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A young woman dances in the sun at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival held at the summit of Mount Tamalpais, near San Francisco, in early June. Ted Streshinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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A dancer, decorated in fluorescent body paint and with feathers in her hair, attends an event at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom. Ted Streshinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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A demonstrator offers a flower to a military policeman during an anti-war protest at the Pentagon.Wikimedia Commons
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A hippie family, baby in tow, attends the Monterey Pop Festival.Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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Demonstrators march at the United Nations in New York on Apr. 15 in protest of the Vietnam War.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company perform at the New Year's Wail in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Malcolm Lubliner/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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A man paints a woman's face in Haight-Ashbury.Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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George Harrison of The Beatles strums a borrowed guitar as he is followed by local hippies while strolling through Golden Gate Park. Bettmann/Getty Images
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A hippie couple looks out to sea along the California beachfront.Lynn Pelham/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
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Two men in the crowd of the Monterey Pop Festival wear matching outfits that feature American flag-based shirt designs and fedoras. Ted Streshinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Jimi Hendrix plays his guitar with the pick clenched between his teeth at the Monterey Pop Festival.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Bearded and mustached hippie at anti-war demonstration in Golden Gate Park. Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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American political and social activists Abbie Hoffman and Anita Kushner sit on either side of Linn House, who performed their wedding ceremony in Central Park, New York in June.
Burton Berinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Linn House (right), a self styled priest of the Neo-American Church, lights a cigarette at Hoffman and Kushner's wedding celebration.Burton Berinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Hoffman and Kushner with daisies in their hair, smile happily at one another.Burton Berinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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A hippie girl stands next to a painted Volkswagen bus in San Francisco.Bettmann/Getty Images
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An estimated 6,000 youths attended a "love-in" demonstration on March 26 in Los Angeles. Police reported the teenagers (who talked, read poetry, made speeches, sang and danced) were peaceful but noisy. Bettmann/Getty Images
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A young girl at a hippie event in New York's Central Park wears a headband holding flowers and a piece of paper on her forehead saying "Love Now."Bettmann/Getty Images
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Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers a speech to a crowd of approximately 7,000 people on May 17 at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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A couple waits for the start of the Monterey Pop Festival.Getty Images
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Demonstrators march in support for the legalization of drugs in London's Hyde Park. Stanley Sherman/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Hippies relax under the summer sun in an open field in Los Angeles.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Models get their bodies painted for a "paint-in" in Los Angeles. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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A man braids a woman's hair at a summer solstice celebration at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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Festivalgoers wear sunglasses as they watch the Monterey Pop festival performances.Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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A hippie dances at a summer solstice celebration at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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View of life inside "Drop City," an experimental, countercultural community based around cheaply constructed geodesic dome structures in Trinidad, Colo. Here, one young man plays guitar while two co-residents listen.Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Another view of "Drop City."Carl Iwasaki/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
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Folks gather at the Woburn Abbey in England for a concert dubbed Festival of the Flower Children in late August.John Rodgers/Redferns/Getty Images
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Decorated with floral attire, a man watches with interest as his fellow peace-lovers stage a marathon "love-in."Bettmann/Getty Images
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A young man walking through the crowd in Windsor, England on Aug. 26.John Williams/BIPs/Getty Images
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A young man at Britain's biggest ever love-in, on the grounds of Woburn Abbey's Festival of the Flower Children. Ted West/Central Press/Getty Images
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Hippies with their bus in late August.Evening Standard/Getty Images
33 Summer Of Love Photos That Capture Hippies At Their Height
If the hippies had a coming-of-age party, it was the entire summer of 1967 — better known as the Summer of Love.
The Hippies Migrate To Haight-Ashbury
The San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury became the hub of the counterculture by 1967 after property values plummeted and its older, middle-class citizens made a frenzied dash for the suburbs. The newly low rents attracted beatniks and disaffected student communities in what was nothing less than an invasion.
The hippies came by Volkswagen bus, by thumb, and by foot, armed largely with their idealism and the flowers in their hair. They sought to promote peace and love, tuning in and dropping out.
Record stores openly sold psychedelic drugs right beside their LPs. Exotic wares began filling the streets, representing a hodgepodge of creative interests and identities. All in all, some 100,000 people by some estimates descended on Haight-Ashbury and made it the capital of a counterculture movement that was just then reaching its tipping point.
A Movement Takes Shape
Kicking off 1967 — and setting the tone for the Summer of Love — was the Human Be-In, a music festival/pro-LSD rally in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Jan. 14. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane performed, poet Allen Ginsberg chanted, and LSD advocates Timothy Leary and Owsley Stanley handed out their wares.
"The cool thing about that day was that so many people from so many backgrounds came," Anthea Hartig, executive director of the California Historical Society, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"They came to protest the Vietnam War and to celebrate love — in short, to ramp up the revolution. That vision remains provocative today and especially striking in this moment's segmented and polarized environment."
Later that same month, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival further established the connection between music, drugs, and mass outdoor gatherings that were quickly coming to define the burgeoning hippie movement. The likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performed for as many as 90,000 people and the Summer of Love was truly now underway in ways that would resonate throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and across America.
See how that one amazing season played out — and left a legacy that impacts clothing, music, politics, and more to this day — in the gallery of Summer of Love photos from San Francisco and beyond above.
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several published book covers in her career as a graphic artist.