Upon hearing the words "Haight Ashbury," many people think of hippies and a time when San Francisco was maybe even more liberal than it is today. The Haight Ashbury District, which is the name of the general area around the intersection of Haight Street and Ashbury Street, certainly played a central role in the hippie movement of the 1960s. During this time, the housing in and around Haight Ashbury was very affordable, and the fact that the district was also relatively unpopulated helped to make it an attractive place for free thinkers to base themselves. The history of the Haight Ashbury district is an interesting one, and it has everything to do with the fact that this neighborhood remains popular to this day.
The Haight Ashbury District, known locally as the Haight, still reflects its history in that people-watching is still at a premium. The neighborhood might be more gentrified than it was during the 60s, but that doesn't mean that the hippies have completely vanished. On a typical day in Haight Ashbury, visitors can expect to see hippies mixing with people from all walks of life, lending to the neighborhood's eclectic feel. Many people who want to get in touch with the history of Haight Ashbury go shopping at one of the head shops or see what kind of hippie relics they can find in some of the other shops. Haight Ashbury shopping can turn up some interesting souvenirs.
In addition to being home to some interesting shops, the Haight Ashbury District also boasts some popular restaurants, bars, and clubs. The Lower Haight area is where the best nightlife in the neighborhood can be enjoyed, at least for those who are into dancing and listening to DJs. Some good music shops can be found in the Lower Haight, and picking up a CD or record in this historic neighborhood only seems appropriate. When it comes to the history of the Haight Ashbury district, it's interesting to note that iconic 60s acts such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin once lived in the neighborhood.
Haight Ashbury still maintains a bohemian identity, and simply strolling around the streets of this interesting neighborhood is a great way to take it all in. The district borders Golden Gate Park, and visiting both can make an excellent day's worth of sightseeing. One of the best days to visit the Haight Ashbury district is the second Sunday in June, as this is when the neighborhood's street fair is in full swing. This fair features live music acts and attracts tons of visitors.
There isn't a bad time to visit Haight Ashbury, and for those who are interested, guided tours of the neighborhood can be enjoyed. These tours highlight the overall history of the Haight Ashbury District, and they also discuss some of the neighborhood's most interesting architectural examples. The Red Victorian, which is a historic hotel, is one of the more interesting buildings around, and the neighborhood is also home to some attractive Victorian homes, which are commonly referred to as Painted Ladies.