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Outside Lands for Cheapskates: How to Enjoy for Free | SF

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Saturday, August 12, 2017 - All Day | Cost: FREE*
*Free to enjoy outside the fence

Polo Field, Golden Gate Park | Middle Dr. W at Metson Rd., San Francisco, CA

Outside Lands for Cheapskates: How to Enjoy for Free | SF

If you missed out on buying tickets, or simply didn’t want to drop mega money for tickets to the 2017 Outside Lands Music Festival, you can head to the park and usually listen to the festival for free.

Please note, as of 8/9/17, the 3-day passes and Saturday have sold out, but you can still buy 1 day passes for Fri/Sun for $149.50 – Buy Tickets.

There is NO way to get service fee-free tickets for 2017 – Please note we’ve just confirmed that tickets are only available online with the $19.95 service fee. We’re told that tickets are not for sale at the Fox Theater or the Outside Lands box office or any other physical location. (Ever heard of a box office that doesn’t sell tickets?)

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 can be 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. The “Valery” for 2017 is located above Hellman Hollow (enter at intersection of Transverse and Overlook Drive). Valery is open each day of the festival from 10am ­- 12am. (In past years, a festival ticket has not been required to use the bike valet).

You can also “Self Park” your bike along JFK from Transverse down to Stow Lake, on MLK (near the South Gate) and in Marx Meadow near the box office for you to park and lock your own bike. Remember to bring your own lock! Outside Lands is not responsible for any damaged or stolen bicycles parked inside Golden Gate Park.

What to Bring:

  • Picnic Food
  • Drinks
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Lawn Chairs

Watch Outside Lands Online
– Free Live Streaming Video

Live Streaming Video – Once again in 2017, you’ll get to watch many of the concerts live on your computer or mobile device. Go90 and AOL are hosting live video streams this year and broadcasting August 11-13, 217 from 3:30-10:30 PM PST so you an watch a live stream on AOL or Go90 of the action. Please be aware that on AOL there are some super annoying pre-roll videos that have the sound on by default. 

Where to Watch in Person (Outside the Gates) – It Sucks for 2017

Unfortunately in 2017, with the new comedy stage, the fence perimeter is much larger than in past years, so many of the great viewing areas outside of the fence nay no longer accessible.

Lindley Meadow – In between 30th and Spreckels there are two service roads. Right near the service road and JFK is a mound that in past years has risen high enough for you to get a partial view of the Lindley Meadow stage over the fence and with great sound. This has been a popular place to watch and listen and smoke. – 2017 WARNING: This area may be partially or completely blocked off for 2017 and repurposed as a vendor onboarding area..

In past years, the Twin Peaks stage was one of the easiest and best places to watch the festival for free viewed from a perch up on the hill by Marx Meadow by the disc golf stage, but in 2017 there’s a brand new comedy stage in Marx Meadow that moved the fencing out quite a bit so this is unlikely to be a space where you can see and hear anymore. Please email us with the scoop if you try for yourself and find out more.

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 that in past years there were plenty of stumps to sit on with a view; however, in 2017, your line of sight may be limited by surrounding trees and their perimeter fencing. Also, security might hassle you if they feel you’re encroaching on their turf.

10 Reason Why Doing Outside Lands from the Outside Might Be Better

Party at Outside Lands the Funcheap way

  • 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 $10-$12 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 enjoy the festival without being in a mess of sweaty people.
  • Possibly have a better view of the stage. This may not be valid for 2017, but if you’re lucky enough to get an optimal 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.
  • Have room to dance. 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.

2017 Festival Map

> Download the PDF Map

Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.

Cost: FREE*
*Free to enjoy outside the fence
Categories: **Annual Event**, *Top Pick*, Fairs & Festivals, Live Music, Picnic, San FranFREEsco
Address: Middle Dr. W at Metson Rd., San Francisco, CA