Outside Lands – a San Francisco music festival known for music, art and food. It was no surprise that I went mostly for the food though I do enjoy exploring all the different “lands” that they have.
3 days wristbands are $450 + fees and taxes and 1 day wristbands are $150 + fees and taxes. Pro tip: The last couple of years haven’t been selling out and people have been selling their tickets under face value so instead of buying it from the website, just wait until someone sells their wristbands. Super pro tip: if you don’t mind going on Sunday (which is what we did, wait until Saturday. People will be so tired from partying so hard from their first 2 days that they will sell you the 3rd day of their wristband for pretty cheap (avg $100). You didn’t hear this from me though, haha. Disclaimer: if it’s a super popular lineup the following years and the festival does sell out, the tips above might now apply. Purchase at your own discretion.
San Francisco Golden Gate Park
For those who’ve never been, it’s not your typical heat stroke summer music festival. Save your crop tops for another day because more than likely, you’ll be chillin’ (literally) in the 60 degree San Francisco fog. I always bring a jacket to at least tie around my waist for the night time. Doing that is somewhat acceptable here.
If you don’t mind walking, you can probably find some parking in the residential area within a mile radius. They also have (expensive) shuttles driving people in if you’re from out of town. Or you can always uber/lyft, which is a major way San Franciscans get around.
What to bring
- Clear plastic bag or backpack – it’s a new rule that all your bags have to be see through. Purchase one on Amazon before you come. They don’t sell this at the festival.
- Picnic blanket – it’s nice to use when you want to picnic after you grab food, chillin’ while waiting for a band to start, or using it as warmth when it gets cold.
- Water bottle – they have free water fill stations
They always sell Outside Land branded things (shirts, jackets, hats, blankets, etc.). Note: they always sell out of the blankets early so either pre-order one or go early. They’re pretty good picnic blankets and we use ours all the time.
Ranger Dave/Ranger Ruth
Ranger Dave has always been the face of Outside Lands and this year, the introduced Ranger Ruth! I don’t know why I get so excited about people in a costume suit, but I literally chased them down for a picture. Worth it! Hint: You can find them under the Outside Lands sign near the Panhandle Stage.
There are 5 stages where bands/artist play. I would check out their website to figure out and plan who you would like to see. They have an interactive line up you can use to build your schedule. The stages are pretty spread out so you will need time to walk there and wait (depending on how close to the stage you want to be). Headliners this year was The Weeked, Florence + The Machine, and Janet Jackson.
House by Heinekin is also another place you can go for music. It’s mostly DJs playing in there and yes, they do sell Heineken.
You can come here for comedy and Improv. I didn’t get a chance to go this year, but last year I woke up early on a Sunday morning so that I can see a panel from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette. I was fangirlling over Dean until I watched Bachelor in Paradise and saw what a douche he actually is. Anyways… that was irrelevant. You can actually go there for some pretty good comedy.
If you’re into culinary, you can head over to Gastro Magic to check out chefs showing off their skills or doing demos. You might even get a taste if you’re in the front row. I don’t have the patience to grab a seat and wait that long so I would suggest bringing your own food or drink so you don’t feel so bad about being hungry while the delicious smell of food is in the air.
You can find magic shows here if you’re into that. I actually never come to this area, but I assume that the shows are pretty good.
I think this is new. It’s a place where you can come to listen about random information. Bill Nye the Science Guy was here this year and I’m sad I missed him.
Scattered throughout the park, there are cool and random art murals, sculptures, etc. Bring your cameras, because you know you’ll want to take some pics for your instagram.
I was able to stay clear of this area because Pro Tip: if you have Verizon, they actually have a section where you can chill and get free wine, beer and snacks. I got a few cups of wines, a delicious thai tea popsicle, and a very satisfying corndog. This area also has a an amazing view of the main stage. I think if you have a Chase Sapphire, they do the same thing near the Twin Peaks stage. I don’t actually have Verizon, but my friend did and was able to bring a guest. If you’re not that lucky though, wine and beer land has a pretty decent selection of all your drink needs. I usually go get a fruity cider from the beers area because they’re so good!
Grass Lands is new to OSL this year. Since week is legal in CA, they had some companies come and promote some of they products. They do sell some edibles, BUT they ship it to your home as you can’t eat/smoke there. Some booths have samples of their products without the THC in it. I just though it was a really pretty area, because it was so green and it had a lot of florals, but depending on who you are, you might be mislead by this area and/or will be disappointed that that is not anything anything with THC on site.
And of course my favorite part – the food. I love checking out new music, exploring all the different “lands”, grabbing a drink and hanging out, but let’s be real – the food is what I really come for. There are over 100 food vendors and I always try to eat the most unique items. Since I only went once day this year, I wasn’t able to eat as much as I normally do, but still had some good eats.
It’s a fun music festival if you go with fun people. It does get crowded and it does get cold so it’s easy to get whiney, but if you go with the right people, that won’t matter. It’s fun to check out different artists, take pictures with different art, explore the different lands, and of course, eat and drink from as many food vendors as you can. Passes are really pricey, but you’ll probably end up having fun regardless.