Throughout 2017, San Francisco will revel in an exhilarating celebration of the most iconic cultural event in its history: the Summer of Love.
In 1967, nearly 100,000 free-spirited adventurers congregated in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood near Golden Gate Park to join a cultural revolution that created some of the era's most memorable music, art, fashion and literature. Wearing flowers in their hair, people danced through the streets, promoting peace in a war-ravaged world. Their legacy remains, and five decades later San Francisco will pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.
• PIER 39 gets an early start to the festivities, with their annual Tulipmania event, featuring more than 39,000 tulips planted throughout the PIER, Feb. 11-19 and with a peace sign in the West Park made up of the wildly colorful flowers. The Summer of Love vibe returns to the PIER with a 60’s dance party, featuring a Beatle’s cover band and more groovy stuff on Friday, June 23.
• 40th Anniversary Haight-Ashbury Street Festival: Celebrate Haight-Ashbury’s diversity as you listen to live music, nosh on local specialties and dance in the same streets where the Summer of Love started. June 11.
• Summer Solstice Celebrations: A wealth of events, ranging from wine tastings to sailboat regattas. Check local neighborhoods for specific events throughout San Francisco. June 20-21.
• Folsom Street Fair: Billed as the world’s biggest leather event, this sub-culture festival attracts leather fetish enthusiasts from around the world. Sept. 25.
• Castro Street Fair: There’s no better way to celebrate both the Summer of Love and LGBT rights than to experience the best of both worlds at the annual Castro Street Fair. Oct. 2.
• "Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll": A celebration of San Francisco’s counterculture featuring iconic posters and psychedelic art, plus interactive music and light shows. April 8-Aug. 20. de Young Museum.
•“Jim Marshall's 1967" exhibition will feature 80 photographs from the thousands Marshall took in one fast-paced calendar year. Presented in chronological order, visitors can follow the artist as he shoots album covers for Jefferson Airplane, cavorts at home with Janis Joplin, shoots in the middle of a mass of Hell’s Angels and gets impossibly close onstage with Jimi Hendrix. Jan. 26 - June 17 at San Francisco City Hall. Starting in the spring of 2017, the Arts Commission's popular Art on Market Street Poster Series will explore the Summer of Love and its cultural impact through contemporary work by local artists.
•“Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia”: An exhibit focusing on the art, design and architecture produced by counterculture artists during the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Feb. 8-May 21. University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
• On the Road to the Summer of Love”: Guest-curated by Grateful Dead historian Dennis McNally, this photographic exhibition showcases iconic images of the Summer of Love, produced by photographers who captured the look of a generation. May 12-Sept. 10. California Historical Society.
• "Flower Power”: An exhibition of 40 masterworks that epitomize the expressive communicative power of flowers in Asian art and culture. June 16-Oct. 1. Asian Art Museum.
Special Summer of Love Tours and Attractions
• San Francisco Love Tours: Ride an authentic VW hippie bus and experience a modern day San Francisco that’s infused with the spirit of the ’60s.
• Flower Power Walking Tours: This guided tour through the Haight-Ashbury allows you to walk in the footsteps of icons like Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia as you learn about the music and pop culture of the Summer of Love.
• Wild SF Walking Tours: Led by local artist guides, this walking tour shares the stories of the counter-culture heroes who revolutionized our society.
• Extranomical Tours: Choose from two separate Summer of Love-themed daily tours starting in April. Sing along with Lennon look-alike guides, don hippie beads, and visit locations like Hippie Hill, Haight-Ashbury and more.
• Madame Tussauds: Share some peace and love with Summer of Love movers and shakers, including Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin, at the world’s most famous wax museum.
• Magic Bus Experience: This interactive time-travel adventure features a mind-bending combination of film, music and theater that encapsulates the highlights of the Summer of Love.
• Beach Blanket Babylon: Now the longest-running musical revue in the history of live theater, this pop culture extravaganza features “Hippie Peanut,” who takes you on a wild ride through San Francisco’s 1967 counter-culture world.
• Avital Food Tours: Take a culinary walking tour through Haight-Ashbury and other Summer of Love neighborhoods, where you’ll learn about the local food co-ops, restaurants and chefs who helped revolutionize the way we eat.
• Foot! Fun Walking Tours: “Flashback: From the Summer of Love to the Winter of Discontent” takes the intrepid traveler on a two-hour tour through the heart of the Haight-Ashbury district and to the locations of some of the most memorable events of the era.
• Detour’s Walking Tour: Narrated by Summer of Love activist Peter Coyote, this GPS audio walk tour takes you through the epicenter of the Summer of Love's counter-culture movement.
Annual Music Festivals
These legendary annual music festivals are well worth a visit during your trip, and several of them are slated to include an homage to the Summer of Love:
• San Francisco Tape Festival: A celebration of historic audio recordings, diffused through high-tech surround-sound systems. Jan. 6-8.
• Monterey International Pop Festival: The first commercial American rock festival returns for the 50th anniversary at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. June 16-18.
• Stern Grove Festival: An annual event featuring an eclectic mix of Bay Area musicians. 19th Avenue/Sloat Boulevard. June 25 -Aug. 27.
• Marin County Fair: Let the Fun Shine In celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love emphasizing Marin's dedication to community, family, art, agriculture and the environment. In 1967 the Summer of Love kicked off with a two-day concert on Mt. Tamalpais called the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival. This summer's Marin County Fair will celebrate that 1967 spirit with music, art, fashion and more. There will be, as always, carnival rides, free concerts and fireworks every night. June 30-July 4.
• Fillmore Jazz Festival: Held on Fillmore Street, one of the hotspots of the Summer of Love, this annual event showcases Bay Area jazz legends in an outdoor setting. July 1-2.
• Jerry Day: Held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, this event features live entertainers performing a tribute to one of the greats. Aug. 6.
• Treasure Island Music Festival: An event showcasing an eclectic mix of regional musicians. Oct. 15-16.
• The Fillmore Auditorium: Come to the place where it all started for Summer of Love icons such as Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, James Brown and other legendary performers. Today, the Fillmore showcases performances from some of music's top performers.
• Love on Haight (formerly known as Jammin on Haight): This throwback boutique replicates a time-travel experience back to the summer of 1967.
Only in San Francisco can you celebrate one of the 20th century’s most transformative cultural movements with live performances, festivals, food and exhibitions. Wear a flower in your hair, embrace the feeling of possibility and let peace and love lead the way.