Summer of Love & the Beat Generation
Getting around Haight-Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury is a small but mighty neighborhood of San Fransisco. The area is dripping in the history of music, politics, and a movement that changed the course of counterculture forever. Whether you want to call it Haight, Upper Haight, or Home of the Hippie Movement, that’s up to you.
In the sixties, this was where incense, LSD, tie-dye, peace, love, and flower-power converged with anti-war sentiments. The community attracted writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and musicians like Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead. The ideas that came to life here were shared with the world when the Summer of Love and the Beat Generation became a thing.
Another backdrop to the counterculture movement was Hippie Hill. Located within Golden Gate Park, this spot is notorious for the…greenery. You will probably be asked if you’re carrying, or if you’d care for a smoke, but don’t be offended or taken aback–this is 100% normal here. It shouldn’t be an issue if you wish to decline the offer.
Today, the area’s landscape is a colorful explosion that resulted from old SF hippies merging with young, artistic kids who came to seek fellow open-minded thinkers. While one side of San Fransisco is looking towards the future and technology, this area exudes nostalgia. Vintage shops, cafes, and bars abound in this neighborhood.
We could spend hours lost in music at the legendary Amoeba record shop, which you almost stumble upon past the knickknack shops on Haight. For all you Dead-heads out there, the Grateful Dead House is on Ashbury and Waller–which is just a short walk from the record shop.
Floral and tie-dye are sold separately, but you might succumb to the breezy scene after a few hours around here.
Hotel Kabuki, a JDV property, pays homage to its Japantown and the nearby, music-filled Fillmore District influences. It’s where East meets West, old meets new and diversity is celebrated. You should expect ultra serene interiors, Japanese-style soaking tubs, shoji screens, rich red tones against earthy hues, and paper lampshades. And it’s all within a ten-minute cab ride to Haight-Ashbury, Hippie Hill, Golden Gate Park and more.
This motor lodge-inspired, mid-century boutique hotel knows its music heroes. The unpretentious, funky vibe is ideal for travelers who don’t care for fancy monogrammed towels or sprawling marble lobbies. Guests here are the type who would rather grab a drink with friends outdoors, strum on a guitar, or bring back some records to the room for listening (yes, some rooms have turntables).
On the range of budget-friendly hotels, we find that the Good Hotel gives you just what you need: a good bed to rest your head, modern, functional rooms, and friendly service. What makes it especially fitting for our list is the ways in which it differs from its competitors. They have a book club (leave one, take one!), changeable in-room artwork, reclaimed wood beds, and eco-friendly facilities (“sink positive” water conservation systems and free parking for hybrid cars). The beauty is in its ideals, and for that, we love them.
- Buchanan Hotel
This Kimpton property was designed with the modern bohemian guest in mind. Located at the intersection between Japantown, Fillmore District, and Pacific Heights, you’ll be exposed to culture, music, and history by default. What’s inside is equally alluring. Interiors that are calm but cool, texturized, and sleek, make this spot a sight for sore eyes. Come for the rooms, stay for the in-room yoga mats and loaner bikes. Pro tip: wine hour occurs every evening at this hotel.