Ocean Beach Not on ’17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies’

by on March 20, 2015 · 22 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach, Peace Movement, Politics

hippie busA few years ago, a home-search website did a survey and came up with :

17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies

But Ocean Beach – the original hippie town of San Diego – did not make the list.  A lot of those places you’d expect, like Boulder, Portland and Berkeley are on the list.

hippies strum guitarsHere’s what they said in their intro:

While some may think all the hippies have burned out or faded away, the truth is they’re still out there, still busily making love, but not war. We here at Estately set out to find communities where they’re heavily concentrated, as well as providing ideal habitat for the next generation of flower children.

To determine this we used a formula based on marijuana availability and legality, number of stores selling hemp, local counter-culture icons, tie-dye availability, hippie festivals, progressive government, intensity of Occupy protests, and a Facebook poll. In the end, we determined these places are the 17 Best U.S. Cities for Hippies…

hippies on bus_2And here’s their list in descending order (from 2013):

  • 17—Arcata, CA
  • 16—Bloomington, IN
  • 15—San Francisco, CA
  • 14—Manitou Springs, CO
  • 13—Berea, KY 
  • 12—Oakland, CA
  • 11—Missoula, MT
  • 10—Bisbee, AZ
  • 9— Austin, TX
  • 8— Berkeley, CA
  • 7— Ithaca, NY
  • 6— Burlington, VT
  • 5— Portland, OR
  • 4— Boulder, CO
  • 3— Asheville, NC
  • 2— Olympia, WA

And No. 1 city for hippies: Eugene, OR

View More: http://megwilsonphotography.pass.us/meg_wilsonHere’s a few things they say about some of the cities …

17 – Arcata, CA: The scent of patchouli oil is so strong in Arcata that it can be smelled from space. … 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. …

 15. SAN FRANCISCO, CA  – The city where most of this hippie stuff started is mostly running on hippie fumes at this point. San Francisco 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. …

hippie nuke free14. MANITOU SPRINGS, CO – For those who like their hippies new age, prefer mate to coffee, and want to legally buy weed in a store, Manitou Springs is a place that’s both mellow and trippy. Sometimes called the “hippie Mayberry,” the town at the base of Pike’s Peak is a haven for the artsy, spiritual types. The city was once ruled by Mayor Bud Ford, a down-to-earth hippie who wears tie dye and looks a lot like Jerry Garcia. …

13. BEREA, KY – What do you get when you mix Haight-Ashbury with Little House on the Prairie? The answer is Berea, Kentucky, a town that was counterculture before counterculture was cool.

11. MISSOULA, MTwhen it comes to the true bastion of Montana hippiedom, Missoula definitely comes out on top. It’s not just the vast array of sustainable transportation options or progressive non-profits, Missoula’s government has worked to decrease arrests for marijuana possession, and passed resolutions calling for a withdrawal from Iraq (2007) and to amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that “corporations are not human beings” (2011). … The city hosts Hempfest, as well as other festivals that provide an excuse to imbibe in Missoula’s favorite medicinal plant.

10. BISBEE, AZ – Once a productive copper mining town, Bisbee reinvented itself as a hippie-filled art colony after the mine closed. Some residents still live in updated caves in the middle of town, and it’s not unheard of to see naked folks in cowboy hats strolling the main street in the middle of the night.

9. AUSTIN, TX – Austin may be best known for its music and barbecue, but the Capital of Texas is also a sanctuary for the state’s free spirits. The city has more hippie-themed Meetups than any city in the country, as well as Hippie Hollow, a clothing optional nudist park where hippies can recreate in the buff.

7. ITHACA, NY – Ithaca holds the record for the largest human peace sign … This central New York town has it’s own currency called Ithaca Hours, which is essentially good for one hour of work and can be traded between local residents. … In 2000, Ithaca’s residents churned out more votes for Ralph Nader than for George W. Bush,

6. BURLINGTON, VT – The largest city in Vermont … Burlington’s hippie ethos extends to its elected officials, with a city government stocked with democrats and members of the Progressive Party. It even liked its democratic socialist mayor so much the locals elected him to the U.S. Senate.

3. ASHEVILLE, NC – It takes some guts to grow out your dreadlocks and wear a sarong in the land of Dixie, except if you’re in Asheville, North Carolina because that’s pretty typical there. This hippy haven is a southern Shangri-La for lefties, crispers, and those longing for a little more peace and love. …the town is loaded with farmer’s markets, live music, and numerous disc golf courses. For those who are southern-fried, the great city of Asheville is truly the Hippie Capital of the South, as evidenced during the weekly drum circle.

2. OLYMPIA, WA – Whether you’re an aging hippie, a hungry freegan, or a barefoot street musician who only knows one Bob Dylan song, Olympia is your safe harbor from stormy seas. The buds are kind, the vegetarian options are abundant, and there are frequent protests dedicated to just about every cause under the sun. Olympia is home to The Evergreen State College, which offers a class called “Looking at Animals,” and has the geoduck (giant clam) as its mascot.

1) EUGENE, OR – Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the hippiest of them all? It’s Eugene, Oregon. Hands down. No contest. Eugene wins this thing by a mile.  When the hippies turned on, tuned in, and dropped out, they seemingly dropped right into Eugene, Oregon.

Whether they were card-carrying Merry Pranksters or simply counter-culture types escaping conformity, large numbers of them flocked to Eugene and the surrounding countryside. Some started communes, others became organic farmers, and some formed an arts and crafts movement that continues to this day.

