffeehouses. For food try Elisa’s for Chinese, Goat Hill Pizza, formal French fare at Chez Papa, or more casual dishes at its sister restaurant, Chez Maman.
Housing prices have increased in recent years along with Potrero Hill’s popularity, but with garages, backyards and easy commutes to downtown and the peninsula, homes here are still a good value. The most appealing addressed are on the front side of the hill with a view of the city.
Known among residents as the People’s Republic of Bernal, Bernal Heights has a quaint, small-town feel enhanced by its feeling of remoteness from the big city. And it is remote. Situated south of the Mission District and across the busy Cesar Chavez traffic artery, many San Franciscans have never been to Bernal, which is just fine with its residents. Most are happy to keep the neighborhood to themselves and maintain its friendly, sociable vibe.
Thanks to the concentration of singly-family homes with yards and the off-leash haven of Bernal Park, Bernal Heights is a mecca for dog lovers. You’ll see a great many of the furry friends mixing with strollers along the strip of shops and cafes on Cortland Avenue. Our favorite spot for brunch is Liberty Cafe. The baking kitchen is housed in a detached room across the patio behind the restaurant and the bakers are happy to have you order a coffee and watch them work while you wait for your table. Next door is the long-standing Wild Side West. A comfortable back deck looks over an electric backyard sculpture garden (think flowers growing out of artfully arranged toilet bowls).