The heart of San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will forever be associated with the hippie movement and American counterculture. Today the district’s mix of boutiques, smoke shops, vintage stores, restaurants, and bars makes it a favorite among locals. It also has a high concentration of the beautifully restored Victorian homes the city is known for.
Visiting the Haight, as it’s known, is mostly about people watching and enjoying the laid-back vibe. Walk up and down Haight Street to visit landmark record store Amoeba Music and the popular Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop, located at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets.
Many San Francisco city tours will take you past the neighborhood, but opt for a VW van tour, Haight-Ashbury walking tour, or themed hippie tour for a more in-depth experience with a guide, who can often point out places of interest such as where Janis Joplin or the Grateful Dead used to spend their time.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Haight-Ashbury is a must-visit for counterculture history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
- Metered and non-metered street parking is available on and around Haight Street; read the street signs to check time allotments and street-cleaning days.
- Haight Street ends at the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, making it easy to explore both in the same day.
How to Get There
Haight-Ashbury is in central San Francisco, tucked between the green spaces of Golden Gate Park, its Panhandle, and Buena Vista Park. MUNI buses 6 and 7 have stops along Haight Street, or take the N light rail to the Cole Street stop and walk four blocks north.
When to Get There
To get the full effect of the bustle of Haight Street, go in the late morning, when the shops typically open and lots of folks are out and about; the neighborhood is particularly popular for brunch. The evening scene is also lively, with many dinner options and a hopping bar scene.
The Painted Ladies
It’s just 1 mile from the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets to Alamo Square, a popular city park that draws visitors looking for the Painted Ladies. This multicolored row of Victorian houses is known for being featured in the intro to the television show Full House and also appeared in the 1978 remake of the horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Before or after you explore the Haight, head to Alamo Square to enjoy a view of Postcard Row with downtown San Francisco in the background.