Haight-Ashbury: A Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods

haight ashbury san francisco neighborhood guide

Haight-Ashbury is located in the center of the city and is best known as the birthplace of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. You’ll still find that hippie vibe in the vintage shops, smoke shops and record shops dotting Haight Street. Besides the well-known Haight Street corridor, it’s a relatively quiet neighborhood with plenty of residential streets lined with beautiful Victorian homes. 

We polled local moms to find out what makes this neighborhood a good fit for their families. Want to get the scoop directly from the experts? Join our NoPa/Haight -Ashbury Neighborhood Group.

Why Moms Love It 

The community culture of the 60’s lives on in the Haight with friendly neighbors and merchants. It’s an easily walkable neighborhood with close proximity to Golden Gate Park and other family-friendly areas like Cole Valley and Ashbury Heights. 

Local Family Favorites 

Golden Gate Park 

At the western border of Haight-Ashbury spending time in Golden Gate Park is a way of life for many residents, whether it’s biking or strolling along winding paths, visiting the buffalo out at the Bison Paddock, feeding ducks or boating at Stow Lake or exploring one of the many other attractions within the park. 

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground & Carousel
This is said to be the oldest public playground in America and is always full of local and visiting families stretching their legs or taking a spin on the well-known carousel. It’s located in the southeastern section of the park.

California Academy of Sciences

This is a go-to spot on rainy days for the toddler room, rainforest exhibit, and large aquarium with hands-on activities. If you plan to come even just a handful of times a year, the annual membership is worth it. 

de Young Fine Arts Museum

 The museum offers programs for kids of all ages including toddler tours, art classes after school, summer camp, and a Saturday Studio Series. Join us every Saturday for our free Family Art Making.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens
Regular activities like children’s story time and special events like Flower Piano mean families spend a lot of time in this beautifully maintained urban oasis showcasing 8,500 different kinds of plants from around the world.

Off the Grid

No need to cook dinner on Sunday evenings in this neighborhood. Join your neighbors at Stanyan and Waller Streets for this festive, well-known food truck event. Choose from one of the many gourmet options.

Music for SF

Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is a hip alternative to the traditional ‘mommy and me’ music class for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The spirited group classes last for 45 minutes and are geared toward children 4 months to 5 years old and their adult caregivers.

Music Together

Join award winning, fun music classes for newborns through 5 years old. Your child will learn pitch and rhythm, get hands-on time with age-appropriate instruments, dance and sing in a research-based, nurturing setting.


Nearby in the Inner Sunset, AcroSports has gymnastics and tumbling classes for children 15 monts+ and adults. 

Childcare and Schools

Here’s the thing about childcare and schooling: Your personal situation will determine the right fit for you, and, while there are plenty of options in this neighborhood, your best bet is to check out Winnie.com for an interactive map and comprehensive list of daycares and preschools across the city.  

Likewise, for K-12 schools, we can’t tell you whether the schools here are “good” or not because a good school is based on so many other factors besides test scores. Check out our Tips for Moving to San Francisco with Kids for more help navigating childcare and schooling and a local mom’s take on raising a family in San Francisco.

Learn More 

To get an even better feel for what it’s like to live here, scan our list of 100+ kid-friendly restaurants in the city, find the nearest branch of the public library, and check out the area’s trick-or-treating hotspots.

Check out the other areas featured in our San Francisco Neighborhood Guide for Families.