The Haight (pronounced like "hate") is a district of San Francisco, running along Haight Street. The district is bounded roughly by the Panhandle and Fell/Oak Streets on the north, Market Street on the east, Duboce Avenue and Buena Vista Park on the south, and Stanyan Street (and Golden Gate Park) on the west, with a small extension west to include the University of California, San Francisco Parnassus campus just to the west.
The Haight is made up of two neighborhoods: Haight-Fillmore, usually called the Lower Haight, and Haight-Ashbury, also known as the Upper Haight. The two neighborhoods are separated by a large hill and are bisected by Divisadero Street. The neighborhoods have two separate histories whose cultures and identities merged in the 1960's as poor, young white hippies moved into the Upper Haight and began to make contact with the poor, young black residents of the Lower Haight. Together, these outcasts forged the counter-culture movement the Haight is most well known for. Today, the two neighborhoods remain similar, yet distinct. The Upper Haight is more of a tourist destination, more identified with its hippy roots, and is safer, especially since the 1990's. The Lower Haight retains more of its black roots, has a more active nightlife scene, but is unfortunately poorer and less safe at night.
In the 1960's large portions of the predominantly African American Fillmore District were involuntarily relocated to Haight-Ashbury due to the disruptive urban renewal movements of the time. At the same time, middle class whites began moving to the growing suburbs of the Bay Area, causing home values in the area to plunge. The neighborhood, with its then-surplus of affordable Victorian homes, was ripe for housing an influx of African American families as well as Beats attracted by the growing intellectual, anti-establishment community surrounding the local universities, as well as an emerging (pre-Castro District) gay and lesbian community.
With the onset of the Vietnam War, many white middle class college kids derailed by the draft now began to move into the Haight, identifying with the counterculture trends already taking place in the neighborhood and adopting Hippie ideologies and alternative lifestyles. Many thrived while other lives were ruined by destructive drugs such as speed, heroin and cocaine, and some remain committed to the Hippie dream to this day. While gentrification has turned the Upper Haight into something of a counterculture theme park (although it is also home to many young, homeless drug addicts, though no longer of the peaceful, hippie variety), there are still plenty of eclectic finds to uncover here and one can still can get a sense of the once-bohemian nature of this area.
Fell and Oak Streets, parallel one-way streets running east-west across the northern edge of the district, offer a relatively easy way to get into the district via car from Downtown to the east. A few major north-south streets which pass through Haight are Fillmore Street, Divisadero Street (which merges into Castro Street to the south) and Masonic Avenue. Looking for somewhere to park your vehicle can be a difficult at times.
By public transit
MUNI  operates the 7-Haight-Noriega bus route (plus the 6-Parnassus east of Masonic) running the length of Haight Street, connecting the area to Downtown. Nearby streets parallel to Haight also serve the area, for example the #5 on Fulton and #21 Hayes north of the Haight district. Additionally, a few lines run north-south through the district: 22-Fillmore, 24-Divisadero, 33-Stanyan and 43-Masonic.
The N-Judah Muni Metro line (partially underground) also runs parallel to Haight Street several blocks to the south. An easy way to access the western portion of the Haight district (near Cole Valley) from downtown is to take the N-Judah outbound to Cole Street, then go right. It runs under the hill. The N-Judah continues westward, stopping at University of California, San Francisco before heading into the Sunset neighborhood.
If you are walking really quickly, it will take about 20 minutes to walk from the Lower Haight to the Upper Haight - and it will be good exercise going up a large hill.
