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Haight Ashbury District

Tips to Visit This Unique SF Neighborhood with a Rich History

The Haight Ashbury district is another famous neighborhood in San Francisco. This unique and colorful community was home of the 'Summer of Love' in 1967. The Haight has a rich history and continues to thrive to this day.

haight ashbury houses

The name Haight Ashbury comes from the crossing of these two streets. This corner in the neighborhood is where the height of the action took place.

Local Secret: If you want to talk about it like the locals, then simply refer to this neighborhood as 'The Haight'.

Haight Ashbury District History

In the late 1880s, the Haight Ashbury district was a neighborhood off the beaten path. Many people lived in this neighborhood to get far away from the fast pace of the downtown area. I guess you could have called it a 'suburb' of San Francisco at the time.

haight ashbury intersection

However, this district changed quite a bit over the years. It was the heart of the hippy and flower power generation in the late 1950s and 1960s. Due to its popularity during those two decades, it was the perfect spot for the 'Summer of Love' in 1967.

During the Summer of Love, people from all over the US came to San Francisco. The Haight and Ashbury district was the meeting place for those looking for free love, drugs and rock and roll.

The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane were just a few of the bands that became famous during this time. They all lived in this neighborhood and performed free, impromptu concerts in Golden Gate Park, which borders this district on the north.

Local Secret: The Grateful Dead lived at 710 Ashbury Street during the 1960s. You will see the pictures below painted on the sidewalk in front of this house.

grateful dead house

There is also a less known and more infamous side to the Haight. Charles Manson moved to San Francisco shortly after being released from prison in early 1967. He traveled around quite a bit, but spent a couple of years living at 636 Cole Street with his girlfriend and several other girls in his 'gang'.

The District Today

Today, the Haight Ashbury district is still a lively and interesting part of San Francisco. There are a number of funky shops, restaurants and other historical sites. Most of shop owners here work hard to keep the flower power and hippy vibe in the neighborhood alive.

haight and ashbury legs

Haight Street centers this neighborhood and runs through the heart of it. Today, this is the commercial area where you will find the majority of the shops and restaurants.

Starting at Masonic Avenue on the east, it stretches about five city blocks down to Stanyan Street. The famous Haight Ashbury cross streets are just one block west of Masonic Avenue.

In addition to the shops and restaurants along Haight Street, you will also find several beautiful and colorful homes along the side streets. The Haight Ashbury district is one of the few districts that was not hard hit by the 1906 earthquake and fires. It has the highest concentration of Victorian homes still intact.

While you are in the neighborhood, walk up and down some of these streets. Some of the Victorians here, as you can see from the first picture at the top of the page, are brightly painted. Others are more subtle, but some very famous artists lived in them (as mentioned above).

Fun Fact: As you stand on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets, you will see a clock that is always set for 4:20. This is common language used when people are talking about smoking marijuana.

Haight and Ashbury: Where To Eat

Here are some of my favorite places to eat in the Haight and Ashbury District.

  • Magnolia Brewery: Lunch or dinner; brew their own beers; American/Californian food; 1398 Haight Street

  • Blue Front Cafe: Mediterranean; simple sandwiches & wraps available; great casual spot for lunch; 1430 Haight Street

  • Cole Valley Cafe: Another casual lunch spot with sandwiches, bagels, etc.; large variety of coffee and tea; 701 Cole Street

  • Haight Street Market: Grab and go food, you can then head over to Golden Gate park for a small picnic; 1530 Haight Street

  • Cha Cha Cha: A tapas restaurant with a fun, funky vibe; lunch and dinner; on the corner of Haight and Shrader Streets; 1801 Haight Street

  • Parada 22: Latin American and Caribbean food; casual place for lunch or dinner; serve beer and wine; 1805 Haight Street

  • The Alembic Bar: American food; perfect place to grab a drink or two in the Haight - before, after or during dinner; 1725 Haight Street

Where to Stay in this SF Neighborhood

You'll find only small, locally owned hotels and bed and breakfasts in the Haight. There are a few good options and it's the perfect place to stay if you like a more quiet, less touristy option.

Here are some of the top places to stay in the Haight and Ashbury District.

Stanyan Park Hotel
750 Stanyan Street
Rooms Start at Around $130 a Night

A beautiful, historic Victorian is the setting for the Stanyan Park Hotel. Built in the late 1800s, this hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

stanyan park hotelThe location is perfect for those looking for a quiet retreat inside the city. It's on the western side of the Haight and Ashbury District and right across the street from Golden Gate Park.

This small hotel has just 36 rooms with a few suites available. You will also be treated to a complimentary breakfast each morning. High speed internet and a business center are also available.

The downside to this place is that the inside needs an update. However, this is reflected in their nightly rates.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about the Stanyan Park Hotel at TripAdvisor.

  • Carl Hotel: 198 Carl Street
    • Small hotel with 28 rooms
    • Clean hotel, but the rooms are fairly small
    • One of the muni line runs right in front of the hotel, so ask for a room in the back if street noise bothers you
    • Not many amenities here but a good hotel for the price
    • Rooms starting at around $60 a night

  • Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast: 1665 Haight Street
    • Another small, quaint hotel in the Haight and Asbury District
    • Only 18 rooms, free breakfast & free high speed internet
    • Most rooms share a bathroom with other guests - the only room with its own bathroom is the Peacock Suite (but there are no doors to the bathroom and no shower - so you have to use the shared bathroom if you want to shower)
    • The experience here is like no other as it is also considered a "Peace World Center" with events, a cafe and other world conversations - living up to the roots of this peace loving neighborhood
    • Rooms here start at just over $100 a night

Tip to Save: If you are looking for the best deals, check out TripAdvisor.com before you book. They offer hotel discounts at places all around San Francisco. Click here to surf their current special offers.

