San Francisco Neighborhood Guide: Haight-Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury, or simply “The Haight,” is another San Francisco neighborhood with a reputation that extends far beyond city limits. Generally considered the epicenter of the counterculture movement in the mid-to-late sixties, The Haight was the ultimate destination for thousands of disaffected youths who Timothy Leary encouraged to tune in, turn on and drop out. The first hippies were drawn to The Haight by a surplus of housing and cheap rent.
Teeming with workers and their families during wartime, The Haight had been in a long period of decline when the hippies came and took over the place. The neighborhood reached its peak of notoriety, or ignominy depending on your perspective, during 1967’s Summer of Love. Seminal rock bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and many others called The Haight home, and they added to the area’s reputation as the place in America for anyone wanting to thumb their nose at social conventions and their conservative parents.
However, 1967 was the high water mark of Haight-Asbury’s reputation as a countercultural Mecca, and, for the next two decades, it continued to decay. Gentrification began to transform this neighborhood as young professionals began buying and restoring many of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes. Today, there are few signs of the Haight’s seedy past except for the stores selling hippie memorabilia to the many thousands of tourists who visit the area each year.
If you’re planning a visit to Haight-Ashbury to indulge your inner hippie, walk the same streets you saw on the news years ago, take your own measure of the neighborhood’s vibe or all of the above and more, The Haight is least crowded during weekdays. On the weekends, the sidewalks are packed with panhandlers and tourists. While you really can’t avoid the panhandling at any time of the day or night, you’ll have more space to walk and more outdoor tables to sit, have a coffee and people-watch during the day. The Haight Street Fair kicks off on the second Sunday of every June, which might provide the best people-watching opportunities of all.
Live music, lots of shopping from neighborhood merchants and others, food stalls run by local eateries and much more await the intrepid traveler who wishes to experience Haight-Ashbury during the Street Fair. Like most other San Francisco neighborhoods, finding a parking spot in The Haight can be a trial, and while you’re cruising around looking for a parking space, you could be relaxing and taking in the scene. Spare yourself from parking hassles and focus instead on having a good time by renting a San Francisco limousine from NLS Limo. Rent a San Francisco limo and experience the city in comfort while you tour The Haight and the city’s other eclectic neighborhoods. To rent a Bay Area limo for your next visit, call NLS Limo today at 1-800-339-8936!