Beyond the Grass: Unearthing Precita Park's Secrets

January 17, 2024

View of grass and trees at Bernal's Precita park with sunbathers and blue skies in the background

Beyond the Grass: Unearthing Precita Park's Secrets

Welcome, San Francisco residents, to the long-lived and lesser-known Bernal Park, or as it's currently known, Precita Park in Bernal Heights. Established in 1894 as Bernal Park, it lies at the foot of Bernal Hill's north slope.  This green oasis has a rich history that often goes unnoticed. Here are a few things to know about this small but well-loved park. Proximity to green-space certainly has its appeal in terms of real estate. Check out this wonderful single-family home located steps from Precita Park at

Precita Park Timeline:

  • 1894: Bernal Park was established at the foot of Bernal Hill.
  • 1939: The park lacks a visible playground, but an impromptu "baseball/stickball diamond" takes center stage.
  • 1973: Renamed Precita Park. The name change honored Precita Creek, which flows from Twin Peaks at Mission St to Islais Creek leading into the Bay. Precita means “little dam” and it's interesting to note the water continues its journey to the ocean today but does so in pipes under Cesar Chavez Street.
  • Present Day: Two transformative renovations in 1969 and 1993 shaped it into the inviting space we know today, complete with a gated playground.

Precita Park Aerial: 1939 dirt outline from ball games.


Precita Park today

Exploring Precita Park - 3 Things To Check Out:

Beyond its 2-acre green space, Precita Park hides lesser-known features waiting to be discovered.

  • Colorful Mosaic: Adorning the retaining wall to the playground, this mosaic tells the tale of Bernal's butterfly garden, Ohlone and Aztec heritage, and the journey of Precita Creek.
  • Memorial Bench: Crafted from cedar and melted guns, this bench serves as a poignant tribute to two teenagers that lost their lives in the park in 1996. The dove-shaped walkway, composed of 900 hand-painted tiles, creates a touching and visually striking memorial.
  • Dog-Friendly Vibes: While officially on-leash only, Precita Park is known for its relaxed atmosphere, providing an ideal space for your four-legged friends to play freely.

Precita Park Attractions:

This quaint urban park not only offers a 2-acre green haven but is also surrounded by local gems, making it an integral part of the neighborhood.

These establishments contribute to the vibrant atmosphere, ensuring that Precita Park remains a delightful destination for picnics and community gatherings. The park is also host to Bernal’s Outdoor Cinema bringing evening film aficionados together each year under the starry sky. So, whether you're a long-time resident or a newcomer, come and enjoy the treasure that is Precita Park, where history, art, and community blend. We’d love to hear about your favorite Precita Park moments and the value our parks bring to the community.

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Jennifer Burden & her mother Carren Shagley were long-time Bernal residents, are top San Francisco realtors, and remain committed to helping others succeed in San Francisco's real estate market.

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