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San Francisco Celebrates 50TH Anniversary of the Summer of Love

San Francisco stock shoot
San Francisco stock shoot

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2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love with a yearlong celebration of San Francisco’s counter culture with a 1960’s throwback including exhibitions, performances, literary events, tribute concerts and recognition of significant moments in time. The city of San Francisco served as a magnet for musicians, artists and social rebels in the mid-to-late Sixties. They created a counterculture bound by leftist politics, tribal spirit, music and art. Long stamped a literary bohemia, attracting nonconformists like the Beat Generation writers of the Fifties, it was logical that free-thinking San Francisco would give birth to a radical new movement eventually embraced by the rest of the world.  There will be a wide variety of Summer of Love themed activities and exhibitions, annual music festivals and year-round activities, some of them listed here with more to be planned.

In 1967 nearly 100,000 young people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, turning San Francisco into the epicenter of a cultural phenomenon known as the Summer of Love. During this transformative time, music, fashion, art and new ideas flourished and there was a feeling that everything was possible.

That feeling never left the city. The young hippies that gathered in the city 50 years ago, and the sons and daughters of those who wore flowers in their hair, went on to stand up for civil rights and the environment, dared to question authority and still flock to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, forever linking the city to the counterculture and the ideas it launched, nurtured and spread.

For visitors to San Francisco in 2017, the 50th anniversary will be a celebration with major exhibitions at some of the region’s top museums, special events and concerts looking back at the Summer of 1967 and exploring what that period meant then and now.  The celebration will also include a range of service and volunteerism events inspired by the original Summer of Love.

San Francisco Travel and the California Historical Society have joined forces on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Celebrating this rare moment in history, the California Historical Society provides the detailed factual and cultural context for this seminal summer through its own exhibition and work with cultural partners such as the de Young Museum.  San Francisco Travel is the go-to resource for visitors planning a trip, including must-see events, itineraries and tours that follow the footsteps of some of the greatest musicians of all time.

Guide to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of The Summer of Love


  • 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.
  • 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.

Special Exhibitions

  • “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. At 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. 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. At 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. At 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. At Asian Art Museum.

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