As the Mamas & the Papas suggested in their hit 1967 song, "if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in... more » your hair." Good advice, especially if your visit includes a stop in the Haight. The song was written to promote the Monterrey Pop Festival in June 1967, an event that attracted some of rock's biggest names (Janice Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and The Who) and that is widely regarded as the catalyst for the Summer of Love and two years later--Woodstock, the New York rock festival that helped define a generation.
The Summer of Love in 1967 was arguably the Haight's heyday, when 100,000 high school and college-aged kids descended on the area to listen to and play music, experiment with drugs, explore new ideas about authority, sex, race and just be. Haight housing was cheap and plentiful for penniless hippies as a result of a proposed plan to run a stretch of freeway through the Panhandle in 1959. The freeway plan was ultimately foiled by a group of activist local citizens, but when the long-haired, acid-dropping kids moved in, housing prices did not rebound and there went the neighborhood anyway.
This tour is a relaxed way to spend an afternoon and early evening while also turning the clock back to the Haight's glory days in the late 1960s. After a morning spent exploring Golden Gate Park, head just south of the Panhandle, the grassy strip that runs east of Golden Gate Park, to this historic neighborhood, where free love, funk and counter-culture are alive and well.
Many sites are listed for you, feel free to let your mood (mood ring?) guide you as to where to pop in and where to walk on by. Lots of stores, restaurants, bars and cafes are listed for their historical relevance, local popularity and tourist attractiveness.
This tour identifies several optional sights, in case you are interested in where some rock legends once lived. Homes of Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills and Nash) are all listed at the end. The Grateful Dead house, however, is a must-see and is conveniently located--where else--but a block off the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. less «