- Buena Vista Park. Steep paths to the top of its 575' elevation lead to some nice views through the trees, but are easily circumnavigated by non-enthusiasts. edit
This sloppy peace sign marks the threshold for Hippie Hill
- Hippie Hill. Near the district's western border is the entrance to Golden Gate Park. Walking into the park and through a small tunnel beneath the Alvord Lake Bridge, the first large field and adjacent hill are known as Hippie Hill. In dry weather, Hippie Hill is a popular destination for locals and offers a glimpse at the Haight's hippie culture. There visitors will find a large and popular drum circle, amateur performers of many types from jugglers to musicians, frisbee enthusiasts, picnickers, and psychedelic drug users, all mingling happily. Don't be surprised to find locals lighting up a joint of marijuana at Hippie Hill. Though marijuana use is still illegal in the US, California has decriminalized medical marijuana. A note from your doctor suffices to obtain a card enabling one to reliably check quantity and quality and purchase in a civilized manner over a counter. Hippie Hill is a relatively safe place to purchase marijuana, but law enforcement patrols Haight Street at the urging of merchants in order to maintain a teen- and tourist-friendly environment. edit
- Famous Homes. (Please note- These are all PAST addresses, none of the people listed still live there and these are peoples' homes and though they are used to and pretty tolerant of tourists taking pictures, their privacy should be respected and one should NOT go knocking on doors.) edit
- 710 Ashbury St.- The Grateful Dead;
- 719 Ashbury St.- The Hell's Angels;
- 635 Ashbury St., 122 Lyon- Janis Joplin;
- 612 Ashbury St.- Country Joe McDonald;
- 1018 Page St.- Big Brother and the Holding Company;
- 1550 Page St.- "Hippie Temptation" house (site of CBS documentary);
- 1828 Page St.- Ron Donovan (psychedelic concert poster artist);
- 879 Haight St.- Flipper (famous punk band);
- 636 Cole St.- Charles Manson;
- 731 Buena Vista West- Graham Nash (and several owners later) Bobby McFerrin;
- 264 Downey St.- Michael McClure (Beat-era playwrite, poet);
- 1235 Masonic Ave.- Patty Hearst hid in Symbionese Liberation Army safe-house here;
- 32 Delmar St.- Sid Vicious (site of non-fatal overdose after last Sex Pistols show).
- Duboce Park. The N Judah streetcar travels along the perimeter of the park and stops at the intersection of Noe Street and Duboce Street. The park is attractive and split into a dog-friendly and a children-friendly section. There is a well maintained children's playground that attracts children from the neighborhood. edit
- Monastery of Perpetual Adoration (Sisters of Perpetual Adoration), 771 Ashbury Street San Francisco, CA 94117 (The Chapel is located at the corner of Ashbury and Frederick Streets and next to the Lycée Français de San Francisco French School.), ☎ 415-566-2743, . usually 6:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Monastery of cloistered nuns with daily services. edit
While there are a number of fun walking tours, this is also a good place to simply sit in a cafe, have a few cups of coffee, and watch other people walk the streets.
- Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour, . By guides who experienced the 60's --and can actually still remember it! 40% architecture/general neighborhood history and 60% counter-culture hippy history comprise this fun and informative 2.5 hour flashback through the neighborhood; includes a trip to the Psychedelic History Museum in a restored Victorian, open only in conjunction with the tour. Tour starts at the McDonald's parking lot at the corner of Stanyan and Waller every Tuesday and Saturday at 9:30AM, every Thursday at 2PM and every Friday at 11AM. $20 per person. edit
- The Haunted Haight Walking Tour, ☎ +1 415 863-1416, . Shows the spooky and macabre history of the neighborhood in an evening walking tour. Tour starts in front of Coffee to the People at 7PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. $20 per person. edit
- Haight Ashbury Street Fair, . On the second Sunday of June, people pack the Upper Haight for this event featuring local bands, food stalls and plenty of shopping. edit
Haight-Ashbury has more shopping and variety of shops than Lower Haight, with great record stores, book stores, fabric stores, shoe stores, cafes with music and poetry, a free clinic, and head shops from the '60's.
There are several places worth checking out, including..
- Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 831-1200, . M-Sa 10:30AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. The best place in San Francisco to buy vinyl and cds, new and used, with an emphasis on indie music. It has one of the largest selections for an indie music store in the country. edit
- Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 863-8688, . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 10AM-8PM. An independent bookstore that's been around since the 1970s, this bookstore is best known for its events program, with many book signings from famous and honored authors. edit
- Fan Clothing, 1510 Haight St (at Ashbury), ☎ 415-861-1990, . M-Th 11AM-7PM, F-Su - 11AM-8PM. A small indie women's clothing boutique that specializes in a range of off the beaten path collections, from hard to find euro brands to local indie designers. The collection is an eclectic mix of mod, retro, indie and chic fashion and accessories. (37.770056,122.447362) edit
- Life, 604a Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 252-9312, . Exotic perfumes and aromatherapy oils, incense, bath beads, jewelry, purses, cards, and vaguely east Indian themed goods. Get some henna painted on your hands in the henna lounge. edit
- Positively Haight Street, 1400 Haight Street (southeast corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue), ☎ +1 415 252-8747, . Channel your inner hippie and peace out in this delightful hippie t-shirt shop. edit
- SoMe, 1391 Haight (Haight and Masonic), ☎ 1-415-913-7770. A cool little mom and pop store in front of the bus stop. A definite stop on Haight if you are gift shopping. You'll find men's and women's clothing as well as locally made jewelry and accessories and cool goodie boxes and trinkets designed by local artists. edit
- Zuzu's Petals, 678 Haight Street (off Steiner), ☎ +1 415 863-8199. Su, Tu-Th 10AM-7PM, F-Sa 10AM-9:30PM. Fresh cut and silk flowers, unusual, artistic gift wrap paper, cards and small gifts. edit
- Ali Baba's Cave, 531 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 255-7820. F-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su-Th 11AM-12PM. Quick and friendly Mediterranean food. Shish-kabob will take some time, but you can walk out or dine in with a shawerma or falafel in under two minutes. Watch out for the platters -- the servings are huge. $2-$8. edit
- Citrus Club, 1790 Haight Street (at Shrader), ☎ +1 415 387-6366. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM. This is an excellent noodle house with dishes chosen from all Asian traditional cuisines. Portions are generous, with an emphasis on flavor over presentation. Decent prices and an unpretentious decor make for a pleasurable group meal. $5-$8. edit
- Estela's Fresh Sandwiches, 250 Fillmore Street (at Haight), ☎ +1 415 864-1850. The name speaks true. Also try Estela's delicious fruit smoothies. $5-$7. edit
- Kate's Kitchen, 471 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 626-3984. M 9AM-2:45PM, Tu-F 8AM-2:45PM, Sa-Su 8:30AM-3:45PM. Breakfast - Southern style. If you're really hungry, try the French Toast Orgy. Expect a long wait for weekend brunch (just like everywhere else in San Francisco). edit
- La Cafe du Soleil, 200 Fillmore Street (corner of Fillmore and Waller), ☎ +1 415 934-8637. Daily 7AM-10PM. Coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, pastries, soup of the day, beer & wine bar, live free jazz most Sundays 5-8PM, outdoor seating. Chic, casual, family friendly. Free wi-fi, but limited power outlets. edit
- Love N Haight Deli & Cafe, 553 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 252-8190. Often overlooked, but a neighborhood favorite. A family-owned sandwich joint with an Asian flair. Meat and fake meat sandwiches made to order. Try the "veg" duck. edit
- Metro Caffe, 247 Fillmore Street (Fillmore at Haight), ☎ +1 415 621-9536, . M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Burgers and cheesesteaks. $6-$7. edit
- Rosamunde Sausage Grill, 545 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 437-6851. Daily 11:30AM-10PM. Delicious sausages and not much else. Now with a vegan choice! Get here early Tuesday (11am) to get in line for their once a week burgers. They sell out instantly! Get it for here, to go, or bring it next door to Toronado and have it with some beer. edit
- Axum Cafe, 698 Haight Street (at Pierce), ☎ +1 415 252-7912, . M-F 5:30PM-10PM, Sa-Su 12:30PM-10PM. This Ethiopian restaurant is very affordable. Try the vegetarian sampler. If you are hungry, order for two. Wash it down with an Ethiopian beer (2 kinds). $7-$14. edit
- Cha Cha Cha, 1801 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 386-7670, . Lunch: daily 11:30AM-4PM. Dimmer: Su-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-11:30PM. Popular Cuban tapas place. Good sangria. Typical wait is 1-2 hours on weekends, and they don't take reservations. Great bar, always crowded with a fun 'artsy' crowd. Be warned, the sangria packs a punch! $7-$15. edit
- The Grind, 783 Haight Street (Haight near Pierce), ☎ +1 415 864-0955, . M-F 7AM-8PM, Sa 7AM-6PM, Su 8AM-6PM. Coffee shop with breakfast, lunch, and an amazing array of desserts, pastries, and munchies. Indoor and patio seating. $6-$10. edit
