San Francisco’s Outside Lands—taking place August 8–10 in Golden Gate Park—is one of our favorite festivals. We’ve gone the last couple of years, and it never gets old. Four stages of all kinds of music and row after row of local (and not-so local) art is enough to keep you overly stimulated for all three days, while the endless amounts of mouthwatering food and drinks from some of the Bay’s best might just make you break the bank.
But whether you’re heading to Outside Lands for one or three days, for Kayne or The Flaming Lips, or just to take in the sounds, sights, and smells of this outrageous festival this weekend, you’ll want to show up prepared. With that sometimes unpredictable chilly SF weather that can leave you in a mini rainstorm of fog dripping off the trees—not to mention no ins and outs if you forget anything—things can get a little unpleasant if you don’t plan ahead. So here are all the tips we’ve picked up from days and nights in Golden Gate Park to help you make the most of this summer celebration.
Pick a meet-up point when you first get there. You and your friends will inevitably lose each other, and you don’t want to be one of those zombies looking for their group at the end of the night or on the flip side be stressing about losing your group.
Get a good cross-body bag that can hold everything you'll need for the whole day. I am a huge cross body bag fan, I love them in all sizes. I have a tendency of loosing my stuff especially when I am in a fun, chaotic environment. I find if its attached to me I can worry less plus I also can drap or tie extra layers like sweaters or scarves to it and not have a ton of stuff to have to worry about holding. Find one with pockets to help keep you organized, and make sure there’s enough space for bigger items. If you go in without enough supplies, you might end up stuck like I was, shelling out all your food money for a way overpriced sweater that doesn’t even fit.
Bring layers! This is a good rule for most adventures in SF, but it’s even truer for an all-day festival. Pack mittens, fingerless gloves, hats, scarves, vests, a pair of leggings if you’re wearing a dress, and thin, warm layers like Under Armour. You won’t regret it. Check out my board on Pinterest for more fashion inspiration.
Wear good shoes. You’re going to be on your feet most of the day either perusing the food stands or dancing in the crowd. Your feet will get stepped on, so no matter how cute your summer sandals are, open-toed shoes are not your friends for Outside Lands.
Stay away from fussy clothes like jumpers and rompers. It’ll get really old really quickly when you’re in the Port-A-Potty trying to shimmy out of it without touching any walls.
Bring a big scarf to sit on instead of a blanket. Scarves take up less space in your bag but still keep you off the grass. Just be sure it’s one that’s washable.
Get a good phone case and pack an extra battery charger. While you’re at it, be sure to wear a watch so you don’t drain your phone’s battery by checking the time all day.
What else is in my bag? In addition to all these necessities, here are all the small items I’m sure to tuck in:
Hand sanitizer—A must! You’ll be bummed when the festival runs out of it.
First aid kit
Blister bandages—Remember what I said about all that time on your feet?
Small pack of tissues
Roll of toilet paper—There won’t be any left in the bathrooms at the end of the day. You’re welcome.
Chapstick and/or lipgloss
Extra hair tie
Water bottle—I have a soft-sided one that rolls up nicely when it’s empty, but a regular bottle works just as well.
Travel bottle of sunscreen—Even though SF isn’t exactly known for it’s sunny weather, you can still get a burn.
y "hobo" gloves - I love grabbing cheap stretch mittens off then cut the finger tips off. Boom! "Hobo Gloves"
I know this seems like a lot, but I prefer to be comfortable and safe rather than sorry. You’ll thank me later, I promise! I have a gender-neutral bag to carry everything, so Brian and I take turns sharing the load. It’s a good system that works for us, but be sure to plan ahead for what will be best for you and your group. If you have any questions about what you can and cannot bring into the festival, Outside Lands has an info guide on their website that lists what’s allowed.
Have fun this weekend, stay safe, and if you take any great food pics, be sure to post them below!