Eugene’s traffic slows behind aging VW Microbuses, the smell of marijuana is never far (especially at Univ. of Oregon), and tie dye has never gone out of style. From the city government to the Chamber of Commerce, hippies have infiltrated every aspect of the city, and they’ve definitely earned Eugene the title of #1 U.S. City for Hippies.

  • Ken Kesey, Merry Prankster and author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was a local boy.
  • You can buy tie-dyed underwear from numerous sources.
  • The city elects a a SLUG Queen each year.
  • Eugene hosts the annual Oregon Country Fair, a hippie spectacle that has to be seen to be believed.
  • There are multiple Birkenstock retailers in town.
  • Plenty of radical environmentalists, anarchists, and other political raconteurs.
  • The weekly Saturday Market features organic produce and handmade creations by local residents and served as an inspiration for many other similar markets.
  • Home to Toby’s, makers of fine tofu and and more.
  • A local bicycle shop gives away free tofu when the local Les Schwab Tire Centers give away free beef to customers.
  • Numerous vegetarian restaurants like Laughing Planet, Cornbread Café and Café Yumm.

At the original post, the comments are hilarious as various observers argue this or that place is or isn’t “hippie-est” enough.

How come OB didn’t make the list?


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Ari March 20, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Ocean Beach isn’t a City.


Christo March 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Ocean Beach is a community in the City of San Diego.
“7 square miles surrounded by reality.”
At least that’s what my license plate frame said before the writing faded away…


RB March 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm

I have one kid at Berkeley and one at Eugene,
so I have a good chance at scoring a tie dyed T for Christmas.
Go Bears, Go Ducks


rick callejon March 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Hey Now!

For you to know just how I feel
a love for real not fade away


Everett Roach April 1, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Rick, It’s your UCDavis pal Everett. Let’s have our every 20 year reunion !


Tom Cairns March 20, 2015 at 8:43 pm

I work in Arcata. As a mail carrier, I have many grow houses on my route. I park my truck every morning next to the Cannabis dispensary. It’s very active on Friday afternoon, as customers come and go. I would rank Arcata much higher on the list. Humboldt bud has led the nation on what’s possible.


SpacemanSpliff March 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm

OB isn’t a hippie town, it’s a junkie town. Lazy, non creative junkie kids looking for a fix, a hand out, laying around in their urine stained close, running to the local church for all their free meals, stealing donuts from the .99 cent store, showering in the starbucks bathroom, stealing food from starbucks too, and not trying to create a better society of peace and love!


Goatskull March 22, 2015 at 2:45 am

The hippies of Eugene are known as trustafarians.


Marc Snelling March 22, 2015 at 11:35 am

Eugene has nothing on OB. OB is trustafarian Zion.


stu March 22, 2015 at 8:01 am

Unfortunately OB is just an area in Bastion of red. Still a very hippie place but not a City. I am surprised at some of the places on the list. Would like to visit them now.


Blind Ricky March 22, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Santa Cruz didn’t make the list???


Tyler March 23, 2015 at 6:36 am

Listicles are so worthless. They’re written by some low-payed “journalist” who spends like 2 hours doing “research.” I wouldn’t put much stock into this. As someone who went to college in Bloomington, IN I can tell you this list is an absolute joke. That town is a bastion of hippies and liberalism like Ted Cruz is a bastion of common sense…. So not at all.

I’m actually happy we didn’t make it. No more publicity drawing in a certain type of travelers (such as the MSNBC piece last year)


Marc Snelling March 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

Yeah no kidding! Almost everyone in my fam went to school in Bloomington, Muncie or Lafayette Indiana. None of those places are anywhere close to belonging on this list.

OB may not be a city, but it has more population than Bisbee, Berea or Manitou Springs.


TR March 23, 2015 at 6:37 am

OB has a massive military population that would negate any chance of making this list.


Goatskull March 23, 2015 at 9:07 am

I think it has more to do with the fact that OB in and of itself is not a city. The military element has nothing to do with it. There are a lot of military members who hang out in OB and quite a few live there and some even identify themselves as hippies with short hair.


rick callejon March 24, 2015 at 10:22 am

Perhaps that sticker came to light: WELCOME TO OCEAN BEACH



Goatskull March 24, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Or as I and Spaceman Spliff said, OB in and of itself is not a city. Or more specially, it’s only a small part of San Diego as a whole. Every town listed are much smaller cities (well smaller than SD). The hippie presence in those towns probably makes a larger percentage of residents, and (I’m only speculating) perhaps in those towns the hippies are not all concentrated in one area the way there are here. That being said, if it were a list of best “neighborhoods” for hippies perhaps OB would more likely be on it? Just a thought. I seriously doubt the sticker you are mentioning nor the military presence has anything to do with OB not being on the list.


rick callejon March 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm

The sticker and its local advocates indicate that OB is not so hippie-friendly.


Johnners March 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

How can hippies afford a $1,500/month apartment?


Goatskull March 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm

This might be a shock to you but some DO have jobs.


Johnners March 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Yes, Goatskull, shocking! What’s next, retirement accounts?? OH, the prosperity! Seriously, though, is there affordable housing in OB for us soon-to-be retired folks? For me, anyway, fifteen hundred could be a challenge on a fixed income.


Stonewall Riot Fairy October 7, 2015 at 9:48 am

Somebody please update the list for 2015!! I would include Fairfield , IA; Minneapolis Minnesota; Seattle, Washington, and maybe even Chicago?


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