- Indian Oven, 233 Fillmore Street, ☎ +1 415 626-1628, . Daily 5PM-11PM. This Indian restaurant is on the expensive side, although it is pretty good. Expect a wait any day of the week. $8-$19. edit
- Memphis Minnie's, 576 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-7675, . Tu-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Great southern-style barbecue and (oddly enough) sake. $8-$14. edit
- Mythic Pizza, 551 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-1999. Daily 12PM-2AM. Pizza by the slice. $12-$20. edit
- Pork Store Cafe, 1451 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-6981. M-W, Sa-Su 8AM-4PM, Th-F 7AM-4PM. Extremely popular breakfast spot. Always a line on the weekends. Very inexpensive and friendly diner atmosphere and food. $7-$16. edit
- Thep Phenom, 400 Waller Street, ☎ +1 415 431-2526, . Daily 5:30PM-10:30PM. Sometimes called the best Thai in San Francisco; call ahead as this restaurant can be very busy. Or walk in with a small party and have a Singha in the back while you wait to be seated at a family-style table. $8-$15. edit
- Maven, 598 Haight Street (Haight at Steiner). The most upscale (and expensive) restaurant in the neighborhood. The small plates of comfort food and cocktails will warm you up. $15-$25. edit
- The Alembic, 1725 Haight (next to the Red Vic Movie House), ☎ +1 415 666-0822, . Styling itself a 'Whiskey Bar', the Alembic is a place to have classic cocktails as well as original creations. The house Manhattan, made with Rye Whiskey, is phenomenal. edit
- Aub Zam-Zam, 1633 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 861-2545. M-F 3PM-2AM, Sa-Su 1PM-2AM. A 1930's vintage cocktail bar with a beautifully restored arabesque art-deco decor. Written up in 'W' and 'Newsweek' magazines for the best martinis in the US back in the 80s. Drinks are moderately expensive but of exceptional quality, even from the well. An intimate and classy setting for a romantic evening with a juke box that leans toward swing and big band music. Named for the Well of Zamzam, one of the holiest places in Islam, a source of blessed beverages. edit
- Danny Coyle's, 668 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 558-8375, . M-Th 2PM-2AM, F 12PM-2AM, Sa-Su 7AM-2AM. Irish pub where the Guiness is served with a smile, and if you're lucky, an Irish accent to match. edit
- Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 552-6949, . This small, stylish bar has been around for a long time. It's all about Giovanni's Neapolitan Pizza and freshly squeezed cocktail's. Deluxe hosts free comedy on Monday nights and Jazz every other night, always by local acts. The bar-tenders are friendly and the crowd is arty and hip. edit
- Gold Cane, 1569 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 626-1112. A great place for cheap, strong drinks, and friendly bar-tenders. Divey atmosphere, local crowd. Has a pool table and small outdoor patio for smokers of all types. edit
- Hobson's Choice, 1601 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 621-5859, . Offering a selection of well over 100 rums, this “Victorian punch house” themed bar is best known for it’s original alcoholic punches that you can order by the glass or by the bowl. (watch out, they’re stronger than you think!) The corner location and large windows make it a perfect spot to grab a drink and people-watch. Go on Sundays when they offer a lavish make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with plenty of fixin’s. (don’t worry, they’ll mix it for you if you’re not so inclined) A friendly staff and great jukebox brings the locals in early, more of a younger crowd late night and on weekends. edit
- Kezar Pub & Restaurant, 770 Stanyan St, ☎ +1 415 386-9292. M 11:30AM-Midnight, Tu-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 6AM-2AM, Su 6AM-Midnight. A popular English-themed pub where you can watch soccer. edit
- Mad Dog in the Fog, 530 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 626-7279. This is an English pub where you can come to watch soccer on TV or go out back where you can smoke. Occasionally live music at night. The hotline for when matches are being played is +1 415 442-7994. Since they open for live matches from England as early as 6AM, its the best place to get a beer before noon in the area on the weekend. edit
- Magnolia, 1398 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-7468, . Serves solid food and microbrews, including some excellent cask conditioned beers. edit
- Molotov's, 582 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 558-8019. Leans towards rockabilly and mohawk crowd. Dog and food friendly. edit
- Nickies, 466 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 255-0300, . M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa-Su 10AM-2AM. Dance club and bar - Grateful Dead night every Monday, and popular dub and funk nights during the week as well. edit
- Noc Noc, 557 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 861-5811, . Daily 5PM-2AM. A very artsy atmosphere. You can get many Trappist monk beers here. Live DJ nightly. Tarot readings Mondays 6-9PM. Beer, wine and sake (no hard liquor). Alas for smokers: Big Brother finally put down the rebellion and smoking is now relegated to the sidewalk in front. edit
