5 Bernal Heights Instagram Ideas You Forgot About

Cafe St. Jorge Bernal Heights San Francisco

When was the last time you struggled with an interesting Instagram picture idea to post?

We all do it. Sit there and wonder what to take a photo of for our feed.

Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity as well as your social media profiles.

Bernal Heights is by far one of the coolest neighborhoods to explore in San Francisco. Whether you’re looking for artsy Instagram photos or just fun coffee captions, it’s ideal for a photo walk. There are so many places that will inspire you to take better photos.

An important thing to remember when looking for great photo opportunities is the background. It can make or break a photo. Once you have that, patiently wait for something to happen and you’ll capture those candid moments. 

It doesn’t have to be the cliché sunset shots over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Wander around Cortland Avenue for some epic and unique street photography.

1. Epicurean Trader

401 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, Tel: (415) 872- 9484

Epicurean Trader, Bernal Heights San Francisco

This small but mighty Bernal location carries some cultish food brands with beautiful packaging. All of it artfully displayed and Instagram worthy. 

The owners of Epicurean Trader, Mat Pond and Holly McDell, have nailed the visual retail experience.

Their impeccable choice of products sets the vibe of the whole store. Their style is artisanal and graphic. Their chalk lettered walls make the look complete.

You’ll find morning sun shining through a window filled with freshly baked bread from Tartine Bakery. Beautiful teas and chocolates packaged and arranged with an eye for detail.

Part of their intention is to make sure their customers enjoy shopping the shopping experience. It’s just as important as the high quality, small batch artisan products they sell.

Together the combo makes for vivid, colorful photos with patterns and pops for Insta posts. Remember, they have another location on Union Street.

Favorite hashtags: #TheEpicureanTrader #BestBottleShopInSF

2. Cafe St. Jorge

3438 Mission Street, San Francisco, Tel: (415) 814-2028

Cafe St Jorge Bernal Heights San Francisco

This is a favorite meeting place for neighbors and locals. It’s bright, light and airy. Perfect for candid photos, with lots of alluring subjects. 

The care and presentation of their waffles (yum), lattes and salads are camera-ready. Try the bold and colorful golden turmeric toddy. Ready-made for some witty coffee captions.

Their avocado chili toast and fruit waffles are already Insta-famous. And delicious any time of day.You’ll find window seats tucked away, with local artwork hanging on the walls.

Their calendar of monthly live music nights is perfect for people watching.

Favorite hashtags: #CafeStJorge #CafeStJorgeSF

3. Pinhole Coffee

231 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, Tel: (415) 364-8257

Pinhole Coffee Bernal Heights San Francisco

The owner, JoEllen Depokakido has created a cozy atmosphere and a thriving artist community with this cafe. It’s been voted Best of Bay in 2016. Pinhole serves the need for a neighborhood cafe where art and community co-mingle.

This place is informal, intimate and without Wifi. People go there to talk and meet neighbors.

JoEllen got her barista experience working for businesses like Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia. So their lattes are served with love. And completely photogenic.

The name comes from the pinhole camera. One of the simplest ever made. It consists of a light-proof box, some sort of film and a pinhole. This cafe is also simple, comfortable, communal and has excellent coffee. What else do you need?

Extra points for creatively using the mural outside made by local artist Amos Goldbaum.

It’s sure to get you a few more Insta likes.

Favorite hashtags: #PinholeCoffee #PinholeCoffeeArtists

4. Succulence

402 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, Ca Tel: 415-282-2212

Succulence Bernal Heights San Francisco

This store originally opened in 1986 as Four Star Video and the building itself is almost 100 years old. The owners, Ken and Amy Shelf, bought it in 2007 and began selling a small number of succulents in the back of the store. That was before the plants were so popular and the idea grew.

Now they’ve turned it into a place that offers “supplies for succulent living”.

It is filled with pretty plants. In fact, the USEXY vertical garden wall is one of the most Insta-famous spots in the neighborhood.

The store design is a bloggers delight. While you’re there you can check out classes on vertical gardening, beginning succulent design and terrariums.

Favorite hashtags: #Succulence #SucculentShop

5. Bernal Hill

Bernal Heights Blvd

Bernal Hill San Francisco

When you add food, plant shopping and a sunset hike, you have the perfect photo walk. The mother of Bernal is the infamous Bernal hill. A short hike to the top rewards you with a panoramic view of San Francisco.

The swing on the hill, with the city in the distance, provides that classic photo opportunity. Remember to bring your dog for extra bonus points.

Favorite Hashtags: #BernalHill #BernalHeights

Spending an afternoon in Bernal Heights will give you plenty of Instagram worthy photos. You’ll rediscover favorite shops and have a score of restaurants and cafes to choose from. It’s one of the coolest areas to stay in San Francisco.

Tell us in the comments some of your favorite spots in Bernal.


Jen Baxter is a writer, photographer and San Francisco native. She tells stories encouraging people to be more independent, aware and creative. You can find other articles at JenBaxter.com or follow her on Instagram @JenBaxterSF