The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, initiating a major cultural and political shift.
Although hippies also gathered in major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe, San Francisco remained the epicenter of the social earthquake that would come to be known as the Hippie Revolution. Like its sister enclave of Greenwich Village, the city became even more of a melting pot of politics, music, drugs, creativity, and the total lack of sexual and social inhibition than it already was. As the hippie counterculture movement came farther and farther forward into public awareness, the activities centered therein became a defining moment of the 1960s, causing numerous ‘ordinary citizens’ to begin questioning everything and anything about them and their environment as a result.
This unprecedented gathering of young people is often considered to have been a social experiment, because of all the alternative lifestyles which became more common and accepted such as gender equality, communal living and free love. Many of these types of social changes reverberated on into the early 1970s, and effects echo throughout modern society.
The hippies, sometimes called flower people, were an eclectic group. Many were suspicious of the government, rejected consumerist values, and generally opposed the Vietnam War. A few were interested in politics; others focused on art (music, painting, poetry in particular) and/or religious and meditative movements. All were eager to integrate new ideas and insights into daily life, both public and private.