Living up to its reputation as one of the weed friendliest cities in the world, San Francisco, is also where it began to enter the mainstream zeitgeist. Though it’s been 50 years since the original Summer of Love, the echoes are there in ways that aren’t as clear on your first few visits to the colorful, unique and complex city, so you find yourself returning, hopefully from a new angle each time.
If you’re there to eat bourgie foods and see all of the tourist spots or your there to stuff burritos and shred skate spots, San Fran is one of the best places to indulge in cannabis. Unlike legal locales like Seattle and Portland, no one really cares if you turn and burn while stomping the streets, or post up in a park to pass it around. The city has got a lot to see if you’ve never been, and doesn’t run out of things to check out if you look closely.
Don’t be like me and wait until your second visit to see the Golden Gate Bridge or feast on the Pacific sunset. You can do both in one shot with a quick jaunt to Baker Beach, smoke spot of the ages, for all ages. This was both the site of a military base and the original Burning Man festival, and is a vista for all of the photos any visitor could want, with plenty of room for a crowd.
The cradle of hippiedom, the Haight still bears the markings of its formative era. Though now known for overpriced apartments, it’s an excellent spot for a high afternoon full of shopping in vintage shops, crystal corners, and people watching. With easy access to other neighborhoods and Golden Gate Park and it’s panhandle, this is an all-weather stop.
Mission Dolores Park
In sunny weather, people hang out at Dolores Park, which has served as everything from original indigenous village to refuge for earthquake victims. It’s generally a bit warmer in the Mission than other neighborhoods, and the park is centrally located to the rest of the city, so many use this as a regular picnic spot. Lunch breakers and after class crews all roll out their blankets to soak up the sun and smoke a J at this popular hillside park. It’s got a legendary view of the downtown area, is full of interesting characters, and has all manner of dogs and creatures. This is a long time local smoke spot, where if you’re lucky enough to spot the rum and coconuts guy, your day may just be made.
A burrito is the quintessential SF food, and with a large Latinx population from Mexico, it’s some of the tastiest food in town, across all genres. One of the best parts about visiting is the ubiquitous, affordable, and revered burrito lifestyle. Gordo’s is historic for being the rumored recipe at Dos Toros in NYC, the closest thing we have to SF burritos from a non-Mexican source.
This cafe will be one of the first legal recreational spaces in California once the deadline has passed, and it’s perfect considering the cafe’s history as a cannabis activist meetingplace. It’s an iconic cafe in the Castro district that has been proudly the serving LGBTQIA community and SF since the late 70s, and it continues today to be a progressive icon. Here’s hoping next time i’m in town it’s a legal cannabis lounge in the spirit of Brownie Mary, a now deceased regular who was known for giving medicated brownies to people suffering from AIDS and cancer, before it was legal.
If you’re going to San Fran before 2017 is out, you’ll have a great time, but you may want to wait until at least January 1st 2018, when cannabis will become fully recreationally legal in the state of California. It won’t change much to many Californians, and the historical smoke spots will be even more cherished from a time when things were more civilly disobedient.
Photos: Danielle Guercio