The Haight-Ashbury is often remembered as the hippy Mecca — a place where The Grateful Dead live on forever. But the Haight is so much more than that: it is the central destination for all things alternative in San Francisco. And for a city that prides itself in being different, that’s saying quite a lot.

The primary retail destination for the Haight-Ashbury is along Haight Street, primarily between Divisadero and Stanyan. If you’re lucky enough to find a parking spot on the weekend, wander up and down these blocks and see things you certainly won’t find in Kansas.

The 60s are alive and well at shops like Pipe Dreams and The Love of Ganesha, but the artistic skater and DJ crowd also gather at unique shops like Giant Robot, Robotspeak and the Milk Bar. You’ll find killer clothing at Villains, funky shoes at Shoe Biz, or the simply outrageous at Piedmont Boutique. And the second hand vintage clothing stores are legendary — stop into Wasteland or Aaardvark’s Odd Ark. And feel free to spend your day checking out world-famous Amoeba Records.

There is no lack of intriguing restaurants like Cha! Cha! Cha!, Magnolia Pub and Brewery, Citrus Club and Alembic. Take a casual approach at Squat & Gobble or Ben & Jerry’s, located right at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. And stop in for a quality drink at Persian Aub Zam Zam.

Haight Ashbury real estate consists of classic San Francisco homes and condominium flats, many with Victorian and Edwardian detailing. Look for original molding, charismatic wood floors and high ceilings. And you’re just a quick walk to Golden Gate Park.

While you might find a few tourists wandering Haight, you probably won’t find them in Cole Valley. Cole Valley is just a few blocks south, but couldn’t be more different from its hippy neighbor. Here you’ll find a quaint neighborhood, just two blocks long, that is a wonderful place to raise kids or just live the San Francisco life. There are many great restaurants packed in here, like Eos, Grandeho's Kamekyo Sushi Bar, Zazie (great for brunch) and the Reverie, a relaxing coffee house. Cole Valley real estate includes condominium flats and comfortable single family houses that line quiet and narrow streets.

Wander east on Haight and you’ll find yourself in Lower Haight, considered part of Hayes Valley. Head up the hill and you’ll discover Buena Vista Park. Buena Vista Park is a quiet respite, dense with foliage which unveils a great dog park at the top of the hill. Around Buena Vista Park you’ll find wonderfully maintained and grand Victorian homes.

Ashbury Heights, located on one of the Twin Peaks, is just south of Haight. Ashbury Heights real estate includes grand single family homes — some might call them mansions — both old and new.

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