By KAREN AIELLO
January 13, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dig out those old bell bottoms, grab that tie-dyed
shirt from the costume bin, put some flowers in your hair and revisit
the neighborhood that once was home to the largest hippie movement in
the nation. San Francisco's Haight District, as it is commonly
referred to now, once was the area where young people came for free
love among the eight blocks dotted with Edwardian and Victorian homes.
Today, the intersection of Haight and Ashbury boasts a Ben & Jerry's,
where ice cream is the treat. But during the 1960s the major
attractions were sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.
Walking the streets of the Haight today, visitors can still find
remnants of the bohemian vibe in a few of the smoke shops, such as
Pipe Dreams or the Golden Triangle, and can even pick up a throwback
souvenir such as a peace necklace or tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt at
Land of the Sun or Haight-Ashbury T-Shirts. But a large part the
Haight now shares its hippie culture with a whole new hip scene.
There are many modern boutiques offering high-end and vintage
clothing, coffee and Internet cafes with more java than anyone person
can handle, and some comfy and often crowded bookstores.
One of the greatest draws to the neighborhood is the culinary fare.
Restaurants for fine or casual dining offering everything from Thai
food to crepes. One recommended stop is The Pork Store Cafe, where
wall photos tell the story of the history of this Haight Street
oldie, which opened in 1916, and where breakfast is the main attraction.
Visitors can walk by the Grateful Dead house on Ashbury and stroll
past the former residence of legendary rock diva Janis Joplin on
Lyon. After seeing row upon row of Victorian houses, visitors can
make their way east on Haight to the corner of Buena Vista Avenue and
enjoy the thick forested nature of Buena Vista Park. Here, a scenic
view of the surrounding neighborhood and the city itself can bring a
serene and peaceful feeling to an area that once thrived on flower power.
WHERE: Haight and Ashbury streets, San Francisco
WHEN: Daily, although weekends can get quite crowded and the night
life can be hopping in the Haight, so the evenings tend to bring more people.
GETTING THERE: From Modesto, take Interstate 580 (over the Altamont
Pass) to Oakland and cross the Bay Bridge into San Francisco on
Interstate 80. I-80 becomes Highway 101 in midtown. Take the Central
Freeway/U.S. 101 north toward Mission. Turn left at Market and then
right at 17th Street. Make another right onto Clayton Street and
follow to Haight Street. There is metered parking on Haight and
nearby street parking. (Clayton is one block west of Ashbury.)
DRIVE TIME: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Bee assistant librarian Karen Aiello can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2392.