The Best Places to Fly Your Hippie Freak Flag
Some of us graduate from UC Davis wearing board shorts and an Aggie Pack t-shirt under the Commencement gown. Some of us walk away in tie-dye, dreads, and Birkenstocks. If your favorite time of year is the Whole Earth Festival and you’re not quite ready to trade in your bell-bottoms for a power suit, then you might want to check out Estately’s best 17 American cities for living la counter-cultural vida. You may be surprised to learn that only four of the locales are in California, and none of them are in the top seven. Sorry, Berkeley.
17. ARCATA, CA
The scent of patchouli oil is so strong in Arcata that it can be smelled from space. While this hasn’t been independently confirmed yet, it is a fact that Arcata is the first city in America to elect a majority of its city council members from the Green Party. The city also passed the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Act in 1989 and a host of other restrictions that would make a hippie proud.
No one knows how much of the city’s population is dependent on the large cannabis industry that’s central to northern California’s economy, but let’s just say the locally-sourced and smokeable veggie is paying for a lot of organic produce at the local co-ops. The environmentally-conscious town is a hotbed for radical tree huggers and various forest preservation efforts, and it’s a nice halfway point when hitchhiking between Eugene, Oregon and Berkeley, California.
15. SAN FRANCISCO, CA
The city where most of this hippie stuff started is mostly running on hippie fumes at this point. It still has the progressive politics and activist culture, as well as some bong shops in Haight-Ashbury, but it’s a long ways from the Summer of Love. All the same, flashbacks do occur and you’ll see various remnants and attempted revivals of the hippie glory days at the city’s parks, protests, and festivals. And maybe it isn’t that the hippies are gone, it’s just like they’ve… you know… evolved, man. Now they’re like in an alternate state of consciousness where they’re still hippies, but also like financial planners and art dealers and other heavy stuff.
12. OAKLAND, CA
The hippies may have come of age in San Francisco and Berkeley, but most got priced out and ended up in Oakland (the ones who got rich moved to Marin). While Oakland doesn’t always embody the ethos of peace and love, it does have 30 stores offering hemp products, is keeping the protest going with Occupy Oakland, and it’s home to Oaksterdam University, where students have been studying the craft of growing marijuana since 2007.
8. BERKELEY, CA
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Berkeley was one of the premier college towns for student activism and a real force affecting social change in America. However, as the years passed those hippies aged, grew gray beards, and became local business owners and professors. The iconic hippie city still draws young trustafarians, tree sitters and assorted eccentrics, many longing for the fiery protests of the past, but the city has turned decidedly mellow. According the The Daily Beast, Berkeley remains one of the Top Pot Smoking Cities in America, but the tie-dyed glory of the past is slowly burning out just like so many Berkeley hippies did before.
Want to know where the #1 hippie Nirvana is? Click on the link above.