San Francisco’s Outside Lands music and arts festival is a relatively young festival. The 2011 event is only going to be its fourth year in a row. Despite this, it is one of the most popular outdoor music festivals in Northern California. Set in the beautiful Golden Gate Park, this festival is in close proximity to a number of wonderful attractions. Planning your trip to the event now can help to guarantee that you have enough time to see the city as well as enough time to enjoy the three days of live music that you’re there to see. Plus, planning now will help you to get the best hotel room located close to the festival!
What is San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival?
The Outside Lands music festival is an outdoor music festival that is held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It’s a summer event that will be held in August. This festival is more than just a music festival, though. It’s a three-day event celebrating many different types of art and live performance. Although music is the big draw (with past headliners including Pearl Jam, Incubus, the Black Eyed Peas and Dave Matthews Band) there are also many different arts activities to participate in during the long weekend. Moreover, this is a green festival with a number of opportunities to enjoy eco-friendly activities and education.
Best Hotels for Outside Lands Visitors
One of the things that you will want to make sure to do in advance is to plan which San Francisco hotel you want to stay at. Some people want to stay as close to the park as possible. This allows them to be in close walking distance to the event. It’s nice to be positioned this way so that you can go to and from the event over the course of the three days, heading back to the hotel to rest as needed. However, staying at a hotel near the park isn’t your only option. If you stay at a hotel in the Financial District or Union Square area, you’ll be very close to the underground MUNI buses that can take you straight to the event. Some visitors prefer this option because they want to stay in the city’s best hotels in these popular neighborhoods.
The best San Francisco hotels for Outside Lands visitors who want to be close to the park are:
- OceanView Motel. Located on Judah Street, this motel offers a good opportunity to have an ocean view during your stay in the city. It is located on the west end of Golden Gate Park so it’s a short walk to the Outside Lands festival. The motel itself is nothing to speak of (and first-time visitors should know that it gets really chilly out by the ocean, even in August) but if you’re hoping to stay near the water then this is a good choice.
- Stanyan Park Hotel. This hotel is located at the Eastern end of Golden Gate Park, which also means that it’s within nice walking distance to the festival. It’s a small hotel housed in a historic building. It tends to be quiet which is a relief for some Outside Lands festival attendees although others would prefer a more party atmosphere.
- Red Victorian. This hotel is located right on Haight Street, a short walk from the East end of Golden Gate Park. If you want to do some thrift store shopping and browsing for vinyl during your stay then you might as well stay here because it’s all within walking distance from your hotel’s front door.
The best San Francisco hotels for Outside Lands visitors who want to be downtown or near Union Square are:
- Parc 55. There isn’t much to say about this hotel because everything about it is perfect. It’s got the right location, amazing rooms, terrific amenities, stunning views … If you want a terrific San Francisco hotel then you simply can’t go wrong with this one.
- Hotel Palomar. Are you going to be bringing your pooch with you to San Francisco to spend the weekend outside? If so then you will want to stay in one of the city’s best pet-friendly hotels. This Union Square hotel goes above and beyond for your pets. It’s an artsy hotel, which is just the right mood that you want for your stay during Outside Lands.
- Orchard Hotel. Many people attending Outside Lands really want to stay in a boutique hotel. These are people who like artistic, creative, unique things. The Orchard Hotel does not disappoint.
- W Hotel. Of course, not everyone wants to stay in a boutique hotel. Some people are seeking a five-star experience from a name that they know well. Enjoy the swanky luxury of the W in the evenings after spending all day in the park listening to music.
What Else to See in Golden Gate Park
Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is located in Golden Gate Park. The event itself is going to give you plenty to do but if you’ve got some extra time to check out the rest of the park then you should. Golden Gate Park is truly an amazing public space with lots to see. Some of the highlights that you won’t want to miss out on while you are there include the Japanese Tea Gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Rose Garden, the Botanical Gardens, the bison enclosure, the California Academy of Sciences and the DeYoung Museum.
Other Attractions in the Neighboring Area
Golden Gate Park holds many treasures for you to enjoy but you might want to get out and about away from the park for a little while. That’s not a problem since there are so many wonderful San Francisco attractions located really close to the festival. Be sure to check out the shopping and dining of Haight Street, of course. Hike out to the ocean and visit the ruins of the Sutro Baths. Catch a movie at the Red Vic Movie House, a co-op owned second-run theatre with booth seats and popcorn served in wooden bowls. Take a bus over to Hayes Valley, a cute little neighborhood filled with boutique stores and great restaurants. Do some shopping down at Union Square. Enjoy the city!
Tips for Truly Enjoying Outside Lands 2010
Some final tips for making sure that your Outside Lands 2010 festival is amazing:
- Wear layers. San Francisco weather is unpredictable. It can go from cold to hot in the span of minutes. Wear layers to make yourself as comfy as possible.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes. There’s no point in trying to park or drive in the area with so many people around for the festival. Plan to use public transportation instead.
- Book your hotel in advance. They fill up quickly in the summer especially during festival time.
- Get festival tickets for all three days. It’s better to just pay for all three days in advance and see all of the bands that you are interested in than to try to figure out which single day to pay for.
- Go for a whole week. The festival will take up all of your time. Make the trip more relaxing and see more of the sights by going for an entire week. San Francisco is amazing; it’s worth it.
Have a great time!