It’s actually quite coincidental that yesterday I was referring to Jack Kerouac who is seen as one of the pioneers of the beat movement. And today I’m writing about a neighborhood that became a center for this beat population in the early 60’s. I’m talking about the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco. A neighborhood centered around Ashbury street and once the go to place for hippies. The streets where people gathered and started what is now known as The Summer of Love.
It’s funny how 45 years later this hippie vibe is still present, only it shifted from being a cultural movement – a revolution even – to a tourist-must-visit spot. The cheap houses where bohemians used to live in communities and experience drugs and free love, are now inhabited by young successful couples with strollers. Not that you can’t find anything from this era. On Haight Street itself you’ll find shops filled with sixties band shirts and posters, waterpipes and peace stickers. If you love vintage (and I’m talking crazy good designer vintage, not just old stuff) this is your street. And if you like to not go to Starbucks for a change this neighborhood is heaven. Cute coffee houses with home made juices and organic sandwiches – run by guys who are probably still mad at their mum she didn’t get pregnant a little earlier so they could be a beatnik as well- are everywhere. We loved Cafe Cole. Make sure to reserve a full day for this neighborhood, cause apart from a walk through the beautifully restored neighborhood with lots of Victorian houses, you’ll need hours to decide which vintage Leonard Paris dress you’ll take home. And after that, you must try a home-brewed beer and fries at Magnolia. Oh, and while you’re at it, just make sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Peace man!