The Haight is a neighborhood in San Francisco that is known for its association with the hippie culture of the 1960s. Today, the area is home to a diverse range of shops, restaurants, and other businesses that cater to a wide variety of people, including tourists, fashion enthusiasts, and local residents. The Haight is split into two distinct areas: the Upper Haight, which is the more affluent shopping area, and the Lower Haight, which has a grittier feel and is known for its nightlife and music scene.
The History of the Haight
The neighborhood gets it’s name from the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets which was the epicenter of goings on. In the 1950s, students from San Francisco State College moved into the Haight, creating a youth culture that would eventually lead to the flower power, hippies, and the Summer of Love. The first hippies to move to the area were actually Beats from North Beach, who were attracted by the low rents for the large, run-down Victorian homes. The bohemian culture that developed in the Haight was characterized by its embrace of Eastern religion and philosophy, its anti-establishment political stance, and its experimentation with various drugs, particularly psychedelics.
During the 1960s, the Haight became a cultural phenomenon, with the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane making names for themselves, and Bill Graham taking the psychedelic-music scene nationwide. However, by the end of the decade, the influx of unsavory characters and organized crime led to a decline in the area.
The Haight Today
Today, the Haight is home to a diverse range of shops, restaurants, and other businesses, including exclusive boutiques, high-end vintage clothing stores, second-hand stores, and internet cafes. The area is also a popular destination for nightlife, with many bars and clubs catering to a variety of music genres. The Lower Haight, in particular, is known for its dance-music record shops and is popular among DJs and ravers.
Overall, the Haight is an interesting and diverse neighborhood that continues to evolve. Whether you’re interested in the history of the area, or just looking for a good burrito or a new piercing, there’s something for everyone in the Haight.