- Toronado, 547 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 863-2276, . Daily 11:30AM-2AM. This bar has forty-six beers on tap and a bottled beer menu which covers two whole pages. They serve many microbrews and imports from Germany, Belgium, and Japan. Come through the dutch door and if there is no room in the front bar, there is a back room with tables. No food is served, but you may bring food in from any of the many restaurants nearby. edit
- Trax, 1437 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-4213, . A gay bar for gay men and lesbians that is also very much straight-friendly. Small, divey, and a local's scene. Drinks are cheap, and on Saturday nights it offers ridiculously cheap drink specials ($1 well cocktails before 10pm). edit
- Underground SF, 424 Haight Street (at Webster), ☎ +1 415 864-7386. Dance club and bar, formerly called The Top, which features different theme nights, some of which are geared towards alternative culture. edit
- Cafe du Soleil, 200 Fillmore Street (at Waller Street), ☎ +1 415 934 8637. Owned by a Morrocan French ex-Pat, this cafe serves decent coffee and overpriced sandwiches. The locals cannot get enough of this place. Some outdoor seating for a pleasant day. Also serving homemade potato chips. Free Wi-Fi edit
- Cafe International, 508 Haight Street (Haight at Fillmore), ☎ +1 415 552-7390, . Offers net access, live music, food, and a variety of beverages from coffee, tea, beer, wine to fresh squeezed juices. Good desserts. edit
- Coffee to the People, 1206 Masonic Avenue (just off of Haight Street), ☎ +1 415 626-2435, . M-F 6AM-8PM, Sa-Su 7AM-9PM. A favorite community gathering spot, Coffee to the People serves giant sandwiches, hearty soups, and organic and fair trade coffee and tea. Their croissant breakfast sandwiches are especially popular with locals. The shop is laptop/work friendly, with free wi-fi and almost a dedicated section to people working around notepads and notebooks. The shop has an overtly political theme and decor and is a good spot for people watching. edit
- Stanza Coffee & Wine Bar, 1673 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 529-1592, . Bringing some of the best of coffee's Third Wave to Haight Street, Stanza serves Counter Culture Coffee, high-quality fresh pastries from a local baker, and a small selection of wine by the glass and bottle. Free unsecured WiFi and several power outlets. edit
- Metro Hotel, 319 Divisadero Street, ☎ +1 415 861-5364 ([email protected], fax: +1 415 863-1970), . checkin: 2PM-Midnight; checkout: 12PM. A reasonably priced hotel at the corner of Page and Divisadero Streets, one block north of Haight Street. The rooms are quite basic, but functional, clean, and quite inexpensive for the central city. There is an excellent French restaurant downstairs, with outdoor dining and weekend brunch. Rooms directly over Divisadero Street can be quite loud on the weekends. $76-$130. edit
- Red Victorian Bed & Breakfast, 1665 Haight Street, ☎ +1 415 864-1978 ([email protected]), . A throwback to the Haight Ashbury's glory days during the 1960s, this peace and love themed B&B has several eclectically themed rooms and suites, as well as a cafe downstairs. $90-$200. edit
- Coffee to the People, 1206 Masonic Avenue (just off of Haight St), ☎ +1 415 626-2435, . Daily 6AM-8PM. Free wireless internet. edit
Both areas of the Haight can be dangerous late at night after the bars close. Travel smart when on foot at night. There are always other people walking up and down Haight Street so you won't be alone.
Stay on trails in Buena Vista Park and Golden Gate Park. You will see encampments and the trash left over from them, and it can be unwise to disturb them. Both parks are completely safe during the day, but can get very sketchy at night -- especially Buena Vista Park.
Throughout the Upper Haight, you will be accosted by people selling "marijuana" and occasionally other drugs. A steady chant of "buds", "nuggets", "weed" and similar inventive names will follow you down the street. While marijuana possession is decriminalized up to 1oz (28g), larger amounts and its private-party sale are still illegal. The police occasionally do crack down on the sellers on the street, but rarely, and never target the buyers. Be advised that many of these sellers may be passing off extremely low quality marijuana, things that might not even be marijuana, and may try to rip you off on the price.
Locals tend to use California's medical marijuana dispensaries for their own purchases, which offer a safe, quality and formal transaction with no risk. Most locals won't have good advice on where to purchase marijuana for this reason, and the medical marijuana law requires you reside in the county where your card is issued, preventing tourists from taking advantage of this.
Additionally, while it's technically illegal to smoke marijuana in public anywhere, the law is rarely (if ever) enforced (it's just a small fine if they do write a ticket, but a warning is about as serious as they ever get). Be respectful and don't smoke in front of windows/doors. You will be routinely treated to the smell of pot for the length of Haight St.
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