Lower Haight sits down the hill and to the east from Haight-Ashbury (also known as Upper Haight) and the dividing line between the two neighborhoods is roughly at Divisadero Street. Although both neighborhoods are organized around Haight Street as the main drag, the cultural divide is clear: Upper Haight is known (at least locally) for the commercialization of its hippie past and present, tourists, and transients, while Lower Haight is its grittier, punkier, and arguably cooler little sibling.
A mainly residential and inclined midsection divides them, and as you walk down the hill from Upper Haight, you leave the tye dyed window displays behind in favor of dive bars and tattooed residents. You’ll also notice less retail businesses and smaller, more intimate restaurants. Huge Victorians and Victorian-style apartment buildings dominate here, though generally less well maintained than in Upper Haight. It’s also a significantly smaller arrea than Upper Haight.
“The Wiggle” bike path cuts right through Lower Haight, making it very popular among cyclists. For those unwilling or unable to brave cycling in San Francisco, it’s still a very accessible neighborhood, with plenty of buses and light rail available. It’s also walkable to the many surrounding neighborhoods.
The weather is good for San Francisco, with plenty of sun, making walking and biking enjoyable. At its western edge lies Buena Vista Park. Established in 1867, it is the oldest official park in San Francisco. It’s a vigorous climb to the top, but you’ll be rewarded with a small serene park and amazing views to admire while you catch your breath.
As in the Upper Haight, an assortment of communal living houses hide in plain sight in Lower Haight. Embassy, the sister of the Red Victorian in Upper Haight, hosts weekly salons and monthly live orchestral music nights (learn more about these on the Red Victorian’s website). And The Center SF offers a mix of free and paid workshops and lectures, as well as a tea house and full-size yoga studio.
Lower Haight has been described as hip, eclectic, nonchalant, a choice destination for day or night casual entertainment, a little seedy, and as having a "grungy, post-punk bohemian" atmosphere. It’s a great place for younger professionals and couples. Families with children and older residents may want to look towards the western edge of the neighborhood for a calmer atmosphere.