Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Haight-Ashbury

If you are visiting San Francisco, you must stop by Haight-Ashbury.

This neighborhood was the heart of the Summer of Love movement in 1967. It continues to attract visitors from all over the world with its flower power vibe, rock music scene, and excellent vintage shopping.

From quirky bookstores to swanky cocktail lounges, Haight-Ashbury has something for everyone!

The History of Haight-Ashbury

In the 1880s, the Haight-Ashbury neighboorhood, known as the Haight, was an “off the beaten path” neighborhood where people went to get away from the noise of downtown San Francisco.

However, everything changed when, in the 1960s, Haight-Ashbury became the heart of San Francisco’s hippie culture.

The Haight is also where the famous “Summer of Love” took place in 1967.

During 1967, as many as 100,000 people converged in Haight-Ashbury to reject the conformist, materialistic values of the modern world and embrace the life of free love, drugs, and rock and roll.

The flower power culture of the neighborhood is closely tied to its vibrant music scene.

Back in the 1960s, artists from all over the world flocked to the Haight to experience its unique mixture of creativity and rebelliousness.

The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane all lived and performed in this neighborhood. If you are a rock fan, make sure to drop by their former residences!

Before You Visit

Where to stay in Haight-Ashbury

The Stanyan Park Hotel, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, is a great place to stay if you are looking for a quiet retreat inside the city.

Where to find it: 750 Stanyan Street

How to get to Haight-Ashbury

If you decide to not stay in the neighborhood, there are multiple public transportation options that will take you right into the heart of Haight-Ashbury.

We recommend taking Bus 6 or 71, or hopping on the N light rail train from downtown.

Now, without further ado, let’s jump into the 7 things you must do and see while visiting Haight-Ashbury!

7 Things to Do & See While Visiting Haight Ashbury

1. Check out the architecture

The Haight-Ashbury is worth walking through even if you are not a fan of the neighborhood’s flower power vibes or rock music scene.

The Haight is one of the few neighborhoods that were not hit too hard by the 1906 earthquake. As a result, it has the highest concentration of still-intact Victorian homes in the city.

You will find lots of colorful, stunning murals here as well, rivaling those found at the Mission District.

2. Go shopping

Obviously, vintage shopping is one of the most popular things to do when visiting Haight-Ashbury.

If you walk along Haight Street, you will find plenty of boutiques, vintage clothing stores, and costume shops.

Or, if fashion is not your thing, you can stop by The Booksmith, a quirky independent bookstore that often hosts author readings and other community events.

3. See a free show

One of the largest independent music stores in the world, Amoeba Records boasts a large selection of timeless vinyl, audio cassettes, movies, and other trinkets.

Every month, they offer a couple of free shows to their visitors. Stop by to see who’s playing that night, or check out their calendar ahead of time!

4. Hike to the top of the Buena Vista Park

If strolling up and down San Francisco’s hills has not tired you out yet, you should take a hike to the top of the Buena Vista Park.

It offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and is rumored to be haunted by a few restless gold-rush era ghosts.

5. Check out a street fair

If you happen to be visiting San Francisco during the second Sunday of June, the Haight-Ashbury street fair should be on your list of things to do.

Three musical stages, countless local food options, plenty of fun activities… What’s not to like?

6. Enjoy the local cuisine

Haight-Ashbury is home to some of the best restaurants in the city.

Visit Club Deluxe for an amazing combination of jazz and pizza, or grab a quick lunch (and try a specialty beer) at the Magnolia Brewery.

If you just need a quick pick-me-up, stop by the iconic Coffee To The People coffee shop for some organic, free-trade coffee.

7. Explore the darker side of the Haight

The era drugs and the rock and roll had a dark side.

An influx of heroin dealers in the autumn of 1967 led to many drug overdoses, as well as an increase in violent crime.

What’s more, The Haight is where Charles Manson, the infamous cult leader of the murderous Manson Family, moved after being released from prison.

While visiting Haight-Ashbury, you can drop by his former house. It’s bound to give you some creepy vibes!

The Wild SF Experience

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is a fantastic place to explore on your own.

However, if you’d like a San Francisco native to show you around (and aren’t afraid of exploring the darker side of the city), consider joining our Haunted San Francisco Ghost Tour.

It’s a macabre and murderous experience, full of tales of scandalous murders and ruthless cult leaders. Who knows, you might even meet a ghost or two!

Ready to discover the dark side of San Francisco?

Book a tour now.