Holly Park: Where Bernal Neighbors Gather

Parks are central to a healthy community. Not only is the well being a neighborhood reflected in the state of it’s park, so is the health of it’s community. In our series on the parks of Bernal Heights, we’ve covered the unique features of St. Mary’s Park and Precitia Park.

Holly Park, went through a major revitalization project in early 2002. Eugenie Marek and activist friends formed the The Friends of Holly Park . The result was a beautiful park that is safe, peaceful and a little sister to the infamous Bernal Hill. Here are some features of Holly Park that will make you add it to your next urban adventure with the kids or the dog.



Walking up Bocana Street you immediately see the grassy knoll of Holly Park Circle up the block. The park has a 360 view. Kids play on the baseball diamond, basketball courts and the jungle gym. There’s open grass areas, a BBQ pit and shady picnic areas. Neighbors walk dogs on leashes around the circle and play tennis on well maintained courts. A Workout on the Hill uses all the parks in Bernal Heights as their playground. They meet at Holly Park early in the morning to tone and tighten the mind, body and spirit, offering outdoor workouts to the neighborhood.

According to the Parks Alliance, community activism has strong roots in Bernal Heights. It’s one of San Francisco’s oldest parks, established in 1870. When houses, families and roads sprung up in the area, the Holly Park Improvement Club put pressure on the city to pave a circle around the park. It opened in 1874 so residents could use the park instead of making the long trek to Golden Gate Park.

You can get to Holly Park from Bocana Street, Highland Avenue, Appleton Avenue and Murray Street. It’s a short walk from the shops and restaurants on Cortland Avenue. Buses that go there are the #24 Divisadero, #67 Bernal Heights, #23 Monterey and the #14 Mission.


Link Love:

A Walk in Precita Park for Mind, Body & Spirit

St. Mary’s Park: A Well Kept SF Secret

Friends of Holly Park

Parks Alliance

Workout on the Hill


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 amazing articles about community at JenBaxter.com or follow her on Instagram @JenBaxterSF