Friday, Sep. 26, 2008

5. Haight-Ashbury

The birthplace of America's counter-culture, the Haight was Ground Zero during the summer of 1967, a.k.a. The Summer of Love, baby. Hippies used to live here, but at some point the Jefferson Airplane moved out, and affluent yuppies moved in, buying up all the colorful Victorian homes throughout Haight-Ashbury and replacing its head shops with high-end boutiques, chic restaurants and hip cafés. My favorite spot in the Haight is Amoeba Music, which is in a former bowling alley and boasts one of the biggest collections of CDs (new and used) in the world.

From Amoeba, head west a block along Haight Street (please don't feed the panhandlers; there are plenty of social services in San Francisco that provide them food and health care) to its end. Cross the street and you're just inside Golden Gate Park, at famous Hippie Hill, which you'll either love or loathe, depending on your feelings about drum circles and wheat-free pot brownies. (They're legal in S.F., by the way, for people who have marijuana prescriptions.)