How to Enjoy Outside Lands for Free
If you missed out on buying tickets, or simply didn’t want to drop mega money for tickets to the now sold out Outside Lands Music Festival, you can head to the park and listen the festival for free.
You can save lots of money, and still have a great time listening to (and maybe even seeing) some of the acts from outside of the fences in Golden Gate Park.
Gather your friends, pack a picnic with your own food and boozy drinks and head to the park.
Where to Listen:
Spreckels Lake (36th Ave. and JFK Drive), just north of the Polo Fields, is a great place to have a picnic and chill during the concert. Typically, hundreds of people line the shores with picnic blankets, smuggled booze (or other illicit items) and listen to the main stage shows. You can’t see any of the stages, but the view of the lake is gorgeous and makes for a relaxed setting. As long as the wind is right, the sound is great too.
This area has more a family-friendly vibe as long as you’re okay with the typical San Francisco smell of marijuana.
How to Get to the Park:
In our experience, the best place to enter the park is at 25th Avenue at Fulton Street. If you’re riding your bike to the park, you can park your bike at the free bike valet (in past years, a festival ticket has not been required).
In 2014, they’re even offering courtesy tune-ups and a free bike wash for all bikes parked between 10 am and 8 pm.
What to Bring:
- Picnic Food
- Picnic Blanket
- Lawn Chairs
Where to Watch:
2014 update: The fence perimeter for 2014 is much larger than in 2013, so many of the great viewing areas outside the fence are now no longer accessible.
Also for 2014 there is no live streaming video of Outside Lands. Boo Hoo.. you gotta be there in person.
In past years, the Twin Peaks stage has been one of the easiest and best places to watch the festival for free. The stage is conveniently located near the bike valet, and if you perch up on the hill, not only can hear flawlessly, you can have a near perfect view of the stage.
2014 Twin Peaks Stage Highlights:
Friday: Warpaint (3:40 pm), Grouplove (5:15 pm), Tegan & Sara (6:50 pm), and Arctic Monkeys (8:40 pm)
Saturday: Capital Cities (5:15 pm), Duck Sauce (6:55 pm), and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (8:40 pm)
Sunday: Watsky (2:00 pm), Lykke Li (5:05 pm), Cut Copy (6:40 pm), and Tiësto (8:25 pm)
We recommend parking your butt here for the day, but if you want to stage hop or check out different locations, be warned it’s a bit more tricky.
Moving between sets is a lot more difficult from outside of the fences than inside. Instead of cutting through the fields, prepare for a long hike around the perimeter that may take around 45 minutes to move between stages. We’ve heard there are plenty of stumps to sit on with a view; however, your line of sight may be limited by surrounding trees.
Photo credit: Stop | Drop | Travel
10 Reason Why Watching Outside Lands from the Outside is Better:
Do Outside Lands the Funcheap way
August 8-10, 2014
- Bring a cooler and pack it full of food that won’t get smashed in your bag and won’t cost you a ton
- Pack a cooler with drinks and you’ll save plenty of money. Instead of nearly $10 drinks inside, you can bring a cooler with all the drinks you can carry and they’ll stay cold throughout the day. You’ll also save the hassle of trying to sneak drinks in or ponying up the cash for pricey drinks, only to then fight the crowd to get back to your spot with your drink still in hand.
- It’s easier to stick together with your friends. Easily arrive together or pick a spot and let your friends know where you are. They should be able to find you much more easily than inside the fest with 75,000 daily attendees.
- Bring a lawn chair and be more comfortable
- Avoid the long wait for port-a-potties. There’s usually some outside the entrance to the festival, and by the afternoon, there should be virtually no wait.
- Avoid the pushy crowds. Pick a chill spot, lay down a blanket or your lawn chairs and set up shop. No one will embark on your staked out spot, so you can watch the festival without being in a mess of sweaty people.
- Have a better view of the stage. No longer valid for 2014 🙁 If you pick a good spot, then it’s possible to be have a better view of the stage than even inside the festival where you might get stuck in the back behind a massive crowd of people or behind that one really tall guy. Unless, of course, you’re one of those die hard fans that are willing to fight your way to the very front to stake out your spot all day and never leave to go to the bathroom, but we doubt those type of people would be okay with watching from the outside anyhow.
- Have room to dance. With a view of the stage, you can boogie down with plenty of room to spare and start a dance party on the hill.
- With no admission fees, come and go when you want and you won’t feel obligated to stay longer than you wish. Just want to catch that one up-and-coming band or the headliner? Sure, make your way to the park for an hour or two and spend your day/weekend doing whatever the heck else you want to do.
- Avoid the maddening traffic at the end of the night. Since you’re outside the gates, you’ll have a head start on beating the traffic to get home.
2014 Festival Map