15 Photos That Take You Back in Time to the 1960s

Old vintage TV with screen noise in a room with vintage wallpaper. Interior in the style of the 1960s.

15 Photos That Take You Back in Time to the 1960s

When looking back at the 1960s, we’re reminded of how this was a period of social change. As one of the most impactful decades in recent memory, pop culture specifically rose to the forefront during this time. In addition, the 1960s was also a decade that helped drive a technological revolution. 

Going to the moon, microwave ovens, and weather satellites were just a few of the occurrences during this period full of major triumphs and some heartbreak. With this in mind, let’s take a look back at what life was like during this important decade in U.S. history.

Car Radio

Using a car radio in the 1960s looked a whole lot different from today.

When you think of today’s vehicles and the 9, 12, or 15-inch infotainment screens being added, it’s a far cry from 1960s radio. There’s no question these radios take us back to a simpler time when you just had to scroll around until you found a song you liked. This particular radio was affixed in a Chrysler vehicle with AM push-button tuning.

Beach Life

1960s Beach Life
The beach movie craze in the 1960s highlighted a decade of cultural changes.

Looking back at the 1960s, you had plenty of movies and songs all about beach life. The rise of groups like The Beach Boys helped popularize the idea of surfing and beach trips. These movies were full of beautiful people hanging out and just having a carefree time enjoying life. To some extent, it was real as millions of young adults tried to imitate the movies.

Space Race

Few events are more remembered in the 1960s than the launch of Apollo 11.

As part of the rapidly growing Cold War rift between the U.S. and Russia, geopolitical life in the 1960s was dominated by the space race. Thankfully, America was all-in on President Kennedy’s promise to go to the moon before 1970. The country loved the idea of astronauts and idolized them as they did movie stars and ballplayers.

Seattle Office

Workspaces in the 1960s don’t look so different than today, just with older technology.

In the 1960s, life in an office had some similarities to the world today. This image from Seattle captured in 1968 shows small cubicles and plenty of people diligently working. While the cubicles may have gotten bigger and computers replaced typewriters, it’s still not all that different from today.

Baseball Game

1960s Baseball Game
Baseball was a classic activity in the 1960s and a wildly popular summer activity.

During the 1960s, few sports were as popular or as symbolic of summer as baseball. This Cincinnati Reds game from 1969 shows a full house of fans watching the game. Being able to watch players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente all play during this era must have been incredible.


Rotary Phone 1960s
The rotary telephone was a staple of every home in America during the 1960s.

The idea of the rotary phone is a fun joke today when compared to the world of the smartphone. However, back in the 1960s, rotary phones were all the rage. After trickling out during the late 1950s, rotary phones skyrocketed in popularity throughout the 1960s before the push-button phone came to market.

Pontiac GTO

Pontiac GTO
The 1960s release of the Pontiac GTO kicked off America’s “muscle car” era.

Widely argued to be the origins of the “muscle car,” the 1964 and 1965 Pontiac GTO are legends in the auto world. Manufactured from 1963 to 1974, the Pontiac GTO came in a variety of different colors and was seen as a status symbol by drivers throughout the decade.

The Beatles

The Beatles
When The Beatles landed in America, it kickstarted Beatlemania.

On February 7, 1964, The Beatles first arrived in the United States marking the beginning of the ‘British Invasion.” One of the most popular bands in history, The Beatles are an iconic part of the 1960s decade. The band’s first TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show two days later was watched by 40% of the U.S. population or 73 million people.

Civil Rights

Civil Rights Act
One of the most important moments in American history was the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. Among many distinguished guests present, standing right behind the President is Dr. Martin Luther King. The law ended discrimination in the U.S. based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

1960s Saturday Morning Cartoons
Saturday morning cartoons were a staple of 1960s life for kids.

As someone who lived for Saturday morning cartoons during the 1980s, I know this era didn’t begin then. The idea of Saturday morning cartoons began during the 1960s when shows like The Flintstones, The Pink Panther, and The Heckle and Jeckle Show were popular.

TWA Flight Center

TWA Flight Center
When the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962, it kicked off the golden age of air travel.

When the TWA Flight Center opened up in 1962 at JFK Airport, it marked the start of the golden age of travel. For the next two decades, brands like TWA and Pan Am ruled the skies with glamor and glitz. Unfortunately, the golden age gave way to crowded coach sets and too little legroom.

Heeeeere’s Johnny

Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson will forever be remembered for his larger-than-life charm and stunts.

On October 1, 1962, Johnny Carson became the new host of The Tonight Show and the rest is history. Arguably one of the greatest television shows of all time, Carson hosted 6,714 episodes of the show. Carson’s version of the show is also considered to have established the format of the late-night talk show that continues today.

Presidential Funeral

President Kennedy Funeral
The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the worst days in American history.

There are only a few moments in time when someone might ask you “Where were you when X happened?” For Americans, one of those moments is when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963. As a nation mourned, the Kennedy family, including his wife Jacqueline took part in a funeral procession to lay the President to rest.

World’s Fair

1965 World's Fair
More than 51 million people visited the New York World’s Fair between 1964 and 1965.

Throughout 1964 to 1965, New York State played host to the World’s Fair. With over 140 pavilions and 110 restaurants, more than 80 nations were represented including 24 states. In addition over 45 corporations helped build expositions that covered over 646 acres. With over 51 million attendees, the New York World’s Fair remains a cultural touchstone for the baby boomer generation.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney
Little did 1960s America know that a Florida announcement would turn into one of America’s biggest tourist attractions.

Already one of America’s most popular figures, Walt Disney sat down with his brother Roy and Florida Governor Burns in 1965 to make a very special announcement. The announcement would lead to the building of the world’s most popular theme park. For Disney fans and residents of Florida, there was no bigger news in the 1960s.

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