Top 9 Best Hippie Towns In California

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
California is the state that everyone associates with hippies, and rightfully so. The Summer of Love happened in California. Hippie culture started here. It also happens to be one of

California is the state that everyone associates with hippies, and rightfully so. The Summer of Love happened in California. Hippie culture started here.

It also happens to be one of the most relaxed and festival-friendly states in the Union. Unsurprisingly, there are still a lot of hippie towns that dot the California scenery. If you’re looking to call a hippie place home, then you should check out this article.

If you want to get a taste of hippie culture, hitting up any of these whimsical hippie places will do the trick:

  • San Francisco
  • Santa Cruz
  • Mount Shasta
  • Arcata
  • Guerneville
  • Bolinas
  • Harmony
  • Slab City
  • Ojai

Moving to a legit hippie town in California is not going to be something you should do lightly. We decided to take a look at the most hippie-friendly towns in the state. And, while California has some awesome hippie towns, we also wrote a guide about hippie towns in Oregon!

Figuring Out Which City In California Is Most Beatnik

We had to figure out what makes a hippy in order to evaluate the greatest cities for hippies in California. We threw a lot of parameters at this one in the hopes of getting the best, most comprehensive results.

This is the criteria we utilized, which we derived from the Google Places API, the Census Bureau’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and voter registration data:

  • Per capita number of organic markets
  • Yoga studios per capita
  • Per capita, the number of secondhand stores is
  • Per capita, the number of vegan eateries is increasing.
  • Per capita, the number of pet adoption centers is
  • The liberal voting population in each city

To obtain accurate data, we counted places within a 4.5-mile radius of a city’s core. The average city in America is about 18 square miles in size.

Studying The Figures

All of these figures are expressed per population, which relates to the number of stores per person in a certain city. The study was likewise confined to non-CDPs with populations of above 5,000 people.

We then averaged the rankings for each location to create a hippie index. Finally, the city with the highest hippy index was voted the ‘Best City for Hippies in California.’ We’re talking about you, Piedmont.

The Best Hippie Towns In California

Now that we’ve gone over that, let’s talk about the most hippie-friendly towns in California.

1. San Francisco

San Francisco is where the hippie movement all started, and where there is a place called “Hippie Hill.”

While most people now associate this city with sky-high rents and pretentious tech people, the truth is that it still has some serious hippie vibes from time to time. There are tons of yoga studios, spiritual retreats, and music venues that are all about the hippie vibe.

Besides, you occasionally can see people driving around hippie busses from time to time. It doesn’t get much more hippie than that.

2. Santa Cruz

According to the most recent studies, Santa Cruz has a more hippie-friendly ambiance than San Francisco or any other city in the Cali area. The reasons why include more affordable housing, a bustling art community, tons of music, as well as gorgeous vegan eateries that focus on sustainable eating.

When you’re not maxin’ and relaxin’ on the beach, you can expect to hear drum circles and other hippie meetups in the distance. It’s that kind of town, and that’s why people love it.

3. Mount Shasta

Most people know of Mount Shasta from the gorgeous photos that come from people who tour the national park by the same name. However, people forget that Mount Shasta isn’t just a hotspot for hiking and biking.

According to people who live there, the mountain is a major paranormal hotspot that enhances peoples’ spirituality.

The local town is well-aware of the strange and mystical energy that the area is famous for. It bleeds into just about every aspect of life here. If you’re a new-age type of hippie, then you will find this place to be a great area to visit.

4. Arcata

via Visit California

This place is known as Hippie Haven, and it’s not a mild honorific, either. If you take a quick look at the area’s headlines, you’re going to see a lot of headlines involving hippies.

There are vegan restaurants, plenty of cool places to go thrifting, and loads of ways to enjoy the art scene.

An ideal place for a crunchy creative, it’s hard to ignore the draw that this town would have to a typical hippie.

5. Guerneville

For every crazy, extra-crispy crunchy hippie you meet in California, there’s going to be the older type of hippie that will want to have the finer things in life. That’s the type of hippy that Guerneville tends to attract.

