Located at 710 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, the Grateful Dead house is one of the most iconic symbols of the counterculture heyday in California.
What was once the communal home and headquarters of the famous jam band the Grateful Dead, the house was under their control from October 1966 to March 1968. In that time, the home saw a ton of action including hosting a ton of famous guests (hello, Janis Joplin and Neal Cassady), and the infamous drug bust of 1967 (we’ll get into more on that below).
I was able to visit the house on my trip to San Francisco, and although it is privately owned, I still loved seeing it and envisioning all that happened there.
Though the house is a private residence and you cannot go inside (without knowing the owners, that is), 710 Ashbury is an absolute must-see for any Grateful Deadhead in San Francisco.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- 👉 A basic overview of the Grateful Dead
- 💡 The history of the Grateful Dead house at 710 Ashbury
- 🚗 How to get to the Grateful Dead House
- 🚌 The best San Francisco counterculture guided tours
- 📚 The best books and media for learning more about San Francisco hippie culture and the Grateful Dead
- ☮️ And so much more!
How to Visit The Grateful Dead House in San Francisco
About The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead, also known as ‘The Dead” was a jam band founded in Palo Alto, California in 1965. Known for their eclectic style and long bouts of noodling, the band fused together elements of rock, blues, jazz, folk, and country to form their own psychedelic sound. Though they had no radio hits, the band is on the charts as one of the most successful touring shows in music history.
The founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, and Bob Weir.
That said, known for way more than just music, the Grateful Dead became synonymous with the embodiment of the hippie movement and for their ever-traveling fans, who became known as “Deadheads.”
Grateful Dead Fast Facts:
- The Grateful Dead played to an approximated 25 million people over the course of their career
- The band was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having played the “most rock concerts ever performed”. At the time, this record was set at 2,138 shows.
- The Grateful Dead was the highest-grossing American band of the 90s, having made $285 million from touring alone
- Jerry Garcia, one of the band’s founders and perhaps the most famous member, passed away in 1995
- Ron “Pigpen” McKernan passed away at the age of 27 in 1973 due to an alcohol-related hemorrhage
- Friends of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, the Grateful Dead was the house band for Kesey’s San Francisco “Acid Tests”. In fact, Jerry Garcia had the nickname “Captain Trips” because of his LSD affiliation
- It was at the Acid Tests where the Grateful Dead began a partnership with LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley, who would later finance the band, produce some works, and engineer the iconic “Wall of Sound Stacks” (not affiliated with Phil Spector)
- The Grateful Dead were the most notorious residents of Haight-Ashbury in the 60s
- The Grateful Dead’s 710 Ashbury house was the location of the infamous 1967 drug bust, which was reported in the front-page news as “ROCK BAND BUSTED”
- The Grateful Dead had a roster of 500 different songs during their improvised sets
About the Grateful Dead House
As I mentioned earlier, The Grateful Dead lived at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco from 1966 – 1968, but it was in 1967 that the address made headlines.
On October 2, 1967, narcotics officers, reporters, and TV crews stormed the Grateful Dead house looking for drugs and they found a pound of pot. Bob Weir (the Grateful Dead’s rhythm guitarist and sometimes vocalist) and Ron “Pigpen” KcKernan (vocals, organ, harmonica) were arrested along with 8 others for possession of marijuana.
The charges were eventually dropped (all they got was a $200 fine), but not before a news conference was held in at 710 Ashbury to protest the drug bust. The incident made local headlines and was reported in the very first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.
Due to the commercialization of Haight-Ashbury and the increased use of hard drugs in the area, the Grateful Dead left 710 Ashbury in March 1968.
👉 If you’d like to see footage of the inside of the house, I recommend watching the documentary The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir. Weir visited the house along with his daughters and detailed different rooms in the house.
📚 Read More: A Classic Laurel Canyon Playlist (60’s & 70’s)
How to Visit the Grateful Dead House
Grateful Dead House Address:
710 Ashbury Street, Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, California
You can get to this address by using public transit, taking a taxi, or hailing a ridesharing service.
What to Expect at the Grateful Dead House
Well, to be completely honest with you, the house is a private residence – a gated private residence. As in, going inside would require you to know the owners. However, that doesn’t mean that the house isn’t worth a visit on your way to or from Haight Ashbury, as it’s just around the corner from this famous intersection.
👉 That said, please be respectful of the owners. Don’t attempt to get through the gate without their explicit permission, and don’t snoop through the windows. Basically, love the house for its fabulous history, and then keep ‘er movin’.
Not only is the house a great photo op, but it’s also a great place to go when you’re reading say, The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. This book details what it was like to be at the house during the late sixties; especially given that the house was financially taken care of by LSD guru, Owsley Stanley, and was frequented by characters such as author Ken Kesey and Jack Kerouac muse, Neal Cassady.
Owsley Stanley met the Grateful Dead during an Acid Test held by Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters, and he eventually became their lead soundman. Owsley was the first private individual to mass-produce LSD – personally supplying many in this groovy San Franciscan scene.
The Best San Francisco Counterculture Tours
Tour #1 – Haight Ashbury Summer of Love Walking Tour
Immerse yourself in Summer of Love vibes on this Haight-Ashbury: The Summer of Love Walking Tour. With the knowledge of an expert guide, you’ll be taken to sites such as the Grateful Dead House, Janis Joplin’s House (635 Ashbury Street), Jimi Hendrix’s house, and so much more!
Tour #2 – San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour
Film fanatic? Then book yourself a spot on this San Francisco Movie Sights City Tour! With the guidance of a local expert, this tour will take you to various filming locations from movies such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dirty Harry, Vertigo, and Bullitt.
Tour #3 – San Francisco: City Sightseeing Tour on Hippie Bus
Explore San Francisco is style as you take to the streets in a colorful retro VW hippie bus. This City Sightseeing Tour on Hippie Bus includes photo stops at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Learn More About The Grateful Dead House
Bob Weir Documentary:
The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip Of Bob Weir (2014)
Books About / Including the Grateful Dead:
A Long Strange Trip : The Inside History of The Grateful Dead (By Dennis McNally)(2003)
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (by Tom Wolfe)(1968) – A novel about Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters. Includes info about Owsley and The Grateful Dead. One of the best novels I’ve read about the scene.
Grateful Dead House FAQ
Can you go inside the Grateful Dead house in San Francisco?
As a tourist, you cannot go inside the Grateful Dead house in San Francisco as it is privately owned.
How much is the Grateful Dead house worth?
The Grateful Dead house at 710 Ashbury sold in 2012 for $1.4 Million.
Where did Janis Joplin live in San Francisco?
Janis Joplin lived down the street from the Grateful Dead at 635 Ashbury Street in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. At a different time, Charles Manson also lived in this house before he left to start his family.
Where did Jefferson Airplane live in San Francisco?
In the late 1960s, the American rock band Jefferson Airplane lived at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco, which overlooked Golden Gate Park.
That’s it for my overview of the Grateful Dead House at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco!
I hope this gave you a ton of information on the house, as well as tips on what counterculture-related things to do in San Francisco.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!