Everything You Need to Know About Hippie Hill

group on hippie hill Editorial credit Eric Broder Van Dyke Shutterstock.com
Editorial credit: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com

Hippie Hill is probably the most famous smoke spot in Northern California and is definitely one of the best places in California to celebrate 4/20. Every year, Hippie Hill attracts thousands upon thousands of stoners to come together and celebrate the way they know best: by smoking fat weed and chilling out. As with many 4/20 celebrations, this event is considered unsanctioned — but with all the planning that goes into the festivities, you really wouldn't think it! From food vendors to a cleanup crew, the unofficial 4/20 celebrations at Hippie Hill are creeping their way into the mainstream. And with the stigma against weed finally dying back (thanks, in part, to legalization), San Francisco's hottest 4/20 spot is only getting better.

But what is the history behind Hippie Hill? How did this particular corner of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park become such a well-known part of NorCal cannabis culture? And, most importantly, how can you get yourself into Northern California's most festive 4/20 event at Hippie Hill? Leafbuyer is here to answer all your Hippie Hill questions and more. So, sit back, smoke fat, and get ready to appreciate all there is to know about the most 4/20 friendly corner of San Francisco: Hippie Hill, that is!

An Overview of Hippie Hill

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San Francisco isn't an easy place to navigate, especially if it's your first time visiting the city. Between the historical trollies, unique districts, and everything else in the bustling city, it can feel impossible to find a specific spot. Luckily, we live in a time where just about everyone has a GPS in their pocket. A GPS doesn't do much good, however, if you're too high in an unfamiliar city trying to get to a hill that's miles away. And even if you manage to find Golden Gate Park, that doesn't mean getting yourself to Hippie Hill will be any easier. You could wander every corner of the park, from the Botanical Gardens to the Japanese Tea Garden to the Golden Gate Park Archery Range and still not find the smoke spot you’re looking for. And while gardens, tea, and dodging arrows might be fun, they simply aren't the same as Hippie Hill.

So, the basic overview of Hippie Hill is as follows: Hippie Hill is located in the Eastern Edge of Golden Gate Park next to the tennis courts and the Robin William Meadows. The official, non-hippie-related name for Hippie Hill is Sharon Meadows, which inspires a lot less 4/20 cheer than its assigned nickname! Visitors should have an easy time finding the spot on 4/20 — just follow the plumes of smoke and stoned people dressed in green and decorated with weed leaves (who hopefully know where they're going). And, while Hippie Hill is a special place to visit for everyone's favorite weed holiday, it doesn't have to be April 20th for you to plan a visit. In fact, Hippie Hill is a great place to throw your own cannabis party any day of the year! So, start planning your pot pilgrimage to NorCal's hottest smoke spot for whichever of the 365 days of the year work best for you. San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, and the hill itself are well worth the trip.

The History of Hippie Hill

While the history of Hippie Hill and its legendary 4/20 events are a little hazy, a few tidbits of information survived the ages (and the weed-induced memory loss). For one, it's an established fact that Hippie Hill became, well, Hippie Hill, in the 1970s. This isn't surprising, especially since the '70s were the heyday of hippies and pot culture. Just like the counterculture moment at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, the evolution of Hippie Hill's 4/20 celebrations reflected the changing views of society toward cannabis. So, it's safe to presume that 40 years ago the slopes of this hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park were where many a high hippie set their bongos aside to rest their weary heads on tie-dye blankets.

Now that very spot is where tens of thousands of people come today to smoke weed, just like the hippies before them. The only difference between now and then is that cannabis is recreationally legal in California, and you don't have to be a free-love inspired hippie to enjoy it! Oh, and the weed is significantly more potent now than it was back then — remember that. So, check out the next 4/20 festival at Hippie Hill for yourself to see just how modern cannabis culture compares to the historical '70s. Maybe try some of the best NorCal weed strains while you're there for the full Northern California cannabis experience, complete with NorCal strains!

It’s worth noting that public consumption is illegal in California, so smoking on or anywhere near the Hill would be done at your own risk.

4/20 at Hippie Hill

hippie hill, san francisco on 4/20
Editorial credit: Colloidial / Shutterstock.com
Before booking your ticket to San Francisco on April 20th, you need to know a few things about the 4/20 celebrations at Hippie Hill. For starters, do not try to drive there. Not only is driving high a no-no, it's also a downright pain to navigate through San Francisco's steep hills and busy streets on a good day. On a celebratory day like 4/20, it's nearly impossible to drive through the city without feeling like you're wasting your time and sanity. And that's not even to mention how you will not, barring a 4/20 miracle, find parking to save your life. So, the first and most important rule of attending any event in San Francisco, 4/20 included, is to take public transportation to Hippie Hill. And since the event goes on all day, it's a good idea to get yourself to Golden Gate Park earlier rather than later since all the buses on the way to Hippie Hill will probably be cramped (especially the closer to 4:20 it gets). Make your San Francisco festivities last the whole day and get the most out of your once-a-year cannabis celebrations!

Now on to the 4/20 festivities at Hippie Hill! It's more than stoners with long hair smoking joints on blankets (though there are plenty of those as well). Especially since cannabis legalization and the upsurge of mainstream cannabis culture, more and more people flood into Hippie Hill to experience the best 4/20 event in Northern California. And with that increase in people comes an increase in everything else — expect to see a ton of cheer, a ton of weed, and a ton of people decked out in their craziest cannabis clothing. There are also food vendors, bathrooms, and some security since the city of San Francisco has steered into the Hippie Hill skid and made some of the appropriate arrangements for this yearly event. The city departments can't beat the thousands of stoners flocking to Hippie Hill, and instead, they join in and provide safety and support. It's pretty hard to stop a 40-year old tradition, after all! And arresting tens of thousands of people is probably more expensive than just making sure they can smoke weed on a hill safely.

Stay Safe and Enjoy Hippie Hill

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The most important part of visiting San Francisco's Hippie Hill is to stay safe and do your part to keep those around you safe as well. As with any event the size of the 4/20 festivities at Hippie Hill, there are bound to be incidents of theft and, in some instances, violence as well. While most cannabis consumers tend to be the non-violent sort, that doesn't mean a few bad apples won't try to spoil the bunch of people trying to enjoy some good ol' fashioned 4/20 festivities at Hippie Hill. Also, keep in mind that there will be edibles, flower, and other cannabis products illicitly sold at the event by entrepreneurial individuals. And, while many of these cannabis salesmen sell legitimate supplies, there's no guarantee as to the safety of whatever weed product they're peddling. The safest option is to skip out on the brownies that a guy with dreads and a Rasta hat is selling and instead come with your own supply of verified, legal, and safe cannabis products. It's great to support local businesses, but when a label-less pot brownie comes into the mix it's better to play it safe than be sorry.

And lastly, when you do make it to Hippie Hill (4/20 or not), be sure to pick up after yourself and keep the park clean. Huge celebrations like the 4/20 festival leave a huge mess and it's unfair to expect others to pick up the trash you've left behind. Hippie Hill, despite its fun name and its stoner-friendly attitude, is still a part of Golden Gate Park! So, just do your part to keep it green and trash-free if you do visit the most famous smoke spot in California.

There's something magical about smoking on Hippie Hill then wandering around the rest of the park and San Francisco itself. Just remember: don't drive there, don't get lost on the archery range (or anywhere else), buy from the local vendors at your own risk, and, most importantly, do your part to keep the hill as green as the countless bowls of weed that have been smoked on that particular spot.