The Past Still Blasts at Hippie Gypsy

Gregor and Grace
May 2, 2022

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, then you remember the tie-dye tee-shirts, hippie hangouts, baggy clothes, and the off-the-grid reign of the Grateful Dead. Even if you are members of more recent generations, Tucson’s Hippie Gypsy is still a gem of a find — a deep dive back into time and nostalgia. Located on famed Fourth Avenue, this store is worth a visit even if you’re not necessarily shopping for glass pipes, crystals, rich tapestries, funky clothing, and hip sunglasses. It is also one of the only stores downtown to stay open late — until 10 PM!

Before you enter …

Stop, look, and admire. As we approached the store, we first noticed the outside of the building which is an art piece itself. Inside, the walls are illustrated with icons from the Hippie era — the Grateful Dead bear, the Rolling Stones tongue, peace signs, and many portraits of famous people from the ’70s. It also includes cute designs of psychedelic mushrooms, cannabis leaves, skeletons, and lots of vibrant colors. Also since the store is one of the only ones to stay open late at night they have decked out all the windows with bright neon light signs to match the “enlightened” hippie vibe. 

Stepping inside…

Entering Hippie Gypsy feels like stepping into a time machine, being transported back into the 60 and 70s. So let us set the scene for you; as soon as you walk in you can hear the music bumping from artists like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and of course the Grateful Dead. Your sense of smell is completely taken over by lovely incense and sage. Your eyes need to take a minute to adjust because of all the bright colors, artwork, and clothes.

We began browsing the front section of the store which is filled with different hippie clothes, stickers, and posters.  They have some vibrant tie-dye band shirts and super fun stickers with quotes and astrology. The walls and ceilings are completely covered by tapestries with cool floral designs, skulls, The Grateful Dead, and even some marijuana designs. The back section of the store is quite different, it’s dedicated to glass pieces and other smoking necessities like wraps, lighters, and smell-proof bags. The walls in the back are decked out with shelves lined with different glass items from pipes to bongs to bubblers. When we walked through the store we could feel a great atmosphere, and the employees were inviting and very kind. They were eager to help us with any assistance we needed and were prepared to answer any of our questions. Even they were dressed in coordination with the hippie aesthetic which in our opinion, pulls the entire store together.

The Art of The Tapestry

The walls of Hippie Gypsy are lined with a large variety of tapestries, t-shirts, and wallpapers each with unique designs including different brands, colors, and patterns. You can also find dozens of dream catchers hanging from the ceiling moving slowly from the short bursts of wind from new customers entering the store. Hippie Gypsy offers a special way to buy these products by offering a two-for-twenty deal on tapestries which provides customers with a great deal in return for their bravery. This was such a good deal we took them up on their offer and purchased a mystery bag for ourselves. All and all, the wall decor draping down from the walls embodies the store’s spirit which is to give customers the best possible experience, even if that means sacrificing profit. 

Community Impact

Before we exited the store, we were greeted by a wall smothered in different flyers, posters, and newspapers highlighting events around Tucson as well as news of what is going on around the city. This includes different performances, art showcases, and even protests. Instead of advertising their own business at the exit, they shift their attention to other people and businesses, demonstrating their emphasis on the Tucson community and their priority of doing what they can to support the city.

One of a Kind

Hippie Gypsy is truly a one-of-a-kind experience not just because of the products that line the walls or the incense flooding the room, but as a result of the overall experience that Hippie Gypsy’s employees and business as a whole orchestrate for their customers. The store is unlike any other we have been to because of the welcoming nature of its employees, colorful and fun products, and retro vibe. 

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Grace Rappaport & Gregor McKelligon are coauthors of this article.  Grace is studying Criminal Justice and Gregor is studying Business.