Other Top Hotels in SF

Tours of the Haight and Ashbury

The tours of the Haight Ashbury district often take you back to the Flower Power days of the 1960s. They also often include details of its famous residents in addition to how it has transformed over the years.

Here are the top tours in and through this SF neighborhood.

Ride the Magic Bus

Head back to the 60s with a ride on the Magic Bus. This tour takes you through San Francisco as if it were the 1960s. You'll learn more about the Beat Generation of North Beach and the Summer of Love in the Haight Ashbury district. This tour also takes you through beautiful Golden Gate Park and the interesting Chinatown district.

It's part tour, part theater. The colorful bus is decked out with retractable projection screens that cover the windows, so it seems as if you are living in SF in the 60s. It's the best way to see a slightly different side of San Francisco.

Find out more about my experience on this fun and entertaining tour!

Walking Tours

The public library has quite a few free walks in San Francisco. They cover either a specific topic or neighborhood. Their walking tour for the Haight covers the original history of this neighborhood. A real benefit of these tours is that they are free and you do not have to sign up in advance. The downside is that the groups are sometimes so large it is hard to hear the guide. Find out more about the Haight Ashbury public library free walking tour and other free tours provided by the SF Public Library.

Another walking tour that I recently heard about is the Haunted Haight™. I have not done this tour myself, but have heard quite a few good things about it. The tour takes you through the neighborhood at night and walks you to some its haunted spots. Check out my Ghost Tours page for more details about this and other haunted walking tours around SF.

Haight Ashbury Street Fair

If you are interested in reliving the 'Summer of Love' in the Haight, your closest option is during the annual Haight Ashbury Street Fair. This community driven event is held the second Sunday of June every year.

During the fair, the streets are lined with vendors, music and people dancing. You can find food, drinks, arts - and almost anything else you desire. The event starts at 11 am and lasts until around 8:30 pm.

Learn more about this and other festivals and street fairs in San Francisco every summer.

How to Get to Haight and Ashbury

Public Buses: There are a number of ways to get to Haight Ashbury from downtown or Union Square. The least expensive option is to take the SF Muni. Both buses 6 and 71 can take you to the heart of the action. You can also take the N light rail train.

san francisco hop on hop off

Hop On/Hop Off Tour: This is a tourist only bus with a number of stops around San Francisco. You buy a full day (or two day) ticket. It has several designated stops throughout the city and you can hop off and on at any of them. It's a great way to get around for the day, learn a little about the city during the ride.

I like to do these during my first day in a new city. It gives me a chance to get a feel for the city and all of its important landmarks. Get pricing and more details for the Hop On/Hop Off Tour.

Taxi: You can also take a taxi. A ride from downtown or Union Square should only take about 15 minutes. It will cost you around $20. Find out more about what to expect from San Francisco taxis.

Car: The parking in the Haight Ashbury is better than some of the other SF neighborhoods. There aren't any big parking garages but you can usually find a spot on the street. Your best bet to find a spot is to drive a block or two off Haight Street.


Union Square Shopping: If you LOVE to shop, then San Francisco is the city for you! There is great shopping throughout the city and Union Square has some of the best shops around. Find out more about the different places to shop in Union Square.

North Beach: Originally settled by Italians, this neighborhood stays true to its heritage. Here you will find Coit Tower, the legendary Beach Blanket Babylon show and many wonderful Italian restaurants. Read on to learn more about North Beach.


One way to save money during your trip to San Francisco is to buy a CityPass. Your card will give you access to five popular attractions. You also get seven days of unlimited rides on the cable cars and the public transportation system.

san francisco discount passes

The CityPass includes admission to the Aquarium of the Bay, the California Academy of Sciences and either the De Young Museum / Legion of Honor OR Exploratorium. In addition, it includes a ride on a Bay Cruise.

You will also receive shopping, dining and venue discounts. Pair this with the Hop on/Hop Off Tour and you are set for an amazing adventure in the city by the bay! Discover more ways to save money with the San Francisco City Pass card.

Tip to Save: Are you ready to start saving today? Save up to 47% on San Francisco's Muni and 4 other attractions with CityPASS. Shop Now!


Fishermans Wharf Hotels: Find some of the top rated hotels in Fisherman's Wharf. Here you will find the best two, three and four-star hotels for your stay. You can also read a little about each one to find out their amenities and estimates on the cost per night.

Union Square Hotels: Another popular place to stay in San Francisco is Union Square. This is in the heart of the action and there are hundreds of places to choose from but which ones are the best? Read on to find the right hotel for your stay in San Francisco.

Cheap Hotels: Are you looking for a budget friendly option? This page provides a great list of some of the best, clean yet still affordable hotels in San Francisco. Many are still centrally located so you don't have to sacrifice your budget in order to stay near the action.

Other Great Pages

haight
golden gate park
botanical gardens
Perfect Day
in the Haight
Top Activities in
Golden Gate Park
Best SF
Gardens

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