Discover San Francisco : A hippie culture and more
Who says San Francisco, says; ‘Summer of Love’, says; a hippie culture. But where in San Francisco is this hippie culture and how is it that I, who’ve been here four times, missed it?? Since I can hopefully go to San Francisco again soon and want to experience this culture for myself I looked this up.
Hippie culture in San Francisco
Why am I now so interested in hippie culture in San Francisco? And why didn’t I have that before. Now that’s not quite true, I remember when my sister and I were in San Fran for the first time in 2001, we did talk about this, only it was less for me then. For some time now I have been a fan of the Bohemian lifestyle.
And like the hippies, this lifestyle stands for all that is artistic, adventure and freedom. Where the hippies in the second half of the sixties, especially also seen as the “creators” of the flower power movement.
San Francisco, my favorite city
In 2001 I was in America for the first time and therefore also in San Francisco for the first time. During our six-month trip across America, my sister and I spent almost three weeks in than Francisco. We loved this city. The culture, the people and the freedom the city gave us.
We also spent a day walking through Haigh-Ashbury, the neighborhood so well known for its hippie movements, but I didn’t pay much attention to this at the time. However, now that I am such a fan of the bohemian lifestyle, I have resolved myself to seek out this hippie culture next time I am in San Fran.
Where to find this hippie culture?
Haight-Ashbury, (‘the Haight’) is actually the birthplace of hippie culture. The hippie movement started in this neighborhood. It was toward the end of the 1960s and caught the attention of youth across the country. This neighborhood gets its name from two of the most important streets in this part of town.
The heart of the neighborhood is where Haight street and Ashbury street intersect.
The neighborhood is divided into Lower Haight and Upper Haigh. Upper Haight is the place for tourists. Here you will find those beautiful Victorian houses and the many Vintage stores.
This alternative place is also the place where you can buy the most typical hippie clothing and also many handmade products. Here you’ll find clothes you won’t find anywhere else. But also nice souvenirs and enjoy the cheerful colors you see here anyway.
Golden Gate Park
Buena Vista Park and Golden Gate Park make Haight-Ashbury a pleasant neighborhood. And in the Golden Gate park I did go in 2001. Then we spent almost an entire day walking around here. From Upper Haight you can walk straight into the park.
This park is 5 kilometers long and you will find the Japanese Tea Garden (the oldest in the United States), the Flower Conservatory, windmills, statues, an ornate carousel and playground, not to mention the natural beauty of the lakes, fields and forests. You will find the Dutch Windmill surrounded by a tulip field at all times. The tulip garden is named after our own Queen Wilhelmina ‘the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden‘.
And then also take a walk to Hippie Hill, The hill between the Flower Conservatory and Haight Street. This was one of the main venues during the 1967 Summer of Love.
San Francisco, a cozy city
But San Francisco has so much more to offer. This city has everything, nature, adventure, beautiful buildings and sights, conviviality, merriment. Besides that hippie culture that I want to look for myself here the next time I visit, the city has so much more to offer:
Alcatraz is an island in San Francisco Bay. From 1934 to 1963 it was used as a maximum security prison. 1576 inmates have made the island their place of employment. And now open to the public. Book your tickets online to ensure your spot on the boat.
On the island you can walk around on your own time and read and hear all about Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman of Alcatraz”) among others.
Walking along the water to the Golden Gate Bridge
A walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is fun, but walking here from Marina Green Park is especially fun. Here is a beautifully landscaped walking path where you can see the bridge getting closer and closer.
Chinatown San Francisco is the second largest Chinatown in North America after Chinatown New York. The entrance to ChinaTown is clearly marked by a Chinese gateway. There are two lions posted on either side of the gate welcoming you to this Chinatown neighborhood.
Work out your calves on Lombart street
Lombard Street is an east-west street in San Francisco. The street is known as the most winding street in the world, although this only covers a small part of the entire street. That stretch is only one block long, but has eight sharp hairpin turns.
San Francisco is known for its many ‘hills’ in the city. By the end of the day you can feel your calves pretty good.
Eating Clam Chowder at Fisherman’s Warf
Fisherman’s Wharf is located in the north of the city and is one of the busiest tourist districts. Everywhere you see souvenir stores and stalls where you can buy crab or clam chowder (a thick soup with lots of fish and shellfish and various vegetables next to it) with sourdough bread. The view of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz is stunning from here.
The seals at Pier 39
Pier 39 is a shopping area built on the pier in San Francisco. It’s super cozy here. There are several stores, restaurants, the Aquarium of the Bay and a two-story carousel.
Pier 39 is especially well known for its colony of California sea lions. The pier is located in the east end of the Fisherman’s Wharf area and is close to the North Beach, Chinatown and the Embarcadero neighborhoods.
Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair
Of course, I don’t know at all if we will be going back to America from the Netherlands anytime soon, but should this be in the planning, definitely don’t forget San Francisco. And definitely not just for a hippie culture, but simply because San Fran is a super fun, cozy and upbeat city.