The best day in the Haight-Ashbury is a day spent wandering around hitting all the best stuff along the way-restaurants, record stores, book stores-with a final stop in beautiful Golden Gate Park to kick back and look over all my new treasures. Starting in the Lower Haight in the morning, the first stop is Kate’s Kitchen. A pile of specialty pancakes (pumpkin ginger, perhaps? Banana brown sugar?) and a bottomless cup of coffee while perusing the local flyers and papers decorating the entryway is a great way to get geared up for the day.
Next step is to grab the Haight 7 or 71 and take it up to the famed corner of Haight and Ashbury. Right here is one of the best bookstores in the city: Bound Together Books. An anarchist book collective, it’s run by volunteers and stocked with the city’s best underground zines and self published manifestos. It’s a cash-only establishment, but there’s an ATM right around the corner if you need it.
A stroll down the last few blocks of Haight Street can take 10 minutes or it can hours. Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing, formerly Anubis Warpus, always has a new hair color, wig or piercing jewelry to look at. Ambiance http://www.ambiancesf.com/index.html is great if you’re looking for a unique accessory or have an extra $100 to drop on the latest Free People or Trina Turk collection item or if your budget is a little closer to $10, then Aaardvark’s Odd Ark has a ton of hot used clothes to choose from.
After a day of Haight shopping, it’s time to eat again. This time, instead of a nice sit down restaurant (and there are many to choose from: Indian food, Thai food, grill food), head to All You Knead and grab something incredible and vegetarian to go. From vegetarian burritos to giant breakfast plates, pastas, sandwiches and more, you’ll easily find something to throw in a bag and take with you.
Next to last stop is Amoeba Music at the end of the street. With all the new and used music available in this warehouse-sized store, you could easily get lost for another few hours. You’ll have to check your earlier purchases at the door, however, which is a blessing since you won’t have to carry all that stuff through the store but a curse if you forget your wallet in your bag and try to pay.
When you’re done for the day and you’ve got your lunch in hand, it’s time to head over to Golden Gate Park. Pick a spot – the Conservatory of Flowers, Strawberry Hill, Styrbing Arboretum, the Buffalo Paddock – and kick back with one of the books you bought earlier and enjoy your lunch in the sun.