No Church in the Wild
If there’s any area of San Francisco that evokes images of the long-gone ‘60s hippie culture, the Haight is it. Fragments of that flower-power, incense-burning, acid-dropping, tie-dye-wearing, peace-and-love-vibing era can be purchased at smoke shops and Eastern-influenced outlets bearing names like Dreams of Kathmandu and The Love of Ganesha. But save for a few hippie relics, the Haight today is a whole new scene. Exclusive boutiques, high-end vintage-clothing shops, second-hand stores, Internet cafés and hip restaurants have all settled in, making the Haight one of San Francisco’s commercial centers.
Neo-punks, club kids, fashionites, tourists and neighborhood folks are equally at home here, whether they have come to get a new piercing, grab a burrito, find the latest drum ‘n’ bass 12-inch or just people-watch from a café. But there are two distinctly different areas of the Haight: The Upper Haight, which stretches from Stanyan to Masonic, is the more moneyed shopping zone, though it deteriorates a bit where it stretches toward Golden Gate Park. Meanwhile, the Lower Haight, roughly Divisidero to Webster, is a more diverse neighborhood with a grittier feel. While it has been an alternate nightlife hub for years, the Lower Haight has become a main draw among DJs and ravers with the proliferation of dance-music record shops and clubs.