This SoCal, Sonoma Valley town is known for its heavy emphasis on the locavore scene—especially when it comes to wine and freshly made cheese.

A major spa hotspot, Guerneville is a little quirky with its ways of getting people to chill out in nature. For example, one of their local spas is famous for a hot mulch bath.

Another major hippie perk that you’ll find here? This region’s pretty popular with the Green Boom, so you can rest assured that you will have a good smoking sesh here.

6. Bolinas

Though it’s not as “in your face” as the flower children of San Francisco, there are a lot of ways to do the hippie thing. One of the oldest tropes that are still tied to the hippie movement is the surfer movement.

This is exactly the type of vibe that Bolinas tends to work best with. Bolinas is a surfer city, but it still hosts a lot of hippie-friendly venues, too.

There’s tons of fun to be had in all this surf and sand. If you want to hippie out, get into a guitar circle or smoke a joint. Such is the idyllic, artsy life that comes with living near Bolinas.

7. Harmony

Harmony is a hippie village, no matter how you slice or dice it. The entire town is named after a hippie vibe, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is the type of hippie village that most of the older crowd retired to, and that’s not a bad thing. The area is a veritable wonderland of art projects.

If you’re an artist and want to get a breath of fresh air, you’ll want to head to Harmony. It’s an amazing place to be.

8. Slab City

Slab City is not exactly a town. It doesn’t exist on an official basis. This is a shantytown that was made by a bunch of homeless families, some artists, and maybe one or two people who had enough of the rat race.

So, it’s more of a commune than anything else. Like most of the communes of yore, there’s not much of a concept when it comes to ownership.

In Slab City, there are not many rules of law. There are also not many constraints when it comes to the overall scope of what you’re allowed to do.

You can make art, sell stuff, or just do you. Because it’s such a loose interpretation of a town, we have to admit that it’s a pretty hippie way to live.

9. Ojai

Ojai, in a lot of ways, is the opposite of what Slab City tends to be. This is a new age hotspot that has a deep love of all things spiritual and mystical. Tarot cards? Yep. Crystals? Oh, you betcha. Burning sage to clear out the bad vibes of a place? Oh, it’s practically a must for anyone who lives here.

The thing about Ojai is that most of the people here live, breathe, and shop by the concept of boutiques. There’s a boutique shop for everything here, but most of them tend to focus on sustainable items.

Needless to say, it’s a lot more structured than Slab City. However that spacey vibe that people adore about hippies is still alive and well here.

What Makes A Place A Hippie Town?

The best way to explain hippie is that you’ll know it when you see it. Hippies are a little bit mystical, a lotta bit musical, and tend to go for “crunchy” living.

If it’s a vegan hotspot, you get even more points. Places that have a history of hippie culture and lore will want to get the most of their rankings, too.

There is no “one way” to be a hippie. I’m a hippie, but I can’t always stand other hippies. Get what I mean? Don’t hate on me for the choices I made.

Related Questions

Where are the majority of the hippies in America?

Most people would agree that America is currently running on hippie fumes. With that said, the spirit of the 60s is quite alive and well when it comes to areas like San Francisco or Santa Cruz.California is currently the biggest hotspot for all things hippie-related. The further away you get from California, the less hippie stuff you are going to see.With that said, the EDM scene has been bringing about a lot of the same vibes throughout the country. As it turns out, loving PLUR is a pretty hippie concept, even today.

What are hippie communes like?

Hippie communes are deeply agrarian groups that tend to focus on making their food. They tend to be rather egalitarian, but that doesn’t mean they’re for everyone.Most people are pretty shocked to find out how rigid the social structure tends to be around these communities.While communes may seem pretty lax at first, it’s important to remember that they need rules to be halfway decent and sustainable. So, it’s not free for all everyone tends to think it is.

Why did most hippie communes in California fail?

It wasn’t the issue of having social structures fall apart. Rather, public records show that most hippie communes tended to fail as a result of poor money handling as well as an overburdened structure.Many didn’t even make a product to sell, just so that they could pay the taxes on the land they bought. Had they been better funded and better managed, we would likely be seeing a lot more communes today.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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