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The 50th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love is being celebrated in San Francisco throughout the year with tours, concerts and exhibitions. Historic sites and remnants from those freewheeling days are scattered around town, so dust off your love beads and dig out your bell bottoms—groovy things are happening all over town.

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Magic Bus, Summer of Love, San Francisco

The Magic Bus | Photo by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Magic Bus
If it’s reliving the 1960s you want, it’s hard to beat a trip on the Magic Bus. You’ll be transported around San Francisco and back in time to the Summer of Love via a 90-minute multi-media bus tour that physically passes through hippie sights including North Beach and Haight-Ashbury. Appropriate music and a modified light show with colorful throbbing blobs put you in the mood. Things really get groovy when people on the street notice the bus pass and wave and smile, and sometimes even flash the peace sign.

Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, Summer of Love

Haight-Ashbury | Flickr photo by Hans-Jürgen

Hangin’ in the Haight
The Haight-Ashbury district (locally called the Upper Haight) is noted for being the epicenter of the 1960’s hippie movement and eyeballs around the world focused on the Haight as the show unfolded. Gentrification has since set in, but there are still plenty of earthy places to love, including an assortment of colorful tie-dye and T-shirt boutiques, head shops and inexpensive restaurants and coffeehouses. Don’t miss a house-brewed beer and good vibes at Magnolia Pub, which pays tribute to both the Grateful Dead song “Sugar Magnolia” and to the 24-hour erotic bakery Magnolia Thunderpussy that was in the space in the 1960s.

Grateful Dead House, San Francisco, Summer of Love

Grateful Dead House (center) | Flickr photo by Rob Lee

Grateful Dead House
The Grateful Dead wrote some of their most famous music while living in their Victorian-era Haight-Ashbury house at 710 Ashbury Street.  The 1967 “Seven Ten Ashbury” album cover was shot on their front porch. Although the house isn’t open for tours, it’s a popular spot to check out and take a selfie.

de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Summer of Love

The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park | Flickr photo courtesy of FHKE

Golden Gate Park
Many hippie-oriented events took place in this beautiful park and many of them informally on Hippie Hill. Perhaps the most famous is the Human Be-In with Timothy Leary held at the Polo Fields on January 14, 1967. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane performed, poets Allen Ginsberg and Michael McClure spoke, and Timothy Leary—wearing love beads and flowers in his hair—recommended that attendees “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” Reports say that flowers and LSD were dropped from the sky.

While you’re strolling Golden Gate Park, be sure to stop by the de Young Museum, where the “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll” displays iconic rock posters, an interactive music and light show and elaborate hippie clothing. The exhibitions runs through August 20.

The Fillmore, San Francisco, Summer of Love

The Fillmore | Flickr photo by Swimfinfan

The Fillmore
Beginning with its first show on December 10, 1965, this legendary auditorium was the place to hear music in the ‘60s. Locals Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead rose to fame here. Under the direction of rock impresario Bill Graham, shows presented the biggest of the big including Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Otis Redding. Graham was famous for commissioning posters for every show and those psychedelic posters are now popular collector’s items. After closing and then being operated under other names, the Fillmore reopened in 1994 and since then has hosted big names including Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day, but mostly smaller acts; you can reserve a table for dinner in the balcony.

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Photo courtesy of Hotel Triton

Hotel Triton
If you’d like to get close to ‘60s rock royalty, book a room in the playfully chic Hotel Triton. Specify you’d like the Jerry Garcia Suite (which he designed himself), and if that isn’t available, ask for the Carlos Santana Suite, which features hand-painted angels on the ceiling, plus concert posters and photos of the musician on the walls. The hotel is located across the street from the ornate gates of Chinatown and just a few blocks from Union Square.

Terrapin Crossroads, Summer of Love, Marin County

Terrapin Crossroads | Flickr photo by Pete Forsyth

Terrapin Crossroads
Located just north of San Francisco, the town of San Rafael has always had a tight connection to The Grateful Dead so, it should come as no surprise that bassist Phil Lesh owns this waterfront restaurant and music venue. The eclectic seasonal menu stresses organic and local ingredients, and offers exceptional housemade pastas and thin-crust wood-fired pizzas. Lesh performs regularly with musician friends at the adjoining auditorium.

Flickr CC: Joren De Groof

Hard Rock Cafe
In addition to roomy booths and first-rate people watching, this iconic eatery displays some ‘60s rock memorabilia: a painting of Jerry Garcia by Jefferson Airplane and Starship vocalist Grace Slick; Country Joe McDonald’s gorgeous Gibson ES-355 guitar; and coming soon—Janis Joplin’s hand-painted sequined cape that is seen draped over the couch on the cover of her final album, “Pearl.”

Green Tortoise, travel, road trip, San Francisco, Summer of Love

Green Tortoise bus | Flickr photo by Sjors Provoost

Green Tortoise
Founded in the early 70s, this alternative bus line (aka the hippie bus) still provides an inexpensive, counter-cultural way to travel the West Coast. Trips are available to almost anywhere on the continent, including short trips to Mendocino and Yosemite, cross-country trips with stops at national parks, and trips down to Baja, Mexico. Usually it follows the scenic route, which is not necessarily the most direct one. Overnight accommodations are sometimes on the bus, which is a sleeper coach, and sometimes at a campsite or in a hostel, and meals are mostly vegetarian.

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Tagged: California, San Francisco

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers
Carole is a Berkeley-based travel writer who most especially enjoys cultural and culinary travel. She contributes to an assortment of publications and is the author of 18 books. Carole oversees two websites, and, and she blogs at
Carole Terwilliger Meyers
- 2 weeks ago

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