Best Day to Avoid the Haight - 2003
Day of the Haight Street Fair
There are many glorious, sun-drenched summer days in the Haight-Ashbury District, when the tourists cram the cheesy head shops and the locals peruse the aisles at Amoeba Music, but there's one sure day to avoid: the afternoon of the Haight Street Fair. We understand the fair provides a good way for businesses along Haight Street to champion their wares, and we appreciate, somewhat, the steady influx of freaks the fair attracts to the already freak-infested neighborhood. But in the past few years, the streets have become unsettlingly jammed by early afternoon, requiring a considerable amount of elbowing and stepping on Birkenstocks to advance even a block. Twenty minutes in line with bare-chested frat boys to buy an overpriced beer or brat hardly summons the spirit of the '60s; in fact, after an hour of jostling through swollen crowds, fending off pot dealers, and desperately seeking water, you'll probably never want to see another tie-dyed shirt again. Head for Golden Gate Park and come back the next weekend, if the weather's nice, to enjoy a more low-key stroll down the historic avenue. In the Haight, after all, every summer weekend can be a street fair on its own.