Bernal Heights Park is located atop a giant hill. Depending on where you hail from, it might seem like a mountain. Bernal Heights was established as a neighborhood in the late 1800s when the population of San Francisco exploded due to the Gold Rush. Unlike most neighborhoods that were destroyed during the infamous 1906 earthquake, Bernal Heights remained mostly intact.
A short walk for the Mission, Bernal Heights offers 360 degree view of San Francisco. On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean, the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge and San Bruno Mountain.
Have you ever wondered how the streets and avenues can have the same numbers? One of the coolest things are the view, is seeing how the whole city grid is laid out. And how the best attempt at city planning is thwarted by hills popping up in the middle of the grid.
There are a couple different access points to the park, so make sure you remember which one you came in if you want to go back down the same way. My favorite access point is Esmeralda Street. This route weaves up public staircases that connect through a series of public parks. It is pretty steep so make sure you are dressed in comfortable clothes and can climb stairs for 20-30 minutes.